The Best Markers for Hand Lettering
The Best Markers for Hand Lettering
I often get asked about which markers and I use, why I use them, what I like and/or dislike about them, etc. So I thought I’d give you an overview of my favorites and show you what’s under their caps. 🙂
Before we get started I want to invite you to my Lettering Facebook Group!
These are the kinds of markers/pens I use the most. They’re awesome for hand-lettering but they’re great for coloring too!
If you’re new to lettering, pop over to my Hand Lettering 101 page. It’s the newbie’s guide to getting started with all kinds of lettering and calligraphy.
These markers flat out ROCK! I probably own the most of these, Copics, and Sharpies. Get the above Starry Night tutorial HERE.
Nibs: Brush Nib + Fine Bullet Nib
- Gorgeous colors!
- Blend well (using the clear blender marker).
- Vibrant water-based ink colors.
- I LOVE the flexible nylon fiber brush tip. It allows you to create medium or bold strokes by changing brush pressure. It’s perfect for calligraphy style lettering.
Here’s a peek at how well you can blend with them!
From the second I tried the Tombow Fude Markers, I was in instant love. I prefer the soft tip but I use both for different reasons.
Nib: Small Brush
- Filled with water-based pigment inks.
- The ink flows easily.
- Dries quickly.
- Great for calligraphy style writing, especially if you’re a beginner. I find these easiest to work with.
- They go out of stock a lot. Because they rock.
TOMBOW FUDE & DUAL TIP COMPARISON
Clearly, I have a problem…
Granted, Copics are not cheap…but they are AMAZING. The flexible brush nib and color quality is really hard to beat.
Nibs: Brush Nib + Chisel Nib
- Refillable markers and replaceable nibs.
- Alcohol-based ink is permanent and non-toxic.
- Low odor and fast drying.
- Dries acid-free.
- They blend beautifully with the clear blender marker.
They are also amazing for coloring…my favorite in fact! You can get the tutorial for this card by clicking the image below.
Nibs: Chisel Nib + Fine Bullet Nib
- Fast drying.
- More affordable than Copics.
- Great selection of colors.
- They only blend so-so.
- No brush nib. (Although a reader informed me that the next gen pens can have a brush nib to replace the chisel tip but it costs extra for those).
- Colors don’t match caps that well, so you need to create a color chart.
So which alcohol marker is better? Copic hands down but if you need a lower price point, the Spectrum Noir Markers are great too.
Pentel markers are awesome for detail work thanks to their fine tips!
- Bright, gorgeous water-based ink colors.
- Durable fiber tip.
- Fine nib allows for great detail work.
- They don’t blend well.
I don’t really have to list the pros and cons of Sharpies, right? *Raise your hand fellow, Sharpie addicts.*
I own a ridiculous supply of colored Sharpies but for the Twin Tips, I buy them by the box!
The Micron 08 are my latest favorites.
Both of these digitize really well when I move to Adobe Illustrator too because they’re thin but not too thin!
I own and used the two sets below to create the comparison graphic above.
- Pigmented India Ink that is acid-free and archival (pH neutral).
- Smudge-proof and water-resistant when dry.
- Includes one each Extra Superfine, Superfine, Fine, Medium, Brush, and three new nib varieties found only in this set – Extra soft Brush, Round-point Needle, and Wedge.
- The high quality of pigments means they’re fade-resistant.
- Bright, vibrant colors.
- Show up awesome on dark papers.
- Smooth, roller ball style pen tip.
- They dry out fast if not well-capped (so hide them from your kids)!
- They’re not fast drying, so they smear if you’re not patient.