Pens and Markers

In my last post, I talked about color pencils. What you can get and how much they cost. Now it's time to talk about pens and markers. Unlike color pencils though, these come with a caveat: they won't work for every coloring book out there.

There are many reasons to prefer markers over pencils: 
  • They have more vibrant colors
  • They can be used to cover large areas quickly
  • They are easier on your wrists/eyes/arms than pencils. 
So if your chosen coloring book has pictures on one side only or has thick enough paper to take pens/markers, go for it!
Always test pens and markers at the back before starting a picture.


There are two types of markers you can get - alcohol based or water based pens. There are expensive and cheap brands in both types so feel free to experiment. 

Water-based markers are less likely to bleed through books and are extremely blendable. While alcohol ones will almost certainly bleed through every book out there. On the other hand, they are easier to work with and aren't as 'streaky' as water-based markers.

Copics are the best and most expensive alcohol based markers. They're refillable, so they work out cheaper in the long run. Build up your collection a few pens at a time. Other brands to check out are Tombow, Prismacolor, and Touch Twin markers. 

Faber Castell Pitt pens are also an option. They are NOT refillable and the India ink is permanent once dry.

Fineliner Pens

The most popular brands are Staedtler and Stabilo. They look and work like regular pens but have fine points (.3 mm or so) to get into the really small areas some coloring books seem to specialize in. They work well with pencils so you can use them in the same picture for the intricate details. 

I have the Staedtler 36 pens set which comes with a few neons but the 20 set should be adequate for most pages. They tend to leave streaks if you use them in larger areas. I'd recommend markers for wide coverage instead.

Gel Pens

A quick search on Amazon for gel pens will produce hundreds of results. From single pens in metallic colors to humongous 120 pen sets. The gel pens from Sakura are very good when it comes to price, color, coverage and even flow. Sakura Gelly rolls come in packs such as Moonlight, Souffle, and Stardust with no repeats. So you can build up a collection of your favorite shades slowly.

I don't have much as much experience with pens and markers but I do have a few sets I like. 
  • Markers: Copics or Tombow
  • Pens: Pitt or Staedtler
  • Gel pens: Sakura gelly roll