Alcohol Based vs Water Based Markers: Know the Difference

Have you ever tried bullet journaling? It’s been lauded as an ideal productivity system, a practical outlet for one’s creativity, and the 21st century’s answer to the Filofax. Sales of blank books, colored pencils, and art markers have gone through the proverbial roof in the past few years after enthusiastic bullet journalers began peppering social media platforms like Instagram with snaps of their brightly colored journal pages.

Whatever your profession is, there are a few considerations to take into account before plunging in. Here, we’ll discuss about water-based marker vs alcohol markers. Which one do you think the best? In fact, it varies depending on your profession and need.

So, let’s get into the deep. In this article, we’ll try to cover every ins and outs about water and alcohol-based markers.

Alcohol vs Watercolor Markers

All About Alcohol-Based Markers

Alcohol markers are generally higher quality than their water-based counterparts, which makes them a better choice for serious artists. Their colors are usually bold and bright — not to mention that they are permanent.

Alcohol-based markers are extremely blendable, meaning that you can achieve a wider palette of hues with fewer markers. Their color dries quickly, thanks to the evaporation of the alcohol. These markers can also be used on a variety of surfaces other than paper, including fabric, wood, metal, plastics, and more.

This variety also tends to be pricier than water markers. Sometimes that’s because they are refillable. So although the upfront cost is higher, they provide better long-term value for your money.

Recommended Alcohol Markers: Copic Sketch Markers

Copic Markers

This alcohol-based markers can be an ideal choice for enthusiastic beginners. It allows to start amazingly or helps to add more colors to your current collection.

Read more: Best Copic Markers for Beginners

This sketch set offers 12 colors with dual nib facilities– one is Chisel and the other is Super Brush. So, you can make any kinds of illustrations, designs and art, as it allows to cover a large area and even a precision line. You can also change the nib and go for the airbrush system.

In fact, it’s refillable option increases the durability of these markers. Some artists have been using the same one for 25 years. Its alcohol-based ink provides a smooth finish and becomes permanent, as it won’t destroy the paper fiber. The ink is non-toxic, acid free and dries faster.

Another interesting fact is that, you can re-wet the ink to adjust your drawing. It really helps a lot to blend colors as well as highlighting and shading. That’s why Japanese Manga Artists love this set more than any other markers in the market.

But these are somewhat big in size. So, before starting any important project or artwork, practice a little for holding the marker properly. Though the oval shape won’t disappoint you at all and won’t fell off from desk.

If you’re thinking of beginning, then go for this Copic markers set. But it is little more expensive than the Ciao ones. Still, it worths every single penny.

What About Water-Based Markers

Watercolor markers are generally disposable, which makes them less expensive to purchase. If you are choosing markers for children or just want to make posters advertising an upcoming garage sale, water-based is the way to go.

Marker ink made with water is not permanent and washes off skin and other surfaces fairly easily. However, because the liquid tends to soak into the paper rather than just coating it, it can be difficult to blend with water-based markers.

These markers’ color can be streaky, showing each individual stroke rather than a smooth wash of color. Too much marker can cause the paper to warp, wrinkle, or even tear.

Recommended Watercolor Markers: Dual Brush Pen

Best Watercolor Marker

Whether you’re new or pro in lettering, you may have heard about Tombow Dual Brush Pens. As the name suggests, it has two tips- one is flexible brush tip and another is fine bullet tip.

The flexible brush tips works like paint brushes. Tips are made of nylon fiber that provides smooth finish without losing the original shape. It has made them super durable and you can give pressure on tip according to your need. And the bullet tip is useful for normal writing or drawing fine lines.

This brand provides a total 108 colors. But as a beginner it’s always better to start up with a 10 pack set, in which you’ll get 9 colors and a blending pen.  And the color coded caps help you to select and organize the colors quickly. Air tight caps also keeps the colors always fresh.

Its vibrant water-based ink allows you to blend and mix easily to create huge array of new colors. You can also add some water and use the colorless blending pen to give your artwork a soft color wash effect. Due to its water-based ink you can easily rectify any mistakes in your project.

This set is really a great option for the people interested in bullet journaling or brush lettering. You can also use them for decorations, illustrations, designing and many more.

Final Analysis

There is really no such thing as a perfect marker. Whether you choose water-based markers or markers that deliver the ink via alcohol depends on your preferences as well as the project you are using them for.

It may take some experimentation before you find the type and brand of markers that best suits your needs. And it’s always good to have a wide variety so that you are prepared for every occasion!

Do you prefer a specific type of marker? Have you discovered a marker brand that you swear by? Let us know in the comment section

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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