Nowadays, markers have become an essential part of drawing and art, which are an excellent way to express ourselves too. Among professionals and non-professional artists, alcohol-based markers are on the top list.
However, these are tend to be utterly expensive. But in this article, we’ve listed down some of the best alcohol-based markers that are really cheap.
Despite being half of the price, they are almost as practical, durable, and good-looking as expensive ones. And you will undoubtedly love using them for your artworks.
We didn’t want to place too many of those in our article, so we focused only on the 4 best we’ve found. Here, you will learn all about them.
How Do Alcohol Markers Work?
When you read or hear the term “alcohol-based” it means exactly what it says. The ink of the markers starts as alcohol, and then the manufacturer adds some dye to it.
Of course, alcohol-based markers use a different approach to the ink than water-based markers. First, alcohol is more expensive than water. And second, the mixing and build process tends to be a bit more complicated.
But this creates a strong-bonded ink that flows easily, dries faster, and sticks to everything more effectively.
How Did We Come up with This List?
Well, we tried several brands. We also compared several of their features. And to make sure that we give even better reviews we did this:
We only use markers that last long, look great on any surface, and still manage to offer the perfect blending & fading abilities. As not all marker brands provide this kind of advantage, we had to dismiss those that didn’t – so we were left with only a few options.
Ignoring Bad Option
Apart from picking according to quality builds and performance, we also ignored those markers that bled, ran, or filtered through the paper.
On the other hand, all other markers that just weren’t easy to color with or eventually created a mess if you tried to blend or paint – we also ignored them.
We needed to go only for the most affordable options available. So we couldn’t focus on the brands with the most color options, or with the highest numbers or markers. Instead, we focused on the basic colors, and sets of no more than 50 markers overall.
That gave us the chance to consider just a selected set of markers, following the ideal price range for most people who are on a budget. Luckily, we found terrific products still.
If there’s something that says more about a brand or product than its features, then that would be the reviews.
We analyzed over 1,000 reviews between all the products on this list. That gave us a clearer idea of what each marker set really offers. We actually found interesting factors this way – and we want to share them with you next.
1. Shuttle Art Dual Tip Art Markers
If you don’t care too much about professional-quality marker but instead want something decent enough – then you’ll find a perfect option in the Shuttle Art Dual-Tip Marker set.
You will get 50 different colors that deliver the most vibrant and vivid tones you can hope for. That would be ideal for beginner or child artists who want to experiment to the maximum level and enjoy a wide array of options.
That also leaves a magnificent blending capacity. You will have thousands of different combinations to achieve – and the high-quality ink won’t be a problem at all. In fact, you will get an almost unlimited palette of colors so you can draw whatever you want.
What stands out the most about this brand is the durability of the ink. The fading resistance it offers makes it superb to have. Whether you use it on paper, wood, glass, cloth, or even plastics – they will mark well enough for the cost.
Another exciting part is the triangular-shaped barrels. Any user will grab the markers and glide through any surface without feeling uncomfortable or losing any grip. And sure enough, you can place them on any table-top or desk, and they won’t fall off too. Thanks to this shape!
Finally, you get a dual-tip design. The 7mm broad tip helps you cover wide blank spaces to make interesting and colorful drawings. But with the 1mm tip, you can make the finest traces and draw stylish figures more effectively.
It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for exactly – this Shuttle Art Set with 50 colors can be your best option. And it comes at a fantastic cost.
2. BRIGH Ciao Copic Markers
We couldn’t talk about alcohol-based markers without mentioning Copic Markers. They’re simply the best out there – and the I6-Brigh Ciao markers are not an exception.
It all starts with the fine tip they offer – ideal for the most demanding drawings where you need a thin tip. It is called the Super Brush Nib. This is a flexible, soft, and superfine tip that blends, marks, and feels like no other.
This is the Brightest set on top of all, which means you get more colorful and vibrant colors to make daylight drawings. If you don’t need dark colors to enjoy, then this super affordable option will work well for you.
But the real advantage comes from its fast-drying capacity. It will dry up almost instantly, which prevents bleeding and seeping through the paper.
Apart from that, they are super durable. It doesn’t fade away too easily. And all of that is possible without using a single pinch of harmful chemicals.
All the markers are refillable, as well. That’s a huge advantage for those who are always drawing and draining out the ink. You won’t have to buy them again, but just get the ink and refill when needed.
As for the cost, it is pretty decent for the quality you get. There are only 6 markers, but they offer outstanding results, a long-lasting marking experience, and tons of color combinations to enjoy.
And if you want something slightly more expensive but with more options, you can get the sets with 36- 72 markers if needed. All of them offer exceptional quality that only Copic can achieve.
3. Darice Studio Dual Tip Marker Set
Coming with different sets of colors and numbers, the Darice Studio 71 is a high-quality option that won’t empty your wallet.
The basic version includes 24 different colors, including blues, blue-greens, browns and creams, neutrals, yellow-greens, and yellows, violets, plus oranges.
Together, they make one of the broadest color palettes you can hope for – with an outstanding combination capacity.
You may also get the 12-color option or the 48-color set. They all provide the necessary colors for an efficient drawing experience.
And if you’re just looking for specific tones, then you can also get them. The Darice Studio 71 set offers the chance to get Skin Tones, Blues Tones, Grays, Bright Colors, Bold Primary, and Earth Tones.
Each set will provide enough, so you can paint fantastic things without making much of an effort.
But they don’t stand out for the number and type of colors, but for their dual-tip design. You can enjoy the pointed brush for detailing and styling drawings, along with a chisel-edge tip for wide markings. This will get you a super practical set of markers for all kinds of art you want to create.
Apart from that, you get a no-roll design. This means that it doesn’t matter where you place the markers, they won’t roll down or fall off. This design adds up an extra advantage that keeps the usage safer and much more practical.
For those who want to take their marking experience to another level, the Darice Studio 71 set will not disappoint. It is the perfect alternative for demanding users who want something cheap and practical.
4. Art-n-Fly Professional Brush Markers
Art-n-Fly is one of the best brands in the market, you know! – and this Professional Brush set is a perfect example of why.
Despite the super low cost, these markers come with a unique Japanese brush tip. It allows fine and thick traces, as well as fantastic high-grade results for any of your needs.
Whatever you want to draw with these markers, you can make it possible with its excellent Japanese dual-tip design.
Something interesting to consider is that you can get a wide array of tones from this brand. You will get the gray-tone set, the blues, skin tones, and even stone colors along with purple, lilac, and similar ones. And sure enough, they all come in sets of 6 markers. If you want more, you can get sets of up to 48.
But it is not only the color availability and the number of markers but the fantastic ink and overall marker quality you get.
In fact, the ink is totally refillable. That’s something you don’t often get from markers this cheap, which adds up to an already amazing product.
Yet, it is not the refillable feature that makes them so fantastic, but the replaceable tips. Yes, you can actually get the nibs off and place new ones to draw whatever you want at the highest quality.
Adding everything together makes it one of the most practical sets of markers you can get. And they will still manage to last a lifetime despite their super low cost. And that’s something you shouldn’t dismiss.
5. Arrtx Dual Tip Skin Tone Marker Set
One of the most overlooked brands in the market is called Arrtx. This brand always manages to deliver exceptional quality, but most people ignore what it’s capable of doing.
This set, for example, is one of the most unique options you can get. It is purely skin-toned, which means you can make all kinds of skin colors with this set.
You will get 24 tones, so you can draw the ideal flesh shade according to your drawing needs.
This pairs up well with the dual-tip design. Apart from being super helpful to sketch people, it also allows us to make both the thickest lines as well as the thinnest. You won’t have any problem drawing the hardest faces or body parts with this set.
The ink quality doesn’t stay behind, either. It offers a fantastic pigmentation and vividness that makes every drawing look amazing. Along with the dual-tip design, you can make highlights, fill up entire areas, or just create complicated drawings of specific human parts without problems. And it flows amazingly well.
These markers are simply fantastic for detail-oriented drawing experts. Those who want to achieve the ideal flesh tones will not find a single drawback on these markers. The colors are so realistic and easy to blend if needed that you won’t have a limit to the kind of drawings you can make.
They even come with a squared design that makes them safer to use and prevents them from falling or rolling off tables. Along with the grip-oriented design, using these markers feels simply fantastic.
Want to take your drawing to another level of realism? Then use these Arrtx Skin Tone Markers.
Benefits of Using Alcohol Markers
Flow Faster: Alcohol is similar to water as it is liquid. But alcohol is slightly more resistant to drying up when not being used. That’s why they flow faster from the tip – which causes the marker to paint more effectively and quicker.
You won’t have to wait for the ink to go out of the marker when using it.
Dry Faster: The alcohol-based ink goes down faster than water-based inks, and it also dries up quickly once it meets a surface. And that makes it super effective for those who want to prevent their drawings from smudging out or simply distort.
Blend Easily: Despite drying faster than other types of markers, alcohol-based models are also easy to blend. That adds up a superb advantage for those who want to give unique tones to their drawings. Whether it is highlighting or achieving colors that no marker offers – then alcohol-based markers are your way to go.
Work on Any Surface: The best benefit is that you can use them on almost any surface. From wood to cardboard, plastic, glass, and even metal – they will stick to anything effortlessly.
This adds up to its permanent capacity. This means that you won’t have to worry about the markers fading out after some time. Instead, they will stick for long, even with water, dust, and other factors around them.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Alcohol Markers
Even though choosing alcohol-based markers seems easy – it is not. You will have to know a few specific factors first before you can make a final choice. Here are all the factors we’re talking about:
The first thing to think about when buying a new marker set is the number and type of colors you get.
This color range will tell you how many color options and combinations you can achieve with the set. While professionals often go for the largest marker sets, they also know how to get the most out of the most complete yet small ones.
That’s why the color range doesn’t only matter in terms of the number of colors but the type you’re getting.
Some marker sets are blue tones, others are brown tones, some of them are yellow or red tones, and you may also find bright, greys, silvers, skin tones, and many more.
If you’re a beginner, go for primary or basic colors. And if you want the widest array of options, then choose the largest sets if possible. They will be more expensive, but totally worth the investment.
Quick to Dry
There’s no point in getting amazing markers if they eventually bleed through the paper or require a lifetime to dry up.
So, focus on quick-drying markers if possible. Those will be way better for your drawings, especially if you’re someone who works as a freelancer or who delivers illustrations daily.
Easy to Blend
A huge factor to consider is whether you get colors that you can blend together. Of course, most alcohol-based markers have this capacity, but some blend better than others.
That’s why you should focus on quality markers over anything else. The more comfortable they are to blend, the more fantastic results you’ll achieve.
Overall, we recommend those options that immediately blend together once you trace over another color. Whether you want to make darker tones than average or a unique color that you don’t have on the palette – then blending is the first feature to look for.
Tips or Nibs
The tip or nib of the marker refers to the part that transfers the ink from the barrel to the surface. Here, you should focus both on the shape as well as the size.
Luckily, some models come with dual-tip designs, so you get thin and thick nibs to enjoy for different types of drawings. But some of them do not come with dual tips. So, you will have to make sure that they fit your needs.
The shape is another exciting part. Some are thin brushes, others are round tips. They both make different markings, so you’ll have to choose accordingly.
As you can see, there are several cheap alcohol based markers to go for, that are totally worth the investment. Picking the right option won’t be easy – but with our help, it shouldn’t be much of a problem either.
Remember, focus on colors, drying, tips and nibs, blending capacity, and whether you can replace or refill them. If you find a set with all those features, then don’t hesitate and get it. Drawing fantastic art will be a piece of cake after that. And you didn’t have to spend a fortune.