8 Best Markers for Adult Coloring Books in 2023

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

best markers for adult coloring books

Research shows that making art can reduce stress. The good news is that you don’t need to be an art prodigy to enjoy the benefits of pursuing creative projects. With adult coloring, for instance, one would only need a coloring book and a set of markers.

This article will focus on helping you find the best markers for adult coloring books. But rather than paying attention to the brand or cost, it’s much better to start by checking these three features:

Ink:

There’s a reason why many don’t recommend using alcohol markers for coloring books. These pens’ ink tends to bleed through the paper or seep onto the page

Hence, most adult coloring pens should have water-based inks. These types are less likely to feather or bleed.

Nibs:

Given that most coloring books measure 8.5” x 11”, you will be working with smaller shapes and details. A fine tip can help you get to the line drawing’s nook and crannies, whereas a brush tip will come in handy when coloring larger areas.

Either way, be sure to get high-quality markers with durable nibs, as they can retain their shape much longer, even if you apply a bit more pressure when coloring. Trust me; it’s hard to color a shape accurately with frayed nibs.

Color range:

 The smart way to choose between a set of 12 and a pack of 100 is to plan your color palette. Try picking five different colors to start with. This way, you end up buying way too many colors that never see the light of day since you only use your favorites.

After testing several brands, I found these eight sets to have the best coloring books markers. Each one has its pros and cons, but they perform well enough for one to enjoy adult coloring.

3 Premium-Rated Picks

Crayola Fine Line Markers

No. of markers: 40

Tip size: 1mm fine

Ink type: Non-washable

Aen Art Dual Brush Markers

No. of markers: 24

Tip size: Dual tip

Ink type: Water-based

TANMIT SCADL-36 Dual Brush Marker

No. of markers: 36

Tip size: Dual tip 

Ink type: Water-based

8 top-rated Markers for Adult Coloring Books

1. Crayola Fine Line Markers

  • No. of markers: 40
  • Tip size: 1mm fine
  • Ink type: Non-washable
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As a brand, Crayola is often associated with children, but its line of colouring markers for adults is quite promising. Although it is also available in twelve-a-pack, I opted for this set of forty so I can come up with various color palettes for the different themed coloring books that I have.

Besides offering plenty of warm and cool hues, each pen is labeled with the color’s name. Hence, I can swatch each pen quickly and avoid forgetting the exact shade used for a particular illustration. I love how vibrant the colors appear in my coloring book, thus making the drawing much more eye-catching.

Featuring 1mm fine tips, these good markers are best for shading tiny shapes, sketching details, and writing in my journal. Upon testing, I noticed that the inks flowed very smoothly and the nib glided effortlessly on paper. What’s more, the pen sits lightly on my hand so that I can color for hours without feeling pain.

One problem I have with the set is that the box that came with the markers is a bit flimsy, despite the fact that the pens themselves are very durable. That said, it’s just a minor issue, so I don’t mind it that much. Besides, these pens aren’t the best option for coloring large areas-I wish they were a little more versatile.

PROS
  • A wide range of colors with plenty of warm and cool hues
  • The marker is labeled with the corresponding color name
  • Suitable for shading tiny shapes, sketching details, and writing in my journal
  • The nib glides effortlessly on paper
  • Vibrant colors
CONS
  • The included box is slightly flimsy
  • Not suitable for coloring large areas

2. Aen Art Dual Brush Markers

  • No. of markers: 24
  • Tip size: Dual tip (1-2 mm brush and 0.4mm fine tip)
  • Ink type: Water-based, non-toxic
Check price on Amazon

The Aen Art dual-tip markers provide 0.4 mm fine nibs on one end and 1-2mm brush tips on the other. Thanks to these features, I can color illustrations, sketch ideas, create hand lettering, and write in journals. 

Since I’m reviewing them as coloring book markers, let me start by putting the quality of the ink in the spotlight. With how opaque and vibrant the ink is, it can render solid coverage, saving me from having to build several layers of ink.

Apart from that, the inks do not dry up, even if stored for a while. I appreciate that these markers feature non-toxic and odorless ink because I can share these with my kids.

I’m also a fan of how smooth the tips feel—they glide effortlessly on the paper without the slightest scratch. This is a huge improvement from my previous set, which scratched on the paper while coloring.

The set contains 24 colors with no duplicates, but I can produce even more shades and hues, considering that the markers are blendable. However, the ink’s runny consistency makes blending a bit challenging.

Another thing I don’t like about this set is that their nibs tend to fray after using them regularly for the past couple of months. Because of that, I would normally use these markers for casual sketching and coloring, not for the pieces I intend to sell.

PROS
  • Two nibs (one fine and one brush tip) for various applications
  • Renders solid coverage
  • Ink cartridges are not prone to drying out prematurely
  • Non-toxic odorless formula
  • Doesn’t scratch on the paper while coloring
CONS
  • The ink’s runny consistency makes blending slightly harder
  • Their nibs are prone to fraying if used regularly

3. TANMIT SCADL-36 Dual Brush Marker Pens

  • No. of markers: 36
  • Tip size: Dual tip  (1-2 mm brush and 0.4mm fine tip)
  • Ink type: Water-based non-toxic
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At an affordable price, this set from Tanmit boasts highly-pigmented water-based inks that bleed minimally. Because they are blendable, I can add depth to the illustrations by mixing dark and light hues. Plus, the colors of my artwork will not easily fade due to the acid-free formula.

Another reason I love these markers so much is that they have dual tips. The 0.4 mm fine nib is particularly useful for detail work, line drawing, and journaling. But for shading and blending, the brush tip does a great job of helping me fill large shapes with colors. Besides that, it comes in handy for designing different styles of calligraphy fonts.

So far, I never had problems with the ink flow. I can use the pen continuously without skipping or leaking. The ink distribution is pretty even across the paper, considering how I’ve never had any unsightly blotches on my artwork.

Nevertheless, I have used these non-bleed markers long enough for them to reveal their weaknesses. Out of the 36 markers included in the set, a couple of reds, pinks, and yellows appear similar.

Moreover, the firmness of the brush tips is not consistent across the board—some are stiffer than others.

PROS
  • Vibrant ink that virtually doesn’t bleed
  • Can blend well, allowing artists to add depth to their illustrations
  • Ideal for detail work, line drawing, and journaling
  • The large brush tip makes filling large areas effortless
  • Does not skip or leak
CONS
  • A couple of reds, pinks, and yellows appear similar
  • The firmness of the brush tips is inconsistent

4. Caliart Double Tip Brush Markers

  • No. of markers: 72 markers with 144 complementary colors
  • Tip size: Dual tip -(1 to 5mm brush and 0.4mm fine tip)
  • Ink type: Water-based washable ink
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Unlike its competition, Caliart designed its double-ended markers to provide two different hues. Whereas the brush tips feature dark shades, the fine tips offer the lighter version of that very same color. In other words, the set contains 72 markers, but it offers a total of 144 hues.

Thankfully, it comes with a swatch card where I can test each color. Aside from that, the markers are labeled with a number so users can easily identify which is which.

Needless to say, the ink’s vibrancy and coverage are on point. Even better, it can stay wet for a couple of seconds, allowing me to blend multiple shades to create gradients. Once I’m done layering, the inks can dry quickly to prevent smudging.

As far as safety is concerned, I’m happy to inform parents and teachers that these markers are made of odorless and non-toxic materials. Also, the ink is very easy to clean up. Overall, these pens are also suitable for children!

Based on experience, I find that the fine tips are durable enough to hold their shapes, which is why I like to utilize them to shade coloring books with complex details. Sadly, the brush nibs seem to fray a lot faster. While I can still use them for coloring large areas, I could no longer write calligraphy letters with them.

PROS
  • Comes with a swatch card for hassle-free color testing
  • Labeled with a color number
  • Blend multiple shades to create gradients
  • The inks can dry quickly to prevent smudging
  • Suitable for children as the markers are toxic-free
CONS
  • The brush nibs are prone to fraying

5. Sharpie Electro Pop Permanent Markers

  • No. of markers: 24
  • Tip size: Ultra-fine tip
  • Ink type: Permanent water-based and acid-free ink
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As for quality marker products, Sharpie always comes to mind. But the brand is not just synonymous with writing instruments—they are also known for top-notch quality, and its Electro Pop set is a prime example.

The set offers 24 eye-catching colors with excellent water-resistant properties. At the same time, the inks dry fairly quickly. For me, it’s an important feature as it keeps my coloring books neat and smear-free. And as the ink is permanent, it can retain its vibrancy for quite a long time.

Best of all, these markers are compatible with several kinds of surfaces, including non-porous ones like plastic and metal. As a result, I can label different containers and folders to keep them organized. The ultra-fine tip makes my handwriting legible and enables me to color intricate patterns.

Despite having so many uses for these markers, I’m amazed that they have not run out of ink. Although I’ve used them for months, these coloring pens still dispense ink smoothly and evenly without a single skip.

Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect product. For the past months that I’ve been using this set, I noticed that they are so juicy that they bleed through my cardstock. Apart from that, the colors do not match the caps. Even so, I think the benefits outweigh these minor inconveniences.

PROS
  • Feature 24 colors with excellent water- and fade-resistant properties
  • The inks dry fairly quickly
  • Works on paper, plastics, metals, and many other surfaces
  • The ultra-fine tip to color intricate patterns
  • Juicy ink cartridges that dispense ink steadily
CONS
  • May bleed through cardstock
  • The colors do not completely match the caps

6. Ohuhu Journal Dual Brush Pens

  • No. of markers: 60
  • Tip size: Dual tip  (1 to 2mm brush and 0.4mm fine tip)
  • Ink type: Water-based acid-free
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Although these Ohuhu markers are designed for journaling, they are perfect for adult coloring!

Made of water-based and non-toxic formula, the ink produces vivid hues. Moreover, I can build up colors and blend them to add depth to illustrations. Due to the acid-free quality, I’m confident the colors can stay vibrant for a long time.

Each pen comes with a 1-2mm brush nib and a 0.4 mm fineliner. I love using the brush as it makes layering easy. Meanwhile, the fine point tip is great for writing and detailed sketching. Even though these nibs can maintain their shapes after heavy use, I love that the manufacturer included 3 replacement brush nibs and 2 fine tips just in case.

For me, these aren’t like any of those cheap bleeding markers. I have been using this set for a while now, and the inks only seeped through the pages minimally. Another stand-out point of this set is its beautiful container; I love how elegant it looks without sacrificing durability.

But while having 60 colors to choose from seems exciting, the inks do not look exactly the same as the ones indicated on the cap. I had to swatch each marker and label them one by one to make sure that I wouldn’t get confused. In doing so, I also discovered that two yellow markers look nearly identical.

PROS
  • Feature water-based and non-toxic formula
  • Great for blending to add depth to drawings
  • Incredibly light-fast ink as it’s acid-free
  • Comes with 3 replacement brush nibs and 2 fine tips
  • Comes in a beautiful and durable container
CONS
  • The inks look a little different from the ones indicated on the cap
  • Two yellow markers look nearly identical

7. Soucolor Art Brush Markers

  • No. of markers: 34
  • Tip size: Dual tip (1 to 2mm brush and 0.4mm fine tip)
  • Ink type: Water-based acid-free
Check price on Amazon

Smooth ink flow and vibrant colors are two of the Soucolor markers’ strongest suits. Whether I’m shading or sketching, the ink never skips or leaks excessively. On top of that, the colors are blendable, which enables me to produce stunning gradients with no streaks or blotchy spots.

Equipped with a brush and a fineliner nib, these markers let me cover large surfaces with colors quickly and sketch intricate details. Besides that, I use them for journaling and hand-lettering. In any case, the ink always looks vibrant and opaque enough that I don’t have to layer several times to achieve the effect I want.

Amazingly, the tips of these markers do not wear down even though I’m a bit heavy-handed. I specifically love the brush side. Their firmness makes them very easy to control.

However, I wish that the manufacturer considers improving the flimsy plastic packaging. While I don’t always use a product’s box or plastic wraps for storage, good packaging can protect the components of the markers during shipment.

Thankfully, the markers arrived at my house in mint condition. Another issue is that the inks bleed through certain types of paper. I had to place a spare cardstock underneath the page that I’m working on to protect the rest of the adult coloring book.

PROS
  • The inks never skip or leak
  • Produce stunning gradients with no streaks or blotchy spots
  • Can cover large surfaces with colors quickly with one end of the marker and sketch intricate details with the other
  • Durable tips that won’t fray even if the users apply excessive pressure
  • Vibrant and opaque ink
CONS
  • Flimsy plastic packaging
  • The inks bleed through certain types of paper

8. Hethrone ‎100 Colors Black Markers

  • No. of markers: 100
  • Tip size: Dual tip (1 to 2mm brush and 0.4mm fine tip)
  • Ink type: Water-based acid-free
Check price on Amazon

Normally, I stay away from sets that offer over 50 markers since they tend to include a couple of markers with identical shades, and half of them are dried up by the time I get the chance to use them.

Well, Hethrone’s pack of 100 markers for adult coloring is an outlier. Besides offering unique hues, the brand loaded the pens with more ink. I could go for months of coloring, sketching, hand-lettering, and writing without running out of ink.

Thanks to the set’s superb ink quality, I can layer and mix up different colors to make gradients. More importantly, they look highly opaque and vibrant on paper! Even if the inks are juicy, I like that I don’t smudge them by mistake since they also dry up fast. Apart from that, they don’t skip or bleed through paper.

As with most of the coloring pens I reviewed here, this one has a nylon brush that helps me fill large spaces with colors. The other end of the marker has a fine tip that is apt for precise sketching. Since I’m working with so many pens in this set, I appreciate that the manufacturer labeled each one with color names and numbers.

Plus, the set comes with a durable tin case for me to store the markers. The only reason why I’m not giving these markers a perfect score is that their caps are difficult to remove.

PROS
  • Juicy ink cartridges that can last for a long time
  • Can layer and mix up different colors to make gradients
  • Look highly opaque and vibrant on paper
  • Don’t skip or bleed through paper
  • Come with a durable tin case for easy and convenient storage
CONS
  • The markers’ caps are difficult to remove

Factors to Consider When Buying Markers for Adult Coloring Books

Factors-to-Consider-When-Buying-Markers-for-Adult-Coloring-Book

Ergonomics

Your hands and fingers will likely hurt when you are holding the pen for so long while coloring or sketching. Don’t take this lightly, as this can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Be sure to use markers that feel comfortable and light to grip and avoid pushing them too hard.

Blending

Blending and layering colors create beautiful gradients that can add more depth to your artwork. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that not all water-based inks can be blended.

Fortunately, manufacturers normally label the markers’ packaging with keywords such as “for blending” or “blending markers.” You can also look for reviews to see how well the markers can blend.

Versatility

Some markers are designed for specific tasks, while others are more versatile. Sharpie and Crayola, for instance, make nice marker sets with fine nibs for sketching details, writing, or shading smaller spaces

Meanwhile, dual-tipped markers with brush nibs on one end and fineliners on the other can be useful for lettering, sketching, and coloring larger areas. Feel free to choose based on the kind of activities you want to use the markers for.

Can I Use Markers on Any Type of Coloring Book Paper?

which-Type-of-Coloring-Book-Paper-Use-Markers-on

No, some coloring book papers are too thin for the juicy ink of markers, so there’s a chance the pigments will bleed through to the other side. For best results, I recommend at least 70 GSM paper with a smoother texture.

How Do I Prevent Marker Bleed-through?

For starters, remember that there’s no such thing as “markers that don’t bleed through paper.” This happens when you use sheets of paper not designed for juicy marker inks.

With this in mind, your best strategy is to minimize the amount of ink that seeps through the ink by choosing heavyweight blending cards or cardstocks. For good measure, place scrap paper or spare cardstock under the page you are working on to keep the ink from seeping onto the surface underneath.

How Long Do Marker Ink and Tips Last?

The lifespan of markers averages between one and two years, but some brands seem to have longer shelf life than others. For instance, Sharpie can last up to three yeast if they are stored properly and seldom used. Meanwhile, Ohuhu reportedly lasts between six months to a year.

How Can I Extend the Life of My Markers?

Storing your markers with their caps tightly shut can keep the ink from drying out. Aside from that, using the correct type of paper can help you save ink. That’s because it prevents the marker from bleeding excess ink onto highly-absorbent paper.

Conclusion

When buying the best markers for adult coloring books, it is important to consider the quality of the inks and nibs, as well as the color selection. After all, these pens are also useful for other writing—whether it’s organizing your notes according to colors or sketching details in illustrations.

5/5 - (2 votes)
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