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The Best Watercolor Markers

Last updated on November 7, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Watercolor Markers and dug through the reviews from 7 of the most popular review sites including Get Life You Desire, Createlet, Home Esthetics, Wow Pencils, Parka Blogs, Review Finch and more. The result is a ranking of the best Watercolor Markers.

Best Watercolor Markers

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Our Picks For The Top Watercolor Markers

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best Overall

Arteza

Real Brush Pens, 24 ct

Overall Take

Vibrant Watercolor DyesBest overall set for vibrant colors and ease-of-use

  Upgrade Pick

Winsor & Newton

Water Colour Brush Markers, 12 ct

Overall Take

Pigmented Watercolor MarkersPigmented watercolor markers will blend well with other watercolor paints

  Also Consider

Crafts & Colors

Artist Watercolor Brush Pens Set, 26 ct

Overall Take

Smooth Watercolor PensHigh quality markers with a bonus water brush for blending

  Best Value

Magicfly

Watercolor Dual Brush Pen

Overall Take

Hugh Color VarietyGood color selection combined with dual-tips for fine or broad strokes

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, Simplemost analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the watercolor markers available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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7

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources.

7,311

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon and 3 others.

The Best Overall

Arteza Real Brush Pens, 24 ct

Our Expert Score
10.0
1 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
845 user reviews
Our Take

The Arteza Real Brush Pens, 24 ct, is one of the best sets of watercolor markers on the market today. The colors really pop and the brushes are smooth, making it easy to get great results.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Magicfly Watercolor Dual Brush Pen

Expert Summarized Score
0.0
0 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.0
213 user reviews
Our Take

The Magicfly Watercolor Dual Brush Pen set comes with myriad colors to choose from. The dual-tip design of the pens makes fine details easy to paint into your work.

Our Watercolor Marker Buying Guide

Creating smooth watercolor effects on a piece of paper or canvas has all sorts of calming effects and can bring simple peace and joy to the artist. Cleaning up at the end, however, can be a messy ordeal that is noticeably less soothing than the act of painting. Watercolor markers offer a chance to replicate all the brush strokes and paint effects of watercolor painting, but they come in a basic marker that has a cap on it. Use the watercolor markers to make detailed lines and create drawings that have more precision than your standard watercolor paintbrush can offer, then put the caps back on your markers and toss them into your bag for the easiest cleanup you can imagine.

There is one big distinction that actually separates watercolor markers from traditional watercolor paints. Watercolor markers are actually full of dye and not the usual pigment that makes up the color of watercolor paints, according to Amy Markham, artist, art teacher and creator of Starling, a podcast dedicated to helping artists develop depth in their creative practice.

“Most watercolor markers on the market are not actually watercolor at all, although they can create a similar effect,” Markham points out. “Watercolor paint is pigment-based, where watercolor markers are dye-based.”

Each style of watercolor paint has its benefits, but the watercolor markers steal the show when it comes to fine details and vibrancy that the combination of watercolor pencils and paint can achieve. The two mediums of dye and pigment cannot necessarily be used together without thought, says Markham.

“Both are capable of creating interesting effects but only pigment-based ones can really be used along with traditional watercolor paints. If you want to use the dye-based markers with watercolor paint, it should only be used on top of the paint to detail and glaze,” Markham adds. “They should never be used under watercolor paint as it will not mix well.”

Watercolor markers, sometimes referred to as brush pens, have a soft tip that mimics a fine tip paintbrush. This tip is fed the wet color from within, but it behaves very similarly to a fine paintbrush when you begin using it. The easiest way to use them is to draw in the lines and colors where you want them and then come back with a bit of water on a clean brush to blend the fine lines down and create the style you imagine when you think of watercolor paintings. There is a useful water brush that comes with some sets, like the Crafts & Colors Artist Watercolor Brush Pens Set, 26 ct, that can be filled with clean water at the beginning of your session and used to blend colors without adding any further dye or pigment to them. With this handy water brush, you might not even need to have a cup of water on hand while making your watercolor painting — one less spilling hazard!

To add even more convenience to your artistic endeavors, there are kits like the Magicfly Watercolor Dual Brush Pen that have dual tips on each marker. One end is a very fine tip that will help make highly detailed and precise lines in your work, which is no easy feat when using a traditional brush. The other end of the marker is a broader tip that helps fill in large swaths of color when you need it to. This combination of tips makes the markers highly versatile, which can be a great selling point for someone who is thinking of making this hobby as low-fuss as possible.

Even though they use a water-based dye instead of pigmentation, watercolor markers can still vary in their vibrancy of color, just like a pigmented paint does. The price of a set of watercolor markers is often related to how rich and colorful the dyes used are. A set of markers like the Arteza Real Brush Pens, 24 Colors for Watercolor Painting with Flexible Nylon BrushTips, Paint Markers for Coloring, Calligraphy and Drawing with Water Brush for Artists and Beginner Painters is low-cost but still offers a good array of colors. This set would be ideal for art students who are above a novice level and are hoping to hone their skills in this medium while learning the nuances of the style.

For a set of watercolor markers that actually uses pigment for its color, look to Winsor & Newton Water Colour Brush Markers, 12 ct. The set has dual-tip markers, which are a real treat to paint with, and vibrant pigment-based colors on the inside. This means that the paint coming from these markers can actually blend naturally with other watercolor paints on your paper or canvas. This set is a highly useful tool in fine-tuning the details within a watercolor painting while still allowing the different colors to mix nicely with each other.

Simplemost Fun Fact

Watercolor paints don’t have to be limited to paper or canvases. You can set up a fun craft night with watercolors and blank white pillowcases or t-shirts. The trick is to lightly soak the materials in water before painting them with the watercolor dyes. The result is a dreamy watercolor pillow or t-shirt that you created yourself!

The Watercolor Marker Tips and Advice

  • Work slowly when starting with watercolor paints and markers, says Markham. “With most watercolor markers you will find that they are highly water-soluble and blend very easily, so start slowly,” advises Markham. “You can rewet most brands even after they dry to continue to blend and layer.”
  • Watercolors are inherently wet and can soak through thin paper that isn’t suited for blending watercolor paints together. Find a paper or canvas that is designed for watercolors and you will get much better results when creating your art.
  • Finally, when you are done with a piece of art that you hope to keep for years to come, Markham says to be sure you store it away from direct sunlight. “Remember that the art you create with these products will be more archival when stored away from light, or under UV-filtered glass,” says Markham.