Adult coloring books are really, really popular these days, and it’s no wonder. They are so fun and engaging, and at the same time calming and relaxing, and they’re a great way to let go of stress and worries.
So let’s look at the best coloring markers you can get for coloring books – ones that won’t bleed or smear, that are easy to use and control, and that look great!
Overview: Best Coloring Markers for Adult Coloring Books
Set of 72, Black Travel Case with a Designable Card
At the end of this article, in the Bonus section, I will talk a little about a phenomenal artist, Kerby Rosanes, who has made some really special coloring books. But for now, let’s get into the buyer’s guide and find the best markers available for adult coloring books!
Best Coloring Markers Overall
Quite possibly the best water-based art pens on the market today, Faber Castell Pitt markers are the choice of fine artists, commercial artists, serious art students and happy crafters everywhere. They also happen to be the very best markers you can get for adult coloring books.
The superb India ink in the Pitt pens is incredibly vivid, energetic and captivating, and dries to be as beautiful as it was when wet. The vibrant colors are stable, consistent and permanent, with real lightfastness and resistance to fading or shifting in all kinds of conditions.
And the brush tips are superb – really, really wonderful to work with! They are springy and highly expressive, but with the perfect amount of firmness and resistance for precision and fine detail. The flow is also perfect, and the ink won’t bleed or smear, and so you can fall into your own flow so quickly and easily.
The ink, the colors, the flow, the expressivity and control, the feeling in your hand – these are easily the best pens for adult coloring books, and for any type of arts and crafts. They do not, admittedly, have the best price, but they are, nonetheless, often also considered one of the best values you can find, and without question well worth the money.
Best Alcohol Based Coloring Markers
The Ohuhu alcohol based brush markers are among the finest permanent markers you can get for adult coloring, and are splendid, high quality pens in every single way, and a joy to use.
For professional artists there are even better choices, like the best-of-the-best Copic markers sets, but for a selection of colors as large as this splendid Ohuhu set you’d spend around 600 dollars for Copic markers – you better be a pretty serious colorer!
These markers are also a bit pricey – nowhere near the Copic markers level, of course, but yeah – and yet they represent one of the great values in the art market today.
The dual tip design offers both a firm and wide chisel tip and an incredibly expressive brush tip, and the superb inks and vivid, permanent colors are nicely mixable, opening up a whole new spectrum of colors. The Ohuhu markers will last forever (well, not literally…) and they feel great in the hand.
There are some downsides – alcohol markers might bleed through thinner paper, especially when you are just getting the hang of them, and the alcohol ink, superb as it is, does have a little bit of a smell when still wet.
But even considering these issues, the Ohuhu alcohol dual tip markers are my favorite to use with coloring books, and especially the lavish 168 color set – not to mention the gazillion colors you can get with mixing! And, at least compared to Copic markers, they’re downright cheap!
Best Affordable Premium Brush Pens
When I first tried Kuretake ZIG markers, I remember that I immediately fell in love with the colors – such rich, beautiful, just-right colors, which are somehow in equal parts elegant and fun.
But the more I use them, the more I realize that the great colors are just a small part of what make the ZIG one of the best pens for adult coloring books, or for anything else.
The excellent control and precision you can get from the brush tips, which also allow for real expressivity and flair, the flow and the way the ink goes and stays just where you want it, the permanence of the ink, even the way these wonderful pens feel – like a natural part of my hand and my creative process.
Great for fine lines, large areas and everything in between, and for making each and every page come alive with beauty, the Kuretake ZIG CLEAN COLOR brush tip markers seem like they were designed for adult coloring, but in fact they are one of the most popular and highly regarded professional markers for all kinds of art, illustration and design, crafting and other creative work, and the choice of top artists all around the world.
They are definitely perfect for our purpose, though, and my choice for the best affordable premium markers for adult coloring books.
Best Affordable Alcohol Based Markers
Set of 72, Black Travel Case with a Designable Card
Bianyo alcohol markers are pretty amazing for the money.
The range and selection of colors is fantastic, with really good choices and bright, vivid, highly saturated hues, and these are the most nicely mixable inexpensive alcohol markers I’ve ever used, giving you an even far wider color range.
The two tips – a fine tip and a broad chisel tip – are great to have for both large area coloring and fine detail, they both have wonderful flow and control, and they are durable and last a long time without losing their shape.
The ink is also really long lasting, and the pens feel good – like a truly premium product, and also nice and natural in the hand.
Though we can safely say that they are not the equal of the more professional grade Ohuhu alcohol based markers above, or the fabulous (and fabulously expensive) Copic marker sets, these Bianyo alcohol makers are nonetheless superior quality pens that would satisfy artists on all levels, and are a premium choice for a bargain price.
They are my choice for best affordable alcohol markers for adult coloring books.
Best Gel Pens for Coloring
I have to say that I am pretty blown away by these pens. I mean, I love gel pens anyway, with their bright colors and wonderful flow, but to get a set of sixty colors – and sixty refills! – in a premium feeling pen that works great, and to also get a really nice and useful travel / organizer case, and all of this for less than thirty dollars? Wow!
And these Soucolor pens really are that good. Even for gel pens, their colors seem particularly bright and vivid, and dry beautifully.
The flow is strong and even, but there is still a great feeling of control, and even highly precise work and small detail is quite easy.
These Soucolor gel pens are really comfortable to hold, and easy to use even for extended periods, and while I wouldn’t exactly call them a premium product they have a surprisingly nice fit and finish – far beyond what I would expect for the price.
And even though the set comes with sixty refills, the original pens seem to last and last.
If you like gel pens, I’m guessing you will really like these Soucolor gel pens, and absolutely love the price.
They are my recommendation for best gel pens for adult coloring books, a fantastic value and very highly recommended!
Best Cheap Dual Tip Coloring Markers
These inexpensive Aenart dual tip markers perform way beyond what you would expect for the price. The vibrant colors dry beautifully and don’t bleed, and the color selection seems just right to me, with
The dual tips include a perfect size fine tip and a surprisingly nice brush tip, allowing for really fine coloring in even the tiniest spaces or easy and even fills of larger areas, and the pens feel good in the hand, even after long coloring sessions.
And these water based markers are completely odor-free and non-toxic, and are a choice for kids as well (I think I’ve heard somewhere that they like coloring books too!).
Great colors, great flow and control, and really high quality overall – these Aenart dual tip markers are an excellent choice for all kinds of arts and crafts at an amazingly low price, and are my clear choice for best cheap dual tip markers for adult coloring books.
Best Cheap Coloring Markers
Maybe it’s just the Crayola name, or maybe it’s the bright, fun colors, but there is something about these fine line markers that really make me feel like a kid, and I always have so much fun using them!
They are also really fine markers, with excellent feeling on the paper. The beautiful ink goes just where it should, without bleeding through the paper or over the lines, and it dries with a great finish and real permanence.
Although they’re pretty light, the Crayola fine line markers feel nice in my hand, and are especially good for long coloring sessions.
Odor-free and non-toxic, Crayola fine line markers are a great product for very little money, with beautiful and long lasting colors and great tips.
There are definitely less expensive markers available, but they are usually not in any way fun to use, and this 40 color set always is – an easy choice for the best cheap markers for adult coloring books.
Best Grayscale Coloring Markers
These Tombow black and grayscale markers may only cost around ten bucks, but they are truly premium, professional grade art markers in every sense, and absolutely wonderful pens to use. And with a nicely expressive brush tip and a highly precise fine tip they are also super versatile and useful.
If you are interested in trying to color in darker shades of gray, or want a nice selection of gray-to-black colors to supplement your color markers, this is a great choice – not only do you have 10 shades in the package, but because they are alcohol based you can mix them for an essentially endless range of shades.
And if you are using alcohol based colored pens as well you can really go crazy with mixing, and create a whole new world of colors and effects!
A real bargain, and a wonderful twist on coloring, these Tombow dual tip brush pens are the best grayscale markers for adult coloring books I’ve found.
Bonus: Kerby Rosanes’ Adult Coloring Books
In closing I really would love to briefly mention a really great and talented guy, whom I interviewed on my Art Side of Life website and whose doodle art and adult coloring books, among other work, have made him a world-famous artist – Kerby Rosanes.
Kerby’s style is a wonderful combination of seemingly explosive chaos and incredibly precise detail, and his images come alive with motion, energy and a three dimensional quality that makes them really special.
His coloring books have become international best sellers, especially Animorphia, which has been translated into 29 languages in over 40 countries.
Kerby is also just a nice guy, and his inspiration and support have helped lots of other artists when they feel discouraged or stuck.
Even if you yourself aren’t a working artist, I still highly recommend you watch our interview here: Ep.75: Kerby Rosanes on why you should never quit drawing! While you’re there, you can also check out Kerby’s social media links and (to come full circle) his favorite pens, including:
5pc Wallet .05,.1,.3,.5,.8mm
Bundle Set, 29 Color ( 22 Standard, 7 Natural )
Variety Pack, Featuring Fine, Ultra Fine, and Chisel Point Markers, Black, 6 Count
And since we’re all adults here, looking for more and more, and better and better, adult coloring books, please have a look at Kerby’s fantastical and challenging coloring books, which you can find here: Kerby Rosanes Amazon Page.
In the article, I will try to answer these questions:
What’s the best way to color adult coloring books?
What are the best markers for adult coloring ?
What kind of coloring markers do not bleed through paper?
What are the best cheap coloring markers for coloring books?
Are some coloring markers better than others?
What coloring markers for coloring books have the best colors?
What coloring markers for coloring books last the longest?
Why are Adult Coloring Books So Popular?
If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll already know why coloring books for adults are such a popular and well loved hobby. Some of the things people love most about them are:
- They are relaxing and calming, helping us let go of stress and worry and get out of our heads a bit
- They let us explore our creativity
- They help us get back in touch with our childhood
- We can create really beautiful pictures
- They can develop our coordination, visual acuity and even mental concentration and clarity
- It’s a much better, more rewarding and productive pursuit than mindlessly surfing the channels or the web
- It is a very inexpensive hobby
- And, last but definitely not least, coloring is FUN!
What Makes the Best Adult Coloring Markers?
Again, finding really best markers for this wonderful hobby (out of all the types of coloring markers) can make all the difference. You will get better results, and you’ll have a better time coloring.
And, since adult coloring books tend to be quite inexpensive, it’s important to point out that even the very best adult coloring books markers can also be really affordable.
But what a difference they can make!
The right markers for coloring have several great benefits:
- Much more vivid and vibrant colors
- Easier flow
- More precision and less mess
- Long lasting ink – both in the marker and on the page
- Ink that won’t bleed through the thin paper
- A good and comfortable feeling in your hand – we can, after all, get kind of lost in coloring, and go for hours and hours!
Another great benefit, and a feature that can really open up new possibilities in your coloring, comes specifically from alcohol based coloring markers – and that is color mixability.
The best alcohol based markers are fully mixable, meaning that you can use the colors as they come or you can – while they are still wet – combine two or more pen colors for a whole new shade.
There are some downsides to alcohol based pens, though, like the slight odor, and the also slight (and avoidable) tendency to bleed through the paper, but nonetheless I will offer recommendations for two sets of the best alcohol pens for adult coloring.
I also want to mention the question of brush tip pens. Some people apparently find brush pens a little intimidating, and think they are going to be hard to control and hard to use, but really nothing could be further from the truth.
The best brush pens for coloring are stiff and resistant enough to make fine detail easy, and to keep you in control, but will also bend a little for a bit of flair.
I personally think that brush pens are the best choice for coloring, and for a lot of other creative work, but I will include not just brush pens but also the best choices for more normal “chisel tip” coloring markers, as well as dual tip sets with a fine tip on one end and a nice brush tip on the other.
Bottom line, the best coloring pens for coloring books are easier to use, look better, last longer and make the whole wonderful process even more fun!
How Can You Find the Best Markers for Coloring Books?
There are really tons of different markers and art pens out there, and it seems so many of them claim to be just right for coloring books – maybe because it is such a popular hobby these days.
But in actual practice it is easy to see that lots of these “just right” markers in fact have pretty pale and uninspiring colors, or bleed and run like crazy, or dry out before you’ve finished your first picture, or the pens, or their tips, just don’t feel good – or all of the above.
Of course you don’t want too much of that actual practice – you end up spending a lot of time and money going through different pens to find the best of the best, and you can get pretty frustrated along the way – not to mention getting ink-stained fingers, ruined coloring books and an empty wallet!
So that’s where I come in. I have tried so many different art pens, coloring pens and markers, and I am happy to point out the best coloring pens for coloring books, with the most beautiful, bright and vivid and longest lasting vibrant colors, the best feel, flow and control, ink that won’t bleed through the paper and a price that won’t bleed you dry.
I’m going to list my recommendations for great coloring pens in order of price, from most to least expensive, and talk about each of them in some detail, but if you are one of those busy executive types who doesn’t have time for all of that and needs to get back to your coloring books, here is the cheat sheet
Thanks so much for reading my latest article – The Best Art Markers for Adult Coloring Books: A Buyer’s Guide – and please check out my website – Art Side of Life – for more buyer’s guides, articles, tutorials, artist interviews and tons of other resources for commercial artists, fine artists, art students and beginners, crafters and anybody else exploring their own creative side!
Other articles in the drawing pencils, pens, and markers series:
- Best Watercolor Pencils
- Best Colored Pencils for Artists
- Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing
- Best Drawing Pens
- Best Drawing and Sketching Pencils
- Best Copic Alternatives
Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »
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