Last updated: October 14, 2021

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Known in other Latin American countries as plumones, markers are an important tool when it comes to letting your imagination run wild. Whether you are an architect, designer, artist or simply a student with a lot of creativity, these will be your allies to give life to all those drawings, designs and beings that live in your head.

For most of us it has never crossed our minds that within the world of markers there are different types and characteristics, these will help to detail and finish your creations, plus with these qualities you will get better results.


  • Markers are devices similar to ballpoint pens, with inks of different colours and with a lot of brightness, which have evolved over the years, so that you can find an infinite number of brands, colours and types of tips on the market.
  • The inks can be water-based or solvent-based, the latter will create more professional effects in your work and with which you will achieve that the lines are blurred in a better way, giving your work a professional finish, which is why these are preferred by artists.
  • Selecting the type of tip is essential to avoid problems when applying the ink on the surface or to achieve the desired effect, you will find thin, thick or even brush tips on the market that achieve effects similar to those of watercolour.

The best felt pens: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about felt pens

Getting ready to buy a marker seems like the easiest task, but if you don't know the advantages, attributes and what you can achieve with them, you won't be making a smart purchase and you may not be completely satisfied.

Markers are a tool with which you can exploit your artistic skills, or spend quality time making artwork with your loved ones. (Photo: Olena Yakobchuk /

What are felt-tip pens and what advantages do they offer?

Plumones, markers or felt-tip pens as most Spanish-speaking countries know them, are an element for writing, drawing or simply colouring. They have ink that nowadays can be based on different materials such as water or solvents.

It is a product with a lot of versatility and aimed at many markets, ranging from children to students and ending with professionals such as designers or architects. The versatility with which you can use them makes them an indispensable tool for anyone who has an inner artist.

  • Depending on their type some can be erased
  • There are many versions and prices
  • Different finishes depending on the type of ink or tip
  • Many outlets
  • Some are permanent so they cannot be erased after being applied
  • Some are highly toxic
  • Some can have a very unpleasant scent

Permanent and non-permanent felt pens?

Marker pens are products with different variables that, for the right choice, you should know. This way you will be able to choose the best marker according to your needs and the result you want to achieve. Among the options there are two main differences: permanent and non-permanent markers.

Permanent markers Non-permanent markers
They use solvents They are generally for school use
Some are refillable They are non-toxic
Their prices are notably higher They can generally be washed and cleaned from certain surfaces
They can be highly toxic Water can be applied to them to achieve watercolour-like effects
Their smell may be unpleasant to some They are easy to find in shops
You can find them with different types of tips They are inexpensive
They achieve professional finishes Available in different tips

Purchasing criteria

Pay close attention to these aspects before purchasing your markers, so that they meet the expectations you are looking for in them, remember that to be a satisfied customer you must put effort when making your purchase knowing all the variables in the market.

Types of nibs

You will find several types of nibs and each one can give you a different finish, in the following paragraphs we detail each of these and what are the uses that are normally given.

Thick tips: these are ideal for giving colour to large areas, as they will make the work easier; they are perfect for small children who do not have precision in their strokes or press their lungs too hard, they will be found in conical or bevelled shape and 8 and 15 mm.

Fine tips: they are fantastic for outlining, adding details, carrying notebooks, diaries or journals. They are aimed at creative people and are perfect for painting small spaces. They are recommended for people over 11 years old, their sizes are 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.7 mm, 1 mm, 1.5 mm and 2.5 mm.

In addition to the thickness, there are bevelled and brush types, the former are recommended to make strokes that change from thick to thin continuously and the latter provide watercolour effects and depending on the pressure and inclination of the brush will give thicker or thinner strokes.

The inks can be water-based or solvent-based, the latter will create more professional effects in your work and will make the lines blend better, giving your work a professional finish.
(Photo: Prasit Rodphan/

Composition of the ink

solvent bases, advantage of these inks is that in some brands these can be recharged, as disadvantage we can say that they usually have a bad smell, besides being toxic; but they are ideal for professional finishes, Ideal for illustration, because with these you can make gradients and overlap two colours.

With respect to water-based inks the overlapping of colours is always difficult and marks are left in the work. The advantage is that being water-based, these inks can be degraded using brushes, providing effects similar to watercolour. We recommend the use of thick paper, weighing more than 130 grams to avoid damaging the paper.

Number of felt pens

According to experts, we recommend that you buy a set of markers with a minimum of 12 elements, as this way you have a wider range to create different effects and combinations that will enhance your work.

The amount of markers that come in packs varies, but in some shops or with some vendors you will find individual presentations, an idea that we think is great for when you need a replacement; remember you can buy from one or the packs that each brand offers.

Range of colours and shades

If you are an illustrator, buy a brand that offers a wide range of colours, because in this way your work will look better and you can make more mixtures of these. Currently on the market there are many colours ranging from pastels, vivid colours, fluorescent and metallic.

Basic or expensive

Here you should pay attention to the purpose you are going to give the pen, if this is for children or beginners we recommend the acquisition of a low-end pen, while if you are an architect or designer we recommend investing in your presentation as a professional.

The easy way to distinguish them is by the quality of their inks and tips, remember that inks made of solvents are generally considered high-end pens, although the durability of the ink is often less, as they tend to evaporate faster than water-based pens.

Likewise, a high-end water-based pen has a longer ink durability than a low-end pen, which dries very quickly and the way of painting is not uniform as the ink flow is intermittent.

(Featured image photo: Shchipakina/