The Complete Beginner's Guide to Markers

Markers are our go-to colouring choice for artworks, scrapbooking, crafting and just about anything that allows us to unleash our creativity. In fact, markers are also commonly used in hand-lettering, calligraphy, and technical illustrations as well. It’s bright, easy to use and is available in a number of quick-drying colours.

That being said, if you are new to markers - it can be intimidating to choose the right one because there’s just so many different types of markers and brands available, plus the fact that the ink is permanent - so you want to know the basics before making a choice. Let’s learn about markers!

1. Tip Shapes

There is the chisel, fine, bullet, brush, broad, and so many more! What do all these different types of marker tips mean? Which one should you use? Here you go - this guide will tell you all you need to know about the different types of marker tips along with some recommendations.

Bullet Tip

Bullet tip is one of the more common types of marker tip. It is geared more towards coverage of larger areas and blending due to its rounded top like a bullet.

Our Top Pick: G'Soft 70 Permanent Marker

Chisel Tip

Chisel tip has a slanted end that allows you to create both thick and thin lines, so you can work in small detail-oriented areas or give wide coverage with fewer strokes. You can also create different lines depending on how you hold and use the marker.

Our Top PickArtline 90 Permanent Marker

Brush Tip

Brush tip markers have very fine tip which are perfect for doing detailed work in smaller areas such as shelf labeling, marking the spines of plastic files etc. It’s also good for spreading the ink smoothly in a manner similar to watercolor to create softer lines.

Our Top Pick: Artline 725 Permanent Marker


Dual-tipped markers are the ones with a tip on each end of the marker. It usually comes with different tips or colours - which gives you great savings as you don’t have to purchase multiple marker sets.

Always store these markers horizontally - to ensure that neither end of the marker dries out.

Our Top Pick: Artline EK-041T Twin Cap Marker

2. Type of Marker Strokes

Marker strokes depend on the type of marker that you pick – bullet, chisel, or brush tip. Each tip creates a different kind of stroke which will suit different needs. The best part about markers is you don’t have to use the same tip or stroke for the entire project - you can mix and match as you like.

Type of Marker Strokes

3. Alcohol-Based inks vs Water-Based inks

Alcohol-based markers basically mean the pigments float in an alcohol-based ink which would then evaporate very quickly on paper. Once dry, the pigment is permanent. Stabilo Cappi Permanent Marker can stain most surfaces including glass, wood, metal, foil and most plastics.

On the other hand, water-based markers mean the pigments in it floats in water. The ink is water soluble and not permanent - you can use a wet brush to create a watercolor effect.

Comparison of Alcohol-based inks and Water-based inks

4. Colour Range

Ideally you would want to get your hands on a set of markers of different colours - unless you are working on a monotone project. If you choose water-based markers, you can mix the inks to create new shades and layering. Or, you can opt for the Artline 700 Permanent Marker that comes in 7 different colours. Bear in mind that you will want colours that are vibrant with an ink which will not bleed through the paper.

Artline 700 Permanent Marker

Now, let’s not forget that whiteboard markers are now also available in an assortment of colours. For example, the non-toxic Faster 500C Whiteboard Marker comes in 8 colours for only RM15.00 per pack. If you are looking for a refillable whiteboard marker, the Pilot V Board Master Whiteboard Marker is the perfect choice, retailing at only RM2.90 per piece. You can purchase the marker’s refill ink here.

Choosing the right type of marker for your project would affect its outcome tremendously. Your preference should also differ based on your intended use. Head over to our online stationery store to browse the range of whiteboard markers and other stationeries for your home, school or office needs.