Comparisons

Overview of Brush Markers

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Markers and pens that feature brush tips are very popular right now in everything from hand lettering styles, to sign painting, coloring books, cardmaking, stamping, sketching, and much more!

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The flexibility of using a brush pen, sometimes called a fude pen, allows you to make super fine hairlines AND wider strokes just by applying more or less pressure to the tip- which can create some beautiful hand lettering . They work great for coloring as you can reach super tiny, detailed spaces as well as larger areas with the same pen. You also get more control over the flow of ink and color, unlike having to remix and reapply paints separately when using a traditional paintbrush.

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This quick overview compares the brush tip tools we have at Marker Supply and hopefully will help give you a better idea of which ones might be the best for you!

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BRUSH TIP TYPES

“FIBER BRUSH” TIPS

Brush pens that feature a fiber tip, or in some cases a rubber brush, have a tip made of durable but flexible fibers that resembles a tightly woven sponge. Fiber tips will bend as you use them and then quickly return back to their original shape. They are made of one solid tip, instead of individual strands- giving you more control over where your marks are made. Some are larger/longer than others, and some offer more “spring” (Sharpie Brush, Prismacolor Premier) as opposed to being more stiff (Zig Mangaka Flexible Medium), but all share the general quality of being able to use a decent amount of pressure on the tip as you write and draw without damaging it.

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Some examples of fiber brush style markers:
(Click for a link to their page in the Marker Supply store!)
Chameleon Color Tone Pens
Marvy Color In Brush Tip
Marvy Fabric 722
Prismacolor Premier Brush & Fine
Sakura KOI
Sakura Pigma Brush
Sakura Pigma Professional Brush– Medium & Bold
Sharpie Brush
Zig Art & Graphic (Rubber Brush)
-Zig Bimoji (coming soon!)
Zig Blender Marker
Zig Brushables
Zig Eraser Pen Brush
Zig Fabricolor Twin
Zig Fudebiyori
Zig Fudebiyori Metallic
Zig Kurecolor (Optional Replacement Tip)
Zig Mangaka Flexible Medium
Zig Scroll & Brush

“BRISTLE BRUSH” TIPS

Bristle brushes are more like traditional paint brushes and have individual strands of nylon fibers that separate. (You can find natural hair fiber brush markers as well, but those listed below are synthetic.) They can give more of a “dry stroke” appearance depending on how quickly and heavily you color with them.

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Some examples of bristle brush style markers:
(Click for a link to their page in the Marker Supply store!)
Posca 350-F
Zig BrusH20 Water Pens
Zig Brush Writer II
Zig Clean Color Real Brush
Zig Cocoiro Brush
Zig Wink of Stella Brush

“EXTRA FINE” TIPS

Markers with the tiniest fiber brush style tips can be known as “fine”, “extra fine” or “super fine”. These are a combination of the firmness of a fine tip and the flexibility of a brush tip. Best used with slower, smaller strokes, these tips are common with traditional Chinese lettering and certain sketching techniques. They are also often recommended for beginners as the stiffer tip gives nice control when learning to write in a new style. Be careful not to use too much pressure on these tips, as the fibers can begin to fray.

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Some examples of extra fine brush style markers:
(Click for a link to their page in the Marker Supply store!)
Pentel Sign Pen w/Brush Tip
Sakura Pigma Professional Brush- Fine
-Zig Bimoji (coming soon!)
Zig Cocoiro Extra Fine
Zig Fudegokochi
Zig Mangaka Flexible Fine

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INK TYPES

DYE-BASED

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When a marker uses “dye ink”, it means that the ink is soluble and can be more easily blended around. Lighter colors can also be used to mix with and blend out darker colors. These qualities are very useful when you want to create special effects like multiple tones and shadows in your artwork. Dye-based colors also tend to be a lot more vibrant. The 2 main types of dye inks are water-based and alcohol-based.

Water-based dye inks can be moved with plain water. They are commonly used to make custom color washes and gradations, as well as watercolor-style art.

Some examples of water-based dye/watercolor markers:
(Click for a link to their page in the Marker Supply store!)
Marvy Color In Brush Tip
Sakura KOI
Zig Art & Graphic
Zig Clean Color Real Brush
Zig Fudebiyori
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Alcohol-based dye inks are a little more permanent and typically water-resistant, so they need to be blended with an alcohol-based solution. (Most varieties have a “colorless blender” available within the color range.)

Some examples of alcohol-based dye markers:
(Click for a link to their page in the Marker Supply store!)
Chameleon Color Tone Pens
Prismacolor Premier Brush & Fine
Sharpie Brush
Zig Kurecolor (Optional Replacement Tip)

The type of paper does affect the results of dye-based markers, so make sure to play around with different kinds until you find the look you like! (Watch out for alcohol-based markers bleeding through papers..) Also, keep in mind that dye-based inks are not as permanent as pigment inks. They will be more prone to fading over time.

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PIGMENT-BASED

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Pigment inks are much more stable and resistant to things like water and light. Some terms commonly used along with many pigment-based inks are “archival-quality” and “lightfast”. If you are using markers for anything that has a chance of coming in contact with water/rain/lots of sunlight, or if it’s artwork you want to last a long time, a pigment ink is the safest choice to prevent your marks from washing off or fading/becoming discolored.

Some examples of pigment ink brush markers:
(Click for a link to their page in the Marker Supply store!)
Marvy Fabric 722
Sakura Pigma Brush
Sakura Pigma Professional Brush- Fine
Sakura Pigma Professional Brush– Medium & Bold
Zig Brushables
Zig Fudebiyori Metallic
Zig Fudegokochi
Zig Mangaka Flexible Fine
Zig Mangaka Flexible Medium

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ACRYLIC PAINT

Brush markers that use paint are harder to find as the acrylic is a thicker liquid and is harder to get flowing through a brush tip. There are a few choices however, and they will work great on a variety of surfaces- especially chalkboards and other non-paper objects. Try the Posca 350-F markers, OR you can try using water-based acrylic paint like the Zig Posterman Bottled Ink or the Montana ACRYLIC paint refills inside a Zig BrusH20 water pen! These tools are technically used with plain water for watercolor and other blending effects, but when we tried the paint inside, the results worked pretty well!

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COLORS

Some brush pens are only available with black ink, but many varieties at Marker Supply have a full range of colors to choose from as well!

brushablesline-webTry the Zig Brushables– they each feature 2 tips, with a solid color at one end, and a 50% lighter shade of that color on the other end. Great for creating shadows and other fun effects!

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Among the types of brush pens that have the widest color ranges are the Prismacolor Premier with 195 colors, Zig Kurecolors (can be converted into a brush with the interchangeable tips) have 134, the Zig Art & Graphic and Zig Clean Color Real Brush each with 80, Zig Fudebiyori with 57 (including metallics!), and the Sakura KOI Watercolor Brush Pens with 48.

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Check out the full selection in the BRUSH TIP MARKER SECTION of our webstore!

Use this handy chart to help you quickly compare the types of brush pens found at MarkerSupply.com:

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Which brush tip pens are your favorite and why? Let us know and feel free to post photos of your brush marker artwork on our social media pages!
www.facebook.com/markersupply
Instagram #MarkerSupply @MarkerSupply
www.twitter.com/markersupply

 

 

Black Ink on Glossy Papers

With National Letterwriting Month in full swing, we are seeing a lot of black ink markers and pens being used for cards, envelopes, and postcards.
When picking out which marker you are going to use for your mail, it can seem like the only decision you need to make is the size and shape of the tip. Remember to also consider that the type of ink is important too! If your paper/envelope has a glossy finish to it, you may have issues with the ink smudging and smearing off. And what if it rains on your mail during its travels? Will the ink run when it gets wet?

Use these quick comparison charts for help picking the markers that will work best for you, particularly when using glossy papers!

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Meet the Markers

We gathered a group of black pens and markers we often use for writing here at Marker Supply that features a mix of ink types- pigment, dye, water, oil, acrylic, and alcohol-based pens. Then we did several tests with each to see how they held up on different types of envelopes.

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blackinks-normal(Find each of these markers at Marker Supply!)

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Plain White Envelopes

A lot of folks stick to plain white paper envelopes- and most black ink markers work great on them!

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Rain Test

See what happens to each ink when the plain white envelope meets water..

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While some of the inks smeared a little bit when rubbed over, they all stayed pretty intact. Dye-based markers (like the Marvy Le Pen and Pentel Sign Pen) have ink that is made to move with water (for blending effects, watercolor, etc.) Watch out using these types of pens if your paper is ever likely to come in contact with water as the color will bleed.

Bleed-Through Test

Keep in mind that oil-based (Marvy Decocolor, Sharpie Paint) and alcohol-based (Prismacolor, Kurecolor, Copic) markers, along with other permanent markers with a lot of ink (Sharpies), commonly bleed through papers- so write on your envelopes before putting the mail inside if using pens like these.

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Also, if they get hit with water, other types of ink can bleed though as well, potentially damaging the contents inside:
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Specialty Paper/Glossy Envelopes

When addressing some snail mail recently, we ran into problems whenever we used fancier and make-them-yourself envelopes. The paper was smoother and shinier.. and our “go-to addressing markers” didn’t work well on that type of surface.

This example shows how inks worked differently on one of the trickier silver paper envelopes:

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Some of the marker ink repelled right off of the surface, and some barely left any color at all!
The good news is that after just a moment of drying, none of the inks smeared around.

Rain Test

“Rain or shine, the mail must go through!” What if it rains on your glossy envelope?

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If you’ve used a dye-based marker (like the Pentel Sign Pen or Clean Color Real Brushes), your ink can totally disappear! We loved the Posca Paint Markers and the Sakura Permapaque Markers for these envelopes- and both of those marker ranges include a nice variety of colors too!
So keep in mind that some inks may look ok when dry, but won’t hold up well on a glossy surface if they meet rain or snow while on their way to their destination.

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Ink Dry-Times / Smudge Tests

Writing with some pens and markers can be frustrating if they are prone to smearing and smudging- which happens a lot more when working with smooth, glossy papers.

Take a look at how these different inks stand up to smudging after different drying times:

Lightweight Glossy Paper

Ink smudging immediately after writing:

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Smudging after 10 seconds of lightly blowing on the ink:

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This definitely made a big difference with some of the pens! A lot of them still lost the dark black color that sits of top of the writing- common with glossy paper as it’s harder for the ink to soak into. Some others smeared in the areas the pen stopped writing each letter- where there was still a small dot of wet ink that needed a little longer to fully dry.

Ultra-Glossy Photo Paper

From photo-like postcards to regular photographs, this type of slippery surface can be tricky to mark on.

This is what the inks looked like on photo paper after being smeared immediately after writing:

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We were pretty impressed with the results! Most of the markers did much better on this type of glossy surface than the smooth shiny paper! Some of the thicker ink markers rubbed away, leaving only a “ghosting” behind.

Trying photo paper marking again, we smudged each ink after lightly blowing on it for 10 seconds:

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Again, just those few extra seconds of drying really seemed to help the ink set. A few pens still had trouble fully absorbing into the shiny surface, as the top black color still rubbed away after drying.

Another test with photo paper- we sprayed on a little water and watched how each ink reacted:

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Some stayed intact but lost their black color on top when rubbed over, while also making a mess of black smear marks.
And others, like the Marvy Le Pen (which was one of the best, super fast-drying fine line pens for photo marking) instantly began to “melt” like the other dye-based inks (which are made to be movable with water), surrounding themselves with blue/purple color. Interesting to see the Zig Photo Signature, another of the best quick-drying pens to use on glossy photos, reacted to the water with an orange color, even though the black markings held up alright.

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So keep in mind as you decorate and address your mail that not all black inks are the same on various surfaces, and not all will hold up to certain conditions. Try some experiments first on a test envelope to see how your markers do!