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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!
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