There are a lot of things that factor in to picking out markers for different projects. The type of ink, what shade of which color, and a very important feature- the style of tip!
–Do you need to do any small detail work, or are you needing quick coverage of large areas?
-Will there be a lot of extensive use or pressure applied to the tip that might damage it?
-Would it be helpful to make different size lines with the same pen?
Whether you know your specific project needs or not, you can have a lot of fun just experimenting with various-tipped markers!
Here’s a look at several different tips that our markers have, and some examples of how they can be used! It may seem like an information overload, but hopefully will provide some useful points of reference in finding your perfect pen!
Tip sizes are measured in Millimeters and range from the tiny .2 mm for extremely detailed work to the jumbo 50 mm for very broad marks. Extra fine point pens are numbered in growing sizes- 005 to 08: 005 = 0.2mm, 01 = 0.25mm, 02 = 0.3mm, 03 = 0.35mm, 05 = 0.45mm, and 08 = 0.5mm.
Some markers, even if they are the same size (medium, broad, etc.), come with a choice of which shape of tip.
Bullet shaped tips have a rounded edge for smooth, even lines. Chisel tips are slanted, allowing for both fine and broad edged marks to be made depending on how the pen is held- a go-to for many artists & calligraphers! Some calligraphy pens will also have a choice between square– tips that come to a straight flat edged point, and oblique– a slanted chisel tip.
A very versatile style of marker, brush tip gives you the flexibility of a paint brush- so you can create very fine marks and draw in detail- or by applying more pressure or holding sideways, thicker marks will happen and you can quickly color in larger spaces. If your project has cracks or edges, brush tips are great for getting color in those hard to reach places!
Pens with “Semi-Flexible” tips are more of a stiff brush style, but the tip will still be a bit bendable.
Some neat markers featuring this tip are the Zig Brushables– which have a solid color on one end, and a 50% lighter shade of that color on the other end! Very useful for doing lettering with shadows!
Try these pens for a Brush tip: Zig Clean Color Real Brush, Mangaka Flexible Cartoonist Pen, Fudebiyori Metallic Brush, Zig Brushables, Posca 350-F, Brush Writer II, BrusH20 Water Pen, Wink of Stella Glitter Brush
You’ll also find markers with unique tips that can help you make very creative markings!
In our newly-added KRINK product line, the K-60 is a bottle-shaped marker with a dauber tip. The squeezable bottle allows great ink flow control through this tip, however you choose to use it- even sideways and upside-down! Make broad strokes for a neat round writing/drawing style, ink blots, dripping street-art style signs, or fun “dot drawings”!
The Zig Scroll and Brush features a unique Scroll tip with 2 points- one making a slightly finer line than the other. Especially paired with the brush tip on the other end, this marker is as fun to letter with as it is to make little drawings on cards or in scrapbooks!
Already having talked about the Brushables and Scroll and Brush markers, keep your eye out for other “2-tips-in-1” markers! There are a variety of markers, especially in the Zig Memory System, that feature dual tips- a different kind on each end. A bunch of these markers are highlighted in the A to Zig instruction booklets – handy little guides for learning how to do different letters with different markers and their tips.
A good little set to experiment with the Zig Memory System tips is the Black Twin Tips set!
The Zig Kurecolor Twin and Twin S markers (similar to Copic markers) feature a tip on both ends- a chisel and a fine, but choose from additional tips to change them into whatever style you’d like! Interchangeable replacement tips include Brush, Broad, Calligraphy, and more!
HINT: Remember to store your dual tip markers horizontally. If stored up and down, in a pen holder cup, etc, the tip facing up can dry out and become unusable.
FIBER-TIPPED FELT – Many marking pens have fiber tips- porous, pressed material saturated with ink. Felt is a hard yet spongy fiber that is slightly flexible. Commonly found in a cone shape which gives it versatility- letting you mark with all sides of the tip. These pens will give you smooth, even coverage, but the tips are more prone to fray or dull with heavy use, can lose their shape, and will dry out very quickly if left uncovered- so remember to keep felt tip pens tightly capped!
Examples: Sharpies, Pentel Sign Pen
PLASTIC – A thin tip that dispenses ink evenly and smoothly. The hard, smooth plastic seals the ink inside the tip and keeps it controlled. The firmness of this tip means that it lasts longer- you can use more pressure and it will hold its shape.
Examples: Posca PC-1M, Pebeo Porcelaine, Zig Wink of Stella
PLASTIC IN METAL CASING – Extra fine plastic tip pens, sometimes referred to as pin or needle type, have very small, porous plastic tips inside a metal casing. Pens with tips like this will last the longest if written with straight up and down, at a 90 degree angle to the paper. Use caution not to use too much pressure with these tips, as they can bend sideways and break or stop ink flow.
Examples: Marvy Le Pen, Sakura Micron, Posca PC-1MR, Prismacolor Fine Line
BALL POINT / ROLLER BALL
The tips of ball pens have a metal casing that keeps the ink inside, until it passes around a metal ball when you write- which thins and evenly disperses the ink so you have great control over the marks you make. The fixed ball point can limit how you are able to hold the pen and make the marks you want, but the tip’s control of the ink flow gives the pen a much longer life.
“Ball Point” pens use a very thick oil-based ink, which tends to last longer and flows out of the pen with great control.
“Roller Ball / Gel” pens use a liquid water-based or gel ink that flows smoother and requires less pressure on the pen to write. Because of the thinner ink however, there is a higher bleed-through potential, and the risk of smudging is greater.
The KRINK K-66 marker has a unique type of roller ball tip- a long steel tube that allows for easy marking on rugged surfaces! It also features a squeezable bottle, which allows for writing upside-down and sideways- something that is difficult for most ball pens since they normally use gravity to pull the ink to the tip.
Roller Ball / Gel Pen Examples: Uniball Signo, Marvy Gel Reminisce, Sakura Gelly Roll, Sakura Souffle
Since pencils are a whole world of their own, stay tuned for our upcoming pencil blog!
A brief view on pencil tips-
With drawing pencils, you can experiment with the HB Graphite Grading Scale (mostly used in Europe) using the Prismacolor Turquoise Graphite Pencils. They use a scale from 10H (harder lead, lighter mark) to 10B (softer lead, blacker mark) with HB falling right in the middle- equivalent to standard #2 pencils.
With colored pencils, there are average-sized tip pencils, and a finer version called Verithin. For a unique pencil tool, try the Prismacolor Art Stix! The lead is just like a colored pencil, but there is no wooden casing- allowing you to have any shape of tip that you need! Use the whole side for broad coverage, or carve out a unique tip for your finer marks.
Keep an eye out for the more-in-detail blog exploring the art of pencils- including grading scales, shading and smudging, how to mix with the colorless blender, and more! Coming Soon!
Sometimes tips get worn, damaged, or dried out after time and use. A variety of markers have replaceable tips that help you get the most out of your marker!
Markers like the Zig Kurecolors and Cocoiros also have interchangeable tips, so your same pen could be fine point and then another style, like brush tip!
See our replacement tip section and get your markers back to writing like new!
What style of marker tip is your favorite? Let us know and feel free to share your artwork/writings with us!