Markers 101: Types of Ink

When it comes to buying new pens and markers, it can be really hard to know which one will be best for you. What’s the difference between pigmented ink and dye-based ink? What ink is ideal for the project you're working on?

If you don’t know anything about the different types of marker ink, don’t worry we’ve created the ultimate guide to help you find the right one for you!

Types of Marker Ink

Markers 101: Types of Ink

Pigment Ink: Pigmented ink is a type of ink where the color particles are suspended in the ink. When you write the ink lays on top and the color sticks to the paper. In general pigment ink is water resistant.

Here are some examples of pigment ink markers:

  • The Artist Pigmented MarkerThis is a double-ended marker with a broad bullet tip on one end and fine tip on the other. Great for writing and designing.
  • The Le Pen Drawing Markers - The markers come in seven different point sizes from .03 to brush tip. These markers are great for drawing comics and manga.

Dye Ink: Dye based ink is when the color of the ink is completely mixed in with the ink itself. When you write the dye sinks in and bonds to the paper. These markers are not water resistant and are more likely to bleed than pigment ink. They are ideal for writing in planners, on cards, and more. They are great for blending colors and creating a light wash of color.

Marker Ink 101

Here are some examples of the best dye ink markers:

  • The Color In Le Plume II - These markers come in packs of six or twelve and are perfect for use in adult coloring books and rubberstamping.
  • The Pastel LinersThis highlighter has a chisel tip that is great for making straight lines.
  • The Color In Marker FineThese markers are great for use in adult coloring books. The fine tip allows for precise detailing.

Alcohol Ink: Markers with alcohol ink are easy to blend. This type of ink dries extremely quickly. They are a little see through when used, so you can layer colors! This type of ink works well on many different surfaces like paper, metal, and some plastics. Alcohol inks can also be manipulated with rubbing alcohol to create a water-color effect on surfaces like ceramic and plastic.
Alcohol Ink Markers Example
Get started with one of these alcohol markers:

Permanent Ink: Markers with permanent ink, like the name implies, are permanent. In the ink there is a chemical called resin that makes the ink stick once it is used. Permanent markers are waterproof and generally write on most surfaces. 

Permanent Ink Markers Example

Give one of these permanent ink markers a try:

Oil Based Ink: Oil-based markers use oil-based paint instead of a water-based paint like acrylic. Markers with oil-based ink dry a slightly slower than acrylic, giving you a little more time to manipulate your work. They also bind to most surfaces easily, making them ideal for crafts and mixed-media art. 

Oil-Based Inks Example

Here are some of our favorite oil-based markers:

Archival Ink: Archival ink is ink that is intended to last a long time. This makes it ideal for scrapbooks and memory books. To get the most out of archival ink pair it with archival paper. Here are some of our best archival ink pens:

  • The Gel Excel Pens - These pens come in metallic colors and have a comfort grip that allows you to write for a long time without cramping.
  • Gel Reminisce Pens - They come in seven colors and a four pack. The pens have continuous flowing gel which makes for smooth writing.
  • Calligraphy Pigmented - This pen is double sided with 3.5mm and 2.0mm tips. They are great for creating letter art and come in thirteen colors.

Opaque Ink: Opaque ink is ink that is not see through at all. This ink is much less likely to bleed and more likely to have very definite edges. Most chalk markers are opaque.

Opaque Marker Ink Examples

Try some of our best opaque markers:

  • Le Plume Permanent Opaque Markers - This permanent marker comes in white, silver, and gold. It is great for cartooning, comics, manga, sketching, and more!
  • The Bistro Chalk MarkerThese chalk markers are great for homemade and store bought chalkboards. They come in fifteen colors and have 6mm tip.
  • DecoColor® Acrylic Paint MarkersThese acrylic paint pens are good on wood, terracotta, plaster, and more. They come in twenty-eight colors, including metallics.

Translucent Ink: Translucent ink is ink that you can see through to the paper. Most water-based ink is translucent. Translucent markers are good for highlighting and coloring as well as designing. Here are some of our favorite translucent markers:

  • Erasable HighlighterThis is a pen that has a highlighter on one end and an eraser on the other. Perfect for correcting your mistakes.
  • The Brush MarkerThese markers are ideal for rubberstamping, but also work well for coloring and lettering. They come in 108 colors including sets of six and twelve.

For every project and surface, there is a type of ink that will work best. There is no type of ink that superior, it all depends on what you are doing, but for every project be sure to test you ink to see how it reacts to the surface you're working with. With the right marker, your project will come to life!

Not sure what tip sizes are right for your project? Check out our Marker Tip Guide!


Created By: Marvy Uchida Team

Our talented in-house creative team
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