The 5 Best Paint Markers [Ranked]
Paint markers are designed to provide street and graffiti artists with a vibrant and permanent marking solution that is resistant to weather and rough surface conditions.
Paint markers are composed of heavy, pigmented colors that are suspended in a solvent or resin solution. In comparison to ink markers, inks are typically thinner than paint markers and dry more quickly, while paint markers produce heavier, more opaque graffiti marks.
Paint markers must be strenuously shaken before they are used, while ink markers don’t require it.
Click the jump links below to scroll to video reviews of our favorite brands:
SprayPlanet is one of the premier resources for graffiti artists- and we're going to examine 5 of their best-selling paint marker brands to see how they stack up.
Our 5 Favorite SprayPlanet Paint Markers
Montana Video Review
If you are looking for a paint dabber, a water-based graffiti marker, or a street paint marker, Montana Colors stocks a full range of options in a variety of different colors. One of the foundational paint markers is the Montana Colors nontoxic acrylic paint marker that comes in black, orange dark, pink, red, yellow, gray, green and a variety of other tinctures.
These paint markers are waterproof and are equipped with a 15 mm tip that contains a high concentration of light fast pigments so that it can cover very well. A handy feature on this paint marker is its transparent barrel that lets you assess the available ink to see if you need to purchase a refill.
Buyers of this particular paint marker, and in general of the Montana Colors paint marker product line, say that the coverage it provides is difficult to surpass, and the different colors are very vibrant, with the green popping on any surface you apply it to. In order to get them working right, you'll need to shake them up a little bit, pump the nib so that the paint is forced into it. Sometimes this produces some initial juiciness that results in runs and drips, but this also looks great on paper.
Other graffiti artists have chimed in, telling us that a good idea to wear some gloves when you are using these paint markers because even if you are exceedingly careful it's commonplace to get some paint splotches on your hands. That said, it's not too difficult removing these discolorations with a little bit of soap and water.
Watch A Montana Paint Marker Demo
Montana Colors also produces acrylic markers that provide water-proof extra fine tips in an assortment of colors that users say are high-quality options for urban artists. One buyer that we spoke to commended these acrylic markers as the most exceptional that he has ever used. He reports that they are able to load the paint well, rarely blot and the tip of the markers is resilient, maintaining its shape and preventing getting mashed.
Other buyers that we spoke to say that it pays off to keep a scrap pad nearby to test the paint markers rate of flow prior to using it on a piece you are working on. This prevents paint blobs from ruining your artwork.
One experienced artist we spoke to also provided some advice, saying that the white tip of the paint marker needs to be pressed down hard on the surface. After you do that, the tip will be infused with paint and you can begin to draw. He says that this is a process you will need to periodically repeat as you use your Montana Colors paint markers.
Overall, Montana Colors is a reputable brand that provides a diverse selection of paint markers in addition to spray paint product lines. So if you are unfamiliar with their work, check out their website to see what they're all about.
Krink Video Review
KRINK is another great brand, also carried by Spray Planet, so if you're looking for fine tip paint markers, metal tipped paint markers, chisel tip markers, regular ink markers or a high-quality solid streaker marker, there are a variety to choose from.
One of our favorites is the permanent ink marker- this large-capacity KRINK ink marker is available in eight different colors, with opaque options available in silver and black. Its chisel-tip provides two different widths and it has received solid feedback from its users that are also brand ambassadors. The buyers that we have spoken to say that this particular ink marker formulation will stick to anything and everything.
Watch A Krink Paint Marker Test
They cautioned novice users not to use its nib on concrete or brick because it will tear it up and also dry out the marker. Another reviewer that we spoke to identified himself as a marker and slaps lover, preferring them over spray paint, and he endorses this as one of the best graffiti paint marker brands on the market today.
A devoted purchaser of the K-71 permanent ink marker, he is also a huge fan of any of KRINKs products. Regarding the marker itself, he says that it's great for general tagging and writing purposes, while also performing bombing very well. He says that he is often used it on different metal doors and steel-surfaced utility cabinets, as well as on sidewalks and in bathrooms. As well, he says that it is easy to refill and even though it doesn't come with a mixing ball the nature of the flow means that it doesn't even need it. All you have to do is give it a quick shake and it is ready to rock.
Another buyer that we spoke with endorses the KRINK brand because of its historically high reputation in the graffiti artist community, its versatile valve systems and the tough inks that it produces. Another reviewer that we surveyed says that the real benefit to the KRINK brand is in the quality of their chisel tips. He says that they allow you to produce truly fine lines and detailing and at the drop of a hat also provide you visibly broad and dark lines.
One other artist that we spoke with says that he specializes in producing really fast-conceived abstract drawings on paper and he swears by the brand after having experimented with a variety of other types of paint markers and inks.
Grog Video Review
Grog is another popular brand on Spray Planet. It's Italy-made products are produced by a collection of passionate writers that are committed to producing high-quality ink. Indeed, since Grog was conceived in 2005 it has been a star on the urban-artist scene internationally.
Immediately recognizable, perhaps the flagship product is the Grog squeezer that the company says is a improvement on the traditional mop. If you are looking for high-quality metal paint squeezers, metal paint refills, colored paint markers as well as their signature buff proof ink collection, this is a particularly strong brand to pay attention to.
Buyers were particularly impressed by the frog squeezer mini in the death black color. It has a high-flow glossy and permanent paint coming from 10 mm round nib.
This is one of the more famous squeezers available on the market today. Grog writes that it is engineered to provide the perfect paint flow, because of the way they engineered the. softer and shorter barrel that is designed to use paint more efficiently. This pocket-sized squeezer is part of their full metal paint product line and reviewers that we spoke to say that it paints and tags in brilliant and thick colors.
Watch A Grog Metal Head In Action
Another Grog cutter that we liked was the refillable, laser green XFP pump marker. It features an 8 mm, high-flowing tip that provides a glossy and permanent finish. Other reviewers that we surveyed about the Grog brand Metal Head markers say that these squeezable markers provide strong galvanized steel tips allowing you to be able to write on nearly any surface, in any condition. They even say that it works on rust.
Because of its soft plastic body construction you can squeeze it without any undue effort, accurately measuring out the precise quantity of paint you need. As well, these Metal Head markers are refillable with the appropriate Grog refiller.
One thing that many reviewers appreciated was that the anti-drip rim allows you to practice graffiti without getting yourself messed up with paint.
Posca Video Review
Posca is another strong brand on Spray Planet. Founded in 1983, the markers have a strong reputation for success and quality inside the urban art community. They are water-based paint markers produced by Mitsubishi Pencil and are designed to be employed on a variety of different surfaces, with countless artistic applications.
One of the more popular paint marker pens is the medium point Uni-Posca water-based felt-tipped markers that are designed to write on glass, metal, plastic, wood, canvas, plaster and more. These are unique markers because since they are water, rather than alcohol, based the ink will not bleed through paper and are specifically designed to create vibrant signs and tags.
Reviewers that we spoke to about the brand said that the quality of the paint markers was exceptional- big and nice quality colorations so you don't have to go over and over one surface to get it covered. Another reviewer spoke to said that they were useful for small and detailed projects, saying that they are high-quality paint marker pens that users have employeed on surfboards, Game Boys and to customize sweatshirts.
Another reviewer said that concerning their water-based paint markers, he doesn't recommend that they be used for black books because they have a tendency to make the paper get bent and chewed up. He does recommend using a flat and clean acrylic lacquer if you are going to be using these water-based paint markers on black book paper.
Getting Started With A Posca Paint Pen
This reviewer that we spoke with also said in order to get the best results, you'll want to pump the markers vigorously with the nib pointing upwards, and then press the nib down strongly, allowing the pressure to juice them or you risk creating a big mess with the marker shooting out paint.
You also want to ensure that the paint is flowing out solidly or you will risk creating watered-down lines. You can always give it another vigorous pump or two to make sure that it is flowing right.
One final tip that he had was that you should let the paint dry before going over it again. One other reviewer that we interviewed says that these paint markers produced by posts are incredibly versatile. As an artist and a DIY person he has found a variety of different uses for them. This reviewer says that when you initially use the marker you should experiment on some test surfaces first because the paint literally gushes out. After that, however, they operate flawlessly, providing wonderful coverage in a variety of versatile blending applications.
Another reviewer that we spoke with said that he was particularly impressed by the smoothness and opacity of these paint markers, allowing him to write and paint over any surface. His only complaint was that at the time of his purchase there were not as many color options as there are available today. Other reviewers that we spoke with were fans of the extra-fine paint markers that Posca produces.
These water-based fine-tipped markers were a solid selection for artists practicing a variety of different styles and applications. One reviewer that we spoke to has been testing them on window panes, and says that they do fade with time after exposure to daytime sun. This was a test of their light fastness and they say that Montana acrylic markers actually held up better under this light test.
Another reviewer that we interviewed says that initially they were little bit skeptical because they have for so long relied on black sharpie pens, but after purchasing the Posca paint markers they find them to be an exceptional option once you get familiar with how to initially get them up and running.
Sakura Video Review
Sakura is another popular brand on Spray Planet- check out their Pigma Microns, watercolor brush markers, calligrapher pens as well as their call Koi watercolor brush markers to get a sense of their style.
One of their popular product options are their PenTouch paint markers-Sakura describes them as archival-quality, fade-resistant and chemically stable waterproof markers that provide a solid and juicy paint flow directly from the tip. These paint markers are engineered to be able to embellish and decorate all manner of surfaces with the urban artist's personality.
Because of their strong permanent adherence, they are equipped to be able to write on porcelain, paper, metal, plastic, glass, are even great for CDs, greeting cards, scrapbooks and signs. Another popular option is there solidified paint markers that come in a variety of sizes including florescent pink, fluorescent orange, florescent lemon as well as standard black, white, blue, green colors.
These quick-drying paint markers provide a permanent style that will not wash away or fade. They are specifically designed to be used on wood, cloth, cardboard, concrete and even fiberglass. Indeed, reviewers say that they serve a variety of different purposes, with some artists preferring them to perform their urban graffiti, while professional service technicians use them to write information on pipelines prior to them being buried.
Sakura Marker Review
A used car dealer says that they are employed to write on the windows of traded in cars- it makes their notations easy to read, and able to be cleaned off after the car has sold, much more preferable than traditional-style grease pens. Sakura has developed a reputation for producing tough markers that can provide vibrant marking across difficult surfaces that are disfigured by grease, mud, rust, oil and snow.
The rugged and broad strokes are virtually odorless and quick drying so that it is ideal for industrial and commercial applications including fabrication, welding, pipelines, construction, automotive applications and on windshields and plumbing systems. Buyers have long been satisfied by the quality of Sakura, saying that in particular their solid paint markers are essentially permanent crayons that are as easy to use as a stick of deodorant.
Our Favorite SprayPlanet Brands
The Los Angeles- based Spray Planet by Montana Colors, found at sprayplanet.com, is one of the largest online retailers graffiti supplies in the United States of America. It has a 15,000 square-foot + warehouse where it stores a large inventory of Montana Colors spray paint markers and accessories.
It bills itself as providing a reliable resource for high-quality street art brands and graffiti supplies. One of the unique things about sprayplanet.calm is that they test all of their products in the field, as well as performing in-house testing of their graffiti art products, so that they can stand 100% behind all of the brands and products that they stock.
Montana Colors is remarkable for being the first manufacturer of spray paint engineered and crafted to the standards of modern-day graffiti and street artists. One of their original products has become an industry-standard- Montana HardCore paint.
Many graffiti and street artists around the world swear by it. Over time they have evolved as a company, expanding their product lines and developing new and exciting paint and accessories for the modern-day graffiti artist.
They have a variety of paint lines available today that include Hardcore 2, TNT, pocket spray cans, transparent effects cans, industrial spray on vinyl coatings, MTN 94 as well as other tools like ink and paint markers, drippers which are also known as Mops or Dabbers, paint marker refills, a truly inspiring stock collection.
Montana Colors is a well-reputed and trusted brand in the graffiti artist community- so you can shop with them with the utmost confidence.
The KRINK brand was founded by a graffiti artist known as KR who grew up in New York City in the 1980s during the vanguard of street and graffiti art. His timeless covers all silver metallic ink is renown in graffiti history.
KRINK is a respected resource for graffiti markers and squeezers (drippers), and has evolved to produce a robust product line of black book markers. Spray planet is an excellent place to peruse a great selection of Krink graffiti products.
Grog is another Spray Planet favorite- it was conceived in 2005 in Europe primarily focusing on creating high-quality markers and inks for street and graffiti artists. Over the course of 10 years they have constantly innovated with routine product updates to their brand, becoming a touchstone for urban artists around the world.
Sakura is another Spray Planet favorite- it has interesting origins as a crayon company in 1921. They developed their signature oil pastel line after they combined pigment and oil, creating the Cray-Pas, a staple of elementary school art classrooms. Sakura has evolved even further in modern times to produce superior quality industrial and artist marching products. Among some of their more popular items include solid marker streaks, paint markers, Koi watercolor markers, mean streak solid markers and micron fine line pens.
Posca is another brand name familiar to graffiti artists worldwide. They specialize in a diverse range of paint markers that are manufactured in a variety of different formulas and sizes, becoming a trusted and truly robust resource for street, graffiti and urban artists the world over. One of their best-known products is a water-based paint marker called the Posca P series which is especially engineered for window painting, art projects, poster work as well as canvas accenting. Their UNI Px product line is a popular collection of thin and thick oil-based permanent paint markers.
How to begin drawing graffiti
Developing skill at the graffiti art form be a lifelong process of skill acquisition. (As a disclaimer, we only endorse *legal* graffiti.) To be sure, there are many tutorials that are available online, but not all of them all high-quality.
Some of the most famous graffiti artists around the world advise that you understand the urban and cultural history of street graffiti art before beginning your own path. You can peruse the Internet, finding great examples of international and local urban art examples.
You can also walk around your neighborhood and check out local examples of graffiti art to inspire you. To get started, you'll need to assemble a couple of basic tools: a graffiti marker, a sharpener, eraser, a pencil as well as plain paper.
The rudiments of graffiti art is typography. What typography is, is the elemental art of letter shapes. The font that you are reading on this webpage now was actually designed and drawn by someone.
How to improve your tag
A tag is one of the most basic elements of graffiti. It is comprised of a series of stylized letters. When you perform your tag, the movement of your body is an essential component to it.
When you are performing graffiti outside or indoors as you sketch the outline of your letters your body will be stretching, sweeping, leaning and bending all over the place, so becoming a fluid and fast graffiti writer takes a tremendous amount of skill and fitness, surprisingly.
You will want to pick a graffiti name or tag that you're comfortable drawing and that is entertaining. Many graffiti artists will change up their tag or the style of their graffiti name over time, particularly as they get more skilled.
Try to be unique and creative when you select this tag- there are a lot of redundant and boring graffiti artist tags out there that seasoned professional see over and over again. Try to be unique and different! You should also remember that the alias shouldn't give away your identity.
Another consideration is that the harder the letters in your tag are to draw, the more difficult it will be to perform your tag smoothly when it counts. As a general rule of thumb, alphabetic letters that are evenly balanced are the easiest to draw, like the S, M, N, B, and E. After you pick a graffiti tag, do some googling to make sure that another artist hasn't selected it.
Once you are sure about your name, now is the beginning of the creation process. Write the tag on a piece of paper and began playing around with the lettering, tilting it, having it overlap, curving them, shortening the letters to condense them, for example.
When it comes to graffiti lettering, you'll want to practice over and over again, hone your style and skill, all in a legal fashion, of course. Take inspiration where you can find it-be creative and look at how billion-dollar brands use typography to elicit emotional reactions and consumers.
Go online and look at designspiration.net to see all of the amazing fonts styles, shapes and creative interpretations of lettering there are. You'll doubtless become inspired to create your own unique graffiti tag vision.
Graffiti Term Glossary
There are a number of important terms you should familiarize yourself with if you are going to practice graffiti. Since it is such an urban artform, it is understandable that there is a lot of slang and jargon that comprises the glossary of graffiti phraseology.
refers to particularly respected graffiti artists to have passed on. These dead urban artists are then often commemorated by other graffiti artists with tags and tribute pieces.
refers to being well-known and respected throughout a particular urban area.
Back to back
refers to graffiti art that completely covers a particular wall from one end to the other. An example of this is the Berlin wall, its west-Berlin side.
refers to a street artist's sketchbook. Sometimes urban artists refer to it as a piece book. It's primarily used to sketch out new graffiti designs, sometimes also to collect the tags of other graffiti writers. Police will often use these books to understand and collect criminal evidence against graffiti artists who are spray painting illegally.
refers to removing graffiti, particularly with chemicals or a pressure washer, and then having it painted over with a flat color.
refers to a collection of graffiti artists that band together to produce art. While oftentimes crews or gangs are associated with violent criminal activity, these graffiti artist crews are primarily concerned with working together and collaborating to produce graffiti art.
refers to a bribe.
refers to the use of acid solutions to mark up windows. It is sometimes called asset tagging.
A fat cap
refers to a spray paint nozzle that is employed for wide coverage- it is often used to fill in pieces.
refers to painting on top of an existing piece of graffiti. In the urban street art scene to go over someone else's work is highly disrespectful and in many cases is considered an act of war.
refers to graffiti writers that are particularly well-respected by other artists. A landmark refers to tags in locations that are really hard to be removed- the common time designation for landmark to have been in place is at least five years.
refers to a tag, bomb or throwie that is written in a single constant motion. This can be performed with any style of graffiti utensil as long as it isn't listed from the surface.
which is an abbreviation of masterpiece, is graffiti painting that took a really long time to complete. These pieces commonly include three-dimensional effects, vibrant colors, color-transitions, arrows and a variety of other highly stimulating and complex visual characteristics.
refers to a graffiti piece that is done using a paint roller instead of an aerosol can. These generally include very simplified typography, but every so often they are more complex and intricate.
Refers to scratchitti, etching graffiti using a sharp incising object to create tags- this is generally accomplished with sandpaper, drillbits, knives, stones and keys.
refers to the stylized signature of the graffiti artist. This is the simplest form and most common type of graffiti that you will see practiced. Writers will sometimes tag their pieces to identify who created them, but often times tags exist on their own.
is an adjective that is employed to describe particularly poor graffiti work, commonly done by an unskilled or inexperienced street artist. This is most commonly a derogatory term for novices in the field for those who have been in the field for a while but who are still not considered very good.
refers to a practicing graffiti artist.
As you can see, there are a variety of different terms used in the graffiti artist community. Undoubtedly there are more modern-day slang terms appearing in different scenes and these have not been assembled into a coherent glossary yet.
So, by no means is this an attempt to assemble a comprehensive list of graffiti artist terminology, merely a way to acquaint you with the diversity of slang expressions and to indicate that there is a robust language used within the community to describe the artform.