Alcohol-based marker nibs: chisel, bullet and brush

Irina Bautina - artist, illustrator

Instagram account -

There are many factors to consider when choosing markers:

  • Price range
  • Refillability
  • Type of ink
  • Range of colours in the palette
  • Availability in shops
  • And finally: Nib type

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Let's talk more about the different types of nibs.

Before you decide which marker you need, ask yourself a few questions and analyse your drawing style.

- Do you prefer detailed drawings?

- Would you like to paint in a realistic manner?

- Are you more of a graphic artist or a painter? Do you choose lines or spots?

- Do you have to paint large areas?

- Do you like quick, broad strokes?


Traditionally the marker has a wide slanted nib on one side, which is called a chisel.

The "chisel" nib allows you to draw wide lines to fill large areas quickly and evenly. If you turn the nib a bit, it can be used to draw a narrow line or a small detail. This is great for quick sketching, as you don't have to turn the marker or change the caps.

A small survey on the Instagram showed that 24% of artists choose the chisel as their main tool, with almost no other nibs involved.


The BULLET tip has a rounded edge similar to the nib of an ordinary felt-tip pen. This nib draws a line of the same width. It is suitable for outlining, hatching or adding small details.  However, it is difficult to fill in a large area evenly or to achieve realism.

This nib is preferred by 14% of the artists surveyed.


The brush nib is very flexible (both literally and figuratively). It allows you to draw both very thin and broad lines depending on how much pressure you apply.

The brush nib is ideal for marker painting, as it allows a smooth transition of colours.

More than half of artists (62%) prefer to use a brush when creating marker illustrations.


Over time, the nibs will wear out. However, many major manufacturers, including Sketchmarkersclub, provide a replacement nib option. You can buy a set of the right nibs and use special tweezers or fingers (if you are not afraid of getting dirty) to replace the damaged nib.

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