Brushmarker versus Promarker

User test of Winsor & Newton Brushmarker vs Promarker for detailed work...

This page reviews W&N Promarkers and Brushmarkers, especially with regard to fine-detailed work after the discontinuation of the ultra-fine nib in 2016 - I also have a 2019 review of Promarkers, Brushmarkers, Pigment Markers and Watercolour Markers including drawing tips, how to use them, and how to blend colours here…

And a photo-tutorial showing my personal drawing method with Promarkers - here…

Discussion of Detail Drawing with Promarkers and Brushmarkers

I've long been a Promarker fan for my art - I like the way the ink flows, and you get a smooth coverage of colour, with minimum marks, similar to if you'd painted in ink, but with more control...

I fell in love completely with Promarker when I discovered their ultrafine nib - which was perfect for colouring details in my very intricate drawings...

But recently, I don't know what's happened to their ultrafine nib - these used to be available, individually, or in packs of three, as a separate nib to fit on any of the Promarker pens (swapping colours was just a matter of moments, mark-making until the new colour ran through)...

Now these ultra fine nibs are out of stock everywhere (except on auction sites for about £30 per nib - they wear down, so I'm not paying that!)

Winsor & Newton have recently taken over the Promarker brand from Letraset. I've enquired after the future of the ultra fine nib, but with no response...

So I decided to check out the new Winsor & Newton Brushmarker, which I read uses the same/similar ink, to see if this could be a suitable alternative for the near future, when my dwindling supply of ultra fine nibs is depleted.

Drawing the butterfly with Brushmarkers (black outlines were drawn with a fine-liner, not Brushmarker)

The idea being, that the brush nib of the Brushmarker has a very fine point, so I should be able to get a finer line, than the Promarker standard nib...

I bought a small selection, and did a little comparison between the Promarker (with and without ultrafine nib) and the new Brushmarker...

Comparing the Nibs

Brushmarker, brush nib

As you can see above, the Brushmarker has a nice fine nib - it's soft and flexible, and does feel nice to draw with (akin to painting with a quality, fine brush).

Promarker, ultra fine nib

Above: The very tiny ultra fine nib on the Promarker (detachable nib, usually sold separately, when available) - very fine drawing line, great for details or writing.

Promarker - normal nib

Above: The normal nib on the Promarker - great for most things - a bit oversized for detailed work.

Wide, chisel nib - both Promarker and Brushmarker

Above: Both Promarker and Brushmarker have a wide, chisel nib - I didn't find much difference between these, both give good coverage for larger areas.

User Test

Promarker v Brushmarker - test

I thought I'd test to check out the line thickness and quality, and coverage for larger areas, of both pens.

For both, you can see from the top:

  • the finest line (brush-tip (Brushmarker) or ultra-fine nib (Promarker))

  • normal nib (Promarker) and normal brush stroke (Brushmarker) - single line

  • normal nib/normal brush stroke - coloured area

  • chisel nib (both) - single line

  • chisel nib (both) - coloured area

Drawing samples (close up) Brushmarker

It's worth noting that both pens are Burnt Sienna colour - so the ink colours from each are not identical (this was the only colour I tested).

Drawing samples (close up) Promarker

On the whole, I think I would prefer the ultra fine nib, if I can get it, for detailed work, but the brush nib did a pretty good job at drawing a fine line, and when I used it the control over colouring fine areas was perfectly adequate for what I needed (and I think with practice my technique would also likely improve)...

The brush nib is certainly a much better option for small areas and detail than the standard Promarker nib (ie without the ultra fine nib).

The thing I really did like the brush nib (Brushmarker) for, though, was the flexibility of the nib, which meant the pen actually felt much nicer (softer) to draw with, and have more of a feel like you were painting (rather than drawing with a pen).

With the brush nib it's also easier to switch between larger and smaller areas of colour, just by adjusting how you hold and use the brush.

I was happy with the drawings I did with the new Brushmarker...

Completed butterfly drawing - all colours done with Brushmarkers

So, I decided that I would probably be replacing my Promarkers with Brushmarkers, as they run out.

Do let me know if you use Promarker, or Brushmarker, what you think? and which you prefer?

UPDATE: 2018 - In the end, I didn't replace my Promarkers with Brushmarkers - I kept with my Promarkers but added coloured fineliner pens for my detailed work. I usually use Stabilo 0.4 (point 88) and Staedler triplus fineliner pens for detail, now… you can see my tutorial of how I work with Promarkers with fineliners for detail, here…

You might also like:

You can read my discussion about choosing which marker to use, different drawing techniques to try, plus different ways of blending colours here - it includes Promarkers, Brushmarkers, Watercolour Markers, Pigment Markers and Posca Markers plus instructions and videos for blending colours with alcohol-based markers (such as Promarkers).

Using Stabilo fineliners for detailed work in colour

Using Stabilo fineliners for detailed work in colour

You can see what happens to my pen and marker drawings in my art galleries here… where I take a behind-the-scenes look at creating digital artworks from my pen-on-paper drawings.

You can also read more about learning new drawing skills and creativity techniques in my Start Drawing section here… or join my fun and creative FREE 5-Day Start Drawing Challenge

Or even take a deeper dive and join me for my full Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills online course where we combine accurate drawing skills with the freedom to be creative, make personal and meaningful art, and develop our own drawing styles…

Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills online course by Lotti Brown - click for more…

Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills online course by Lotti Brown - click for more…