Posca pens were a bit of a craze a few years ago but not everyone could afford them. Now there’s lots of cheaper brands of paint markers available and I’m noticing more and more kawaii artists are giving them a go. Paint markers have a thicker opaque ink inside that acts similar to acrylic paints so you can use them on all kinds of surfaces but it’s much easier and cleaner than paints and brushes. Here’s some tips on how to use them, where to buy them, cute DIYs to try and kawaii artists to follow.
If you’re new to paint markers, Kasey Golden has a lot of Posca pen videos with helpful tips, showing you how to use the pens, the different options, similar brands and how to avoid common mistakes. There’s also a few tutorials including painting on wood, bags and pumpkins.
JetPens also have an in depth page on The Best Paint Pens For Arts and Crafts that’s packed full of useful information including which brands work best on different surfaces and materials. There’s a few videos on their Youtube channel too, including a comparison of white markers.
Once you’ve decided what to buy, Miss Wah’s channel is a great place to start as she has so many cute projects to try including shoes, mugs and storage tins, plus lots of different art and painting styles.
Moriah Elizabeth has a video with 3 paint pen crafts for beginners including painting on rocks, which became a popular pandemic craft!
Once you get the hang of it, paint markers can be used to cute up all kinds of boring things around the house. Scribble Fix shows you how to decorate plant pots.
It you already draw or paint a lot, and want to see what sort of art you can make with paint markers, there’s lots of kawaii artists to watch. Kattvalk has a playlist that includes lots of colourful cats.
Another popular use for paint markers is shrink plastic and you can make really professional-looking unique charms at home. AmyMade has a good shrink plastic 101 video for beginners that covers everything you need to get started.
You can also use them to decorate polymer clay charms. Little Cece has a really cute video but do check the updates and advice in the comments about protection and safety.
Where to buy Posca pens & paint markers
If you’re sold and want to give this a try, you might be a bit overwhelmed with choice. Posca is still the top brand and if you can afford it, I’d definitely start there as they have multiple sizes and even metallic options. Cheaper brands I’ve seen recommended include Arteza, Sakura, Artistro, Morfone and Sharpie. You can find some of these brands at JetPens (US), Amazon (US/UK), Cass Art (UK) and at your local craft and art supply stores, or search the brand name online. All brands sell starter packs with a nice selection of colours to start you off and some sell colours individually so you can add more as you need them.
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.