When you want to leave a thick line which is opaque enough to cover the surface and anything underneath, then you probably want a paint marker.
When it comes to graffiti paint markers, there are tons of options available to you. Before you invest in a paint pen, know where you’ll be using them – what surfaces? What color backgrounds? How strong is the buff in your city?
Your Graffiti Paint Marker Options
- Steel tips are great for thin lines, drips and painting on rough surfaces. Steel tip graffiti markers are often filled with thick paint.
- White out pens are a miniature version of the steel tip paint pens and are great for smaller areas, and if you want a super thin line, and let you drip out your tags when moving slowly.
- Felt tip markers are great for thick lines, large tags and do best on smooth surfaces. Felt tip markers are a typical graffiti paint pen, and are the most commonly used.
- Mop markers are great for big, dripping tags on smooth surfaces. Mops are squeezable and allow you to release as many drips as you want.
Steel Tip Paint Markers
Steel tip paint pens have a rough tip that won’t break down as you scrape them over concrete or wood, making them amazing for rough surfaces.
They present a thin line, and are often squeezable making them insanely easy to drip (in fact, it takes good marker control to not drip).
The Good: Steel tips work excellently on rough surfaces like concrete. Great if you’re into thin lines and lots of drips.
The Bad: This is the wrong marker if you want big thick lines, or need to be silent while throwing your tag. Lid is sometimes prone to leaking.
White Out Pens
White out pens (depending on where you grew up, you might know these as correction markers) have grown in popularity since I saw them start to pop up in the late 1990’s.
Now, they are a common weapon in most graffiti artists’ arsenals.
White out markers are great for small tags on fairly smooth surfaces. They easily fit in your pocket and are easy to get ahold of. White out markers are common school/office supplies, so – unless caught in the act – shouldn’t draw too much attention if you get stopped with one in your pocket.
Since the line is so thin, the pen seems to last a long time.
The Good: White out markers are great for thin lines and hard to get places. Great for finding a small spot that the buff won’t reach. Absolutely no issue if the cops catch up with you carrying one of these. Lasts a long time.
The Bad: Not very durable, and fairly easy to buff. Terrible if you want to throw large tags or have a ton of drips.
Felt Tip Paint Markers
Felt tip pens offer the classic tag on smooth surfaces. In you’re writing on smooth surfaces, you could argue that there’s no better pen for the job. Felt tip pens come in all shapes and sizes but generally the Medium, Wide and Ultra Wide are used in the graffiti world.
These paint pens seem to last a long time because the felt tip regulates the amount of paint to come out. With pump-action felt tip markers you will have the ability to drip your tags, but in general felt tips are harder to drip than a steel tip or a mop.
They come in chisel tip and a broad tip (meaning rounded), so depending on the style of your tag, you might want to make sure you’re buying the right pen (or learn how to cut/customize your own nip).
If you are using on concrete (unless polished), your felt tip will get eaten up and torn to shreds.
The Good: Great for silent use, and indoor tags. Perfect for consistent widths on your lines, and if you want a clean tag with minimal drips. Often these are refillable (same colour), and come with sturdy lids that won’t leak.
The Bad: Performs terribly on rough surfaces. Tips can feel rigid and not leave great when you first use the pen. In general, felt tips are fairly easy to buff.
Mops are great for big, dripping tags on smooth surfaces. If you’re looking for more drips, it’s a matter of squeezing the bottle and/or slowing down your line. In time this becomes a natural habit and your tags will get better.
Mops really excel when you use them on smooth surfaces like doors or other smooth metals. The paint being squeezed out will allow your mop to glide over the surface (and drip!) easily. Since most mops use sponge or hairy tips, when used on a rough surface like concrete they will fall apart or – in cheaper models – the lid will pop off.
Mops are known to be messy, since there’s rarely any regulator stopping the paint from coming through the tip. If you don’t have a good cap/lid (most don’t) and your mop tips over in your bag, car, or pocket you can expect to have a long and permanent clean up ahead of you.
The Good: Great for large tags on smooth surfaces. Great for drips, and silent tagging.
The Bad: Not a great pen for beginners and toys as the drips can be hard to control. Mops seem to really burn through ink/paint. Tip will be torn apart if used on a rough surface. Mops can be messy.
So What’s The Best Paint Pen?
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to paint pens, so how do you know what one to buy? Start by reading some of the helpful resources we have on this site:
If you’re still wondering about something, don’t stop there. Write any questions you have in the comments and I’ll help you out.
I personally respond to each comment, so ask your question (or just say hi!) and I’ll get back to you.