Winsor & newton Watercolor Markers

I was super excited to try the new Winsor & Newton Watercolor markers ($4.50 per marker, 6-color set for $27 and 12-color set for $51). I have loved the Sai Watercolor Markers so much I basically have two sets: one for work and one for home so I was definitely ready to try a different brand. It was time to get professional!

Physically, these are chunky pens, comparable in size to a Design marker or other larger professional marker. They are smooth cylinders but the bullet cap on one end has a notch to keep the pens from rolling off the table. It’s recommended to keep these markers stored flat to keep the ink inside evenly distributed between the tips so I’d recommend if you are inclined to own a set of six or more, to keep them in a pencil or cigar box to keep them flat and less inclined from rolling away.

The advantage of the Winsor & Newton line of Watercolor markers is:

  • The markers have two tips: a fine bullet tip on one end and a flexible brush tip on the other.
  • Most of the colors are true lightfast watercolors in marker form. I found this chart on the W&N site. Since the marker colors are numbered on the cap to align with the professional watercolors, all of the markers receive either an AA or A rating for lightfastness. By W&N’s ratings that is “permanent or extremely permanent color”. I enjoy using the Sai watercolor brushes for sketchbooks but I do not know the lightfastness and therefore do not use them in artwork or pieces that might be exposed to light nor would I recommend them to other people for work that might be displayed.
  • The W&N watercolor marker colors are super pigmented which means they can be blended and toned with water or blended with each other to give a wider range of color options.
  • The pigment colors in the markers are the same as those used in W&N watercolors so the markers can be mixed with the paints and vice versa. The colors will blend, mix and combine seamlessly.

Winsor & newton Watercolor Markers

The brush tip end is definitely my favorite. It is great for brush lettering styles and painting. Its a great way to get some quick marks on paper for making art on the go. You can even touch the tip of a waterbrush to the tip of the marker to lift color from the marker and transfer it to the waterbrush for softer color and a more washy, color effect.

Winsor & newton Watercolor Markers drawing test

I tested the Winsor & Newton Watercolor markers on Strathmore 500 mixed media sketchbook paper . The first swatch on the left is straight from the marker brush tip, the next swatch is one stroke with the brush tip. I let is dry for a minute or so and then I went back with a paintbrush loaded with water to see how much I could move the paint around. As you can see, some colors moved more than others. The hearts were done by touching a waterbrush to the marker tip and transferring the color to the waterbrush for a lighter color. The final dot was done by dabbing one dot of color from the marker onto a wet water circle for a wet-on-wet effect.

I found out, after I did my samples, that the markers can be rubbed into a non-porous dish like a white plastic, ceramic plate or mixing tray and then mixed or thinned with water to create additional colors and values. I’ve been playing around with this to get a wider, more complex range of hues and make the markers a fun way to play.

Even though the photo above shows a palette of pan watercolors, all the color was actually done with W&N watercolor brush markers, I just forgot when I took the photo. Oops!

The W&N watercolor brush markers are an interesting addition to any art kit. I wouldn’t say that they would ever replace  or usurp my pan sets but I like carrying one or two colors with me for line work or quick sketching. They are definitely good for travel and portability.

The GIVEAWAY: I’m going to give one lucky reader a set of 6 colors of the Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers in a metal storage box thanks to the generosity of JetPens. The colors included in the tin are: Alizarin Crimson Hue, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Ivory Black, Prussian Blue Hue, Sap Green, and Yellow Ochre. (Note: In some cases, the colors included may vary from those listed.)

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite watercolor paper or brushes to use If you’re new to watercolor, tell me your dream set-up. One entry per person.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Wednesday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your real email address in the comment form (not in the comment!) so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US readers only this time.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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56 Comments on Review: Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers (and Giveaway)

  1. So recently I started trying to play with watercolors again (Aack! What an annoying sentence). I haven’t settled on any particular paper, but have been playing with both my Cotman pan watercolor travel kit and various types of watercolor pencils on a Canson mixed media pad, some Strathmore watercolor paper (nothing too fancy), and a really old mixed media pad from my stash whose brand escapes me now. I’ve also been trying my watercolors on the Tomoe River paper in my Hobonichi Techo, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet so it’s a bit of a fail. As for brushes, I must say I like using the Niji water brush I have. It works especially well with my watercolor pencils, and cleanup is so easy.

    I haven’t used watercolor pens yet; thanks for posting about your experience. Cool giveaway!

  2. I took some watercolor classes a few years ago and then did well with pastels but I have wanted to get back into watercolor again. I seem to have a bad case of winter blues and Artist’s Block (similar to Writer’s block!). I am hoping the markers will snap me out of it and I can begin to explore a new kind of technique using the markers. I don’t have any particular favorite paper…can make any of them work for me.

  3. My favorite watercolor tools right now are actually the Sai markers! They’re easy to play with, and I find myself using them more nowadays than any other paints, pencils, pens, etc. I’d love to expand my watercolor pen set! <3

  4. I’m new to watercolor, but I’ve been eyeing the Sakura Koi set and different types of hot pressed paper. The markers look awesome!

  5. I am slowly trying to get into watercolour, but the traditional style of water colour palettes is a bit daunting. I would love to have a go with these markers, especially as they have such lovely colours.

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