Why are Posca markers so expensive? Plus four cheaper alternatives

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If you’re one to invest in new art pens, whether to restock your favorite supplies or test out different products, you’ll know that this can occasionally burn a hole in your pocket. 

While you can find a good selection of reasonable paint markers for lower prices, buying from top brands like Posca will require a bit of a splurge.  

So, why are Posca markers so expensive, and what makes them so valuable? Here are a few reasons why these acrylic paint markers are worth every penny, plus a few cheaper Posca alternatives for anyone on a tight budget.

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

Why are Posca markers so expensive?

Posca markers are expensive because, simply put, they are very high-quality products. Everything from the opaqueness and versatility of the paint to the pen nib and body build is fantastic, making these some of the best paint markers you can buy.

Another thing to consider is that similar high-end brands, like Krink or Liquitex, are almost exactly the same price.

If you want more details, here’s a quick overview of what makes these acrylic art pens sought after time after time by creatives from all walks of life.

1. Range

Posca markers_why are Posca markers so expensive?
Photo via Stephanie Bento (Tiny Workshops)

Posca’s marker range is undoubtedly one of its most valuable assets. The Japanese brand boasts an extensive catalog of colors and marker styles to suit every artist — not to mention other art supplies like pencils and pastels.

Currently, Posca features nine marker tips and six pen body shapes, including its most recent addition, the jumbo-sized MOP’R pen. The brand is known for its range of innovative, high-quality tips: precision, bullet, chisel, and rectangular XXL nibs.

So far, the brand has developed more than 50 colors for its paint markers, including primary, glitter, metallic, and fluorescent hues. And although every color isn’t available for every type of marker, you’ll have a plentiful variety to work with. You can check all the colors out here!

Posca markers are sold separately and in sets of varying capacities, giving you options to buy in bulk or cherry-pick specific items you want or need to achieve particular effects or projects.

If you’re considering purchasing these products online, I recommend looking into Amazon, Blick, and Jackson’s to compare prices and find the best deals.

2. Versatility

Posca projects_Why are Posca markers so expensive?
Photo via Stephanie Bento (Tiny Workshops)

Do you tend to stick to a single craft, or do you jump around from creative hobby to creative hobby? With Posca markers, you don’t have to choose.

These top-of-the-line acrylic paint markers are all about versatility and can accommodate every surface type you can muster. Besides paper and cardstock, you can take your art to the next level by customizing everything from rocks, fabric, metal, ceramic, glass, plastic, wood, and more.

Check out our list of what to draw with Posca markers for more ideas!

In other words, Posca pens are expensive because they cater to every project type and artist, whether classic painters, newbie illustrators, or urban art aficionados — and guarantee superb finishes every time.

There are low-cost brands that claim to be as versatile as Posca markers, and some of them are close. But it’s hard to beat the brand’s excellence across all surfaces. In addition, pigments are a dream, making them compatible with a myriad of background colors and textures.

But, more on Posca paint next!

3. Paint

Posca paint swatch_why are Posca markers so expensive?
Photo via Stephanie Bento (Tiny Workshops)

At the heart of Posca markers is their paint.

Posca paint is available in 50+ colors of opaque, vibrant, and (very) conveniently odorless pigment.

These premium water-based, non-toxic paint markers are lightfast and ensure incredible coverage with just a few strokes. Paint dries quickly and flat, making it easy to work over any mistakes without packing on huge amounts of globby paint.

Posca paint comes in many colors and tones, from vivid primary colors to disco-ball-like glitter pigments, so you won’t run out of options here. Also, colors are consistent and faithfully match the brand’s official paint color chart — something you can’t exactly count on with cheap Posca alternatives.

Another benefit worth pointing out is that Posca paint is incredibly efficient for both permanent and temporary results. Its formula is easy to wash off of many surfaces but can be sealed easily for permanent creations, such as indoor and outdoor DIY makeovers.

Lastly, Posca paint is fun for creating effects, whether color gradients or blowing splattered pigment across smooth and textured surfaces. It also responds very well to water, which makes it perfect for achieving different consistencies. Check out our guide to how to use Posca pens for more examples of this.

4. Design

Posca marker design_why are Posca markers so expensive?
Photos via Stephanie Bento (Tiny Workshops)

Aesthetically, Posca markers are stunning, but it doesn’t end there: their technology provides creatives with top-quality crafting and top-notch results.

Besides perfectly shaped tips, one of Posca markers’ most notable features is their valve mechanism, guaranteeing effortless re-saturating of tips and paint conservation.

These markers also contain a small ball inside the body, ensuring paint mixes consistently when shaken. If you’ve used Posca markers before, you’ll recognize their signature ball-clicking sound!

In addition, markers are very comfortable to grip and come with sturdy caps that ensure a lengthy shelf life. Caps are color-coded with matching hues per marker, making color distinction a breeze while you’re hands-on.

Also, I want to give Posca a well-deserved shout-out for its somewhat customizable structure. Although the brand doesn’t sell acrylic paint separately, these pens can be reused and refilled with other pigments once the paint runs out.

Lastly, Posca’s removable tips make cleaning easy and allow for replacements without having to dispose of your markers entirely. These are all excellent perks to save money, but primarily, reduce waste and support more sustainable crafting.

Posca marker alternatives

Posca marker alternatives_why are Posca markers so expensive?
Photo via Stephanie Bento (Tiny Workshops)

If Posca markers are too much of an investment right now, the good news is that you can purchase good-quality acrylic paint markers for a lower cost.

Below, I’ve listed my top recommendations if you’re after cheaper Posca marker alternatives.

ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Markers

ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Markers, Set

While obviously not in the Posca league, Arteza offers a good range of quality paint markers for first-time artists and hobbyists at a very reasonable price. This pack contains 40 colors, including 17 opaque plus three metallic shades.

This set costs a little over $40, roughly $1/marker, which, in my book, is hella cheap.

Are they flawless? No.

Are they the best you can buy? Also no.

But they’re absolutely worth it if you’re starting new creative hobbies, whether drawing on canvas, glass, ceramic, rock, or plastic.

SAKURA Pen-Touch Paint Markers

Sakura Pen Touch Paint Pens

Sakura’s Pen-Touch Paint Markers are popular among creatives of all skill levels, guaranteeing consistent excellence and product range. Like Posca, the brand makes fade-resistant, high-quality, permanent paint markers.

In addition, they’re just as versatile, working across most surfaces like wood, ceramic, metal, paper, glass, and more. So, what’s the price to pay for this Posca marker alternative?

Sakura sells markers individually and in sets, with savings primarily found in packs. For instance, you can find a set of Sakura basic colors (5 markers) on art suppliers like Blick for under $15. On the other hand, Posca has a similar set (8 markers) priced at nearly $20.

It’s true that it contains more items, but if you don’t need as many colors when starting out, buying the Sakura 5-pack will save you that extra cash. Note that individual Sakura markers are also slightly cheaper than Posca pens, but I would stick to sets.

However, remember that prices may vary per seller, color theme, and number of items per pack. I recommend Blick if you’re looking for great deals!

Decocolor Acrylic Paint Markers and Sets

DecoColor Acrylic Paint

Decocolor Acrylic Paint Markers are a good pick if you’re searching for cheaper Posca pen alternatives for craft activities and school projects. These markers come in many colors and tip styles and can be bought in sets or individually.

Despite containing less variety per pack vs. Posca paint pens, Decocolor markers are a great option to jumpstart your paint marker collection without breaking the bank.

You can find 4-marker sets on Blick for under $9 and individual markers for $3-7 (the latter will depend on tip style). This means you’re better off purchasing a set (or two) for more variety and better value.

Decocolor acrylic paint markers are permanent, odorless, and compatible with various surfaces, from canvas and wood to paper and glass. Note that they’re a little more glossy than Posca markers but opaque enough to give your artwork bold pops of color.

Sharpie Waterbased Paint Markers and Sets

Sharpie Paint Markers

Sharpie water-based markers contain opaque paint and can be applied on different surfaces. However, they’re only fully permanent on paper and cardstock, making them ideal for stationery and papercraft.

You can purchase these Sharpie markers on Amazon, although I suggest Blick if you’re interested in a broader catalog. Unless you’re looking for a specific marker, I advise buying pens in sets vs. individually to get more bang for your buck.

I really like this pastel-colored 5-pack. It’s available for under $15. A similar Posca set (soft colors) costs nearly $20. Assorted Sharpie color packs are also more cost-effective than Posca, although they contain fewer items.

Like most of the previous suggestions, these Sharpie markers will do the trick if you’re looking for basic sets at first rather than all the colors of the rainbow! When purchasing, keep an eye out for different tip styles to ensure you get what you need.


That’s it for this guide on why Posca markers are so expensive — but definitely worth buying! Do you have any other cheap Posca marker alternatives? Drop it in the comments below!

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