Monday, February 18, 2013

Art Marker Showdown: Chartpak Adpro vs. Copic Sketch

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Chartpak Ad Pro markers have been on the periphery of my marker purchasing bubble since I first started using markers for professional grade illustrations.  Conveniently situated right next to the Letraset Trias, Prismacolor Premiers, and Copic kiosks, I've often passed them by on my way to more familiar markers.

I didn't have a particular reason for passing up Chartpak's markers in the stores- I'd heard of no major flaw regarding the brand.  In a world of Prismacolor and Copic marker tutorials, there was surprisingly little regarding Chartpak, despite it's ubiquitous nature.  My severely limited supply budget meant that I skipped untested products for surefire ones, so Chartpak Ad Pro markers didn't enter my collection until very recently.

Unlike the majority of the markers I've selected to review, Chart Pak Ad Pro markers don't come with a brush option, nor are they twin tip markers.  I can't even say that they're alcohol based, although they certainly do involve a solvent besides water.

Art Supply Review Disclaimer

As always, these art supply reviews are based on my own experiences and tastes, and may not be directly relevant to your needs and techniques. When investing in a product as expensive and potentially long lasting as alcohol based markers, it's wise to take into consideration a variety of sources, and to do your research.

Background Information on Chartpak

Chartpak is the parent company of several smaller art supply brands you may be more familiar with, including Koh-i-noor, Higgins, Pelikan, and Clearprint.

Chartpak got its start in 1949 and specialized in engineering and visual communication materials.

ChartPak Ad Pro Vs. Copic Sketch

Chartpak

Price per marker:
$2.69 (DickBlick.com)
  • Not refillable
  • No replacable nibs
  •  130 number of colors available in the tri tip, 25 available in the fine tip.

  • Two nibs available- fine tip and tri tip
Source
Tri nib:
Triangular shaped tip, three tips in one
Fine tip: Classic cone shape
Designed for detail work
  • Color sticker on cap
  • Color coded on side of barrel, sort of hard to find
  • Without cap, marker rolls
  • Availability: Amazon, DickBlick (online and in person), most art supply stores
  • Blender marker available
  • Sold individually, pack size
  • Blend-able
And here's a little tidbit, Jim Ligget  has made a chart of the 36 essential colors:

Source
And another interesting chart:

Source  Original source

Copic Sketch

Price Per Marker: $7.29 (Amazon)

Source

    • Refillable
    • Replacable Nibs
    • Comfortable in hand
    • 358 available number of colors
    • Blend-able
    • Color Name and Family on Cap
    • Color Coded cap
    • Super Brush
    • Can mix own colors, blank markers available
    • Availability: limited availability at Michaels, many art supply stores, Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama, Jetpens, Amazon
    • Available in individual and color themed sets
    • Alcohol based
    • React to rubbing alcohol and 'blender' fluid
    •  Can be blended

The Comparison

 This test is my standard for all alcohol based marker comparison tests, and you've already seen it with my Spectrum Noir, Prismacolor Premiers, ShinHan Twin Touch, FlexMarkers, and Pantone Letraset Tria tests. I test the marker's compatibility with a variety of technical pens (Sakura Micron, Copic Multiliner, Pitt Pen, the waterbased ink found in Akashiya brush pens, the gel ink in Hi Tec C rollerball pens), as well as it's ability to blend and layer (shown on the sphere) and it's ability to mix with the other marker (show in the boxed area). New to this test is the compatibility with Copic's Colorless Blender as well as the compatibility with the Chartpak blender.


When selecting Chartpak markers, you have two options.  The tri nib tipped markers have a solid colored barrel.  The fine nib barrels have a white crosshatched pattern.  I've read online that the color dots on the caps aren't very accurate to the actual marker color, so you should make sure you test your markers before purchasing.  As with non-refillable Prismacolor markers, you should also test your marker to make sure there's plenty of ink left, and that the nib hasn't been wrecked before purchasing.  I've read that Chartpak markers last a very long time, but I have no first hand experience with that.


Chartpak marker nibs differ greatly from the nibs of other brands of markers.   They seem to be made of a much harder material, not the felt or nylon I'm used to when it comes to markers.  The material has no give, so the fine point nib has zero flex to it, and cannot be used in lieu of a brush tip.




Chartpak markers put down a lot of ink per application, and the ink is prone to bleeding.  Paper saturation is near instantaneous.


Compared to the Copics, Chartpak markers bleed A LOT, and though they saturate the paper easily, it's hard to get an even application of color with their stiff nibs.


This marker test alone bled through three sheets of paper.

The Test Results



Chartpak AdPro markers and Copic Sketch markers are not compatible.  The blender for the Chartpak 'works' with both brands, but the Copic blender does not work with Chartpak markers.  The Chartpak markers are the first brand I've tested not to cause smearing with the Akashiya brush pen, possibly because the solvent isn't alcohol based.

Chartpak markers are quite affordable compared to Copic Sketch markers, but don't offer nearly the same results.  The color range is much smaller, the bleed is much larger, and these markers are a bit difficult to control.  There's no flex to the nib.  They seem to be used primarily as layout markers and not as illustration markers.
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