Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Art Marker Showdown: Copic Sketch Vs. ShinHan Twin Touch

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I've pitted Prismacolor Premiers, Spectrum Noirs, and Pantone Letraset Trias against the heavy-weight title holder, Copic's Sketch markers.  All of these markers share one vital aspect- they're all alcohol based art markers, used in a variety of ways.  From scrap booking and card making to professional illustration, selecting the alcohol based art marker that works best for your needs is important.  I've found that there are a plethora of marker reviewed geared at the hobbyist, but few toward professional illustrators looking for professional results.  I hope that my reviews can help to fill that gap, and I try to keep in mind three very important aspects that I feel all art markers should have.
  1. Flexable nib that can mimic the flex of a watercolor brush.
  2. Refill-ability
  3. Blend-ability with other markers
Not every artist purchases art markers with these needs in mind, and many excellent artists work with sub-par materials with great results.  However, the aspiring illustrator needs reliable tools that produce predictable results and are capable of reproducing techniques shown in tutorials, and this is why I test the parameters I test.  I'm aware that many artists are looking for a cheaper alternative to Copic brand art markers, so I try to test with that in mind.

I'm particularly excited about today's review, as I've tested the South Korean  ShinHan Twin Touch, which is considered by many to be Copic Sketch's closest competitor.  I purchased my Twin Touch markers online, via Jerry's Art-a-Rama (link).  Twin Touch markers come in two types:  the nib tipped and the brush tipped, so if you want the flexible brush tip, you need to make sure that's what you've put into your cart.  No matter which type you choose, both varieties utilize alcohol based ink and have nylon nibs.

I first saw ShinHan Twin Touch markers at this year's New York Comic Con, although I haven't had an opportunity to check them out until recently.  The fact that they looked so similar to Copic Sketch markers caught my eye, and I wondered if they could possibly hold a candle to Copic Sketch markers' super flexible brush tip.

Background Information on ShinHan Art Materials


ShinHan is a South Korean art supply company that makes supplies such as poster colors, watercolors, and alcohol based art markers.  It got it start in 1967, and began exporting in 1980.  In 1992, the ShinHan Twin Touch was launched, and the brush tip came out in 2000.

ShinHan Twin Touch Alcohol Based Art Marker
Source


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.

ShinHan Twin Touch Alcohol Based Markers Vs. Copic Sketch Alcohol Based Markers

ShinHan Twin Touch Markers
ShinHan Twin Touch Alcohol Based Art Marker 48 Color Set
Source
ShinHan Twin Touch Marker Features:
Broad/Chisel Tip:  $3.40 (Jerry's Artarama)
Brush tip: $4.30 (Jerry's Artarama)
Refill Ink (good for 4 refills) $5.80 (MarkerPop)

  • Refillable
  • Replacable Nibs
  • 204 Colors
ShinHan Twin Touch Color Chart

  • Comfortable in hand
  • Color name and Family on Caps
  • Color coded caps
  • Super Brush Option
  • Availability: Jerry's Artarama, Amazon, MarkerPop
  • Blender marker available
  • Two types of marker- Chisel nib and Brush tip
  • Alcohol based ink
  • Available in individual and color themed sets
Copic Alcohol Based Markers

Copic Original, Copic Sketch, Copic Ciao, Copic Wide alcohol based art markers
Source


Copic Sketch Marker Features:
Price per Copic Sketch $7.29 (Amazon)
Price per Copic Ciao $3.59 (Amazon)
Price per Refill $10.99 (Amazon Prime)  (I've seen it for around $8 at the Dick Blick in Savannah, though)

  • Refillable
  •  Replaceable 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

ShinHan Twin Touch and Copic Sketch side by side marker comparison
 At first glance, the Twin Touch is very similar to the Copic Sketch.  They're about the same size and shape, although the Twin Touch is more square and the Sketch is more oblong.  Both fit into the hand well, although the Copic Sketch feels a little heftier (in a good way).

ShinHan Twin Touch and Copic Sketch cap side by side comparison
 Both the ShinHan Twin Touch and the Copic Sketch markers have color coded plastic caps that denote the color name, color family, as well as an approximation of the color itself.  The Twin Touch label seems to be printed on, while the Copic Sketch is embossed.
 Both markers have a stripe of grey plastic to help you find the brush tip of the marker easily, although the Copic's stripe is both larger and higher contrast, making it easier to find.  The brushes are approximately the same size and shape.

ShinHan Twin Touch and Copic Sketch super brush side by side comparison

The Twin Touch cap is pretty solidly on, so it wont fall off in your bag while travelling, pretty similar to Copic's cap.  The plastic of the Twin Touch color coded cap is a little more translucent than the Copic Sketch's.


ShinHan Twin Touch and Copic Sketch alcohol based art markers color accuracy test

For both Copic Sketch and Twin Touch markers, the caps are pretty true to the actual color of the marker.

The Test Results

 This test is my standard for all alcohol based marker comparison tests, and you've already seen it with my Spectrum Noir, Prismacolor Premiers, 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. ShinHan also has a colorless blender marker available, but I don't have one to test for this supply review.

ShinHan Twin Touch and Copic Sketch marker test results

The test is a little blown out, as my scanner has a tendency to do that.  As you can see, it was fairly easy for me to match colors (the hot pinks notwithstanding, as I ordered them to add to my actual color collection, so I went for colors I did not already have).  ShinHan Twin Touch's Blue Greys are very similar to Copic Sketch's Cool Greys, and would make for excellent field skething markers, as they're much cheaper.

The ShinHan markers are a bit dry compared to Copic Sketch markers, and the brush tip is a bit gummy (it wants to stick to the page).  The inks work well together, although it's easier to blend Copic Sketch into Twin Touch due to the wetter nib.  Applying color with a Twin Touch marker is a little streaky (again, due to that dry, gummy nib).

As always, both markers reacted poorly to the Akashiya ink (it's possibly lacquer or shellac based, and the alcohol based ink dissolves that).  Both markers tend to pick up a little of the other inks as well, but that's because I'm applying color immediately after applying the ink.  I recommend waiting at least an hour to allow the ink to fully dry before applying color.

The Verdict


I think Twin Touch markers are Copic Sketch marker's closest competition with refillable ink, vibrant colors, and replaceable nibs, particularly as Twin Touch markers are cheaper than Copics and perform with similar results.  I think Twin Touch markers are an excellent addition to a marker collection, particularly if you purchase colors you only occasionally use.  My only issue is the gummy brush tip, which may be either the result or the culprit of the dry ink application.  If you utilize saturation in your markering technique, you would have a difficult time doing so with the Twin Touch markers.  Both of these alcohol based marker brands are an excellent choice for illustrators, although I would say that the Twin Touch is probably comparable to the Copic Ciao marker in price and features.

If you're looking for a cheaper Copic substitute for scrapbooking and stamping, the ShinHan Twin Touch may be just the marker to suit your needs.  If you're looking for a marker that performs as well as a Copic Sketch marker or a Copic Caio marker, you may be disappointed with the ShinHan Twin Touch's features.

Other Reviews of ShinHan Twin Touch alcohol based markers:

Invisible Paperclip
Get It Scrapped!
Crafty Moira



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