Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Art Marker Showdown: Letraset FlexMarker vs. Copic Sketch

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In order to compete with the popularity of the Super Brush nib available on Copic Sketch and Copic Ciao markers, many alcohol based marker companies have been releasing an art brush option.  You've already seen a couple in action recently with my Prismacolor Premier Art Brush review and ShinHan Twin Touch reviews, and I've got another in store.  This week's contender is the Letraset Flex Marker, a super brush option available from the same folks who produce Promarker and the Tria alcohol based markers.

You guys know from my ShinHan Twin Touch review that there's three qualities I look for in an alcohol based marker.

  1. Flexable nib that can mimic the flex of a watercolor brush.
  2.  Refill-ability
  3. Blend-ability with other markers
It is with these qualities in mind that I rate my markers but I keep other qualities like availability and price in mind when writing these reviews.  Beyond personal curiosity and an actual love for art supply testing, my goal for these reviews is to help other artists begin or augment their marker collections with art markers that will benefit their art, not create obstacles.  While a very talented artist can work with any material given, there's no reason to unnecessarily shackle yourself to poor materials.

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.

Letraset History


I covered a basic history of Letraset in my review of their Tria and Promarkers, as well as a list of their available markers.

Letraset Flex Marker Vs. Copic Sketch

Letraset Flex


  • Refillable- could not find information
  • Replacable Nibs- could not find information
  • 148 Colors

  • Comfortable in hand
  • Color sticker on cap
  • Color coded on side of barrel, sort of hard to find
  • Without cap, marker rolls
  • This is the super brush option
  • Availability: Amazon, Letraset website, eBay
  • Same ink as Tria and Promarkers
  • Twin tipped- chisel end and brush tip
  • Blender marker available
  • Sold individually, in 6 and 12 blister packs
  • Price per marker:  $2.02 (Amazon)
  • Blendable
Source

Copic Sketch

  • 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
  • Price Per Marker: $7.29 (Amazon)
  • 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

Flexmarkers come in a reclose-able blister pack that holds each marker snugly in place.   The blister pack is not very sturdy, nor attractive, but it's free and portable.


Unlike Trias and Promarkers, Letraset's FlexMarker does not have two different caps to denote the end.  Rather, there's a tiny symbol near the cap, but it's very easy to miss.

Unlike most of the brush tips I've encountered, this one is more conical



It's also a bit shorter than the Copic Superbrush tip.


The chisel nib doesn't seem to be as well fitted to the marker as the Copic Sketch's chisel nib.


A colorless blender came with my set of 12 markers.

Color comparison shots.

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, ShinHan Twin Touch, 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 FlexMarker's blender.


I found the FlexMarker to be a bit dry, and even when I saturate the paper with colorless blender, I still get patchy blending.  Flexmarkers and Copics seem to play well together, and I believe Flexmarkers would make a very fair start for a marker collection, particularly as they're a fair bit cheaper than Copics.  I've never seen them in person, so they may be harder to find in a physical store.  I realize that this is a dealbreaker for many young artists, so if you cannot find Letraset Flexmarkers in stores, you should inquire about the Prismacolor artbrush, particularly if having a brush tip is important to you.
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