Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Art Marker Showdown: MEPXY Markers Vs. Copic Sketch

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November 7, 2015 EDIT

These markers have become increasingly difficult to find- the Dick Blick website no longer offers them, and you'll have to purchase them through Ebay or the MEXPY website.  I've recorded a condensed video overview to help you decide if these markers are worth the effort of tracking down

MEXPY  Marker Overview



There's a new, potentially heavy hitting, contender in the alcohol marker world, available at an increasing number of brick and mortar art supply stores.  MEPXY markers share many of the same qualities that have made Copic markers so popular with professional artists, and are now offered at many of the venues that have traditionally sold Copics.  Online, MEPXY markers are available in sets and open stock, but in stores like DickBlick, I've only seen sets offered behind the same glass housing that protects the Copic sets from admiring hands.

I was eager to get my hands on a few, so I ordered from Jerry's Art-A-Rama when I placed an order for Pantone's Color Universe markers. 

MEPXY Background Information

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MEPXY markers come in two options- black design markers, and white brush tipped markers.  Markers are divided into sets with designations like 'basic' 'pastel' 'skintone' 'vivid'.  These sets contain 12 markers, and retail on the MEPXY website for $49.99.  Larger sets contain 24 ($99.99) or 36 ($139.95), or 60 ($199.95) markers.

It's difficult to find photos of the MEPXY Design Marker uncapped online, but it looks to be a twin tipped marker like the MEPXY Brush tip, and I'd hazard a guess to say that one end is chisel nib and the other bullet nib.  It seems that more companies are offering a brush option in addition to a chisel nib option- Letraset, Prismacolor, MEPXY, Copic, TriArt all offer options for both bullet nib and brush tip alcohol based markers.  Perhaps as alcohol marker becomes a popular choice for illustrators as well as layout artists, we will see even more companies offer a flexiable brush nib.

MEPXY (pronounced like 'Pepsi') touts the translucency of it's ink, and the fact that it's toner safe. From this, I assume that MEPXY ink isn't alcohol based after all, but utilizes some solvent similiar to the ADPRO markers.  In the future, I may  have to test their compatibility.

MEPXY vs. Copic Sketch

MEPXY

When ordering my MEPXY markers, I went for bright colors that I don't necessarily own within my range of Copic markers.  Although this makes comparing colors more difficult, it makes intregrating the sets easier.  MEPXY are similar in design to Spectrum Noir markers in that the cap is flared.



The MEPXY marker caps are pretty accurate to the color the markers produce.  They are rich and vibrant.



As you can see, the MEPXY is much larger than the Copic sketch, although their brushes and chisel nibs are about the same size.  The MEPXY is a bit bulky in the hand.  Like the Copic Sketch, the MEPXY has a grey end for the brush tip to make it easier to find.

 Price per marker $2.79 (www.dickblick.com, marked as clearance)

  • Refillable
  • Replacable Nibs
  • 200 available colors
  • Blendable
  • 'Super' brush
  • Color code on cap
  • Availability:  DickBlick, Jerry's ArtaRama, MEPXY website, Amazon
  • Sold individually and in sets
  • Blender marker available
  • Design and Brush options available 
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Copic Sketch
 Price Per Marker: $7.29


  • Refillable
  • Replacable Nibs
  • Comfortable in hand
  • 358 available number of colors
  • Blend
  • 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 Pentel Technica 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).  I also test blender compatibility with the Copic Colorless Blender.

 In this test, the dark red MEPXY performed much like the Copic Sketch- neither reacted strongly to either brand of blender, and blending between the brands was difficult to judge based on the saturation of both colors.  Future testing with a greater discrepency between colors is necessary to truely judge MEPXY's compatibility with Copic alcohol ink.

From what I have seen of this test, both brands seem to perform on the same level.  MEPXY markers retail on the MEPXY website for around $5.00 each, which while far below the average price for a Copic Sketch, is not nearly as low as they retail for on DickBlick's website.  I have not seen them sold open stock in any brick and mortar art supply store I've been to, but this may because the product is still relatively new.  I have not seen refill ink nor replacement nibs available online nor in person, so these supplies may be hard to come by, and I have zero familiarity with the MEXPY brand, nor parent companies.  I am also not sure how well these markers hold up to long term use, this is something only repeated and prolonged testing will reveal.

I intend to perform further testing with MEPXY alcohol based markers to determine just how comparable they are to Copic Sketch markers, but as of right now, I will say that they aren't a bad choice for a beginner artist, particularly if they're purchased online during a sale.  When purchasing these markers, I advise keeping in mind that refill ink and replacement nibs may always be difficult to procure, so these markers may be more disposable than intended.  If refill ink never becomes easily available in the United States, that would decrease their monetary value to me by about three dollars, making them a fine sale purchase, but not worth their full price.

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