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I fear at times that I may come off as a Copic snob, but I assure you, I do not intend to be. I recognize that different markers are produced for different audiences, and I do not recommend Copic as a blanket solution to all art and craft needs. I am aware that these markers are expensive, may be difficult to find, and require a certain amount of upkeep, and I try to mention these aspects in my reviews. However, these reviews were intended to find a marker that has many of the best attributes of a Copic marker without the hefty price-tag, and the attributes I find appealing may not appeal to all users.
Alcohol based markers are a popular tool of choice for stampers, scrapbookers, and general craft. Many useful, basic Copic marker tutorials were designed with stampers in mind, and can be utilized by artists looking to learn markering techniques for illustration. While testing alcohol based marker options, I wanted to leave no stone unturned, so I have tested markers aimed more at crafters than at fine artists. Offerings such as this include Spectrum Noir and today's marker up for the gauntlet- American Craft's Chromatix Marker. Purchasing alcohol based markers for craft may have a different set of requirements than a marker purchased for illustration, and it seems like these craft marker options try to keep that in mind. If you are reading this blog as a crafter, this review may be helpful for you.
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 about American CraftsAmerican Crafts was founded in 1994 by Alma and Steve Mitchell and their sons. Originally AC specialized in pen and marker manufacturing, but expanded in the late 90's to include scrapbooking products as well. Products currently sold include Chromatix markers, colored pencils, and gel pens.
Chromatix Markers Vs. Copic Sketch MarkersChromatix Markers
- Individual marker- $3.99 (Amazon)
- Designed with stampers in mind
- Available in 22 colors
- Individual markers- 3.99
- 3 pack- 10.99, 30 piece set in box- 67.40
- (Got mine on eBay, several packs for super low price)
- Colorless blender available
- Probably not designed for illustration or illustrators
- Availability- Amazon, eBay, American Crafts website (https://www.americancrafts.com/default.aspx?PageID=49&CategoryID=381)
- Double sided- bullet nib and brush nib
- Caps are capable of posting
- Non-replaceable nibs
Price Per Marker: $7.29
- Replacable Nibs
- Comfortable in hand
- 358 available number of colors
- 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 Chromatix marker is much longer than the Copic Sketch, but a bit thinner. It has a bullet nib and a chisel nib, which can make covering large areas of paper quickly difficult.|
|Unlike Copic Sketch caps, Chromatix caps post, but the marker will roll if it's entirely capless.|
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.
The VerdictChromatix markers are a fair bit cheaper than Copic Sketch markers. Both feature a flexible brush tip, but the Chromatix markers have a bullet nib rather than a chisel nib. This bullet nib may be useful for detail work, but I've read complaints online that crafters find it difficult to get large, even color fields with the brush nib (TIP: Presaturate your area with colorless blender, work in small circles, repeat). Both markers are alcohol based, but the Chromatix is non-refillable, making it comparable to Prismacolor Premier markers. Compared to these, Chromatix markers are difficult to find and may not contain as much ink.
Chromatix color range is extremely limited and users may have difficulty getting the colors or blends they need. Chromatix seem a bit dry compared to Copic Sketch markers, and blending between markers may take some effort.