Friday, March 08, 2013

Art Marker Showdown: Marvy LePlume Vs. Copic Sketch Marker

It's been two years since I first started doing alcohol based marker comparisons, and these are some of my most popular posts.  If you enjoyed this post, please consider checking out my other art supply reviews in my Reviews tab above.  If you would like to purchase a set of Marvy LePlume alcohol markers for yourself or a friend, please consider supporting this blog financially by using my Amazon affiliate search link for Marvy LePlume markers.

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It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to do a marker review.  This isn't due to a lack of markers to test (I have a backlog now), but a lack of time to actually sit down and write the reviews. 

This time, a marker contender by Marvy steps into the ring- the Marvy LePlume.  The LePlume I was able to test has only one tip- a brush tip (hence the 'plume'), an unusual offering in a world full of double ended art markers. I've recently become aware that Marvy LePlumes are now twin tipped, although I haven't had the pleasure of testing the twin tip version yet.

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

Marvy is made by Uchida (, a Japanese company that's made stationary and art supplies for over thirty years. Their product range includes markers, office pens (and glitter pens!), drawing supplies, and even gardening products. They have a wide range of markers, from acyrlic paint markers to terra cotta markers to fabric markers, but the LePlume markers (in the white barrel, not the black barrel) are the ones we'll be focusing on for this review.

This is the "Neutral" set of Marvy Le Plume alcohol based markers.  These packs come with six markers per pack.

 Marvy LePlume VS Copic Sketch

Marvy Le Plume Features

Marvy Le Plume and Copic Sketch side by side comparison.
 The Marvy LePlume is about the same length as the Copic Sketch, although it is rounder.  Since there's only one end, there's no need for a brush tip indicator line on the barrel.
Color comparison.  W's are Copic Warm Greys, N's are Marvy Le Plume Neutral Greys.  Markers are coded by very different systems.

Compared to the Copic Sketch brush nib (right) the Marvy Le Plume has a very short, somewhat stumpy brush nib.

Price per marker $2.99
  • Non-refillable
  • Non-replaceable Nibs
  • 140 Colors

  • Comfortable in hand
  • Ridge on cap to prevent rolling
  • Brush nib
  • Color on Cap
  • Color Family Coordinated
  • Smooth, not slick finish on barrel
  • Available in sets and individually
  • Available through Oriental Trading, Amazon, Art Supply Warehouse
  • Alcohol based
Copic Sketch Markers

Price Per Marker: $7.29

  • 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 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 Marvy Le Plume reacts similarly to the ink in a Copic Sketch.  The markers blend together well, although the Le Plume bleeds more than the Copic sketches do.  The nib is softer than the Copic Sketch, and feels a little gummy against the paper.  Marvy Le Plumes blend together well, requiring just a little play back and forth between shades.  Because they are non-refillable and do not feature replacable nibs, they are more similar to Prismacolor Art Brush markers, but only feature one nib.  I have not seen them available in the brick and mortar art supply stores I frequent (Dick Blick, Utrecht, Michaels), but they are available online.

For those interested, here's a video review of Marvy Le Plume markers by a stamp enthusiast: