Thursday, April 25, 2013

Art Based Marker Showdown: Kuretake KureColor Twin S Markers Vs. Copic Sketch

EDIT: 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 Kurecolor Twin S markers for yourself or a friend, please consider supporting this blog financially by using my Amazon affiliate search link for Kuretake KureColor Twin S markers.
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It's been a little while since my last marker review, but I haven't been idle.  In the downtime, I attended MoCCA, went to Luling, and finally received the motherlode of markers ordered via eBay.

This week's marker test is the Kurecolor Twin marker by Kuretake.  Kurecolor Twin is available in two types, both of which are twin tipped- the regular Kuretake Twin, and the Kuretake Twin S, which is smaller.
When testing art markers, I keep three qualities in mind.  These qualities are what I find to be ideal, but may not suite your needs.  These qualities are:

1. Flexable nib that can mimic the flex of a watercolor brush.
2. Refill-ability
3. Blend-ability with other markers

I realize that there are many hobbyists and artists out there who are not particularly concerned with these values.  Stampers may not be particularly interested in a flexable nib.  Students on a budget may not be concerned with refill-ability if it comes with additional price.  Blend-ability may not be a particular concern if one's doing layout work.  I realize that my reviews may not suite every need, so I have widened my marker horizon in an attempt to introduce my audience to new options.

I've used Kuretake products in the past, and am satisfied with their overall performance, so I was eager to test the Kurecolor Twin and Twin S.  As with all of my marker tests, these markers were purchased with my own money, and this is not a sponsored post.  I will be as unbiased in my testing as possible.

Background information on Kuretake and Kurecolor

Kuretake has long had products available in the US under the Zig line of scrapbooking supplies. When I was in highschool, I inked my comics with archival Zig technical pens, and I keep a Kuretake fude brush in my inking kit. Kuretake began in 1902 with the founder, Narakichi Watatani manufacturing and selling sumi ink sticks. In 1965, Kuretake began international trade. In 1997, the Memory System (scrapbooking markers) were launched, and their first retail store, DUO opened. (http://www.kuretake.co.jp/en/history/index.html)  Kuretake offers a variety of products in 2013, including traditional calligraphy items, office supplies, scrapbooking materials, and signmaking tools. (http://www.kuretake.co.jp/en/product/index.html).

Information about Kurecolor Markers

Source

ZIG Kurecolor is a system designed for use by graphic designers and professional artists. With it's vast choice of 106 colours you can create endless styles of artwork. They are divided into 9 colour groups (12 colours per group). They are Basic, Brilliant, Natural, Dull, Pale, Deep, Grey Colours, Cool Greys, Warm Grays. Each marker is colour coded on the barrel and on the cap, making the colour you want easy to find without wasting time!

The range is also complimented by our ZIG Kurecolor Refill inks. There are 106 colours available in a 25cc/bottle. The pens can be refilled through the tip and on average you should be able to refill one pen six times from one refill bottle. The refill inks can also be used for use with an airbrush. By using the refill blender you can create various gradation effects!
 Source: http://www.kuretake.co.uk/products/art-and-craft/KC1100.aspx

Kurecolor Markers feature alcohol based inks, and can mark on a variety of surfaces, including paper, plastic, glass, metal, and photos, much like Copic markers.

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.

Kurecolor Twin S Markers Vs. Copic Sketch markers

Towards the back, the Kurecolor Twin.  The front, the Kurecolor Twin S.  As you can see, the Kurecolor Twin is much heftier than the Kurecolor Twin S.  Both use the same ink refills.

Neither of these nibs are very exciting, nor do they have much give.



Cultpens sent me my markers in their boxes.

The Kuretake Twin isn't much different than the Twin S, other than size.  The bullet nib is a little bit bigger than the Twin S.



 

Kurecolor Twin S
  • Refillable
  • 106 colors
  • 9 groups (Basic, Brilliant, Natural, Dull, Pale, Deep, Grey Colors, Cool Greys, Warm Greys)
  • Color coded on barrel
  • 2.50 eu or $3.30 
  • Sold individually and in 12 color sets
  • Kurecolor Twin S markers fit comfortably in my hand, the original Kurecolor Twin markers are too large for me to comfortably use
  • Twin tipped- chisel and bullet nibs
  • Availability: Marker Supply, Kuretake's website, Cult Pens
  • replacable nibs
Source

Copic Sketch Markers

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 cap stickers aren't very accurate to the actual color of the ink.



As you can see, the Kurecolor Twin S is still pretty large compared to the Copic Sketch.  It's both longer and bulkier.




 

 

The Comparison

 

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.

I had a little trouble matching colors with the Kurecolor markers, even though I used my Copic swatch book.  When ordering markers, I'd tried to order markers similar to what I already  have, but perhaps the online color swatches weren't very true.

I had some trouble blending the Kurecolor markers in the shading sphere, as my only tip options were a chisel tip or a bullet nib, neither of which had much give.

In general, Kurecolor ink reacted much the same way that Copic ink reacts to the inks I usually test- Akashiya bleeds terribly, as do fude pens, and if applied too soon, both the Multiliner and Microns will bleed a little.  Kurecolor ink does react to the Copic Colorless blender, and it is possible to blend the two brands, but it may take some effort to blend very different colors.

The Verdict

Kurecolors are slightly more difficult to find than Copics, I've never seen them in a brick and mortar store, but are easily available online after a quick Google search.  They're refillable and have replacable nibs, but nowhere near the variety of nibs available.  They have a wide range of colors available, and play well enough with Copics.  I'm not really a fan of bullet nibs, and I prefer the chisel nib available on Prismacolor markers, but this marker may be a decent choice for stampers who don't need a brush nib option on their markers.

Kurecolor are available in two sizes, the regular Kurecolor Twin and the Twin S.  The Kurecolor Twin may be difficult for those with smaller hands, but it has a larger ink resevoir, whereas the smaller Kurecolor Twin S is sized right, but the square barrel may be annoying to hold (but it won't roll off the table).

I personally won't be adding more Kurecolor Twin S markers to my collection, but I certainly do not recommend against purchasing them, particularly if you find them locally, as you won't have to pay for shipping.