Edit: 11/08/2015: I recently uploaded a video that covers my current three favorite Copic alternatives. I recommend you guys check it out!
3 Cheap Copic Alternatives
Way too long ago, I was asked to compare Shin Han's Twin Touch, MEXPY, and Copic Sketch markers by an artist looking to take advantage of a sale. Since I'd had SOME experience with all three brands of alcohol based markers, I felt qualified to give her my educated opinion, but promised myself I'd explore the subject in more detail.
Immediately I formulated a simple test that would give me the basics of what I needed- I'd ink three identical images on identical papers and color them in a fairly simple style using all three brands. I opted for a very limited palette, since I hadn't really invested money in large collections of Shin Han or MEXPY markers, and I'd augment (sparingly) what colors I needed from my collection of Copics.
The three marker brands share a lot in common. MEXPY, Shin Han Twin Touch, and Copic Sketch all come with super brush nib options. This flexible brush nib has always been a major selling point for Copic Sketch markers for me, so any brand I would consider purchasing needs to have this as an option. As with all of my reviews and comparisons, my results are very much biased by my techniques and my needs. I recommend testing these products for yourself if you have the means and the opportunity. I'm not going to spend a lot of time rehashing information I already covered in my prior posts comparing these markers to Copics (linked above). This post is to focus mainly on how these markers handle.
All illustrations were printed onto Strathmore's Visualize Journal paper (which is similar to Smooth Bristol in weight and surface) and inked with Copic Multiliners (as they're alcohol marker safe).
Comparison ShotsShin Han Twin Touch and Copic Sketch
MEXPY and Copic Sketch
I may have mentioned this before, but both MEXP and Shin Han Twin Touch markers are a bit more boxy and bulky than the Copic Sketch markers. If you're used to the streamlined Copic Sketch markers, it may take awhile to get used to the other brands.
|Shin Han Twin Touch|
EDIT: Since writing this post, I have purchased many more Shin Han Twin Touch markers to augment my Copic Sketch collection. Shin Han offers some colors that Copic does not, especially in Yellows and Yellow Greens.
ResultsNot surprisingly, I find MEXPY markers and Shin Han Twin Touch markers to be decent alternatives to Copic Sketch markers, comparable to Prismacolor sketch markers. They're a little less ubiquitous, so you may have trouble finding them. If your main artstore of choice is Micheals, and you're looking at paying $8 per Copic Sketch, I recommend taking your search online. I rarely see either brand open stock in brick and mortar stores, and I've never seen the brush option available in open stock at a brick and mortar, but that doesn't mean it doesn't ever happen. I have seen Twin Touch markers for sale at a couple comic conventions (NYCC year before last being the most recent), so you may be able to get a decent deal there.
Recently I ordered a pack of MEXPY markers in Toner gray (a color family I don't own in Copic Sketch markers), so I may have further notes on that brand in the future.
You can help support this blog by ordering your own Shin Han Twin Touch, Copic Sketch, or Copic Ciao markers through my Amazon Affiliate link. There's no additional cost to you, and I receive a percentage of the sale, which is used to purchase more supplies for reviews, or to complete color collections so that I may better form opinions. Below the affiliate carousels I'll provide links to MEXPY markers, which are no longer sold through Blick.
Shin Han Twin Touch
You can still order MEXPY markers through the MEXPY website. I recommend the brush markers, that's what I have. You can order sets or individual markers, depending on how you want to build your collection. I recommend starting with skintones if you're building a collection.