Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Alcohol Based Marker Recommendations

Fairly often I get an email asking for my marker recommendations.    I figured it was time to sit down and write up a list of my personal recommendations.  As always, these are recommendations based on my needs and standards as an illustrator, your milage may vary.  If you're interested in my other marker reviews, you can check those out under the Reviews page, order a copy of my Marker Showdown pocket-sized handbook from the Natto-shop (available soon!), or pick up a copy at any convention I'm tabling at.

Refillable Markers:

Shin-Han Twin Touch

Broad/Chisel Tip:  $3.40 (Jerry's Artarama)
Brush tip: $4.30 (Jerry's Artarama)
Refill Ink (good for 4 refills) $5.80 (MarkerPop)

  • Refillable
  • Replacable Nibs
  • 204 Colors
  • Comfortable in hand
  • Color name and Family on Caps
  • Color coded caps
  • Super Brush Option
  • Availability: Jerry's Artarama, Amazon, MarkerPop
  • Blender marker available
  • Two types of marker- Chisel nib and Brush tip
  • Alcohol based ink
  • Available in individual and color themed sets


 Price per marker $2.79 (, 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 

Letraset Flex Marker

Price per marker:  $2.02 (Amazon)

  • Refillable- could not find information on where to buy refills at this time
  • Replacable Nibs- could not find information on where to buy refills at this time
  • 148 Colors
  • Comfortable in hand
  • Color sticker on cap
  • Color coded on side of barrel, sort of hard to find
  • Without cap, marker rolls
  • This is the super brush option
  • Availability: Amazon, Letraset website, eBay
  • Same ink as Tria and Promarkers
  • Twin tipped- chisel end and brush tip
  • Blender marker available
  • Sold individually, in 6 and 12 blister packs
  • Blendable

Copic Ciao 

Price per marker (Dickblick): $3.59

I haven't written a review for Ciaos yet, but I use quite a few on a regular basis.  They are pretty similar to sketches- twin tipped with a standard replaceable chisel nib and super brush nib, although they hold less ink.

  • Refillable using Copic Various Inks
  • Available in 180 colors
  • Available in sets and in individual colors
  • Empty markers do not seem to be available
  • Same super brush nib and chisel nib as Copic Sketch
  • Available at some brick and mortar locations (some Dick Blicks), widely available online 
  • Not compatible with all Copic replacement nibs, read directions carefully before you invest in new nibs

Non-refillable Markers

Prismacolor Premier 

Price: $6.40 per marker, openstock on Amazon (can be much cheaper in sets or bought on sale, so keep your eyes open)

  • 'Art' Brush Option
  • Comfortable in hand
  • 156 number of colors
  • Color family on cap
  • Not refillable
  • Can't mix own colors
  • Availability: Most art supply stores, Michaels, Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama, Amazon
  • Available in individual and color themed sets
  • Alcohol based
  • React to rubbing alcohol and 'blender' fluid 
  • Can be blended

More from my blog on Alcohol Based Markers:

Shin Han Twin Touch, MEXPY, and Copic Comparison
My Top Alcohol Based Marker Picks