Target Art Supply Review: Up and Up Washable Paintbrush Markers WIP

This post is one of a series of posts that feature art supplies I purchased from the Kenner area Target while I was in town for Mechacon.  It was inspired by the fact that kids, teens, and 20 somethings don't have many options for quality and affordable art supplies in the New Orleans area (and yes, I AM aware that there are art supply shops there, I've shopped at several of them, and they're greatly overpriced given their lackluster stock).  So I wanted to see what I could get at Target, put what I buy through its paces, and let you guys know how these supplies fared.  As almost always, I purchase these materials out of my own pocket, and one of the ways you can show support and appreciation is to give me a tip in my Paypal (sidebar right).

While browsing the kids' art supplies at Target, this set caught my eyes.  I've reviewed several brands of watercolor markers recently, but none aimed at children.  This set encourages me to compare to the Crayola Paintbrush Markers, which are on my  Amazon wishlist, but I don't own them, so I can't compare.  Should I purchase/receive a set, I'll be happy to pull these out and revisit.

Editors Note:  After purchasing these, I purchased a set from Dollar Tree, and a set from Michael's, so keep an eye out for those reviews!  I STILL don't have the Crayola set, but you can help remedy that by showing me some love, and sending it to me!

  • 6 colors
  • non toxic
  • promises vibrant color quality
  • washable
  • promises paintbrush marker tip

The Package

These paintbrush markers are blister packed in a plastic and cardboard package that's easy to open, but offers no reusable storage.  When it comes to kids products, even cheap ones, I'd like to start seeing more reusable cases to help keep everything together.  Once this package is opened, it's garbage, its not even as reusable as a cheap chipboard box.

The back of the package is pretty plain, even moreso than the Up and Up washable markers.

The care instructions read

Wash with warm water and mild soap.  Prompt laundering removes stains from cotton, acrylic, nylon, polyester, and blends of these fabrics.  Do not prewash or bleach.  Repeat if necessary.

The Markers

This package includes six markers- violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.  Since these markers dare us to compare them to Crayola, I'm assuming the Crayola Paintbrush markers came first, and that both of these children's watercolor markers are taking a page from more professional books, such as Pentel's watercolor brushpens, or Zig Cleancolor brushpens.  It's not a bad idea, and I think watercolor markers like these and Crayola's offer kids (and maybe adults) a lot of creative possibilities and are more versatile than the cake watercolors sold to kids.

The bodies of these markers are pretty much devoid of any sort of body art, unlike the Up and Up Washable markers I reviewed.  There's a very unexciting, almost gibberish code printed on the side of just the violet in my set:


but the other markers have no body printing, just an embossed Up and Up arrow. The markers do have an ink coordinated grip to indicate the colors inside, but it's made of the same hard plastic as the barrel. The brush nibs are made of foam, somewhat like brush nibs for markers.  Not having the Crayola washable watercolor markers, I'm not sure if those have nibs like Pentel watercolor brushes, or Zig Clean Color brushes (individual nylon bristle brushes), but I feel like if cheap kid-grade markers like these can have brush nibs, so can knockoff brands like Finecolor.  The nib is soft, foamy, and responsive, much better than I originally expected.

The Swatch Test

Given how well the Up and Up waterbased markers performed as watercolor markers, I wonder if these are just the same inks in a different body.  That isn't really a problem, just something to think about.  The inks blend out with water fairly well, although there is a deliniation between where I put down the marker and where I blended it out with water.  As markers, these are juicy and generous with color application, and you can get better blending if you use a stiffer bristled synthetic watercolor brush.

I don't have enough colors to do an effective field test with these, but I'd love to see Up and Up (and Crayola, if theres are this good) expand their color ranges, and I'd be happy to revisit either brand in the future when the line expands.  I wish more markers in general had a tip this good- it’s a low rent version of the Copic Superbrush, but it's still leagues better than what Crayola or other kids' marker brands usually use.

The Verdict:

Still in the air.  Once I get that Crayola set, I'll have enough of these types of kid-grade watercolor paintbrush markers to be able to form a reasonable opinion.  These were fun to play with, but I haven't seen any sets that have decent skintones, which means you (or your kids) will have to mix your own.  Recollections (a Michael's scrapbooking brand) has started selling paint markers almost exactly like these, and as it was sold in the scrapbooking section, and not in the kids' art supplies, I can only assume they intended their set for adult use as well, so I don't feel it's unreasonable to expect a skintone here or there.

Other watercolor markers I've reviewed:

Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor markers
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Watercolor markers
Lyra Aqua Brush Duo
Docrafts Artiste Watercolor Markers

And many, many more under my Reviews tab!

As this blog is completely unsponsored, and I receive no financial compensation from companies to write these reviews, nor do I receive donations from manufacturers, I really depend on the goodwill of my readers.  If you benefited from this post, please consider contacting Target with a link to this post and your thoughts.  I would also sincerely appreciate it if you sent me an email with your thoughts, questions, or thanks.  The only way I can write content that you enjoy is if you let me know what works for you, and what you want to read.