Alcohol Marker Review: Crayola Signature Blending Markers

Every single convention I table, I talk to artistic kids, and their hopeful parents, about art supplies.  Almost every kid over the age of five wants Copic markers, because that's what the artists they admire on Youtube use.  And every time, I have to recommend against that- Copics are expensive and require a bit of a learning curb, but waterbased markers require some experience with art supplies to achieve the desired effects.

For years people have asked me if Crayola makes alcohol markers.  For years, I've said no.  For years, I've requested Crayola consider it- there's a huge army of preteen and teenagers interested in creating manga influenced marker art using alcohol markers like Copics, who just can't afford the price tag.  I am so pleased to announce that Crayola has finally heard my pleas (or just figured it out for themselves) and have released their foray into the alcohol marker world- the Crayola Signature Blending Markers.  These Crayola Blending markers may be just the stepping stone young artists need to develop marker and illustration skills early, and might be good enough for crafters and convention going artists to use rather than hauling around more expensive markers.

Over on the channel, I've already released a review of the Crayola Signature Brush and Detail Markers, and I've recorded reviews for the Blend and Shade and Artist Oil Core Color Pencils (spoiler:  same product, rebranded) that are waiting to be edited.  And over the years, I've talked about Crayola a few times- first in my Affordable Art Supply series, and then again on the Channel when talking about watercolors.   Every year, I release a series of short tutorials aimed at using Crayola supplies to their best effect, so I think its safe to say I carry a fondness for Crayola.  After all, it was my first marker, my first crayon, my first watercolor, my first color pencil.  Crayola is a first for so many artists, and sometimes the brunt of our jokes.

Crayola, Crayola Signature, Crayola Markers, Crayola Signature markers, Crayola Signature Blending Markers


Although there is NOTHING on the package that mentions that these are alcohol markers, the smell when you uncap any of the 12 colors or 2 blenders is unmistakable.  Even the Crayola site fails to mention that these are alcohol based markers (at the time of writing).

The Blending markers are part of their Signature line, a line that seems to be aimed at adults and frequently features brush lettering examples on the back.  You'd be forgiven for assuming this is just another marker for Crayoligraphy- faux brush calligraphy done with Crayola markers.  And I suppose you can use these markers for that.  But I feel Crayola may be missing their market- these are a perfect alcohol marker for beginners- crafters, stampers, and my own bias, the aspiring comic artist or  mangaka.

Y'all can't possibly know how excited I am about this development.

More about Crayola Signature

It's incredibly difficult to find official information about Crayola Signature online, so I decided to contact them through their webform on the site.
Hi there!  I'm writing a review about the Crayola Signature Blending markers (already purchased) for Nattosoup Studio Art and Process Blog (nattosoup.blogspot.com), and I'm interested in more information about the Signature line of products.  If you could answer, it would be much appreciated!
When was this line launched?
Who is the intended customer?
Where can we find information about the artists who have contributed their art to the boxes?
What future products are planned for the Signature line?
Thank you so much for your time and help!  I'm looking forward to your response!
Becca Hillburn 

The Response:

Dear Becca,

Thank you for reaching out to us! We appreciate you purchasing Crayola(R) Signature Blending Markers.The markers were made for people like you; your picture is amazing!

Certain Signature products came out in September of 2017; however, there are newer Signature products that  just came out last month, such as the Blending Markers, or the Acrylic Paint Tin which was just introduced a few weeks ago. We had adult colorers in mind when creating this line with no age cap, and certainly some younger Crayola fans might like to get their hands on some of our Signature products as well.

I'm sorry that we don't have information available to share on what else might be on the horizon for the Signature line new product wise. I have reached out to our product team with regard to your question about the artist(s)' work displayed on our tins, and will reach back out to you this week.

Thank you for choosing Crayola.  We are here to help if you need additional assistance.  Please call us at 800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Time or email by visiting Crayola.com.

Best wishes for a colorful day, Becca!

Colorfully yours,

Kimberly 
Consumer Affairs Representative
CRAYOLA

At time of writing, there is no MSDS available on the site for the Blending markers.  For those of you unfamiliar with this term, MSDS go over manufacturing details that may affect consumers, such as toxicity.  There are SDS's available for many other Crayola marker products, so I assume this is due to the recent release of the Blending markers.

The Stats:


  • 12 Colors available, 2 blender markers
  • Alcohol based
  • Single tip
  • Fiber Brush
  • Not Refillable
  • Not available openstock (yet)


Get them from:



OR
Crayola.com

The Unbox and Swatch:




The Packaging:


The Box: 
Crayola Blending Markers offer 14 rich, saturated colors for superior blending.  Featuring two colorless markers that lighten shades or remove areas of color altogether.  Use them to achieve the exact shade you need or create textures and spot effects.

Crayola Signature Blending Markers work best on Blending Marker paper.  Try our Crayola Signature Blend and Shade Inspiration pad!

Safety Information:
ACMI AP: Conforms to ASTM D 4236
All Crayola art materials are nontoxic. 
Washing and Care Information:Stain Advisement: Crayola Signature Blending Markers are permanent when dry and may bleed through paper.  Protect clothing during use and cover work surfaces to avoid staining.



I really love the packaging used for the Crayola Signature line.  The tin boxes are quite attractive, the branding minimal, and the art is beautiful dye sublimation printing, which really lets the colors shine.  These are a classy step up for Crayola, and helps set the Signature line apart from their regular Crayola for Kids lineup.  Unfortunately I can't find artist credit on the box, on the belly band, or online.  


Inside the box are two thin, flimsy plastic trays.  They can be kept to keep your markers organized, or you can ditch them- after all, with only 12 colors, you're not likely to get too confused any time soon.

The Markers:

The Colors Inside:

Red
Orange
Yellow
Canary
Green
Sea Green
Blue
Cornflower
Violet
Wisteria
Bubble Gum
Peach
Slate
Black



Marker Comparison
Left to right:
Blick Studio Brush Marker
Shin Han Twin Touch
Copic Ciao
Copic Sketch
Crayola Signature Blending Marker

Crayola Signature Blendingmarkers are single tipped brush markers that utilize a compressed fiber brush.  These brushes tend to fray and get mushy with use and abuse.  The bodies are unique among alcohol markers- fairly narrow with a grip section and a vented cap.  The color name is screened on the body in three languages, as is the Crayola branding, but there are no color families.  In the current Blending lineup, there are two of every color- one light tone and one darker tone, and two blender markers.


The Brushes:




Two colorlss blenders- Crayola Signature Blending colorless blender and Copic Ciao colorless blender




The Swatches:

The box recommends:
Crayola Signature Blending Markers work best on blending marker paper.  Try our Crayola Signature Blend and Shade Inspiration Pad.

For this review, I've swatched the Crayola Signature Blending Markers on papers I would generally use with any alcohol marker.

Copic Marker Paper:



Canson XL Mixed Media Paper:


Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Artist Tiles:



The Field Test:

Marker illustration completed on Strathmore 300 series Bristol Artist Tile

The Field Test





Background wash of Blue is applied to image.


Rubbing alcohol is dripped from bottle onto image.


Rubbing alcohol is spritzed onto image.


Applying a layer of Sea Green to translucent tail and fins.  Applying Cornflower to eyes, blending out.


Applying Green to tail.
Applying second layer of Green.


Applying first layer of skintone using Peach, the only skintone in this set.


Blending out Peach, Peach gets slightly fluorescent and orange, like a highlighter.  Not a realistic blend.


Second layer of Peach.

First layer of Bubblegum to eyes.


First layer of Canary to hair.


First Layer of Bubblegum to hair.


Wisteria added to eyes for depth, second layer of Bubblegum. Green fin veins added.  Highlight scales were added with colorless blender, shadow scales added with Blue and Green.



White highlights added using a Recollections Opaque white marker and white Signo gel pen.


The Verdict:

These are the real deal, a true unicorn- alcohol markers from Crayola.  Although its part of their Signature brand, which seems to be aimed at older teens and adults, I'm sure many young artists will be excited about this development once they find out.

How the markers handle:

The grip on the handle makes it easier to remove the caps quickly, and caps can be posted on the back of the marker.

The fiber tip markers are slightly mushy after swatching, and just get mushier with use.  This makes them a bit difficult to control, and they're prone to putting down a LOT of ink.  The colorless blender also causes the ink to react uncontrollably, which leads to some muddy blending (noticeable in the tail).

If you're fine with your teenager using alcohol markers (the only real issue I have are the fumes, and I trust Crayola wouldn't mark it Non-Toxic if it weren't), these are a great starter set that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  If your child enjoys these markers, they can be replaced with affordable but nicer alternatives as the colors run out.  You can scope out this blog for further recommendations, but a great next step would be the Blick Studio Brush Markers.

So my final plea is this:

Crayola, please acknowledge the preteens and teens who use your supplies to create comic and manga art.  Please release a Multicultural pack of Blending markers so young, talented artists can create beautiful figurative illustrations.  Please consider releasing themed booster packs (maybe 6 markers each?) with color families.  Please help foster a love of art, and art supplies, in these young artists, and continue to show support by releasing products designed for intermediate artists.  As someone who used your Supertips for her comic art almost into her 20's, I speak from the heart.

Releasing booster sets of markers:


  • Allows kids and adults to buy the colors they'll use
  • Helps keep the price down
  • Allows kids to grow a collection as needed
  • Colors can be sold in themes- Skintones, Spring (pastels) Bold, Jewel Tones, similar to how existing alcohol marker companies distribute affordable sets of markers
  • Could even opt to only sell these sets through Amazon or Crayola store, if shelf space is the limiting factor.

Comments

Popular Posts