Is it worth it to refill your markers?

Hi friends! About 10 years after originally getting my Copics, I finally need to refill a few favorite colors. Let me be totally honest with you, I am not a marker snob and I love trying out different brands. People with fewer markers will likely need to refill them sooner than I did. Since my Copic Sketch markers were such an investment, I decided to order refills when they started to feel dry. You want to refill them before they go totally dry to prevent wear on the tip, especially the brush nib that is costly to replace. I shopped around and found the best prices on Copic Refills at Scrapbook Pal. I ordered some and they shipped the next day and I had my refills in a couple of days. Shipping is free if your order is over $25. I paid $5.29 per refill and I am glad I ordered them there, because they were $10 each at the stamp show! I was so pleased with the service that I became an affiliate, so if you do order after clicking on one of my affiliate links I will make a small commission without costing you more. Thanks!

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I also wanted to mention that Simon Says Stamp is having a 25% off sale on Copics with coupon code MARKERSALE until 6/26 but they are still $2 more than Scrapbook Pal’s normal price. I thought I’d mention it if you were going to place an order there and just needed one or two inks.  Both are great stores!

Here are the refill colors I bought at Scrapbook Pal: Barley Beige – E11, Blush – R20, Buttercup Yellow – Y21, Chartreuse – YG13, Cotton Pearl (Formerly Skin White) – E00, Honey – Y38, Mignonette – YG11, Mint Blue – B01, Pale Yellow – Y11, Robin’s Egg Blue – B02, Sugared Almond Pink – RV02

These colors are all very light. I could tell these were all getting ready to need refilling when I could feel a drag on the paper. You want to refill it before it goes dry so you don’t damage the nibs. I use my markers to color stamped imaged in cardstock usually. The super light colors are my most used, because I use them to achieve the color blends. If a color is hard to blend I prime the area with the lightest color, then add my shadows, then my middle color (by coloring over the dark and into the medium tone area) then I go over about half of the middle value out to the highlight with that pale color. You can see how I use 4 to 6 times more of the lightest colors vs the dark and medium tones. Also, I find if you invest in refillable lighter colors, you can use a cheaper set of basic colors and have a fabulous set at an affordable price. I was going to make a video on how to refill them, but Copic already has a wonderful one so I’ll just post that:)

One of the questions I get all the time is “can you refill these?” anytime I review a new brand of markers. Since I have had the opportunity to review dozens of markers, I have determined that you can refill just about anything without messing them up as long as you can find the appropriate ink or something that matches really closely.

There have been a lot of fabulous markers that have come out in sets at a very low price point recently. The following brands use the ShinHan touch equivalent inks so if a color goes dry you can look at the last 2 digits on the marker and order the refill in the ShinHan Touch range. There are other generic markers on Amazon using this system, but I am only listing ones I have personally tried. Having a refill is awesome because you don’t want to have to rebuy a whole set because you need to replace one or two colors.

  • Ohuhu *I really like these!
  • TouchNew
  • Concept (Jerry’s Artarama)
  • Arteza (these are a bit tricky because they have a 4-5 digit code so look at a Shinhan swatch to be sure you have the right color/number code. I think they plan on offering refills as well as brush tips in the future so you might want to wait and see. I love the case these come in!
  • Arrtix (now with a 168 set!) I love how the bullet and chisel nib’s caps are different and easy to identify.

Do you need a “brush tip”?

I am going to be honest, it is easier to blend with a brush tip, and Copic is the gold standard. I don’t think you need every color in a brush tip if budget is a factor. If you can swing your lighter colors (see my most used color list above) in brush tip markers (in either the Sketch or cheaper Ciao version-ciao – it has the same nibs, it is just a skinnier marker so it holds less in but if you have refills it is not a big deal) then you can totally get by with the affordable chiel/bullet tip markers and have great blending.

Here are some brush marker recommendations:

  • Copic (I’d pick and choose rather and buying a full set)
  • Bianyo (these have very flexible high-quality nibs at 1/4 price of Copic) No refills but you could try matching up to a Copic chart. *If you don’t need a refill this is the best deal!
  • Blick Studio Brush marker (not the seasonal illustrator line) they now sell refills for these. Best budget brush marker if you DO want refills.
  • Prismacolor Brushmarker
  • Windsor & Newton Brush Marker (formally Promarker by Letraset) *These used to have refills when owned by Letraset not sure if they still do tho.
  • ShinHan Touch (the line of refill inks I mentioned above) also has a high rated line of brush tipped markers but I have not tried them personally)

These brush markers are less expensive generally but the tip is less flexible. They blend well but will fray over time especially if they go dry. They aren’t bad but they are more of a disposable option. If you only use markers occasionally they might be the best choice for you.

  • Studio 71  *Most affordable and equivalent to the following brands listed in this section.
  • Ohuhu Brush Markers (available in a couple of weeks)
  • Premiere (AC Moore) *Open stock available in store (I prefer the chisel nib in their original design markers tho)
  • Blick Illustrator
  • Stampin Blends ($4.50 each from a Stampin Up demonstrator)

Spectrum Noir also offers chisel, bullet and brush tip markers in their spectrum noir marker coloring system as well as refill inks. These markers offer all of the options of nib choices and refill inks at a lower price point, and money-saving packs of markers if you are just getting started and want to buy a lot at once. They are not as cheap as the chisel/bullet combos I mentioned above, but you do get more training and support online, such as free downloads on their website. I like this line of markers and I will be posting a review of their innovative TriBlend markers on Saturday.

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Wow, I did not intend to make such a long post! I guess for me it’s worth it to get refills for these markers I am using a lot and depend on (my philosophy with ink pads as well) but there are colors I will never run dry at my level of use. I suggest waiting until you need a few colors and order them at once to minimize shipping costs or get free shipping. Ordering refills is not as exciting as trying a new set of markers but in the long run, it is more cost effective, especially if the markers you are considering trying are duplicate colors to what you already own. What do you think- have you refilled any of your markers before? What is your favorite brand? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

 

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How to create a rainbow blend with inexpensive markers (water based or alcohol!)

Hi friends! Today I have a video that is part review and part tutorial. I have a couple of sets of markers to review but I also wanted to make the video a useful tutorial on blending. Also I was curious about what kind or marker was quicker to color with. I also wanted to try to achieve the same look with different kids of markers to see how they did.  If you are ready for all of that high-speed marker action buckle up and let’s go!

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There is lots of info in this post, let’s start off with the video:

Supplies: (Affiliate links used. Products provided for review)

Review of the Arrtx Alcohol Markers

pros:

  • Price: 80 color for under $34
  • Color selection
  • Blends well
  • Dual tip (chisel & Bullet)
  • Beautiful & sturdy carring case
  • Colors are very juicy, no dry ones.
  • Easy to tell the chisel and bullet ends because they have square and round color chips respectively. Color chips are pretty accurate but I still recommend swatching.
  • Attractive matte white square barrel (non-roll)

Cons:

  • No brush tip
  • No colorless blender in set
  • caps may be difficult to remove if you have arthritis
  • Caps do not post (you can’t stick the cap on the end of the marker to hold it when coloring)
  • As with most low-priced markers there is no open stock option (although they use the same numbering system as Concept at Jerry’s Artarma so you could get a replacement color if you needed too, it would look different tho)
  • Non refillable
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Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx Alcohol markers. Time spent colring the butterfly: 11 minutes, 30 seconds

These markers are beautiful to look at and color nicely. They remind me of the quality of Ohuhu and they even use the same color number system. Many of the lower priced markers available now are using the same numbering system, I reckon it is because all of the inks are being made in the same factory in China. I have not seen this marker barrel style anywhere before and honestly I really like have the two distinct ends because I can quickly uncap the nib I need whereas with Copics and other markers I often get the wrong end even with the gray band they have for identifying. This saves me time and I like that. Below you will find my color chart for the set of 80 Arrtx alcohol markers.

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Here are the colors I used (in order of appearance) to blend the alcohol marker butterfly: 13, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 33, 35, 37, 48, 49, 59, 58, 68, 67, 147, 76  *If you have other markers that use the same color number system great! Use what you have OR use the swatch chart to figure out what colors to use from your stash. If you want to order this set you can here.

Review of Arrtx Watercolor Real Brush Pens 48 color set

Pros:

  • Great color selection
  • Low price (even among other budget priced watercolor marker pens)
  • Caps post (you can stick the marker cap on the end while coloring so you don’t lose it)
  • All colors have a number on the end for identification
  • Includes a reusable plastic carring case

Cons:

  • Non refillable and no open stock options
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Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx real brush pen water based markers. Time spent coloring the butterfly: 6 minutes, 50 seconds

These markers performed well as I would expect. I did have an issue with the plastic color coming off one of the pens but I was able to reassemble it and stick it back into place and I could feel some of the innards of the brush pens moving around so it doesn’t feel as good quality as the Zig Real Brush pens but they are less than half the price. The ink flowed smoothly, like other real brush pens I have used. These are on-par with the Arteza real brush pens but about $10 cheaper. If you already have those, or any other real brush pens, I don’t think these will be very different but if you are looking to try some they are a nice value. Below you will find my swatch of this set:

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These are the markers I used on the watercolor butterfly in order of appearance: 18, 5, 4, 3, 27, 226, 28, 25, 125, 36, 238, 7. Feel free to use the swatch as a reference for matching the colors to what you have or if you want to buy this set you can here.

Review of TouchNew Skintone marker set of 24

Pros:

  • Great selection of earth/skin/hair tones which are often lacking in marker sets.
  • Price (under $17 for 24 markers)
  • Dual tipped
  • Cloth carry bag included
  • Comes with a colorless blender

Cons:

  • No brush nib
  • Bullet tips were dry on a couple of my markers
  • Caps do not post
  • No open stock or refills (but you can order Concept markers from Jerry’s to replace a color)

These markers use the same numbering system as the Arrtx alcohol markers as well as other budget brands. The marker style is the same as the original Ohuhu markers who recently changed to an oval barrel that seems to keep the marker fresher as I had a few of the old style Ohuhu pens go dry prematurely.) I recommend storing them on their sides so the bullet tip doesn’t dry out and having denatured alcohol (or Copic blending solution) on hand in case you need to refresh them.  If you need a set of skintone markers to fill in your set these are a good value but I’d check the color numbers to make sure they are not all duplicates to what you have if you already own markers with the same numbering system. Also because one of the marker is a colorless blender you are really only getting 23 colors. I wish these had brush tips though it is so much easier to blend with a brush tip and you want to be able to get really smooth skin and tones. To be honest tho, if you already had a set of 80 or higher of the Arrtx or Ohuhu alcohol markers I think I would pass on these are there are duplicates and consider investing in a couple of Copic brush tip skin tone markers as you need them because in this instance I think it would be more enjoyable and cheaper long-term to get a refillable marker that performs better. If you have a smaller set of assorted markers this 24 set would go a long way to fill in gaps. It really boils down to what you already have for markers and how much you intend to use them.

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I hope you found this helpful and if you have markers I hope you try creating a rainbow blend. It is a great technique for learning to blend and it’s fun too! Or practice blending colors in general and write down your successful recipes so you can duplicate them later. The truth of truths with markers (especial alcohol markers) is that is takes practice and there is a learning curve to them so don’t jump from brand to brand thinking that one is going to make you a superstar. In fact it could harm your progress as you get used to one kind and then when you try another it’s like relearning because it is a bit juicier or the nib is harder or softer. You have to put in the time. Speaking of time wasn’t it interesting how much quicker the water based markers were to color with? I really wanted to do the comparison because I was curious but also to share that if you are not into spending lots of time coloring you might prefer a waterbased marker. Well, this post is long enough, have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Back to School Product Review from Maped

**Please note, I am away this week so there is no live show today. I am hoping to have one on Sunday though:)

Hi friends! Whether you have kids or grandkids going back to school or you are a teacher stocking up for the school year ahead or you are just looking for some good quality but inexpensive coloring supplies back to school time is a great time to get some deals. I was set a box of office supplies from Maped that may be just what you are looking for. Watch my video review below:

*I really like all of these product except for the Color’Peps Duo pencils.

Supplies in order or appearance, prices are taken from Amazon and may change without notice. Affiliate links used. These supplies were provided to me for review purposes. To find a Maped supplied near you please visit their website.

  1. Color’Peps Jungle Caddy Markers $7
  2. Color’Peps Duo Markers $6.55
  3. Watercolor Pencils Color’Peps Aqua $10 for 24 set $16 for 48 set in tin
  4. Novelty Sharpeners Bunny and frog $4  Also available a 2 hole sharpener (caterpillar)
  5. ***Color’Peps Duo Pencils (I don’t recommend these)
  6. Graph’Peps Stencil Mania felt tip pens $17.68
  7. Black’Peps Mechanical Pencils
  8. Erasers

I am a sucker for stationary, I love the smell of a new pencil box and the novelty of cute supplies. If that’s worng I don’t wanna be right! Til next time happy crafting!

Layered Marker Blending Tutorial, A Marker Review & More!

Hi friends! Happy 2018! Today I am going to share a fun technique I call marker layering. It is a great way to get pretty blends with alcohol markers even if you don’t have many colors.

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First let me share a couple of tips for using alcohol-based markers:

  1. Use a compatible stamping ink (if stamping) or pen if sketching. Basically you want an ink the markers won’t react to. My favorite ink is Memento (any color you like but I use Tuxedo Black and Rich Cocoa the most and the small pads are fine) and my favorite pens for touching up of sketching before coloring are Pigma Micron.
  2. Use a smooth cardstock or marker paper. My favorite is Neenah #80 Classic Crest in Solar White. I get it by the ream and it lasts years. By the ream it is about 15 cents per 8 1/2″x11″ sheet.
  3. When buying markers start off with lighter colors, you can layer and blend easier with these and they are much easier to control.
  4. Get a range of greys to start out with can you can color an image in grayscale and glaze colors on top (kinda like tinting a photo) for a complete look that is easy on the wallet!
  5. Store double ended markers horizontally so both ends of the marker stay inked.

Now on to the video! I will be demonstrating with the Blick Illustrator Markers which apparently are the same in color and number as the Studio 71, Art Alternatives #Coloring and Artist Loft ones. You can follow along with whatever you have that is closest in color.

The bird stamp I am using is from Rubbernecker.

Review & Comparison of Blick Illustrator Markers!

Pros:

  • Price (24 set was $29 regular price, I paid $18)
  • Brush tip*
  • Nice light colors in set make blending and layering easy. Great starter colors
  • The 24 set has a lovely assortment of light colors that are wonderful for layering and blending. Most smaller sets only have vivid colors which are less versatile for stampers.

Cons

  • Limited time only product, might not be available once sold out.
  • No open stock (but they are the same colors as Darice Studio 71 so you can get replacements from them)
  • Brush tip is fiber/felt, and not the more durable foam like copics
  • No grey tones in the 24 set.
  • Only availabe in sets of 12 or 24
  • Not refillable

Bottom line: These are nearly identical (except in marker body shape) to Studio 71 markers by Darice. I have a review on the Studio 71 markers here. 16 of the colors in the Blick set of 24 were in the studio 71 set of 48 and those also run about $1 a marker in sets so you can replace markers with that line if need be or if you want to add to your set to avoid duplicates as they are numbered the same. The Art Alternative brand also uses the same number color system. I did find replaceable brush nibs for the Art Alternatives markers that should work in any of these pens but the are more expensive than buying a brand new pen!

A Bargain Pick (but no brush nib)

If you are looking for another bargain marker but one with a bullet Chisel nib the Ohuhu markers are the best deal at about 50 cents a marker in sets. And if you need to replace a marker or add to the collection the Concept markers from Jerry’s Artarama are the same in color name and number, and so are the Nicolle Art Marker but I think those only come in a 24 set at AC Moore. You can see my Review of the Ohuhu markers here. *The color numbers on these markers (in this paragraph) do not match the Blicks. I just thought it was neat to group up markers that seem to use the same color coding or were made in the same factory. That way you can add on and avoid duplications ans get replacements if you run out of a favorite color without having to rebuy an entire set. I was annoyed that I go so many duplicates but Then I thought it would be a good teachable moment. 🙂

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Keep in mind that the ink in any brand of alcohol pens is very similar and you can use them together. It is a shame to buy duplicates if you can help it so hopefully this review was useful.

One more thing! Only a few hours left to save 35% on my classes!

Use coupon code: HOLIDAY17 to save 35% on any of my watercolor courses. This deal ends at midnight tonight, January 1st 2018, Eastern Time!

 

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

New Marker Review! {Cheaper Alterntaives?}

Hi friends! I recently received some markers for review from Mozart Supplies. They have dual tip brush markers and also a real brush style of marker. What sparked my interest about this company is that they will be offering an ink refill pack for the brush pens (my main criticism of the Zig Real Brush pens is that they are not refillable) Here are some sketches I did with these pens:

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The swatch and color above were done with with the brush tip pens, the color blended out well with water even after the the ink was fully dry. The sketch below was also done with the same pens but I did use some opaque acrylic pens and a white gel pens for highlights.

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The dual brush pens are very similar to other dual brush pens on the market. The ink appears to be identical to the ink in the brush tip pens. Below is a sketch I did with the dual brush pens. I used a washi tape eyeball sticker (Jane Davenport) and some opaque markers to highlight this sketch:

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In the video you can see these pens in action!

The brush tip pens are very similar to the Zig clean color real brush pens. The brush tips on the Mozart pens are a bit longer and they come to a fine point. Refills for the Mozart pens are coming soon (according to their website) where as the Zig pens do not have refills. As far as the ink it is very similar, I can use both brands of pens together and they blend with other just fine. I own the 24 set of Zig and the 20 set of Mozart and there was not a lot of color overlap between those sets but they are very similar so if you have Zigs already you probably don’t need these as they preform identically. The Mozart pens are a bit longer and their caps need to be pushed on firmly. I recommend keeping the storage try they come in because they only fit in the storage tray if the cap is secure. I love that they cost less than Zigs (retail anyway) and they preform just as well and I can soon get refills. Currently they cost $26 for a set of 20.

Dual brush pens:
These appear to use the same ink as t These pens feature a firm (felt like) brush nib similar to Tombow, Memento, Stampin Up, Distress etc and a fine writing tip. The fine tip reminds me of the old Whispers/Sugarloaf dual tip pens. The nib size is similar to stampin up, distress or memento (vs the thicker bullet nib of Tombow.) The fine tips work well now but I have not had these markers long enough to determine weather or not they will hold up. On the Whispers markers I had the fine tip dried out easily but it is too soon to say here. The blend out like Tombow, Distress or Spectrum Aqua so if you like water-coloring effect you will enjoy these. They are also suitable to marker stamping where you color a rubber stamp with markers (instead of ink) and stamp. I like these as well as any of my other dual tip watercolor markers and they cost less than most at $18/set of 12

Bottom line, if you don’t already have similar markers from other brands Mozart markers are just as good. I love that they are making a refill ink pack available. Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but I did receive these markers for free for review purposes. Til next time happy crafting!

Brush Marker Comparison!

Hi Friends! Today I am comparing 6 of the most popular brush markers on the market to see how they hold up and if they play nice together.

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Honestly I like all of these but they each have unique qualities that different artists might prefer. Here is a handy checklist to print and record notes on as you try other brands yourself. brush_marker_comparison_chart

Now watch the video!

Here are the markers I used today (affiliate links used when available, thank you for your support:)

So now that you have the information you can go forth and color. Also, if you already have a bunch of chisel tip markers you can use them with your brush markers. I suggest you try a couple from each company before investing in a huge set and get different colors because they do play nice together. I keep all of my alcohol markers together for just that reason. Experiment ad have fun! If you have any questions let me know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

Are you mad for markers?

Hiya folks! I just wanted to tell you that an article I worked on and researched for months is finally out in the July 2011 issue of Scrap & Stamp Arts Magazine!

SSA July 2011

I reviewed 12 brands of markers (t’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it…) and rated them spreadsheet style on factors such as price, unique features, color range, medium (alcohol, watercolor, xylene, India ink), workability, nibs and whether they are refillable or not. Also there are tips on how best to use each type of marker. So if you are in the market for ew markers or just want to get more use out of the ones you have I hope you will give my article a read, it is on newsstands now or you can order a copy from Scott Publications.

Thanks for listening to me toot my own horn (what’s new, right!?!) and til next time happy crafting!

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