Saturday, January 17, 2015

Marker throwdown - Copic sketch markers versus Tombow dual brush pens

Lately I've been accumulating a lot of different kinds of pens and markers, trying to find the ones that suit me best, and in the pen department the Copic Multiliners are the clear winners. I was actually quite happy with the Tombow dual brush pens already, but was strongly drawn to the lure of the almighty Copic sketch markers. So I ordered a set of grays, which incidentally includes a 0.5 black Multiliner SP. Below is my test of the Sketch markers:

I was pleased to discover the Copic claim holds true (at least in this test) - it didn't smear the black Multiliner line I had just drawn moments before. They do blend quite nicely, but somehow differently from the water based Tombows, which look more like a real ink wash. Alcohol affects paper very differently than water does, in several ways. For one you can soak a sheet of paper with alcohol and as it evaporates the paper won't potato-chip up the way it does with washes or watercolors. That is a good thing. But there's also a bad thing..

I did this test in my Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook, which is far and away the best paper I've ever had the pleasure of using for anything. It's pretty thin, so washes don't make it buckle too much and it will lay down easily afterwards - something thick paper won't do. And I was dismayed and horrified to find it had bled profusely through the first sheet, demolishing the drawing behind it, and even onto the next sheet (so glad I had at least scanned these drawings before that happened!) I tried it in the Copic marker sketchbook and it went even farther, onto the third sheet. That's even thinner paper with a very slick hard surface (and I really don't like drawing on it at all).

So my initial conclusion is that for most purposes the Tombows are the clear winner. The Copics tend toward a more smooth blending that to me looks a bit artificial, opposed to the natural wash look of the Tombows. If I do decide to use the Copics I would probably use a single sheet of paper rather than work in a sketchbook, or I'd have to resign myself to drawing only on one side of each page in a sketchbook and insert either a thick, slick piece of paper (or 2?) or maybe a plastic sheet behind it to protect the next page.

Oh, another thing I dislike about the Copic sketch markers - the caps won't fit onto the back of the marker when you take them off, you just have to lay them on the table and hope they don't fall on the floor and disappear or something. The Tombows beat the hell out of them in that department - the caps are specially designed so either one will pop perfectly onto the opposite end.

Ok coming soon in the ongoing epic battle of the pens and markers - Multiliner SPs versus the cheap plastic, non-refillable Multiliners.

1 comment:

  1. thank you - as a novice in watercolour pens I needed some advice and this is good!