I spotted these smart looking alcohol markers in “The Works” and decided to try them out. They cost just £4 for each pack of 6 markers (about 66p per pen).
There were two sets in the store: I don’t know if there are any more available but only the same two packs are on their website. The numbering on the pens seems to imply they are part of a much larger range – plus usually alcohol makers come in multiple intensities/hues to allow shaded colouring.
One pack is called “Brights” and contains the following colours:
Y37 Pastel Yellow
P82 Light Violet
R14 Vermilion (actually bright orange)
R10 Deep Red
G46 Vivid Green
B86 Baby Blue
The other pack is called “Vintage pastels” and contains:
BR95 Burnt Sienna
YR26 Pastel Peach
BG5 Blue Grey (the cap looks like a soft blue but it is actually a dark grey colour)
RP17 Pastel Pink
Y42 Bronze Green
WG5 Warm Grey
After a bit of detective work and I discovered that the numbers exactly match those of the Shin-Han Touch Twin markers. I do not have any Touch Twins to compare them with though.
The pens initially look quite similar to Spectrum Noir pens with square, black barrels. Unlike the Speccys (and other brands) there is no clear way to tell which end is which with the caps on. You have to look at the barrel to read and I suspect this will wear off quickly. I will mark mine with little strips of washi tape as this gets annoying very fast!
They have thick square colour indicators on the ends. They are a little bit longer than a Spectrum Noir marker (and therefore quite a bit longer than Copics, Promarkers and most other brands). The barrels do fit in my Art Bin Marker box, but they are a bit too tall for the lid to close properly on them. It would be fine with just a few in the box, among other brands.
One end has a bullet type nib. This is similar to that found on the Spectrum Noirs and Promarkers – it is not a brush type like the Copics have. This nib felt nice and soft on many of the pens but was hard and scratchy on a couple of them.
The other end has a wedge shaped nib, similar to other brands. This nib felt the same as the other brands, firm but pliable.
The overall build of the pens does feel rather cheap. There was no mention of their being refillable, but as most cheap markers aren’t, this is not surprising.
As I only have these 12 colours it would be very hard to colour a detailed, shaded image without using other pens too. The Warm Grey included could be used for some shading though.
To test the pens I coloured stamped images of adorable Japanese dolls from Hero Arts. I stamped the dolls using Memento Tuxedo Black ink onto Neenah Solar White card.
Overall the pens sadly did feel cheap. I used the Pastel Peach for their skin and it was a very hard, scratchy pen. The end result was streaky (as well as rather orangey). Usually I would use multiple skin tones to get shading, so this colour may work better with others than alone.
The other pens felt softer, the Deep Red was lovely to use (the dress of the doll on the left) and I know I will use this again as I have a bit of a thing for red pens.
The middle doll’s top is coloured with the Blue Grey pen. I expected this to match the top of the pen and be far more blue than it is. The right hand doll’s top looks pinky red in this scan but is actually quite orange in real life – for some reason oranges and pink alcohol markers never scan quite properly.
Please note that the coloured dolls look much better in real life than they do here. The pen strokes tend to show up far more in scans.
These would be a great buy if you want alcohol markers for colouring pearls and buttons. If there really is only 12 colours available then they are very limited for colouring purposes – it would be cheaper to buy water based markers if you are not going to shade.
They blend perfectly with other brands of alcohol markers, as is standard. Therefore they do make a very cheap addition to an existing collection of pens. There are a couple of very nice colours included. They are not Copics, or even Spectrum Noirs, but they are alcohol markers, they do blend (if you have additional colours) and they are VERY cheap.
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