Rubber stampers have been treading not-so-lightly into the world of alcohol-based markers, due to their versatility and extreme awesomeness. Traditional marker artists and designers are all, “yeah, well…DUH!” but we stampers are pretty new to the art marker scene.
Prismacolor art markers have been around for a long, long time. I used them (poorly) during my stint in interior design school, and my husband used them 1000 years ago in graphic design school. Their nibs and label design have changed over the years, but their ink formulation has endured. The newest version, the 4-in-1 Premier Art Marker, is double-ended, with a fine tip on one end and a beveled chisel on the other. The large end allows for quick coverage of large areas, as well as three different line-widths, depending on how you hold the marker, while the fine tip lets you get into tiny detailed areas.
As for the hallmark of alcohol markers, blendability, Prismacolors do that well too. As a beginner during design school, I was frustrated by the lines left by these markers when you don’t keep what’s known as a “wet edge” and it’s hard to keep a wet edge over a large space when rendering an interior drawing (by the way, don’t Google “wet edge” Oy.) It wasn’t until reading the one billion blog entries about that other alcohol-based marker (you know the one I’m talking about), that I figured out what I was doing wrong. Here is an example of the right way to blend:
Now, I know what you’re saying: “Dana… should I buy the Prismacolors or the Copics?! Just TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” and my answer is… I just don’t know. It really depends on how much you color, what your budget is, blah, blah, blah. Here’s honest truth from my point-of-view:
- I think the Copic ink blends easier than the Prismacolor ink.
- I think the Prismacolor large end is better than the Copic Sketch chisel end.
- I think the Copic Sketch brush end is really nice.
- I think the refillabillity of the Copics is a big selling point, if you do a lot of coloring.
- I think the Prismacolors do a decent job for half the price of Copics.
Personally, I have over 100 Prismacolor markers, and 17 Copics (only 5 of them are the Sketch variety, because my dear husband surprised me with the 12B set of Copic Originals. “Surprise!” “These aren’t the ones I wanted; I mean, THANKS!”). I think as my Prismacolors run dry, I’ll replace them with the Copics, but I don’t think I’ll dump a ton of money on the Copic sets right now. There’s just not that big a difference, IN MY OPINION, in their performance, to invest in the Copics immediately.
Of course, that’s not going to stop me from drinking at the fount of Copic wisdom, and applying it to what I have available.
Here’s a card using said wisdom:
For more info on why I picked the black ink I used, check out the MOTHER of all black ink tests on my blog…
Another fab aspect of Prismacolor markers (and other alcohol-based markers), is the ability to color on non-paper stuff. I’ve successfully used my Prismacolor markers on shrink plastic, metal, and cured polymer clay. Since the ink repels itself on non-porous materials, you can get this cool mottled effect (think polished stone technique without the cotton ball mess).
(Stamp: PaperTrey Ink; Markers: Prismacolors in many shades of blue & green; Ink: Pearl-Ex Copper)
Enough with the “TA-DAH!” already… cut to the chase:
Price. Prismacolor markers retail for between $2.09-$3.25 USD (depending on where you find them), about half the price of other professional-quality alcohol-based art markers.
Availability. I’ve seen Prismacolor art markers in every big-box craft store I’ve been to, both as open-stock and sets. Their prevalence in places where you can use a 40% off coupon is a huge plus.
Label. Their labels are actually in color, so it’s pretty easy to find what you’re looking for if you’re digging through a box because you’re too lazy to put them back on the rack, for example. Ahem.
Consistency. Prismacolor makes a huge number of art media (e.g. colored pencils, pastels, watercolor pencils) and they name the same colors the same thing across the board, so the “Deco Pink” marker is the same color as the “Deco Pink” colored pencil. That’s nice when you’re mixing media for layering and shading.
Naming/numbering system. Their numbers seem to be arbitrary, not grouped by hue or value. That’s one of the big advantages that Copic has: intuitive, or at least intelligent, numbering.
Not refillable. Score another point for the Copics here.
They’re round. Meaning cylindrical, and therefore have the tendency to roll off your work surface into the realm of two-year-old children and marker-eating dogs. Ask me how I know.
So do I recommend them? Sure. Will I buy more of them now that I’ve gotten my hands on the Copic Sketch markers? Maybe not. But they do a good job at a good price, and sometimes, that’s all you need. They’re available online at Dick Blick, Joann & Amazon, as well as your local craft or art supply store.
Anybody out there have Prismacolor markers? What do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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