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Which marker is better? Which marker do I use?
Welcome back to another review of essential tools for architecture and interior design students. If you're on social media or have any friends who are artists, you've probably seen, used, or heard about Copic Markers, Prismacolor Marker, or Ohuhu Markers. Up until now, I've only had experience using Prismacolor markers but I couldn't help but think I should have ordered Copic markers instead. The price tag influenced my decision. After using the Prismacolor Cool Grays for half a quarter, I decided to give Copic Cool Grays a try for a quarter and the results were mind-blowing! Take a look at the results for yourself between the Copic Sketch Cool Gray markers and the Prismacolor Cool Gray marker to find which one is better and which I chose to use going forward.
I made 2 drawings focusing on tonal value by placing trace paper over an image and then using the markers to mimic the shadows. For each drawing, I used the entire assortment of markers in each set.
Right out of the package, the Copic Cool Gray markers come in a clear plastic casing which I enjoyed because not only was I able to see the markers beforehand, but they also came with a plastic sorter that prevents the markers from going where they want. For the environment, not the best, and for that, the Prismacolor Cool Gray markers use less material by utilizing a flat cardboard box that keeps the markers aligned.
Pro Tip: Keep the markers laying flat to keep the ink even on both brushes.
Similarities and Differences
Both- Both of the markers are ultra light in weight. When purchasing, you'll notice they both come in a pack of 12 which provides a nice range of tones for any piece. The quality of each brand is top-notch and you honestly can't go wrong with a choice. This is more about personal preference and the intended goal for whatever you're creating. Each brand also is dual-ended with a brush tip and a chisel tip.
Copic Sketch- The marker itself has a great feel in the hand in order to be able to achieve different angles and directions. When turned sideways, it fits more ergonomically within the frame of the hands/fingers. The brush tip was a bit too soft for my liking but the chisel tip was on point and provided great strokes that felt like butter. Some of the markers did contain a slight smell of alcohol from the ink. The pigmentation of these markers is not insanely strong and will require layers but that's actually a positive as it allows for more control in the final outcome of the piece. Copic offers a new tone for each gray but does not offer a true black in their pack. The bonus is these markers are refillable so they will last multiple years.
Prismacolor Premier- The marker has a solid feel as the grip is fatter than the Copic. However, it feels the same no matter what angle you're aiming to achieve, which was an issue for me when it came to ultra-detailed work. The brush tip was stiff and I enjoyed that aspect but the chisel tip was a little on the wider side which led to more ink being let out. The scent is around the same for these markers as well. There is a strong pigmentation on these markers and they tend to have more of a paint finish when dried. If layering, they tend to have a watercolor finish if layered before drying which could make for a cool result on the final piece. Prismacolor offers 9 total gray variations and provides 3 true black markers in their set. The downside is when the ink runs out, you have to buy the entire marker or set again. In the long run, these will cost you more than Copic.
Copic Sketch- This is a great example of the pigmentation of Copic. As I began layering, it is clear to see how the colors were affected by each layer, providing more control. The bleeding was controllable and minimally spilled outside of the box (some were user errors). The smoothness of each stroke allowed me to stop where I wanted without the worry of the marker bleeding into another section. The bleed on the page behind it was minimal but still noteworthy.
Prismacolor Premier- As you can see, the pigmentation is quite a bit stronger which led to the colors looking more similar in some cases. The bleeding was uncontrollable the darker the marker became. I would stop short of where I needed to but the ink kept running outside of the box, making for a sloppier presentation than I would've liked. The bleed onto the next page was significant as well.
Copic Sketch- These markers have lighter pigmentation because they are meant to blend and they did just that. The Copic markers blended so well which allowed for far more detail and exploration. The result looked more similar to Gouache paint which was cool, in my opinion. I was extremely impressed with how much artistic control these markers let me have.
Prismacolor Premier- The Prismacolor was a joy, honestly. As mentioned before, the brush tip was more firm which gave great control for tighter spaces. The blending was not ideal, to be quite honest. The colors and ink seemed to sit on top of each other until it dried then the result of the blend was out of my control. As you can see in some spots, the colors seem to clash and rest in place as you'd expect with a watercolor painting.
The winner is... The Copic Sketch Marker! To be quite honest, I love both markers, but ultimately, I will end up using only Copic Sketch markers going forward. I've already purchased a couple more sets as I aim to build the set to 72 for full architectural and interior design renderings. I will say that for deeper color or less layered work, Prismacolor or Ohuhu markers would be a better fit, especially Ohuhu markers because their colors are extremely rich in pigmentation.
This review is only my opinion of the best markers for design after doing a side-by-side comparison for myself. Feel free to purchase them both (links provided below) and decide which one works best for you. Join me on my journey @noirandneutralsstudio on Instagram. With love, see y'all next time!
Are you an interior design or architecture student? Are you a design professional? Have something to add? Let's connect!