Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Caricature Markers

If you are not a caricature artist, nor have any interest in becoming one, you will probably find this entry incredibly dull.

I am attempting to re-enter the caricature-drawing world, but a few things have changed in my absence; most notably, the main marker I always used, the Dixon Markette, has been drastically altered.

In an attempt to find a replacement, I bought one of every kind of black marker I could find, and then threw in some I already owned and tested them all out. I thought I'd share the results for other caricature artists.

These are the markers I used for this demo.



They are, in order from left to right, Tria, Artwin, Chartpak Fine Tip, Chartpak, Copic, Sharpie, Prismacolor, the new Markette, and the old Markette.


First, we'll start with the old Markette, as it's what I'm comparing the rest to.



The older Markette isn't without its flaws, but it was a great marker for getting a variety of line widths, and its best feature was the ease with which one could create lines that taper into nothingness.

I drew an eye with one to use to compare.



Notice how fine the eyelashes are, and how smoothly lines fade, creating the illusion of highlight.

Now the new Markette.



The tip shape was changed, probably because one of the problems with the former design was that the tip might snap off unexpectedly.

Unfortunately, it was the tip shape of the original Markette that was so appealing. The new tip is much harder to get definition out of - it lends itself to blobbiness and uniformity of line width.



Next up is the Prismacolor marker. This is a double tipped marker, with a fine tip and a broad tip. I only used the fine tip for the purposes of this review, because while some caricature artists are able to use a heavy chisel tip to make good drawings, I am not one of them.



This is a marker I've used in the past with some success, though it isn't as flexible as I'd like it to be. It's good for fine lines, but difficult to get thicker ones.



Not a bad option though.

After that, we have the good old Sharpie.



If you're in a pinch, you can probably manage with one. It's not the greatest marker out there, but if it's a newer one you can get some fairly good lines. After several uses, though, they get pretty rough to work with.



Not the finest lines, but there are worse options.


Next is the Copic.



This one is all about your personal style. It's used by a lot of caricature artists, and you never need to buy a new one because the nibs are replaceable, and the ink is refillable. It has a very flexible brush tip, but in my experience it's almost too flexible. You can draw very quickly, but you lose a little bit of line control.



Lines can get very thick or very thin. Using it feels more like brush and ink than it does like a marker.


After that was the Chartpak marker.



I heard mention of this one on a caricature blog some time ago, so I bought it despite my hesitancy to use chisel tips. The tip is surprisingly flexible, giving it a slightly brushy feel that I almost liked, but the ink bled everywhere.



It was too thick anyways, but unless I can find some paper that this won't bleed on, it will probably never be used again.

Its companion, the Chartpak Fine Tip, had the same issue.



I really liked the tip on this one, but it still ended up looking like watercolors. Not as bad as the regular Chartpak, but not good enough for me to use it for something I would try to sell. I only tried it on one kind of paper, so if another kind stops the bleeding problem I'd give it another chance.



The next one is an Artwin marker.




It feels pretty similar to the Prismacolor, but was less expensive. Not bad. Not a Markette, but I would use it.



I only tried the medium tip side of it; the fine tip is more like a pen than a marker.

Last, and my favorite, was the Tria.



I had heard of the marker, but was told it was basically the same as the Prismacolor. They've recently updated the marker, and now it's very similar to the Copic, but the important difference is in flexibility. The brush tip is shorter than the Copic's which made it easier to manage. I liked the effects I got with it, though I haven't tested it out completely. It has the brush tip, a chisel tip, and a pen tip.



So, while none of the markers can replace exactly what the older Markette had, I don't think I'm completely lost. Now I'm going to go draw.

34 comments:

Jackie said...

This is very useful. Not to me...but to someone. Maybe you should do more, on other art related stuff.

ALove said...

Useful to me :-)

Anonymous said...

Did you tried this nib with the Copic Marker (not copic Sketch, the nid is not compatible) to replace the Markette Pen :
http://www.copicmarker.com/items/copic-brush

Unknown said...

so so grateful for your work and that you took thetime to post this test!

just entering back into caricature also and have some old markettes but they are slowly dying... need a new option. there's a website that sells and will sharpen the markettes new bullett tip for a fee... here... http://cartoonpens.com/Pages/Order-1.htm moreexpensive then i thought they'd be though... happy mark-ing!

Tielman said...

Thanks for taking so many pictures. It's usually so hard to find out what kind of line the marker is going to make without testing it.
Thanks to you, I'm picking up some Chartpaks.
Nice work.

Anonymous said...

A pen I have used in the past is the staedtler dual tip brush marker. The brush tip is not felt, its kind of rubbery, which gives the tip a long life and plenty of snap. The one thing i can't stand about it is the ink takes forever to dry, so its easy to smudge. But, it is easy to get great effects with it, and I have enjoyed using it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your illustrations and your comments -- I am wanting to learn to draw caricatures and my book said the Markette but couldn't find them. What you provided has given me some choices to try without wasting my money on markers that would not work for me.

cleo said...

This is really helpful!

Eddie Van Gogh said...

There is also Staedler mars graphic 3000 duo marker & the Tombow black marker they work pretty good once you get used to them... I usually use them in combination with another marker :)

ColoredMud said...

I Use the ChartPak Fine tip AD markers for my retail caricature work, and the way to solve the bleeding issue is to just do a couple really blotty/black drawings (out of the chair, or as practice) There's a point in their life where the line quality is (close) to as good as the old Markettes, you just have to get them past the initial saturated ink bleed phase. Just my two cents. Like your eye(s) by the way :)

Anonymous said...

This is very helpful for me; my job used to use the markettes, but now we've transitioned to the chartpak fine tips. The first couple drawings have a lot of bleeding, but as you use the marker, it stops. The only pitfall is that I use up one of those markers in about three days which is fine at work, since they provide the markers, but for myself, I'd like to find something more durable.

Bill Herrin said...

Thanks for this... I've been a freelance cartoonist off and on for years, and am doing caricatures from photos... my next move is to do caricatures "live" at events... the old Design markers had the best tip ever... looks like your research will solve my issue of finding a suitable marker. I'll buy a bunch in case these go away too!!

Jeanette said...

Thanks for this. I use the Prismacolor Premier. I love the spongy, smooth feel and so far only use the broad end. It's hard to tell without a closer look that it's not a typical wedge shape. It has three basic thicknesses with just the broad end. It takes some practice and finesse, but you can get a wide variety of strokes. I haven't mastered it, but am determined to work out line quality issues.

Benjamin said...

Thank you! I am just starting the learning process and really wanted to know what experienced caricature artists chose for markers and why. This really helps!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I was looking for a Markette substitute and your illustrations really helped.

Chris said...

Thanks for posting! I have tried many of these pens myself and was using Utrecht's design marker as a substitute for the Markette marker. Unfortunately that marker has just been discontinued. I'm interested in trying our the tria marker.

wfedan said...

I really appreciate this post. I have had the same problem. My favorite caricature marker was the DESIGN Art Marker. It had the same kind of tip, and it's the marker I trained with. Will have to try out the last one you mentioned. Why do art companies keep discontinuing the best materials? (sigh)

Quinn said...

Have you tried Pitt Pens? They are markers, come in brush, medium, fine, and superfine.I use the black ones, but they come in sepia and gray sets as well as brushes in color. I love Pitt Pens, but as with everything, your results may vary.

Jackie B. said...

Thank you so much for your recommendations. I am new to caricature drawing and the Markette was recommended in Harry Hamernik's excellent book, Face Off. Try as I might, I could not find the Markette. Now reading your post, I'm glad I did not. I'm going to try out a few others that you mentioned.

suzanne grover said...

Hi folks, does anyone know if markette changed the tip back to the old ones yet or not? thanks, Suzanne

TheToonHeadz said...

I don't think they will ever come back with the old tips for the Markette. The manufacturer that made the tips went out of business.

jryan said...

So frustrated finding a pen to replace the Markette marker. I am down to a couple and don't want to use them! Oh and thanks Jackie at the top of the comments. Thanks for sharing. Maybe you should post on non art related stuff. Sorry, it is the frustration in me coming out. I hate change.

Eric Brandon said...

The cheap Crayola work's better then any.The problem is you get only one black marker out of 8. But they're very cheap.

Shawn Deny said...

I am attempting to re-enter the caricature-drawing world, but a few things have changed in my absence; most notably, the main marker I always used, the Dixon Markette, has been drastically altered.

the best caricature artist in town

pobeslo said...

Too funny.I have felt lost without the markette. Now I have hope again.

Anonymous said...

Hope every1. Is good I have access to original design discontinued markers unlimited supply as of rite now but there selling daily my info.fir questions v.lee7555@gmail.com

Prismacolor Markers said...

These are the markers I used for this demo. They are, in order from left to ... pmarkers.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

I have used Copic for some time, not a chisel tip user usually, and love a brush tip. The fabric is too stiff for me however. I learned how to deal with the sickness of the Copic but have since switched over to the new Sharpie brush tip! It tapers well with a slightly stiffer tip than the Copic, but does not get that nice grainy haze until you're about halfway through it. They go quick but they're cheap and you can find them many many places when you are in a pinch.

Unknown said...

I have used Copic for some time, not a chisel tip user usually, and love a brush tip. The fabric is too stiff for me however. I learned how to deal with the sickness of the Copic but have since switched over to the new Sharpie brush tip! It tapers well with a slightly stiffer tip than the Copic, but does not get that nice grainy haze until you're about halfway through it. They go quick but they're cheap and you can find them many many places when you are in a pinch.

George V said...

I have had the same exact experience you have. The Tria was the best I found too. But it seemed to be shipped from someplace in Japan? Where did you find yours? In any art stores? A USA distributer? The Copic, like you say, is too flexible to control fine lines and transitioning between thin and thick. There are now a few other new ones I have tried, like Shin, and all are using the limp nylon nib like Copic. It must be some kind of alien conspiracy against Caricature Artists!! Why can't someone make one like the Utrecht Design marker? Discontinued of course!!! It was perfect. Had the Copic shape but was stiffer like the Markette. WTF! Finally found some refill ink...thought I was saved...now every source says manufacturer is out of stock!!! Of course. Lets just committ mass caricature suicide, maybe that will get some attention. America, the great corporate capital, slave to the market of demand, yet throughout history the caricature markers are slaugthtered one by one despite the demand! Sick of it all.

P.L.Jose said...

Thank you for this post..

Eric Medina said...

Ps.i still got new and used desighn 1 metal markers eberhard faber plus pantones originals.if any1 has any desighners or pantones or display cases,please email me v.lee7555@gmail.com im always willing 2 buy.

Eric Medina said...

Ps.i still got new and used desighn 1 metal markers eberhard faber plus pantones originals.if any1 has any desighners or pantones or display cases,please email me v.lee7555@gmail.com im always willing 2 buy.

Grumpy Grizzly said...

Eric Brandon, check out Crayolas website and you'll find where you can buy all black markers by the box instead of all the various colors.