Markers, Glorious Markers~!

So I went out and bought myself these two new babies:

And ohmaigoodness I began to wonder why I stopped expanding my collection of markers.
Then I went to the counter and the guy totted up the bill and I was gently reminded the very reason why, lol.

And, yeah, with the whole digital era coming down on us, markers and every other traditional media is more of a hobby than a means of generating revenue. Of course I can still rattle off a string of artists that still work off traditional media, but they and almost everyone else also use digital besides. 
 But with Illustration class this semester, everyone will be needing markers, right? I'm just lucky to have a working set beforehand, the same way some people go to Photoshop/Illustrator class with knowledge on the tools and whatnot already. Still, I will never consider myself to be a master at markers. Never. I just enjoy using markers, and I am a very enthusiastic collector of them. That be all. 

There is still some good in all those years of me using markers though. I've tried quite a few, enough to know them quite a bit. And I think, safe to say, that Copic markers are still by far the best of the lot. Of course, you'll probably need to starve yourself a bit (or sell a some of your soul) to get the cash to buy a decent set, but yeah. If you have the money, you get the best. I'm not saying that other markers are bad, though. But I'll get down to that later.

...Yes, I bet you didn't know that I was going to start lecturing on markers XD. But once I get started I can't seem to stop, lol.

Here we go: Copic markers! I actually did a presentation on them for Communication Studies back in foundation, don't know how many of you remembered that, lol. Anyway, Copic markers come in three different kinds: a square bodied one (top), an oval bodied known as Sketch (middle), and a smaller, round bodied Ciao (bottom). Price differs, it's around 13/14 bucks (yeah, I know) for the regular/Sketch, and the Ciao is cheaper, I think maybe 10 bucks or so. Simply because it's smaller.

The nibs on them are different as well. With the regular Copic you'll have a Broad nib on one end for large surface areas, and a Fine nib for precise corners and whatnot. The fine nib is firm, but it can flatten if you press too hard down on it. I actually have a G05 (Emerald Green) marker that has a flattened fine nib. Still usable but, well, it's just weird, lol. The Sketch and Ciao markers both have Medium Broad nibs on one end and a Brush nib on the other. The Brush nib is firm yet flexible and you can get very good feathering effects with them, besides covering moderately large areas and tiny areas with the tip of the brush.

There are a few reasons why I say Copic markers are best. One, they come in a good variety of nibs, and all nibs are replaceable. So if you do press a bit too hard and flatten a nib, you can get a pack and pop a new one on. And there's the amount of colours they come in; last time I checked Copic Sketch markers came in 358 different colours, and I'm not sure if that's with the new 2011/2012 colours included ._____. . Not only that, all Copic markers are refillable, unlike Prismacolors. They don't smell bad, unlike Prismas. The colours, I find, are more translucent compared to other markers like Kurecolour or Letraset. Event the more vibrant colours are a bit...lacking? In body. Not sure how to express it, sorry.

The downside of Copics is of course its price. God are they expensive, lol. And they're also hard to come by. Before Art Friend opened in The Gardens I only saw them in Kinokuniya, but now even Kino doesn't have Copics anymore so it's just Art Friend. And only the Sketch markers come in each and every colour. Regular Copics come in 214 colours and Ciao 180. 

If one is planning on using markers to complete an assignment and be over and done with, I wouldn't really recommend Copics. Because you'd be spending a fortune and then said fortune would be mouldering in the corner after you're done. Also, if you are on a tight budget I can assure you your heart would crack in more than one place if you're going to cover a huge area of colour with your Copics, even if you have re-fills =P. Which is why, I'd recommend some other markers to satisfy your alcohol-pigment needs:

The one on top is Kurecolour. Fat, round body with two nibs: a flat broad and a fine nib. Both nibs are harder than Copics but if you're doing precise work it's an incredible advantage.  They are also refillable, though they don't come in as many colours as Copics. Very nice to use, though. I like them for their vibrancy, especially when I'm working on one of my drowned in colours drawings =P. 
Prismacolours (second from top) is probably the next best to Copics. Although not so many in colour as Copics, I think they put quite a lot of thought into which colours to produce, so that there is really just about every colour you'd need, be it for human portraits or architectural rendering. I really like the Deco   series; very pastel and dreamy! I have not tried the skin tones, but I've seen many works out there and the results are pretty good, though it looked just a bit more artificial or 'plastic' than how natural skin would look. 
One of the downsides of Prismas, I realized, is that they tend to turn yellow after time. I was flipping through my swatch book and I realized that some of the Prismas have a yellow halo around them.

Only the oranges and the yellows have them, though. The reds, blues and greens seem to have no effect. 

I can't remember where I got the Letraset markers from. They are pretty much like the Kurecolours, except that they are slimmer. Letraset also produces Tria markers that correspond to the Pantone colour system, though I have yet to try those out. Yoken markers are nice and cheap, and the art shop in Limkokwing sells them along with the Prismas. I got two whole sets from someone, and they are pretty nice. They have a very light scent. And the greys are pretty good. 

What I usually like to do is use cheaper markers for large areas of colours when I can, and use Copics for medium/small areas. Most of the markers blend well with one another despite not being of the same make. So it boils down to the nature of your work. Whether you want something to grab-and-go or something longer lasting and permanent. 

So...there you have it. My long long ramble on markers. Hope it was a bit informative, if not entertaining at the very least. I need to practice my marker $k!lLZ, will you believe that I have not touched markers for almost 4 months now.

Happy markering~!