Saturday, June 08, 2013

Art Marker Showdown: Copic Sketch Vs. FineColour Markers

EDIT: If you enjoyed this review, please consider donating! Donations go towards the purchase of additional art supplies, which may include more markers for testing. If you found this review useful, please consider sharing it on your social networks- a larger audience means I can afford to do things like Kickstart future projects and makes me more attractive to possible publishers.  There's also a handy pocket edition of ALL my marker reviews in a beautiful little 4"x6" photobook.  It's available for $3 in my Nattoshop, and proceeds go towards things like keeping the lights on and buying more markers to review.

I've been sitting on this review for awhile, because I'm actually pretty excited about it. FineColour markers have been on my radar for awhile, but I had a little trouble procurring them, as I could only find them on bulk trading sites for the longest time. Finally I found a set on eBay, and jumped at the chance.

FineColour alcohol markers are the most similar in appearance to Copic Sketch markers of all the alcohol based markers I've tested.  Capped, it's hard to tell a FineColour from a Copic Sketch unless you know what you're looking for.

This review is doubly exciting for me, as it marks the last of my alcohol marker reviews (at least for awhile). I've reviewed so many marker options, from ShinHan Twin Touch to Potentate alcohol based markers, and in the near future, I plan on releasing a condensed review to aid you in your marker choices. I know there are still more options available (like the FineColour Junior, FineColour's Copic Caio knock off), but the marker reviews have been somewhat expensive and haven't generated quite the response I'd been hoping to see from my audience. I'm still polling to determine what my next series of reviews should be.

Art Supply Review Disclaimer

 As always, these art supply reviews are based on my own experiences and tastes, and may not be directly relevant to your needs and techniques. When investing in a product as expensive and potentially long lasting as alcohol based markers, it's wise to take into consideration a variety of sources, and to do your research.

Background Information about FineColour

There isn't a lot of information about Finecolour alcohol based markers, and they aren't pervasively available in the US.  They seem to be produced by Sketch Marker Pen, and are available through sites like Aliexpress.com.

FineColour Markers

Source

Source
  • 192 Available colors
  • Non-refillable
  • Nibs non-replaceable
  • Made in China
  • Twin tipped- chisel and bullet nib
  • Available individually from Aliexpress, Sketch Marker Pen, eBay
  • Available in sets and open stock from Aliexpress
  • Seemingly no blender marker
Source

Copic Sketch

  • Price Per Marker: $7.29
  • Refillable
  • Replacable Nibs
  • Comfortable in hand
  • 358 available number of colors
  • Blend
  • Color Name and Family on Cap
  • Color Coded cap
  • Super Brush
  • Can mix own colors, blank markers available
  • Availability: limited availability at Michaels, many art supply stores, Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama, Jetpens, Amazon 
  • Available in individual and color themed sets
  • Alcohol based
  • React to rubbing alcohol and 'blender' fluid
  • Can be blended

Comparison

I'd ordered the 24 piece FineColour set from eBay, which ran me about $40 plus shipping.  This gave me plenty of colors to play around with, but I received no blender marker from FineColour.

Upon close inspection, FineColour markers have a squared off cap on the chisel end.

There's some sort of color coding system for FineColour, but it isn't readily apparent.



The color system at work, folks!

The bullet nib on this twin tipped marker isn't exciting, but these seem to be industry standard in cheaper priced alcohol markers.


Copic (to the back), FineColour (to the front).  The similarities are striking, from the markings on the barrel to the size and design of the marker itself.  The FineColours feel a little lighter, the cap posting isn't as secure, and in general, they feel a bit cheaper.



So when conducting this test, I goofed up, and did the FineColour in the Copic Section and vice versa.

The Verdict

FineColour markers really impressed me.  For their price, they're pretty comparable to Copic markers, and if you purchase a Copic Blender, you could achieve many of the same affects.  They're non refillable, and don't feature replacable nibs, but I bet you could replace at least the chisel nibs with Copic chisel nibs.

I know I am harsh when it comes to Copic comparisons, but that's me thinking about price, performance, and availability.  So far, I haven't found too many brands that are both comparable to Copics and could be worked into a existing collection.  Markers that can fill in the gaps in a collection so far seem to be:

MEXPY
ShinHan Twin Touch
Prismacolor Premier
FineColour

FineColour aren't really available in stores in the US, but they're cheap and easy to find on eBay.  The shipping may take awhile, as they usually ship from China, but I think they're an excellent starter kit for a student artist interested in marker art--someone who may want a large collection of colors, but may not have a large budget.  As long as you aren't pretending these are Copics, and don't expect perfect performance, FineColour markers are a decent addition to a beginner artist's collection.

FineColour markers take a little extra effort to blend (since they have that nasty bullet nib), but work well with the Copic or Prismacolour blender marker.