I purchased these markers with my own money. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while using these tools. This post does contain affiliate links.
I recently admitted to myself that my BIC Markits and Sharpies have served me well but have run out of ink. And I would love to have more than 24 or 36 colors. Therefore – woo hoo! Time for a new set of alcohol-based markers!
But which ones?
My first thought went to the ‘king” of alcohol-based markers, Copic. If you have done anyresearch about markers, you’ve probably drooled over these sweeties. Copics have a very solid reputation in the art and coloring communities. They blend nicely, are refillable, and sold open stock (you don’t have to buy a whole set to replace one color). You can even replace frayed tips. However, as with Prismacolor Premier, Winsor & Newton and others, they are harrowingly expensive at $5+ per marker!
Adaxi Markers are dual-tipped, with a bullet-shaped nib on one end and a chisel tip on the other. The square barrels are have comfortably rounded corners. Inside their zippered fabric carrying case, the markers sit in a handy plastic base that has a slot for each marker. Together, these are great for using and storing them, either vertically (ideal) or horizontally.
The Adaxi 80-count set I bought has a great variety of colors. The marker caps are color-coded and numbered, but the colors on the caps do not exactly match the color of the ink when it dries (more below).
The ferrule on the bullet end is grey and is exposed when capped to make it easy to identify it. There is not a brush tip, which is kind of a bummer, but from what I see, brush tips are definitely a contributing factor when it comes to the price on alcohol-based markers.
The Adaxi markers claim to be “non-toxic, acid-free, permanent, odorless, and safe.” The seller I selected, DIPArtworks, promises that if “there’s any question out there, please let us know and we’ll fix it within 24 hours.” In fact, they emailed me soon after I received my markers to make sure I was happy. And even though I did not have any problems, they answered every product-related question I emailed to them in full and same-day.
The 80 colors in this set include multiple shades and hues of green, red, yellow, blue, grey, and brown. There is a nice mix of vibrant colors (e.g. 85 Vivid Purple, 3 Rose Red) as well as delicate watercolors (77 Pale Blue, 172 Spectrum Green) and, thankfully, no fluorescents. The set has nine greys – not two or three, but nine! And a great selection of skin-tones. (If you color faces a lot, you can expand your colors with a set of skin-tone colors).
Overall, this is a bountiful range of colors that will be more than adequate for most colorists.
The colors of the cap ends are roughly indicative of the ink colors, so to avoid surprises you will want to create a color swatch to reference while you are using them. The package includes a small tri-fold card for doing this, but I found that because of the glossy finish the colors on the card were washed-out. I was able to get more true colors on a swatch template printed on plain old 20-pound white copier paper (shown above).
One drawback is that these alcohol-based markers are not available individually. So if you run out of your favorite color, you will need to buy a new set just to replace that one color.
The fiber tips of the markers are firm and dispense ink evenly and smoothly on all the papers I tested. Even with pressure (and I did test!) the tips did not retreat into the barrel.
You will have to hold the tip right up to your nose to notice a smell – they are practically odorless as claimed.
The caps stay securely snapped onto the pen, so you do not have to worry about them falling off and letting the ink evaporate. You can, with a bit of fiddling, snap the cap onto the opposite end while coloring so you won’t misplace it. The square, rounded edge barrels are light and comfortable to hold. And the shape means that the markers will not roll away from you.
They blend just as well as any other alcohol-based markers I have used. They also dry quickly, which is good because you do not have to worry about smudging your work.
Feathering and Bleeding
The smoother the paper you use, the less feathering (spreading out on the design you are coloring) you will see. For example, the Adaxi markers did feather in my Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, less so on my Color & Frame coloring books. The ink feathered less on designs I printed myself, using my ink-jet printer on HP Premium 32 paper . The best results were on marker paper, of course.
Tip: To reduce the amount of feathering when using the bullet-shaped nib, make sure to use very light strokes, and push your strokes away from the lines in a design. If like to color highly detailed illustrations (such as Kerby Rosanes’), you will want to have some fine or ultra-fine markers on hand as the bullet tip, no matter how I tried, resulted in feathering.
As with most alcohol-based markers, the Adaxi ones do bleed through every paper and cardstock I tried, even 80 pound card stock. If you are coloring in a page from a coloring book, remove the page from the book before you color, or place a spare sheet of paper behind the coloring page to catch any bleed-through.
I am not a fan of chisel tips, so, frankly, I really have not used them. It would be great if Adaxi had a double-ended marker with brush tip instead of the chisel.
The Verdict : 4★
Overall, the DIPArtworks Adaxi alcohol-based 80-piece marker set performs very well at a wonderful price. So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying them.
|– Beautiful range of colors||– Colors on caps not always representative of ink color|
|– Reasonable price: ~$33 for a set of 80 ($0.41 each)||– No brush tip|
|– Low odor||– No open stock|
|– Not refillable|
Have you tried these markers, or any similar? If so, what do you like about them? What don’t you like? Let us know in the comments section below!