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Illustration Markers: Prismacolor vs. AD Chartpak- A Comparison by Merrill Kazanjian    (Released in 2010, February)
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In this article, I will compare the two most popular brands of illustration markers; Prismacolor and Ad Chartpak. I am an artist, a teacher and a professional illustrator and I have been using both Prismacolor and Ad Chartpak markers for many years. The subscribers of my youtube channel have seen me depend upon illustration markers in my work, and I have recieved many questions about the artistic capabilities of illustration markers. I have noticed that there is not a lot of information on the internet regarding this topic, so I decided to contribute my perspective. As you continue to read this article, you will become aware of each brand's strengths and weaknesses, so that you could make an educated decision, if you should choose to purchase some.

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTIC MEDIUM OF ILLUSTRATION MARKERS

I choose to use Illustration Markers in my work, because they are fast, portable and mixable with other media. I was trained as an oil painter but my busy lifestyle forced me to reconsider my approach to art making. I stumbled upon illustration markers when I visited a friends studio. I quickly learned to think about illustration markers as a descendant (or a relative) of watercolor paint. Both are means to apply transparent color. Once an artist practices with illustration markers, and learns the nuances of the medium, he/she can get sophisticated in a fraction of the time that it would take to create a work in watercolor.


VIDEO

 

TIPS FROM VIDEO

1.) Markers- When you use illustration markers, think of yourself as a watercolor artist. I say this because illustration markers enable you with the means to apply transparent color and layer it multiple times. But there is a trade off in using illustration markers (AND ONE THAT I AM DEFINITELY WILLING TO MAKE) The colors are pre mixed and you are limited in creating tones (light and dark values) and chromas (range of the intensity of color) in your work. You will see in the video demonstration that the markers do not blend together like wet paint. There are simple ways to compensate for the lack of mixability.

2.) Special Markers- There are two different types of special illustration markers; Blender markers and grays. I know....I just said that there is no blending. The blender marker is a little deceptive. It is simply a marker without color in it. It is comprised of the fluid that the marker is mixed in. When it is applied on paper, the colors will bleed together. You will see during my demonstration that there is a big difference between bleeding and blending.  The warm and cool gray markers are used to build tones. Usually, there are ten warm grays and ten cool grays in a complete marker set. Ten is the darkest tone and one is the lightest.

3.) Paper- In order to use Illustration Markers to their full capacity, you will need Bleedproof paper. It is specifically made for markers, and it prevents markers from running.

 

 

 


ABOUT PRISMACOLOR AND AD CHARTPAK


AN OVERALL COMPARISON OF THE TWO TOP BRANDS

 

Comparison of Prismacolor vs Chartpak Ad Illustration Markers

Both brands offer a wide range of colors and both are quality products. I use both brands when I work (as evidenced in my videos). I currently have a slight preferance toward AD Chartpak, but when I first started using illustration markers, I preferred the superior control of Prismacolor.  It is a matter of preferance.....Power (AD Chartpak) versus Accuracy (Prismacolor). The best solution is to use them together.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

 

If you choose to experiment with illustration markers in your work. I would recommend that you purchase Bleedproof paper (shown below). I stress this point if you wish to purchase AD Chartpak markers (You could get away with using regular paper with the Prismacolor markers). I would also recommend for you to purchase a set based upon your interests (I will provide you with lots of possibilities below). For instance, most of my work deals with the human figure, so a set with a lot of flesh tones makes the most sense for a person like me. I do use all of the markers that I have (OVER 500!!!!) but I use 100 flesh tones out of the 500 eighty percent of the time! Below I will list all of the possibilities. If you have a question, leave me a comment (at the bottom) and I will be sure to respond.  


PAPER

Borden & Riley Paris Bleedproof Paper For Pens

Borden & Riley Paris Bleedproof Paper For Pens

If you are purchasing Ad Markers, this is a must. It comes in three sizes.- Merrill

 

The smooth, hard surface of Paris paper is a convenient and economical alternative to bristol board. Brilliant white, crisp, and bleedproof, it is the ideal surface for detailed pen-and-ink illustrations rendered for reproduction with crowquill pens, broad drawing pens, calligraphy, or fountain pens. Each pad contains 40 sheets.


COMPLETE SETS

Chartpak Ad Marker Sets

Chartpak Ad Marker Set of 100

These are an investment! They are durable and portable and have lasted me several years. I purchased my set in 2007 and I have only had to replace a few colors. When you buy a set, you recieve a really cool and useful marker stand. Personally, Chartpak AD Markers are my favorite. If you compare the price to other brands this is the best value. -Merrill


Set of 156

Prismacolor Set of 156

Prismacolor markers are superior for accuracy. They take less time to get used to because they do not bleed as much. It is less necessary to purchase bleedproof paper with these markers. - Merrill

This set of 156 contains Process Red, Blush Pink, Warm Gray 20%, Warm Gray 30%, Warm Gray 40%, Warm Gray 50%, Warm Gray 60%, Warm Gray 70%, Warm Gray 80%, Warm Gray 90%, Cool Gray 10%, Cool Gray 20%, Deco Peach, Cool Gray 30%, Cool Gray 40%, Cool Gray 50%, Cool Gray 60%, Cool Gray 70%, Cool Gray 80%, Cool Gray 90%, Broad Metallic Silver, Fine Metallic Silver, Broad Metallic Gold, Light Peach, Fine Metallic Gold, Clear Blender, Salmon Pink, Spanish Orange, Limepeel, Peacock Blue, Cerulean Blue, Imperial Violet, Parma Violet, Poppy Red, Deco Orange, Deco Yellow, Jasmine, Deco Pink, Deco Blue, Clay Rose, Pale Vermillion, Celadon Green, Jade Green, Brittany Blue, Mediterranean Blue, Cloud Blue, Blue Slate, Periwinkle, Greyed Lavender, Bronze, Yellow Orange, Mahogany Red, Raspberry, Henna, Pumpkin Orange, Mineral Orange, French Gray 10%, French Gray 20%, French Gray 30%, French Gray 40%, French Gray 50%, Orange, French Gray 60%, French Gray 70%, French Gray 80%, French Gray 90%, Grass Green, True Green, Apple Green, Dark Purple, Tuscan Red, Sunburst Yellow, Peach, Lilac, Light Umber, Yellow Ochre, Forest Green, Spruce Green, Emerald, Leaf Green, Canary Yellow, Tulip Yellow, Cream, Spring Green, Light Olive Green, Chartreuse, Dark Olive Green, Dark Green, Parrot Green, Lime Green, Aquamarine, Teal Blue, True Blue, Crimson Red, Copenhagen Blue, Violet Blue, Indigo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Navy Blue, Light Aqua, Light Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Scarlet Lake, Violet, Mulberry, Rhodamine, Carmine Red, Violet Mist, Dark Umber, Sepia, Sienna Brown, Goldenrod, Magenta, Sand, Buff, Eggshell, Flagstone Red, Brick Beige, Brick White, Pink, Putty, Terra Cotta, Cherry, Dark Brown, Light Walnut, Walnut, Burnt Ochre, Light Tan, Blondwood, Warm Black, Black, Warm Gray 10%, Pale Jade, Avocado, Mint Cream, Cold Stone, Spearmint, Wheat, Green Tea, Muted Turquoise, Mocha Light, Mocha Dark, Cinnamon Toast, Sky Blue Light, Driftwood, Taupe, Parchment, Ash Gray, Pale Peach, Ballet Pink, Khaki, Cocoa Bean, Eggplant, Jet Black, Oatmeal, and Pewter.


Specialty Sets- Prismacolor

 

Landscape Colors, Set of 24

Landscape Colors, Set of 24

This is a set of markers with a palette especially made for landscape artists. -Merrill

 

This specially developed 24-count set of assorted double-sided professional artist-quality markers contains a spectrum of colors perfect for landscape artwork. Enjoy rich color saturation with smooth, silky ink flow and coverage.


Primary/Secondary Colors, Set of 12

Primary/Secondary Colors, Set of 12

This is a starter set of Prismacolor markers with the most common colors used in illustration.- Merrill

 

This set of 12 includes Violet, Canary Yellow, Yellowed Orange, Hot Pink, Carmine Red, Crimson Red, Parrot Green, Ultramarine, Mulberry, Dark Green, Dark Umber, and Black.


 

Set of 48

Set of 48

A good entry level set. It is light on the flesh tones though. -Merrill

This set of 48 contains Process Red, Crimson Red, Carmine Red, Magenta, Pink, Blush Pink, Light Peach, Poppy Red, Pale Vermillion, Yellow Orange, Orange, Yellow Ochre, Canary Yellow, Cream, Spring Green, Chartreuse, Dark Olive Green, Dark Green, Aquamarine, True Blue, Violet Blue, Indigo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Light Aqua, Light Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Violet, Mulberry, Rhodamine, Dark Umber, Sienna Brown, Goldenrod, Dark Brown, Black, Spanish Orange, Limepeel, Deco Yellow, Deco Pink, Blue Slate, Grass Green, True Green, Apple Green, Tuscan Red, Peach, Lilac, Light Umber, Broad Metallic Silver, Fine Metallic Silver, and Light Tan.


 

  Manga, Set of 12

  Manga, Set of 12

Personally, I do not do manga style work, but I wanted to include all possibilities.- Merrill

 

This 12-count set provides the essential tools for creating sequential art, including French Grey 20%, Sienna Brown, Eggshell, Brick Beige, Ballet Pink, True Blue, Cloud Blue, Pale Vermillion, Sunburst Yellow, Lilac, Process Red, and Apple Green.


 

Set of 72

Set of 72

This set of 72 contains Process Red, Crimson Red, Carmine Red, Magenta, Pink, Blush Pink, Light Peach, Poppy Red, Pale Vermillion, Yellow Orange, Orange, Sunburst Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Canary, Cream, Spring Green, Chartreuse, Dark Olive Green, Dark Green, Parrot Green, Aquamarine, True Blue, Copenhagen Blue, Violet Blue, Indigo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Light Aqua, Light Cerulean Blue, Violet, Mulberry, Rhodamine, Violet Mist, Dark Umber, Sepia, Sienna Brown, Goldenrod, Terra Cotta, Dark Brown, Burnt Ochre, Light Tan, Black, Warm Gray 20%, Warm Gray 50%, Warm Gray 70%, Cool Gray 20%, Cool Gray 50%, Cool Gray 70%, Spanish Orange, Limepeel, Peacock Blue, Imperial Violet, Deco Yellow, Deco Pink, Jade Green, Cloud Blue, Blue Slate, French Gray 20%, French Gray 50%, French Gray 70%, Grass Green, True Green, Apple Green, Dark Purple, Tuscan Red, Peach, Lilac, Light Umber, Mint Cream, Broad Metallic Silver, Fine Metallic Silver, Broad Metallic Gold, and Fine Metallic Gold.


 

Set of 24

Set of 24

This set of 24 contains Crimson Red, Pink, Poppy Red, Orange, Canary Yellow, Dark Green, True Blue, Violet Blue, Indigo Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Violet, Mulberry, Rhodamine, Sienna Brown, Goldenrod, Dark Brown, Black, Spanish Orange, Blue Slate, Grass Green, True Green, Apple Green, Tuscan Red, and Peach.


 

Set of 120

Set of 120

This set is a great value. It has all of the Prismacolor Markers that I depend on. I originally purchased a complete set (in 2007) but ALL of the markers that I use are included here. -Merrill

This set of 120 contains Process Red, Blush Pink, Warm Gray 20%, Warm Gray 30%, Warm Gray 50%, Warm Gray 70%, Warm Gray 80%, Warm Gray 90%, Cool Gray 10%, Cool Gray 20%, Deco Peach, Cool Gray 30%, Cool Gray 50%, Cool Gray 70%, Cool Gray 80%, Cool Gray 90%, Broad Metallic Silver, Fine Metallic Silver, Broad Metallic Gold, Light Peach, Fine Metallic Gold, Clear Blender, Salmon Pink, Spanish Orange, Limepeel, Peacock Blue, Imperial Violet, Poppy Red, Deco Orange, Deco Yellow, Jasmine, Deco Pink, Deco Blue, Clay Rose, Pale Vermillion, Celadon Green, Jade Green, Mediterranean Blue, Cloud Blue, Blue Slate, Periwinkle, Greyed Lavender, Bronze, Yellow Orange, Mahogany Red, Raspberry, Henna, Pumpkin Orange, Mineral Orange, French Gray 10%, French Gray 20%, French Gray 30%, French Gray 40%, French Gray 50%, Orange, French Gray 60%, French Gray 70%, French Gray 80%, Grass Green, True Green, Apple Green, Dark Purple, Tuscan Red, Sunburst Yellow, Peach, Lilac, Light Umber, Yellow Ochre, Forest Green, Spruce Green, Emerald, Leaf Green, Canary Yellow, Cream, Spring Green, Chartreuse, Dark Olive Green, Dark Green, Parrot Green, Lime Green, Aquamarine, True Blue, Crimson Red, Copenhagen Blue, Violet Blue, Indigo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Navy Blue, Light Aqua, Light Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Scarlet Lake, Violet, Mulberry, Rhodamine, Carmine Red, Violet Mist, Dark Umber, Sepia, Sienna Brown, Goldenrod, Magenta, Buff, Pink, Terra Cotta, Dark Brown, Burnt Ochre, Light Tan, Warm Black, Black, Warm Gray, Pale Jade, Mint Cream, Cold Stone, Spearmint, Wheat, Green Tea, Muted Turquoise, Mocha Light, and Cinnamon Toast.


 

Set of 144

Set of 144

This set of 144 contains Process Red, Blush Pink, Warm Gray 20%, Warm Gray 30%, Warm Gray 40%, Warm Gray 50%, Warm Gray 60%, Warm Gray 70%, Warm Gray 80%, Warm Gray 90%, Cool Gray 10%, Cool Gray 20%, Deco Peach, Cool Gray 30%, Cool Gray 40%, Cool Gray 50%, Cool Gray 60%, Cool Gray 70%, Cool Gray 80%, Cool Gray 90%, Broad Metallic Silver, Fine Metallic Silver, Broad Metallic Gold, Light Peach, Fine Metallic Gold, Clear Blender, Salmon Pink, Spanish Orange, Limepeel, Peacock Blue, Cerulean Blue, Imperial Violet, Parma Violet, Poppy, Deco Orange, Deco Yellow, Jasmine, Deco Pink, Deco Blue, Clay Rose, Pale Vermillion, Celadon Green, Jade Green, Brittany Blue, Mediterranean Blue, Cloud Blue, Blue Slate, Periwinkle, Greyed Lavender, Bronze, Yellow Orange, Mahogany Red, Raspberry, Henna, Pumpkin Orange, Mineral Orange, French Gray 10%, French Gray 20%, French Gray 30%, French Gray 40%, French Gray 50%, Orange, French Gray 60%, French Gray 70%, French Gray 80%, French Gray 90%, Grass Green, True Green, Apple Green, Dark Purple, Tuscan Red, Sunburst Yellow, Peach, Lilac, Light Umber, Yellow Ochre, Forest Green, Spruce Green, Emerald, Leaf Green, Canary Yellow, Tulip Yellow, Cream, Spring Green, Light Olive Green, Chartreuse, Dark Olive Green, Dark Green, Parrot Green, Lime Green, Aquamarine, Teal Blue, True Blue, Crimson Red, Copenhagen Blue, Violet Blue, Indigo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Navy Blue, Light Aqua, Light Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Scarlet Lake, Violet, Mulberry, Rhodamine, Carmine Red, Violet Mist, Dark Umber, Sepia, Sienna Brown, Goldenrod, Magenta, Sand, Buff, Eggshell, Flagstone Red, Brick Beige, Brick White, Pink, Putty, Terra Cotta, Cherry, Dark Brown, Light Walnut, Walnut, Burnt Ochre, Light Tan, Blondwood, Warm Black, black, Warm Gray 10%, Pale Jade, Avocado, Mint Cream, Cold Stone, Spearmint, Wheat, Green Tea, Muted Turquoise, Mocha Light, Mocha Dark, Cinnamon Toast, and Sky Blue Light.


 

 

Specialty Sets Chartpak Ad


 

Chartpak Ad Marker Sets

Chartpak Ad Manga Set

This set is filled with the most popular colors used by manga artists. - Merrill


 

 

Set of 12 with FREE Travel Case

Set of 12 with FREE Travel Case

One of the current specials available now. -Merrill

 

Get creative with this special set! It includes 12 Chartpak Ad Markers in a FREE, padded nylon travel case with a Velcro closure. The case will hold up to 24 markers. Colors in the set include one each of Ultramarine, Slate Green, Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow, Chrome Orange, Life Red, Lilac, Blueberry, Super Black, Basic Gray 5, Basic Gray 1, and a Colorless Blender.


 

Chartpak Ad Marker Sets

Chartpak Ad Flesh Tone Set

This set gives figurative/portrait artists a full range of flesh tones. These colors are used by me very frequently! - Merrill


 

Chartpak Ad Marker Sets

Art Director Set

A colorful set! I use these colors less frequently because I do figurative work, but I wanted to include all options- Merrill


 

Chartpak Ad Marker Sets

Chartpak Ad Manga Set of 25

A single nib with three distinct line weights. These waterproof, permanent, solvent-based markers deliver brilliant, sparkling color in fine point, medium weight, or broad strokes, with just a shift of the wrist. From crisply articulated tight comps to broadly expressive illustrations, one marker gives you all the lines you need.


 

Chartpak Ad Marker Sets

Chartpak Ad Warm and Cool Grey Marker Set

A single nib with three distinct line weights. These waterproof, permanent, solvent-based markers deliver brilliant, sparkling color in fine point, medium weight, or broad strokes, with just a shift of the wrist. From crisply articulated tight comps to broadly expressive illustrations, one marker gives you all the lines you need.


Regular Markers (A Substitute Idea)

I have been an art teacher for nine years and I have experience dealing with a VERY LIMITED budget. I had to get creative to teach my method (from the video) to my students. I purchased a combination of the markers listed below (all five sets) to give my students a similar range of colors as a set of illustration markers. While these (below) are NOT illustration markers, (meaning that it will 1.) Take you longer to fill a space 2.) Have a more narrow selection of colors with a less sophisticated tip) they can get the job done! (42 different colors from Crayola for an AMAZING price!)


 

Multicultural 8-Color Set

Multicultural 8-Color Set

A great substitute for flesh tone illustration markers. Four dollars and change per pack! I have used them in my classroom for years as a substitute for illustration markers. - Merrill


Assorted 12-Color Set

Assorted 12-Color Set

Twelve Markers for four dollars and change!- Merrill

Set includes one each of Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Red, Violet, Yellow, Sandy Tan, Blue Lagoon, Dolphin Gray, and Flamingo Pink. Broad tip.


 

 

Bold 8-Color Set

Bold 8-Color Set

This set includes the colors Golden Yellow, Azure, Primrose, Teal, Emerald, Plum, Magenta, and Copper. It is available in Broad and Thin Line tips.


Bright 8-Color Set

Bright 8-Color Set

This set includes eight markers in bright, kid-pleasing colors: Battery Charged Blue, Electric Lime, Graphic Green, Hot Pink, Infra Red, Laser Lemon, Orange Circuit, and Ultra Violet. Colors wash easily from skin and most clothing.


Fluorescent 6-Color Set

Fluorescent 6-Color Set

Set includes one each of six vivid neon, water-based colors, including Shocking Pink, Electric Blue, Hot Magenta, Fiery Orange, Neon Yellow, and Glowing Green. Broad tip.





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