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.
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
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.
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.
Specialty Sets- Prismacolor
Specialty Sets Chartpak Ad
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!)