Feb 20, 2019

Altenew Alcohol Markers: A Review

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Altenew and paid full price for the alcohol markers.

Source: Altenew Shop
Many years ago I bought some Copic markers and haven't had a great experience. Initially, some of the markers I bought were dry out of the box and I didn't realize it. I thought that was how they were and I could not understand the rave reviews and beautiful results I was seeing online. It took me about a year to figure out that a few of them, including the colorless one, were bone dry (no genius here).

After I reinked the dry ones, I eventually realized that the ones I had didn't match or blend well. I had made the mistake of thinking that if the numbers were near each other, they would be a perfect blend. Sandy Allnock, a supremely talented artist, has a wonderful hex chart available that shows which Copic colors work together. You can buy the chart already filled in or fill in a blank chart with your own markers. I realized when I filled in my chart that almost none of my colors were near each other. If I was going to use my Copics, I would need to buy a lot more of them.

Then Altenew came out with alcohol markers, and I decided to give them a try. I have what Altenew calls Sets A and B.

  • They come with two tips -- the brush tip that Copic markers have and a small bullet tip. The small bullet tip is more useful to me than the chisel tip that Copic markers have.
  • They come in sets designed to be used together. The markers are the same colors as their inks (although because they are alcohol based, not water based, not all of them are an exact match to their dye inks). I have many of the Altenew inks and love their colors.
  • Altenew has a free printable chart of its markers, so when it is time to use the markers, I just refer to the chart.
  • I love that Altenew has done the work for me. 
  • They are triangle shape and comfortable to hold and won't roll off the table.
  • The top and bottoms of the markers have the true color on them as well as the number.
  • Altenew also sells alcohol ink refills and refill brush tips. I refilled one marker and found it easy to do.
  • The refill bottles stand up and are easy to store.
  • I'm not an alcohol ink pro -- I don't need tons of colors, just ones that work together.
  • They are black and the color names are on small black labels and can be hard to see.
  • It is hard to pull off the tops. I'm hoping this gets easier as I use them. 
  • You can buy them singly or in sets. Some of the sets include duplicates of others. It can be confusing, so just be careful.
  • The packaging is beautiful, but a bit wasteful. For example, each refill bottle is shrink wrapped in plastic, which is excellent. However, the bottle comes in a lovely printed box and that box is also wrapped in plastic. Most people will throw out the box and of course, both plastic wrappers. Would love to see all companies pare down on wrapping as much as possible. 
Bottom Line:  Would I buy these again? YES. I love these markers and hope to purchase more colors. I use them along with my Copics but will not replace my Copics as they dry out.


Betty said...

Agree with you, Joan, about the Altenew markers altho I never had the problem of copics being dry when I bought them - love that the Altenew colors blend so nicely together and I don't have to figure anything out!

Leslie Miller said...

Thanks for this, Joan. Over the years my Copics have turned into a huge investment and they're rather high maintenance. I recently learned from Amy Shulke that a gummy tip can make your whole marker gummy, which explains why it does no good to replace the nib on one or two of my markers. There was a time I didn't realize the importance of staying on top of the cleaning. I like them for quick coloring, but I'm not always happy with my results. That's just me. I'd rather watercolor, but it takes time. Can't win for losing. Can't dispute what fabulous results you can get with Copics when you're good with them.

~amy~ said...

I have copics and recently picked up the Spectrum Noir to supplement my colors, um, I haven't been so good about using the Spectrums. Thanks for your review on the Altenew markers.

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