- United States
- 27 Apr 2012 12:07:01 GMT
- Art Materials
If you are a serious artist, chances are you've heard about both Prismacolor and Chartpak markers. Both brands of markers are used by professional graphic designers and illustrators, providing blendable, vibrant colors.
- Author:Art Markers
Chartpak and Prismacolor are comparable in price; both markers' suggested retail price is around four dollars. However, most larger art supply stores will sell these markers for half price and you can save substantially if you are willing to buy the marker sets.
The Prismacolor guarantees four distinct line weights, a multi purpose general nib that is responsible for four weights, and a small fine line nib on the opposite end. The fine line nib can be helpful for delicate work and creating sharper edges, but seems to dry out easily. The general nib works well, retaining its shape and color saturation until the marker is almost completely used up.
The product design for Prismacolor is excellent, with a colored label and colored dot on the top of each cap to distinguish the different markers. Each marker base is shaped like a narrow rectangle, allowing each marker equal exposure. This design is particularly helpful when trying to locate a color quickly.
Color saturation and blending with Prismacolor markers is good, but seems to diminish quickly after several uses. The blending markers in particular are only useful for a few times, which is particularly galling because they are the same price as the other markers. Deep colors are also greatly affected after several uses.
Chartpak markers have few of the blending or color saturation problems that occur with a Prismacolor marker. The blending sticks provided with Chartpak appear to last longer than the other blending markers.
This seems to be because the Chartpak markers contain more propellant and less pigment. On the surface, this would seem to be undesirable, but the lesser pigment enables more control when blending and layering colors. The colors also stay vibrant, even with rich saturated colors such as crimson and navy.
Also, Chartpak markers seem to contain much more product than Prismacolor markers. Long after Prismacolor markers had failed to produce any consistent color, Chartpak continued to provide even, true color coverage.
While the actual product may be superior, Chartpak's product design leaves much to be desired. The marker sets come in square bases, making it more difficult to access markers that do not happen to be on the perimeter. The top of each marker is numbered, and while that may seem helpful when attempting to reorder, it often seems fussy, especially if more than one marker is out of the base at a time.
The actual marker only has one tip, and claims three line weights depending on how you use it. Although the small end of the nib is capable of providing a much thinner line than the Prismacolor general use nib, it does not produce a line as fine can be accomplished with the Prismacolor.
The marker cap is easily removed with a large lip that seems helpful, but can catch on things if you carry them loose in a bag. Although it seems that this would be the most ergonomically correct design, there seems little need to have such an exaggerated cap, given the fact that the Prismacolor's cap was easily removed.
While Prismacolor undoubtedly has superior product design, Chartpak produces the better marker. Not only do they appear to last longer than the Prismacolor set, but they are easily blended when wet, something that can be difficult with a Prismacolor. Although more difficult to find than the ubiquitous Prismacolor, if you are planning on investing in markers, Chartpaks are the markers to buy.
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