Review: XPPen Alcohol Markers

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XPPen has started selling alcohol markers. XPPen is a company known for their pen tablets and pen displays. The company also sells other accessories such as cases, screen protectors, drawing gloves, tablet stands, desk pads and most recently alcohol markers.

These markers are called XPPen Marker.


They are available in sets of 24, 36 and 80 with options for soft or hard tips together with chisel tips. The USD prices listed below are from the XPPen online store at the time of this review.

Colours 24 36 80
Hard $24.99 ($1.04 each) $34.99 ($0.97 each) $54.99 ($0.69 each)
Soft $39.99 ($1.67 each) $49.99 ($1.39 each $99.99 ($1.25 each)

The pricing is incredibly attractive compared to Copic markers. The cheapest set of 36-colour set of Copic markers I can find on Amazon is US $110 to $210, on Jackson's Art (UK) is $282 and on Dick Blick Art Materials is $210.

The pricing for the 72-colour Copic set is 2 times the price with minimal bulk savings. Yes. Copic marker pricing is outrageous. The cheapest is US $3.06 per marker.

The cheapest Shinhan Touch Twin marker is US $2 per marker, but usually higher.

Markers from Copic, Shinhan and XPPen are rather similar in size.

Brush tip is most popular among artists and with a 24-colour XPPen Market set, each marker is $1.67. Due to the incredibly competitive pricing, these markers are great for beginners who are figuring out whether they should create marker art. And if you realise you're not into markers, you won't have wasted too much money.

If you are an intermediate or experienced art, these markers are worth trying out simply because they are so affordable, relatively speaking.

The markers come inside a container with holders at the bottom to keep the markers vertical.

The markers have two tips. Soft tip markers will have brush and chisel tips. Hard tip markers will have bullet and chisel tips.

The bullet tip creates 2mm thick lines. This is good for drawing details, writing and when you need lines with uniform thickness.

The paper I've used for the tests and sketches is the Canson Marker Paper (70gsm).

The brush tip can create thin and thick lines up to 2.5mm depending on the angle of the marker. The sharp point can be used to draw details and the brush tip can be used to draw expressive lines.

The chisel tip is 6mm wide and is good for covering large areas. You can also use the thinner ends of the tip to draw thinner uniform lines.


There's a total of 80 colours in the range. There doesn't seem to be any colour chart online showing both the colour code and colour names at the time of this review.

I'm also not sure what kind of colouring or colour code system is used. The non-grey colours are have numerals as colour codes. The grey colours have either WG or CG prefix which probably represents Warm Grey or Cool Grey.

I don't see ink refills and it doesn't seem like you can buy the markers individually. So when you run out of any colour, you'll probably have to buy a similar colour from another brand. Or you can get Copic ink refills to refill these XPPen markers.

Some characteristics of alcohol markers are the smell and the use of quick drying dye inks.

Alcohol markers can bleed through paper easily so it's best to use them on paper made specifically for markers. Alcohol inks will still bleed through marker paper but is less likely for the ink to go onto the next piece of paper. If you don't like markers that bleed through the paper, you should use water or oil-based markers instead.

Markers perform better on smooth paper than on texture, fine grain or watercolour paper.

Alcohol-based ink is made with dyes as opposed to pigments. Dye inks are not lightfast and can fade when exposed to light for long periods of time. Dye inks are not suitable for creating art for display purposes. The best practice is to scan the marker art to archive your work. Fading is less of a problem/issue if you use markers in sketchbooks as sketchbook pages are not exposed to light often.

The main downside of alcohol markers is the colours are not lightfast, but the upside is the inks are quick to dry, markers are convenient to use and there are more colours compared to pigmented markers.

I'm not sure what to say about the selection of colours in this 24-colour set. There are primary colours (yellow, red and blue), convenience colours such as green and brown, black, and two fluorescent colours.

This sketch was drawn with pigment waterproof ink in a fountain pen. There's no smudging of ink. You can click the picture for a larger view.

The colours selection in this set looks kinda random to me. I would have preferred having 2 or 3 values for each colour. E.g. Main colour and darker shade, and maybe a lighter shade. Upgrading from the 24 to 36-colour set is just $10 which is actually worth the money.

This sketch was drawn with pigment waterproof ink in a fountain pen. My scanner was not able to capture the bright pink colour I used for the sky. There's no smudging of ink. You can click the picture for a larger view.

Colour mixing with marker is possible by layering.

This was drawn with the Pentel Stylo pen which uses watersoluble ink. The black ink did not smudge when markers are used on it. The alcohol ink did not react with the watersoluble ink. You can click the picture for a larger view.

This was drawn with the bullet tip of the marker.


The XPPen Markers work well and reasonably priced so they are definitely worth the money. When the markers are used up, you'll probably have to replace them individually with other brands since individual markers are not available for sale yet.

I can recommend these markers easily to anyone who's into trying markers because these aren't that expensive. Unfortunately the brush-&-chisel tip set is noticeably more expensive than the bullet-&-chisel tip set. The best value set is the 36-colour set.

And if you're interested to get the markers, you can get them from the XPPen online store.


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