Most people in the cardmaking community probably know there is a shortage of Copic markers right now. If you head over to Dick Blick right now there are only 6 Sketch Marker colors that you can order right now (It could be even less at this point), Ciao there are even less, and absolutely no sets. The soonest expected delivery date for said markers? June 2nd!!!! And let me just say I can NEVER order fast enough. By the time I get to the website, they’re all sold out again and I’ve been trying to order since last December.
It is BEYOND frustrating right now to try and obtain these markers, so I started looking for alternatives. What I came across on the Dick Blick website was their store brand of brush markers which are called “Dick Blick Studio Brush Markers”. They look VERY similar to COPIC markers, are alcohol based, have a brush and chisel nib, and the price is what sold me.
So without further ado here is my video review of the Studio Brush Markers. And if videos aren’t your thing there is also a photo and written review below! Also, because the review video is already SUPER long I added another video that is purely coloring with these markers, so you can see how well they blend!
Here are a few things to know first and foremost.
I bought the set of 48 markers and with shipping and taxes I paid $84.44. I bought mine on sale and also was able to use a coupon. The package arrived in a week and a half from one state away, (Wisconsin to Iowa) but now I know not to choose FedEx Smart Post! LOL However, that was not Dick Blick’s fault. The package was packaged VERY well and they also included a catalog if you’re interested in that.
Since I chose the set of 48 it came in one plastic box, but in that box were two clear very hard plastic containers containing 24 markers each. Both boxes hadd lids and individual slots for each marker.
You can check out all of the colors that come in each set but I will say I was very happy with the color selection and blending options.
Moving onto the marker. The barrel of the marker is hexagon in shape, which fits nicely in the hand and is easy to hold onto. I colored with these markers for an hour straight and my hand did not cramp up. The caps on the markers have a nice grip to make removal even easier, as the caps do fit nice and snug (which you want them too!). Each cap (both ends of the marker) have a colored plastic piece on the tip of the cap, for easy color recognition and also are labeled with each markers color and number. If you are a video/YouTube creator like I am, you will be happy to know these marker caps do stand up, so you can easily show what color/ marker you are using.
Also, each marker comes with 2.5 – 2.7 grams or 2.5 – 2.7 millimeters of ink, which is pretty comparable to other alcohol markers I’ve researched.
One thing I could not figure out, no matter how I thought about it, was the number system for these markers. If you can figure it out GREAT!! Let me know!!
To solve this problem I did make color swatch sheets for all of the markers. (I could not find any sort of chart on Dick Blick’s site.) If you’re interested in those I will put them up for a free download HERE and HERE. I just printed these onto white cardstock with my laser printer and filled in each square with it’s coordinating color. I also added a few rectangles on the bottom so you can fill in some of your favorite blending groups. You could also print these onto any kraft or colored cardstock and swatch your markers that way too! Make sure you print on two separate sheets of cardstock as these markers do bleed through like all other alcohol markers.
One thing that is a little FYI, these markers came to me VERY messy. Not on the outside of the marker but on under the cap there was quite a lot of smeared ink. This cleans up very easily with some rubbing alcohol and isn’t a big deal to me, however it might be to you, so I wanted to include it.
The Dick Blick Studio Brush markers are also dual ended markers, with one end being a chisel nib and the other being a brush nib. Both ends are clearly marked with a picture for easy recognition.
The chisel nib is a nice size and I honestly won’t be using it much as a paper crafter, however, I was quite shocked at how many different widths of lines you could make with it. It is very sturdy and puts down a nice even coat of color.
The brush nib, which I will be using most often, is a great size. Again, you can achieve a variety of line widths and can get some nice “fans” or wispy lines when you flick your marker. It also comes to a very fine point and is great at getting into small spaces. I have included a picture to also show how flexible the brush nib is. It is pretty flexible but at the same time it holds up well. And again, the brush nibs lays down a great even amount of color.
Here is the swatch sheet I created showing the varying widths of lines you can achieve with both tips and also the even coat of color you get with the Dick Blick Studio Brush Markers.
One last photo of the marker with both caps removed to show you the actual length of the marker and it’s barrel.
Now that I’ve covered the appearance of the marker let’s move onto the real issue, how it performs. I found that these markers blended really well. I will have to buy a few more (I actually plan to finish out the collection) to fill in a few holes in my blending groups, however these markers work very well with the tip to tip technique, which I can do in the meantime.
Here are some stamped images that were all colored in using the Dick Blick Studio Brush Markers. Also the second video above is purely coloring with these markers if you want to see them in real action!
The bottle did have slight bleed, but I will address that. The red outside the lines on the little bird’s hat is 100% my fault.
Again, the crayon had major bleed. I also used a rainbow of primary colors (ROY G. BIV) on the ruler images to create a rainbow. The blend obviously isn’t the greatest here, but I didn’t expect it to be. (The green outside the lines is 100% user error LOL!!)
I have not used alcohol markers, aside from Sharpies, before so it could be very possible that bleeding is just as bad with other markers. However, I found that if an image wasn’t quite blending and I needed to lay down a few layers of color, especially with smaller images, if I let the ink dry in between and gave it a few minutes it didn’t bleed but still blended as well as it would’ve when wet. That being said, sometimes my patience gets the better of me, like it did with the pill bottle and crayon images, and then they do bleed. Again, I’m not sure if this is an issue with other alcohol based markers or not but wanted to give my opinion on these particular markers and what I experienced.
All of my images were stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink which is a very alcohol marker friendly ink.
So finally the pros and cons of these markers.
The bad first right? The major issue with these markers for me is they are not refillable and the nibs cannot be replaced. I have emailed Dick Blick to ask if they plan to change this in the future or not and will get back to you when I know the answer. With that being said, they would probably carry a higher price tag if they do become refillable and have replaceable nibs. The price is low enough though that repurchasing isn’t a terribly expensive expense. In my summary I will tell you what I plan to do, so stick around!
There are also only 95 colors available and a colorless blender, with 24 of them being grays. So there isn’t really a great color choice. I did email Blick to see if they had any plans on adding more colors and they replied that at this time they didn’t have any plans, however, there’s always hope right?
The ink on the cap I would also label as a con, however as stated above, it easily cleans up with rubbing alcohol.
One last con is their “sets”. What I mean by that is there is only one set of 12, one set of 24, one set of 48, you get the idea. I wish they would offer different sets of 12, 24 and 48 to make it easier to complete your collection.
So now all of the good things about these markers. Obviously a major pro is the price point of these markers. You really are not going to find any alcohol marker at this price. Any other markers I have researched that are comparable and have brush nibs retail for no less than $4.00.
These markers are also readily available and easy to find at Dick Blick. Another high selling point is I can buy these when my budget allows and there’s no waiting around for stock to come in.
Obviously these blend very nicely and can be used just like any other alcohol markers, so no loss of techniques.
The shape of the barrel and number/color on both lids was also another high selling point for me. Being a video maker I really need to be able to stand up the lids and have the colors I’m using clearly visible so these fit that particular need of mine. The shape of the barrel also prevents them from rolling but also fits comfortably in my hand.
The last selling point for me is the brush tip. I take back what I said earlier about not trying other alcohol markers. I have in fact tried the older style of Spectrum Noir markers. I picked them up on a whim at JoAnn’s, could not get a good blend and found the bullet nib frustrating to use, then promptly threw them in with my kiddos markers. Needless to say after a few weeks and my kiddo getting frustrated with removing the cap they went into the garbage. So the brush nib I think is really great and easy to use, especially for a beginner like myself.
I know I skipped one of my pros earlier and that is the fact that these work with other alcohol based markers. So my plan, especially since these are not refillable, is to collect quite a few more, probably the rest of the collection and use the Dick Blick Studio Brush Markers for the time being. Now alcohol markers do last a pretty long time without being refilled so while I am using these I can start incorporating some Copics and other brands that are refillable into my collection as they become more readily available.
Would I recommend these markers? Yes, absolutely. I think they work really great and are at a great price point. If I’m being honest, even without the shortage of Copics at the moment, I would probably start my marker collection with these anyway. I say that because there is no way I would be able to afford buying 48 Copics in one go to start my collection. I now feel like I have enough markers to color a scene or stamped image on a card and to me that is all I need. Yes there are a few gaps, but I could easily buy the rest of the collection within a few months and that problem is solved. (The tip to tip technique is doing just fine in the meantime)
That is one of my main reasons I have waited so long to even start my alcohol marker collection. I never felt like I wanted to spend $50 on markers that would have to lay in wait to be used for me buy more. When I buy products I want to be able to use them NOW! LOL
So now I can continue on with my plan to finish out the collection of Dick Blick Studio Brush Markers and then incorporate more brands and markers into the collection as I feel there are gaps. If I do feel like I’m using a color quite a lot and it ends up needing refilled pretty quickly I will then know I need to replace that marker with a similar color in a brand that is refillable.
**UPDATE** I emailed Dick Blick and they replied back (within 24 hours I might add) that they were looking into adding refills and replaceable nibs!! So there is a possibility these could be available in the future, however, it’s not definitive yet.
So if you have stuck around this long…..THANK YOU!!! I really hope you found this review helpful and informative! If you have any questions or comments you can leave a comment here, on YouTube, or Instagram and I will do my best to answer it for you!
Below I have linked the Dick Blick Studio Brush Markers and also linked the stamp sets that I used above along with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink. These are not affiliate links, and I encourage you to shop around for the best prices (a quick Google search should do the trick!), I just link up to make it easier for you to identify what I’ve used!
Thanks so much for looking! Happy Crafting!!