Alcohol Markers

Alcohol markers

In the miniature community, alcohol markers have been discussed for some time. About how they are great to use.

These markers can be quite expensive. I want all the colors, so I hesitate on which ones to get. Buying a set means limiting the cost but also the number of colors. Buying individual ones, at discount prices or with coupons, would take time to collect but more colors and can be replaced when used up.

I had not bought any because of the expense and I already have several different sets of markers. I’m one that wants all the colors so quite an investment. I lean towards spending money on supplies that will make miniatures better. I thought it was more hype and just another something I didn’t need. I was yet to learn how well they fit with minis.

Instructors are using them

A recent flower kit I assembled recommended using alcohol markers but I didn’t have the right color. I used paint instead.

At this point, I only had Burnt Orange for the Gingerbread buildings I had been assembling. When it started to run out, I ordered more but they were back ordered ($3/each). To save on shipping I also purchased a set of 8 to start a collection. Only I didn’t like them. Gave those to my daughter. At least they were on sale. For one they didn’t include a blender marker that I didn’t know would be useful. I might have been happy with a larger set or different tip styles. I just wasn’t ready to take the plunge. $3/ea

Next up was another kit (a building) also had an instructor recommending using them. But I don’t have any. I tried a brown marker I had and was able to use on the edges but not in the corners as per instructions. Which meant I had to use something else.

I finally decided to buy another set with more colors but which ones? Which brand? Copic markers are the gold standard but honestly too pricey (retail $8) for my frugal mindset and budget. Dick Blick is where I got the set I gave away. In my circle, ohuhu brand had been recommended, by someone who colors all the time, as inexpensive and reasonable quality.

I look at the available sets by ohuhu and struggle with which set. Each one (type or style) has the same basic colors. Well a few are different but they aren’t build sets. Like if you purchase a set of 24 and a set of 48, there will be duplicates rather than combined total. I don’t mind duplicates if they are ones I’m really going to use but will I? Hard to know based on my planned usage: Miniatures and maybe paper coloring books.

Solution

After careful consideration of usage, recommended brands, and likely color needs for staining wood and coloring flowers: I purchased a 72 set ($1.03/each) plus 36 skin tones set (1.11/each) of ohuhu brand. The latter is for more browns for staining. I am considering a set of the pastels.

I choose brush tip with chisel tip. I figure I will use the brush tip most often like a paint brush and the chisel tip for more coverage of an area. There are many varieties of the tip combos.

Brush and chisel tip

There were several factors that lead to this decision. One being how often they would be used. In miniature, color, from paint or markers, is just one aspect of the process versus the entire piece is colored. These markers make quick work of coloring and that includes layers of color. Certainly, they work better on one media than others.

Using my new markers

I LOVE THEM! I use them every chance I get. I have used them on several different 3d printed items. I considered using them on quilling paper I use for baseboard but I didn’t have a light enough color so had to mix some paint instead. I used them on laser cut paper. I really, really love using them.

3D Printed Items

This frog was colored only using alcohol marker. The vase and the wine bottles were as well. For the vase I even attempted to make a ombre effect. It would be more obvious for a larger item.

The frog was done using layers. Amazing. The wines bottles, just the side for residual amount or the whole side for more full.

Frog and bottles colored from these markers
Bows color is from the markers

The slippers had clear nail polish applied to give the glass appearance. The instructions said not to because it would smear the marker color. I can see how that would happen but was extra careful not to touch another area with the polish brush.

Paper

I used it on paper strips similar to the quilling paper.

Painting the strips
Strips and windows were painted using alcohol marker

I can see how these would be great for watercolor effects.

Disadvantages

Choosing a lower cost brand meant some trade offs.

The ohuhu markers are not refillable at this time but I have just read they are working on it. They sell individually except for a limited number of colors at this time. Their basic sets aren’t add on’s. The pastel set will be an add on for me because there are no duplicates for the 108 markers I have purchased so far. Of which are 5 duplicates. However if I had purchased a larger set, the pastels could be duplicates.

Sample cards and Storage

These sets came with printed color swatch cards to color.

Color swatch cards

This allows to see actual colors because the caps can be deceiving.

R5 and R7 are close, but R8 is really different.

The variations on the color swatch is multiple layers. I’m not finishing doing it.

The sets I bought come in nice carry bags but I wish they were not loose.

Solution: to add some cardboard to keep them in place. I ended up with dividers between every other row. This allows them to be together offset.

Cardboard dividers added

The way I organized was based on the color swatch cards. I’m going to look at the card first, then find the markers so I choose that order.

To use, I test on something like the edge or back of what I’m about to color so I know what it’s going to look like on the actual material. There may be color variations on the actual material. For example, if the material isn’t white, then the item’s base color will contribute to combined color. This is different than the opaque paint I prefer.

Comments always welcome.

Happy Miniaturing!

Preble