Around Christmas, I got a little whiff going around about Karin Markers. After doing a little research, I decided to give it a whirl as a gift to myself. I wanted to give bit of a review of these markers.
Availability and Price
They are readily available in Europe – I got mine off of Amazon – but a bit harder to come by in the states. They are not on Amazon’s US site but appear to be available from their own website for $118 which does qualify for free shipping. For the pack of 60 Brushmarker Pro markers (which also includes 3 blenders), the price off of Amazon was 65 Euros. Interestingly, had I ordered from Karin’s website, the price would have been 100 Euros.
On their own website, Karin sells a number of other packs of their markers. They have a mini box, available for 43 Euro and containing 26 colors. They also sell packs of 12 which are separated into various themes (flower colors, sun and tree colors, sky colors) for 19 Euros.
Overall, my value for money came out to just about 1 Euro per marker. By comparison, Tombow makers come out to around 3.5 Euros each whether I buy them individually or in a pack. It is possible to buy individual Karin colors for 1.75 Euros each, making the 60 pack a good value for money (again off of Amazon EU).
With the pack of 60, you obviously get a pretty good range of colors. There are 9 grays and 1 black. The remaining 50 include around 29 warm toned colors and 21 cool toned colors. I would say the colors that read the strongest overall are the 9 blues which are interesting and varied, including brights, darks, and light colors as well.
Some of my favorite colors overall are sapphire blue, pale violet, ochre, rosewood and red lilac. I would say some of my least favorites are actually the skin tones (literally named skin 1 and 2) as well as almond and blush. They don’t really read as anything.
Let me start by saying that these markers are clearly built to blend. You can use the blender marker to merge colors together. You can use a watercolor technique to dilute any of these colors. You can also do a kiss blend, which basically just means letting the color from the tip of one flow into the tip of the other. These markers, like many similar ones on the market, are self-cleaning, meaning there’s no need to worry that colors will stain other markers if blended.
I’ve tried using all of these techniques and I am most impressed with using these with a brush and water as seen on the left side above.
These markers are extremely wet. When you use them, you will see it takes a few minutes to dry. I also find that once they are set, they are set. If you are going to try to blend these, you should work quickly. The wetness of the brush does make it more likely that they will bleed through the paper. However, the upside to these having such a liquid formula is twofold. First, you always will be able to tell how much time you have until the pen runs out. Secondly, the saturation will not falter as the marker ages. These markers will be consistent.
The tip of this marker is really the best feature. It has a more conical shape which I think makes it more secure to use. It’s also slightly shorter than the tip of a Tombow Dual Brush Pen. The tip is also nylon which makes it less likely to fray over time. I think these are the easiest brush markers for me to use for lettering and illustration.
The Bottom Line
No markers are worth over $100 to me. If you can find a way to get these markers for less, I absolutely recommend them. For those in the EU, I think these are an excellent buy at the Amazon price. Why? They are so easy to use, they are vibrant, and they have a good range of colors. This is a really good product – in fact, these may be my new favorite markers for lettering . I know I will be reaching for these over and over in 2019.