Alcohol Marker Comparison – Part 2 (copic tutorial no. 28)

By Michelle Houghton

How do alcohol markers stand up in a direct head-to-head comparison?

I set out on a mission to answer that question not only for you but for myself.  In my last article I looked at Spectrum Noir markers.  I have another marker brand to examine for you in this tutorial.  I originally thought I would share two more today but there ended up being a lot of information to share so I’ve added one more installment to this series.

I am looking at all of these markers in direct comparison to my Copic Sketch markers. Remember that these are my opinions.

If you would like to see some of the facts relating to all four marker brands please refer back to my previous tutorial.

Letraset Trio Markers**

Looking at the body of the marker we see big differences right off the bat.

    • The Trio has a round body, and there are no markings on the side, but the cylinder is the color of the ink inside.
    • The ends have a color dot and number that you can see when you turn the marker, and the dots and numbers are protected under plastic so will last over time.
    • The lid and tip system is completely unique to the Trio.  One end has a brush nib; this nib is a little stiffer than the Copic brush.  On the other end there is a double cap system.  If you take the outer cap off you have a fine tip pen great for sketching or writing.
    •  Under the inner cap you have your chisel nib.  The ink actually flows through the chisel nib into a pad in the inner cap and into the fine tip nib.  The nibs are easy to find as each cap looks slightly different.

Letraset markers have a similar numbering system to Copic in that each of the 3 numbers signifies a portion of the color you are getting: hue, saturation and luminosity.

The colors that I purchased are G619, G917 and G935.  I chose these by looking at the colors on the site where I purchased the markers.  I should have done a little more research. When I received the markers, they were not a great blending set.    I did go back and study the color chart at the Letraset website and I’ll admit even with the knowledge of what each number signifies, I am still a little confused as to what to look for to make a good blending series.

The colors I purchased were equivalent to BG11, BG72 and G28 in my Copic markers, which as you can see, is a real stretch even with great ink!

Below I have used my Copic Multiliner SP to draw a simple leaf to color with both sets of markers and here are the results.

Blending with the Trio was a lot of work.I knew I would have a difficult time due to the colors I selected.  I had to do a lot of back and forth with all three colors to get a blend that looked somewhat reasonable.

Then I moved on to my Copic markers I had a difficult time getting this set to blend as well.  There was not quite as much back and forth as the Trio but still not an easy combination.

The most interesting part to me was when I came back to my coloring about 15 minutes later the Trio colors had changed SIGNIFICANTLY!  Here is a quick look with the ink combination wet and one where the same coloring has dried.  The photo might not show the extremeness of the change but will give you an idea.  To me this would make it difficult to know what you are going to end up with while you are coloring.

The advantages to the Letraset Trio marker:

  • Three nibs in one marker body
  • Slightly less expensive than the Copic Sketch
  • Well-constructed

The disadvantages to the Letraset Trio marker:

  • The brush nib is very stiff
  • The wet versus dry color is extremely different
  • As color dried and faded, mine appears grainy

I will be taking a look at the Shin Han Touch Twin Brush marker in a final article.  If you are curious about another brand that I have not shared let me know and I will add them to the comparison if I can find them.

**Letraset also makes markers called Pro, Flex and Aqua markers.  Each one has different features, including varying price, features and number of colors available.

Bio-shot-2011-150Michelle Houghton is a wife, mother and artist living in Iowa. Even before she began scrapbooking, she was a lifelong artist, majoring in Fine Arts at the University of Oregon and then teaching high school art for 7 years. Michelle has been scrapbooking for more than 15 years and she enjoys adding her own art, doodles and handmade elements to her pages for a one-of-a-kind look.

Michelle teaches doodling, Copics, handlettering and more at workshops throughout the country. She writes tutorials at Get It Scrapped and is an instructor for Imagination International Inc., the US distributor of Copic products. The best way to learn more about Michelle is at her website,

16 Responses to Alcohol Marker Comparison – Part 2 (copic tutorial no. 28)

  1. Trina June 11, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    These are the Tria markers, right? I have some online pals who have questions about them, so I’ll point them this way…

    • Michelle June 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      yep the Tria! Thanks for pointing them here hope it is helpful!

  2. Mark August 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    If you’re up for a challenge, you can look for my “Marker Comparison Guide” on Deviant art. There are over 20 entries, with all but 2 being alcohol based. :)

    • Michelle August 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      Thanks Mark I will check it out!

  3. um October 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    What about the disadvantage of Tria being non-refillable? Copic are refillable.

    • Michelle October 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

      To my knowledge you can “refill them” You change out the center cartridge and that is considered a refill by their company. The Promarker, also by Letraset does not have this system. Thanks for the question. (I agree that I like the refill inks of Copic versus the single cartridge I am trying to stay as un biased as I can :-))

    • Mark October 5, 2012 at 12:13 am #

      Actually Letraset does offer a variety of inks in bottles (over 100 colors last time I checked). They can be used to refill the Trias or the Promarkers. Only thing is, they’re difficult to find in the US (I contacted Letraset about it just last week, and they said they are trying to find a distributor for the inks in the US. They also suggested maybe I find someone I trust who’s visiting the UK and can bring some back for me. Yet they refuse to ship the inks themselves. I don’t understand why.)

      • Michelle October 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        Thanks Mark! I did not know you could refill with these. I thought they were just used for other ink effects. To my knowledge the shipping issue is the liquid issue but not 100% sure. So they have them but if you are not in the UK you can’t get them with out a major trip or a jet-setting friend :-)

  4. Patty Apps December 31, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    what about the Close To my Heart alcohol markers? anyone comparing those?

    • Mark December 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Patty, you’re evil (but in a good way :p ). I actually found a scrapbooker who sells them in my own state. I never heard of them before you mentioned them. Thing is, I’m not a scrapbooker. I’m actually a comic book artist, but use markers for commission work. Those CtmH markers seem similar to the American Craft markers in that they are sold by blendable shades. But while they have more colors, they only have two shades per set. Right now all I see are 40 colors (20 sets of two shades). I admit I’m a blendaholic (since most comic work is digitally colored, traditional commissions are expected to be closer in coloring style, so generally we’re talking anywhere from 3-6 shades per color minimum for a really smooth blend). However, since I’m such a sucker for this stuff, I will probably eventually try those CtmH markers :D (at least they’d probably be good for conventions where the commissions are done quicker and not expected to be so meticulous in detail).

      • Patty November 10, 2013 at 11:58 am #

        Hey Mark…they are inexpensive for the CTMH alcohol markers and yes they are not marketing to your type of artistry perhaps…but the price point is good and you can buy them from a consultant, any you find in the i assume you are in the US online. You don’t even have to deal with a consultant. If you are in canada you can them through my website. (if i am not allowed to say that you can delete my reply. :)

  5. Michelle January 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Thanks Mark! Patty Mark is an expert! I am working on getting back to my comparisons in about 3-4 weeks. I have been writing 2 new classes so this took a back seat but I can add those to may list to look at if you like.

  6. casting 50 shades of grey April 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people about this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

    • Michelle April 27, 2013 at 8:55 am #

      Thank you! I know I won’t have it all perfect but I sure do try to be as accurate as possible and as fare as I can be to the different marker brands I am trying.

  7. sudipa November 10, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Hi. Has anyone tried refilling Promarkers with Copic refills? Does this work?

    • Mark November 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Here’s the skinny: Generally the ink reservoirs are basically sponges in most markers. So theoretically you can fill any marker with any ink. HOWEVER, the problem is the reservoirs will always have some amount of leftover pigment/dye (even if the carrier fluid has dried out), so any ink you put into it will not be clean. If you can get the reservoir out (some markers have them kind of attached or glued in), you can soak the reservoir in alcohol, rinsing periodically and maybe eventually you’ll get it clean. Or you can try to match the colors very closely, and accept some mottling when you color.

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