Letraset Flexmarker and Triamarker

Some facts:

In the year of 2015 Letraset announced that they would discontinue the line of Flexmarker and tria marker. Promarker rebranded to Winsor and Newton.  
  • Earlier called Pantone triamarker
  • produced promarker, Flexmarker and triamarker
  • Triamarker has three nibs,(an ultrafine or a bullet nib, a brushnib and a chisel nib) Promarker had the option of three nibs ( a chisel nib and a bullet bis and a ultrafine nib as a option) and Flexmarker had two nibs (a brush nib and a chisel nib).   
  • Letraset was founded in London 1959

Left: Triamarker, middle: Flexmarker and last Promarker

Metallic marker, ink and cartridges  
Letrasets case 

The older Tria Pantone.  
When I first bought Triamarker they
had seven different nibs to choice between. 
Triamarker
and Flexmarker organiser

















Color chart for the pocket
I have loved Letrasets products for so long so when it stood clear that tria- and flexmarker would be discontinued I was very sad. But I do understand a bit, because this is a marker that has their share of problems. When the new Triamarker first arrived on the market, they had problems with the cap not fitting correct and therefore the marker dried out to quick. They also used to have the worst brush nib. It was so stiff that you could not really call it a brush nib. They have however changed the brush nib at least twice seen then.

Color chart for the pocket

Old tria case







Tria set of 24

The ink however, is the best ink of all art markers in my opinion. It doesn´t become grainy but still keep the colors alive, vibrant, rich and they blend perfect. They also have a lot of skin colors, and more important the skin colors look very different from each other. Among the skin colors you will find a more greyish skin color that actually looks closer to a Scandinavian skin then the usually more yellowish skin colors (which they also have). 

Now some of the colors lives on in Winsor and Newton promarker and Brushmarker (and it is the same quality ink), but a lot of wonderful colors are gone.  Here are some of the colors that I will miss the most: 




Letraset has the most complete color system (HSL) of all brands. You can see the color family (its represent by a letter), you have a number telling you the hue of the color, for an example a yellow can be draw to orange or to green, the higher the number the more green the yellow color will be and the lower the number the more orange the color will be. If the color has the number 5 (which is in the middle) it is the most pure yellow you can get. Next number will tell you how clean the color is. If it is a high number it means it is a very clear (saturated) color and if it is a low number it means it is more greyish. The last digit tells you if it is light or dark. Flexmarker also have names on their colors.

Letraset’s grey colors are a bit messy to understand. They have different names depending on what marker you choose, so if you use Flexmarker or Triamarker you have too keep that in mind. But if you look closely on the barrel on you Flexmarker you will find a “translation” to the “Triamarker world”.

The best thing with the greys (in my opinion) is that it doesn't become to dark to soon. Only the two last numbers becomes really dark (in Triamarker system the darkest grey is called nr 1 and 2 and in Flexmarker the darkest grey is nr 5).

Drawing made with Triamarkers 
Letraset use to have a cartridge system to refill all there 300 colors and ink to refill 100 of them. They used to have 300 colors to choose between (and even more if you counted flexmarkers and promarker colors that wasn´t included in the tria system). They also use to have a lot of different replacement nibs.
Drawing made with Triamarker 
Cat drawn with Triamarker 
on Letrasets paper 

Drawing 


Touch Twin Marker

Some facts:

Two markers available: 
  • a chisel nib and a fine nib (a black marker) 
  • a chisel nib and a brush (a white marker)

To the left the oldest Touch (I only have the white, brush marker), next to it the second generation (I only have a twin marker) and then the new ones: the white, with a brush nib and chisel nib and the black, with a fine nib and a chisel nib. 

The new Touch case for brush marker

The older Touch case (black for Touch Twin)













Drawing made with Touch 
on Daler Rowney marker paper 
Color system
Touch color system is not so impressive. When they came out with the new Touch marker (new design on the barrel and new logo) they also gave the former numbers a letter representing the color family. The numbers however are still meaningless. They also have names for their colors. The names and numbers correspond more or less exactly to the same as the names and numbers of the On The Run marker and the Poison.


Drawing made with Touch 













The colors
Touch have a lot of skin colors but they all tend to go to the yellowish side. I miss having a bit greyish or toned down skin color. The have four different grey: Warm, cool, green and blue grey. They follow a value scale and are quite accurate in that they keep the hue for them all. So many other markers can jump between different hue (and value). If you want a darker warm grey you can rely on that you will have that. Even though I think that from about number six to nine they look almost the same and are just to dark. 
They have ten warm and ten cool grey but only four of the green and blue grey. 

Touch markers grey colors 


Nibs
Touch replacement nibs
The brush nib is very good, it is soft but not to much and it is very easy to "flip" with Touch brush nib (flip meaning to create smooth transmission between two colors with a wrist movement) and the chisel nib is so smooth. The bullet, or fine nib (That you get on the black marker) is as any bullet nib. 


Touch refill


























The ink
These markers have very good blending abilities and are very juicy. But since I first wrote about Touch (in 2013) I have discovered that a lot of my markers have over time changed color, or more precise, lost the pigment. All that is left is a light yellow tone and in some cases not even that (it turned into a blender). The markers are still juicy, but no colors is left. It happened to a lot of the skin-tones like YR133 and YR132 that went from being a lighter orange color to a very light yellow color. But also some other colors have changed, like GY236 that used to be green and now is yellow and Br107 used to be a sand color but is now also light yellow. All the warm grey has also changed to a warmer brownish color.


The trouble with Touchs colors
On the photo you can see how some of the colors look today (2016). The upper row is from the new generation of Touch, the middle row is the older generation (that also have changed but not as much) and the lower row display how the colors used to look when I first bought them. 

This means that they don´t change in a sketchbook. After applied on paper they still keep the pigment but something seems to have happened to the pigment in the barrel over time.  




Copic

Some facts:
  • Are refillable
  • have different nibs choices
  • Have the most color choices of all markers (358)
  • Have five different kinds of markers (only counting alcohol marker, that is)
  • Have a lot of extra thing like cleaner, opaque, airbrush system
  • Made by .Too
  • Probably the biggest marker brand
  • Very popular among scrapbooking artist 
  • Have a blender
  • Wikipedia 
  • Facebook and Twitter
  • www.copicmarker.com
  • www.copiccolor.com
  • http://copicmarkereurope.blogspot.se
Drawing made with 
Copic on Letraset paper

Five different kind of Copic
To the left: Copic Comic. The nib on Copic Comic is very different from anything I come across so far. 
Copic sketch and original case
The best thing about Copic is the brush nib. You don´t need to blend your color, you can simple press the brush nib and let go and you will have gone from darker to lighter color in one stroke. The chisel nib is good too. In the beginning I did not understand why anyone wouldn´t choose a larger chisel nib (they have it on the original) since I only saw one purpose with it and that was to cover large space. Now I find that the smaller chisel nib allows me better control and I use it a lot for many things.
Copic Ciao platic set

Maybe I spoke to soon to say that the best thing is the brush nib. Maybe the best thing has to be the large amount of colors to choose between. 358 different colors! It’s like a dream!

The color system is also a good thing about Copic. Just by looking at the letter and numbers you can (normally) se what color family the colors belong to, how pure or tone down the colors are and the last digit tells you how light or dark it is. But there is a lot of flaw in the system. A lot of colors are in the wrong place in my opinion. 


Copic color chart, blue family Note how they changes in hue.  B63 could easily be a BV (blue violet) color

If you have the budget you can choose between five different markers (that all have a good variety of colors even if the Copic Sketch is the only one with all colors available).  I think that Copic Sketch or Copic Ciao is the best choice for portraits. I do not understand why you would buy the much more expensive ”sketch” when you can buy “Ciao” which is exactly the same (if you feel that a round barrel is a problem, put a felt under and it while stay put), of course some of the colors only exist as a “Sketch” and that the reason I have both of them. 

Copic
Copic Original is good too, but more for larger pieces, backgrounds or the opposite, for very small pieces that need a fine nib. I think the “wide” Copic is a wonderful idea. It is interesting to use for many thing, but the most obvious is perhaps to use it for backgrounds, like a sky.  Also if you want the colors to be a bit lighter this is a good marker choice. All colors become lighter if you can go very quickly over the surface. 

The last marker type, Copic Comic, is not the most well known and is not really the same as the others. If I have understood this right it uses another kind of ink. One of the nib is a brush nib but the other is totally different from anything else I have seen.  


Copic Comic Marker

Copic opaque white
There is no other brands that has marketing its product as much and well as Copic. One of the most spread marketing is that the Copic marker may cost a lot of money but really are cheap in the long run. I think it is important to remember that this is true for many Markers. Copic is not the only one that you can refill. Also in my experience, you may never refill all markers. In my case I have refilled all skin color and grey colors over the years, but for an example most of bright red and dark blue I prefer to buy a new one slightly different just to try them out. Since Copic have so many colors I can´t really buy them all or use them all anyway.


Copic replacement nibs
Copic various ink










With all that good things I have said about Copic, I also have something less good to say (just like I have done with all other brands). I know a lot of people will be upset but I believe that Copic is overrated. For some reason a lot of Copic lovers seem to be very emotional about the subject. However I have to speak out of my experience. Copic has a big problem with their ink; most of the colors becomes grainy on most papers. I find that Copic´s own paper (the 70 gsm) is the worst paper for these markers. The ink does not only become grainy but also get an almost oil pastel feel and wont blend good at all. On other marker paper (the thin ones) Copic becomes better but still very grainy. However, when I use thicker papers (like Bristol board) the problems becomes much less obvious and only appears on some of the colors. Also on this kind of paper the marker blends better. I do however not find this very problematic depending on what motif I choose to draw. If I draw larger areas in only one or few colors it can be very disturbing but the more going on in the drawing the less obvious the problems will be. 

Some color also seems to resist each other and almost loses value and saturation when mixed. This is also not noticeable on all papers, so if you use the right one, the problems is less obvious.