Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review of the Copic Doodle Pack-Turquoise #JetPens #Copic #ZenDoodle

Woohoo!  I received one of the Copic Doodle Packs from Jetpens!  There are eight different packs, each with a different color theme.  I had my choice of colors and I went with the Turquoise pack, because...well, Turquoise!


These packs are a color-coordinated set of Copic pens and alcohol markers.  This set includes:



Before I go any further, I want to mention that there are also Copic Doodle KITS which have 5 markers and two Multiliners with a variety of color.  What I am reviewing here is the PACK.  Not so very important unless you mean to get one and mistakenly order the other!

For those unfamiliar with Copic markers, they are professional grade alcohol markers.  Copic also carries pens of various kinds, such as the atyou Spica Glitter pen and Multiliner technical drawing pen included in this pack.


The main thing about this pack is that you get three different Copic products that are color coordinated to allow a variety of effects.  I'll give you a rundown of each product and then discuss how well they work together when I show you my examples.

Look & Feel

CIAO ALCOHOL MARKER
The Copic Doodle pack comes with two Ciao markers.  The two in the Turquoise pack include one that is very light, Cool Shadow (BG10), and one that is a mid-tone, Mint Green (BG13).  Both of the colors are semi-transparent, so you can layer over linework and it will show through.  If you overlay the two colors you get a slightly darker BG13.

The Ciao is the smallest of their styles, but as with all the styles, they are double-ended markers ( bullet-tip style and chisel-tip style), are refillable, and have replaceable nibs.  They're a good choice if you want to try out Copic markers.


The nibs are secure, but pull out easily with firm pressure, for replacement or so you can refill with ink. (Bottles of refill ink can be purchased at Jetpens)


I believe the main difference between the Ciao and other Copic markers is that they are smaller and aren't compatible with the airbrush equipment (I haven't been able to confirm that one way or the other).  Because they are smaller, there is less ink.  If you intend to color large areas, one of the other Copic marker styles might be better, so you have to refill it less often.  But the Ciao fits nicely in my small hand, and if you are coloring smaller areas it's perfect.

Alcohol Markers are notorious for their smell, though that has improved over the years.  I don't find Copics bad at all.  Sometimes, when I first open a pen I'll smell the alcohol, but it fades within minutes.  Some people might be more sensitive to the odor, but Copics are noted for being low odor.

As with all alcohol markers, you want to keep the caps on when you aren't using them, even if only for a few minutes.  Your markers will last much longer if you follow this rule!

Each end of the Ciao has a drawing showing whether it's the Super Brush or Medium Broad end, so you aren't always pulling off the wrong cap. The Super Brush end also has a gray rim, so if the drawing rubs off, you still know which end is which.


All alcohol markers have a couple of issues that can be annoying.  All of them.  But they also have beautiful colors in all shades of the spectrum, bright, somber, jewel-like and many, such as myself, have learned to work with the issues rather than give up on such fantastic markers.

The issues:

Test the paper you are going to use because the problems are greater with some than with others.

As with most alcohol markers, the Copic colors get lighter as they dry.  You may get streaks, depending on the paper you use--the faster the ink dries the more you get streaks.  This is actually 'self-shading'.  That is, if you overlay alcohol ink over dry alcohol ink you get a slightly darker color.  If you do this on purpose, you can create shaded areas.

Working fast, changing paper, and drawing in circles are all ways to help avoid unintended streaks. Another trick is to completely cover the area you want colored, not worrying about streaks.  Let it dry for several minutes.  Then add more layers of ink until the streaks are gone or subdued enough.  What you are doing is covering the coating on the paper so it doesn't have as much effect.

If you want shading, just keep adding layers of ink in the areas you want to be darker

To get texture, color small areas and only overlap the edges so you get a darker pattern. Or squirkle (scribble) leaving large areas of white.  Let it dry and add another layer of ink.  The ink will be darker where you squirkled, creating a nice, subtle texture.

Alcohol markers bleed through to the back of the page, sometimes even onto the surface beneath. How much bleeds through depends on how thick the paper is, the coatings, and the texture.  You can buy specially-coated paper that won't have bleed-through but it isn't always easy to find, and is usually spendy.

Personally, I put deli or parchment paper underneath my page to protect the surface.  I do whatever I want on the front, and then use the bleed-through of color to create something else on the back.


ATYOU SPICA GLITTER PEN
The atyou Spica is a newer pen in the Copic line-up.


They are non-toxic with a transparent pigment that has micro glass flakes.  The tip is described as felt, but looks and feels more like a hard plastic to me.  It's a non-clog tip, and that's the important thing with glittery pens!


Although, there is a definite sparkle it's pretty low-key. In some lights, the glitter doesn't show at all.  While using this pen, the thought came to me that this is the glitter pen for people who don't like glitter.  You can get a subtle sparkle that doesn't dominate the page.

The turquoise Spica pen in this pack is just slightly darker than the Mint Green.

MULTILINER TECHNICAL DRAWING PEN
Copic Multiliners come in a plethora of colors, nib sizes and both disposable and refillable. The Multiliner in this pack is a disposable with a 0.3 mm nib.  The color is a mid-tone gray, if you saturate the paper, but produces a surprisingly light line.


The pigment-based ink in the Multiliner is waterproof and archival.  You should cap these pens whenever not in use, even if you are pausing to think for a few minutes.  The fiber tip is sturdy --one of the best of similar type pens--but will develop flat spots if you push down a lot while drawing.  It may also fray a bit if you use it on paper with tooth, such as watercolor paper.

Performance
While I agree that gray is good color with turquoise, I wouldn't have minded a darker gray.  Even though the marker colors are semi-transparent, linework done with this gray isn't easy to see.  The gray does get darker quickly as you add layers.

I do like the gray.  I took advantage of the light color to do a little squirkling and get a shaded texture in the striped area, and got some nice effects elsewhere.  I guess what I would have liked was a second darker gray.

The Cool Shadow (BG10) Ciao is very light.  There is no white in this drawing, but my scanner wasn't able to pick up the lighter shades.  Like the gray, once I added more layers the color darkened enough.  The two Ciao shades work together well.  The darkest BG10 is close to the same shade as the light Mint Green (BG13).    Between the two markers, you are able to get a wide range of turquoise!

As I mentioned earlier, the sparkle from the atyou Spica pen doesn't show well in some lights and I wasn't able to get it to show on the scan.

Holding the camera at an angle, I can better catch the sparkle.  But it is pretty subtle.  This isn't the glitter pen for someone who wants lots of bling.  It's more for the person who wants a pop! that doesn't disturb the overall elegance. 


The paper I used for this drawing is fairly thin, but the bleed-through of color wasn't too bad.  I don't want to fool you though.  On some papers, the back looks like a mirror image of the front because so much color comes through. That isn't just with Ciaos, or Copics.  All alcohol markers are wet and are deeply absorbed by some papers.

Choose wisely, and be aware, and you won't have unhappy surprises.  Honestly, the color from these markers is worth the annoyance. (I'll do a drawing on this back page, but I'm having problems with my wrist.  I didn't want to hold up the review any longer, so you'll see this example at a later date).


I decided to try the pens out on a patterned background.  I had made a small journal from some scrapbook paper that had nice neutral colors, and thought it would be a good choice for my experiment.

This is the journal cover I started with.


 I added a few stickers and bits of Washi tape, and then used the Doodle pack for ...well, doodling!


Alcohol markers are often used to color stamped images, so I decided to do a couple of stamped examples.

I found the color range a bit restrictive, but that's going to totally depend on the image you're coloring.  



I should also mention another issue with alcohol markers.  Some inkpads are solvent-based.  They are water-proof and normally won't smear when color is added.  But alcohol markers are also solvent-based so your images will smear if you use those inkpads (StazOn is one of solvent-based pads).  Other type inkpads are just fine, but you should let them dry before adding your marker color.

I started adding color too soon so I smeared my lines a little. I used Ranger Archival ink, and once I realized what was happening, I waited about 5 minutes, and then had no further trouble.
I happened to stamp on a high-gloss, ultra smooth paper--the kind touted as the best for stamping.  It was the reason the ink took so long to dry (which I should have known--that's the tradeoff for the crisp stamped lines).  This is also one of the papers that you'll get streaks with.  I worked with it, laying down color in ways that suggest texture and shading.

There was no bleed-through or show-through of color to the back of this paper because of the coating.

For my second stamped ATC, I used a smooth vellum bristol.  The Archival ink didn't smear and there was very little streaking.  I actually have a preference for stamping on this paper, over the high-gloss, but I know people who would consider those fighting words, lol!


And here's the tradeoff.  Although, it was easier to work on the Vellum Bristol and even though it's fairly thick, there was some show-through of ink on the back.  No bleed-through, though.




Overall
I have a lot of Copic Sketch markers, and so I have many of the colors included in the Doodle packs.  With a couple of exceptions, I'd just buy the atyou Spicas and Multiliners to get the coordinated colors.

But I like the idea a lot, and if I only had a few colors or was curious about the Copic line, I think these Doodle packs would be a fun way to check them out.  The limited choice of color in each pack is a little restrictive if you are coloring realistic items, but great for elegant non-objective, abstract art.  If a black ink pen isn't included in the pack you choose, I'd have one available to add darker lines as needed.

Disclaimer: I received this Ciao Doodle Pack for the purpose of a review, but did not receive any other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

I want to thank Jetpens for giving me the chance to review these cool Copic Doodle Packs.
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Other reviews:
Craft Test Dummies




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