Tombow TwinTone Markers, Pastel 12-set Review @Tombow #TwinTone #MarkerReview

Recently, Tombow came out with two 12 packs of dual-tipped markers.  These TwinTone markers come in a Pastel set and a Bright set.  At this time, I don't believe they can be purchased in single colors.

Today, I'm reviewing the Pastel 12-set.  Tombow and Exaclair, USA have been doing some exchanges, so I've used paper from their line of products for my test.

I'm not hosting a giveaway this time, but there is a giveaway for these markers going on at the Rhodia Drive blog, here.


SPECS
Body: Plastic
Colors: Not Specified
Ink: Water-based, water-soluble
Tips: Two Fiber tips-bullet tip 0.8mm; extra-fine tip 0.3mm
Length: 6 inches

LOOK AND FEEL  
The TwinTone marker has two fiber tips in a slender plastic body. The cap on the extra-fine end has a plastic clip, making it easy to tell which end is which.  It's a light and small pen.  Possibly too small for those with large hands, but it's very nice for my small hands.


Although the website information specifies fiber tips, the extra fine end has plastic.  It looks like a plastic nib, and feels like one to me, when I draw with it.  It draws a fine line, and with some of the colors, they are very faint.  It is possible to build up the color, as you'll see in the performance section, but if you are using these markers for writing, you'd want to use some of the colors for accent, not for actual writing.  Not surprising, since these are pastel colors, and you'd expect them to be light.

In fact, some of the colors are darker than I would expect in a pastel pack, so you do have colors suitable for writing with.


The bullet tip creates a thick line, but it has a fault common with markers, and that is pilling. The amount of pilling varied quite a bit according to the paper. The pilling is worst when you are working wet-into-wet.  If you wait a minute or two between layers rather than continuing to scrub color into the paper, the pilling is lessened and in some cases avoided.

I found myself working smaller than usual because of the time it took to build up the colors.  That said, it is possible to get some cool effects with these markers.  The extra fine tip allows coloring in small areas and you can get a wide range of tints because the color changes as you build the colors - making that time spent building worth the effort.

In some cases the color seems quite different, depending on which tip you use.  The yellow, for instance, is a light yellow when drawn with the extra-fine tip, but is a light orange right out of the nib on the bullet end.  This isn't an actual color difference, but just the amount of saturation in the color.

The ink is water-soluble, so you can use it for watercolor effects.  I found the amount you can spread the color varies according to the paper (which is common).  More about that in the Performance section.

The ink is quick drying.  This is a good thing for avoiding smearing, though if you don't watch the pilling, you make get smears from those.  The quick drying isn't as good when you are using a watercolor effect.  If you don't apply the water almost immediately, you lose at lot of your color.

For some reason, Tombow doesn't have any information on the colors on the pens, on the packaging or at the website.  They do have a chart showing the colors, but give no names.  The color of the barrels gives you a decent idea of the ink color but isn't exact.  By the time, I'd done a drawing I was able to identify which pen was which color.


The green at the bottom of my test colors looks blue in the watercolor effect, but that's my scanner at work not the marker.  The green is still green when wet.



PERFORMANCE
I did my first test in a Rhodia journal, which has Clairefontaine paper that is smooth, but in which I've had good luck with many different media.

I did get some bleed-through, and definitely pilling, because I truly saturated some areas.  This was my destroy the product test, where I deliberately push until I feel I know exactly what the medium will do.

I found it was possible to build up to dark values, though you lose much of the transparency when you do this.  The colors blend well, and create beautiful mixes.  Even when mixing several together I don't think I created mud, though I didn't like some of the greens I got.


I switched over to another Rhodia journal - the Heritage this time, which has ivory paper with orange graph ruling.  I didn't have as much trouble with pilling because I was letting layers dry in between.

I used the bullet tip to do the magenta shading on the right and bottom, and then used a water-brush to blend out the color.  I got even coverage and good transparent color.

By drawing directly over the lines with the extra fine tip, I was able to hide the orange ruling, even with the light strokes of the extra-fine tip. But in the magenta shading you can see how transparent the color is, because the ruling does show. These markers give you a lot of control - you can choose what effect you want.

My first layer for the gem was done with the bullet tip, leaving the interior blank.  After a few minutes, I started coloring with the extra-fine tips, layering until the gem was colored solid.  I painted on white ink for the high-lights - not opaque enough for high gloss effect, but it's what I had on hand.


I wanted to play more with blending colors, so staying on the same paper, I switched my effects, using the bullet tip on the background, and only the extra-fine tips on the stone.  I just kept hatching the various colors over each other until the color was fairly solid.  It kind of looks like corroded metal to me.


I switched to a totally different paper.  It's still Clairefontaine, but it's their mixed media paper in my Goldline journal.  The paper is white, with more tooth than the Rhodias, but it's still relatively smooth.

As with my first gem, I used the bullet tip around the edge of the gem and then filled in the rest with the extra-fine tips.  The pilling was very light with this paper.  

The highlight is the color of the paper - I decided I didn't like my white ink, so I just didn't worry about getting the gloss effect.


For the last example, I stayed with the Goldline, but went totally for the watercolor effect. I used a waterbrush to wet and spread the color immediately after coloring in a section.  The color spread nicely, almost eliminating the marks, and the color stayed intense.  

Along the middle left of the vase, you can see some lines.  Those occurred where I drew into the wet paint, and that second layer became diffuse, but left definite marks.
OVERALL
The Tombow TwinTone marker has both a wide bullet tip and an extra-fine tip allowing for a wide range of values.  Some of the colors in the pastel might be too light for writing, but will build up for lovely accents or drawing.  Other colors are quite vivid and excellent for writing or drawing.

Pilling is a common problem with markers, and the TwinTone bullet tip does have this problem with some papers. However, letting layers dry instead of working wet-into-wet with the bullet tip goes a long way to resolving the issue.

Because the colors in the Pastel set are so light, it can take a while to build up values, but the work is well worth the effort.  You can achieve some beautiful effects.

Disclaimer: I bought the TwinTone Pastel marker set with my own funds. Neither Tombow or Exaclair USA asked me to do this review, nor did they know that I planned to do so.  While the journals used for my examples had been given to me for previous review, it was my choice to use them because I like the paper.  All opinions are my own.

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