Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Hi everyone!! Today I have the awesome opportunity to share a review for Arrtx Brand products with you all! It was amazing to get to collab with this brand! I put a lot of effort into this article and am really happy with the results and with the supplies themselves. Let's get into it!
*DISCLAIMER - I was sent these products for free by Arrtx. All feelings and opinions expressed are still my own and represent my true feelings of the product, good and bad.
Before I get started, I want to share the links to Arrtx' Accounts and Sites!
Official website: https://www.arrtx.com/
So! To start, let's talk about what Arrtx very kindly sent me:
Arrtx ALP 36 Set Skin Tone Alcohol Markers
Arrtx ALP 80 Set Alcohol Markers
Arrtx ALP 90 Set Alcohol Markers
Arrtx A4 Marker Paper - 30 Sheets
A few basic facts about Arrtx ALP Markers:
They are Alcohol based markers, similar to a Copic or Ohuhu marker. These are Dual tip markers with one bullet nib end and one chisel tip end. 202 is Arrtx full range of colors - which means you can have all the colors available by owning the 36 skin tone set, the 80 set, and the 90 set. The only duplicates you would have from owning these sets are multiple blacks and colorless blenders.
Arrtx also sells additional sets based on different color families, but these are repeat colors of what comes in either the 80 or 90 set, so if you already have those, you don't need their other sets at the moment.
As for pricing, I am going to list the Arrtx official prices alongside their Amazon pricing.
90 Set - $57.80 on Amazon. (Couldn't find on their site surprisingly!)
80 Set - $50.99 on Arrtx, $43.80 on Amazon.
36 Set - $29.99 on Arrtx, $28.98 on Amazon.
For comparison, a 12 Set of Copic markers is $58 on Amazon, whereas for that same price you can get a 90 set of Arrtx markers. This is honestly an amazing price difference, but what it really comes down to is the performance of the markers when stacked against higher brands like Copic, and even when compared to other lower priced markers such as Ohuhu. Are Arrtx markers worth the lower price, or does the quality prove more expensive markers are the best? Let's put these markers to the test and find out!
I wanted to start by swatching all of the markers sent to me - 206 in total!! That's a lot of swatching! I started with the Skin Tone set, so let's talk about it.
As you can see, the Arrtx markers are sold with this awesome packaging! Truthfully, this is my favorite marker container I have ever received alongside markers. They are colorful and have nice designs around the outside of the box. Inside, they have small hexes the markers can easily sit into. They even come with handles so they can be portable! I love how sturdy they are and it really makes you want to display them. Large Copic set containers have similar hexes for the markers, but are simply clear plastic on the outside. Prismacolor markers come in carrying cases, but these cases are simply black on the outside. I really like these cases!
My main complaint is the markers weren'teren't put in the cases in any order. They weren't ordered by number, by color, by the swatch sheet list. Maybe they did have an order but not one I could find. I didn't like this, so you can see me reordering them at the end of my swatch videos to match the order of the swatch sheet .
As for the actual markers, the barrels feel very nice! I personally like the bright white barrel, and enjoy how the caps have the colors and numbers printed on so the markers are easy to find. These markers are rounded so they're easy to hold but also don't roll easily! If I had one main complaint, it would be that these cap colors do not always match the actual marker. They are almost always in the same color tone, but not the right level of saturation or darkness. Thankfully, we have a swatch page to help us see the true colors of the markers. It's also a bit odd that the caps can't fit on the other end of the marker while using it, but this goes for Copic's most expensive Sketch markers to, so I won't hold it against Arrtx. But shout out to marker companies - this function is really nice so you don't lose or mix up the caps!!
Each set also came with a cute little postcard and a premade swatching sheet! I was really excited for these swatch pages because you had a perfect little outline to fill in and had the marker code already written for you - which took all the annoyance and stress out of swatching! So, Let's get on with it!
Above is a video of my swatching process! Again the Skin Tone set contains 36 different colors. I was very pleased to see that unlike Ohuhu, the markers you are sent are pre selected. No duplicates will be found in these boxes, except this set did have two colorless blenders but this was purposeful. So you get 34 unique colors in this set, plus the two blending markers.
I was really really pleased by the pigment quality of these markers! These markers managed to have both intensely dark and saturated colors, and also have light and desaturated colors! I have noticed before when testing lower priced (and therefore sometimes low quality) markers that they have a really difficult time producing light tones. This was always to me the biggest draw to Copics, not just the huge range in colors but also their ability to capture light pigments. Arrtx really surprised me with this!
This is a photo of the swatch sheet of my very first set of Alcohol Markers, from an extremely low budget brand called Touch Five. As you can see, there are barely any light colors here. The Arrtx markers definitely have this brand beat! They also felt really smooth and nice to work with even being a bullet nib, I have to admit I'm quite partial to brush tip markers, but these markers were actually very easy to keep smooth.
I really like the colors provided in this set. All the colors you get are good, and really are true skin tones, unlike many art supplies that claim to be skin tones and are really odd pale oranges, pinks, and grayish browns. These markers all feel like real skin tones. The issue for me is that we have too many extremely light tones and not enough dark tones. You get some pretty good light browns, and then two very very dark browns, but there isn't enough compared to the many many almost white markers included. Really just a few of these near whites were necessary for highlighting light skin, and we could have done with more darker shades. Specifically I feel that we only need one of these kept in: 330, 320, 321, and 324. Keep one, and replace the other 3 with darker browns. You could also eliminate some between 331, 314, and 312. They are too similar to need so many!
I also noticed that the lighter in color a marker gets, the more squeaky it is to apply. For me, the squeakier a marker, the drier it is, and the closer to running out of ink. This seems to be a trend with cheaper marker brands, the lightest colors are always the first to dry out. I really hope that with more use these light markers won't dry up very quickly, but at the moment I do think they will probably be dead after getting used in a few pieces. I also don't think Arrtx supplies ink refills for their markers, OR sells singular markers. This is a bit of a probl if your markers aren't running out at the same place, you're not ready to buy a whole new set as most of the markers are fine, but the extremely light tones are already dead and you can't get new ones without getting the whole set again.
On to the 80 Set:
( The 80 Set Packaging, and the included markers.)
(Quickly want to apologize for the accidental missing bit of the video, I lost the footage of me swatching the last bit of these somehow!)
This was definitely my favorite of the three sets! The colors are so vibrant and happy and there's a really good variety, I think if you were to choose just one set to purchase, this would be the one to go for over the 90 set, even with a few less markers. There's a good balance of all the different colors, no one color is overpowering this set. You also get some skin tones in it so that you don't have to have the skin tone set, which I really appreciate. With cheaper supplies, it can sometimes become a strategy to make the sets themselves cheap, but make it impossible to feel satisfied with just one or two sets due to the way the markers are separated. But this 80 set really contains all the markers you need to make a variety of pieces!
Again, my main complaint is a lack of browns. Brown is a pretty important color, and there are only a few in here. We could have probably cut down a few in the green/teal section to make room for more browns.
The 90 Set:
( The 90 Set Packaging, and the Included Markers.)
Also just wanted to mention that the artwork included on the outside of the boxes is appreciated and definitely makes me want to display them!
I am showing these to you in the order I swatched them in real life. Before I began swatching this set, I was completely happy with the markers thus far. Unfortunately, this is my least favorite set. To begin with, almost 20 of the 90 markers are gray tones, which are only getting slightly more dark with each marker. For me, this is too many and should have been saved for the gray set I know they sell, because having 5 grays in different hues is plenty in my opinion, and you could just layer the gray marker over itself to get it darker.
My real issue is 134 through 141. This is just too many light skin tones for me, especially because they aren't really that different from each other. Instead of having so many similar ones, there could have been some tans or light browns. It feels like what was meant to be the biggest set has the least unique colors because a lot feel so similar to one another.
They did include more browns, yay! But they are all very dark, it could have stood a few more medium and light browns. I don't mean to put this set down though, it is still very good and the markers are the same quality, I just have some issues with the color selection. Also, this is definitely a nitpick, but the swatch sheet included with this set was folded in such a way that the creases went through each swatch box (which it didn't in the other pages) and made it kind of hard to swatch. This is definitely not a big deal though and I am sure it is different for every page.
Now that I had swatched all of the markers, I wanted to do some tests! Below is a video of me testing out some different things with these markers. Give it a watch, and then I'll tell you how I felt!
To begin, I wanted to do some basic tests with these markers. How do they layer? Blend? So that's what this sheet is for! I decided to try it out on the paper Arrtx sent me, so let's talk about it for a second first.
This is Arrtx A4 Marker Paper, which runs at about $15 on Amazon for a 3 pack of 30 Sheets each, a total of 90 sheets of paper. This should seem obvious but I was silly and didn't even think about it, so here's a heads up: This is MARKER PAPER, meaning there is a specific side you should use. You need to use the side facing up in the pad, otherwise, it will be kind of a disaster, and anything you put on that backside is going to just smear off..trust me, I learned this the hard way. Its almost impossible to tell which side is which once you've torn it out of the marker sheet, so it would be kind of nice if the backside was a slightly different color or if it had the Arrtx logo on it, something to help differentiate the sides once torn out.
I only tested this paper out with the Arrtx markers themselves, but it worked really well with them and I would recommend it if you're looking for some cheaper paper! The sheets are on the thinner side, but I honestly prefer thinner paper for marker artwork.
Back to the test. First I tested layering abilities with 3 different colors. They definitely got darker with more layers, which is what I was hoping to see! I'd say they don't darken much after the third layer. But I'm happy they layer well at all, as I found Ohuhu markers barely will change color when layered. They also didn't grow in size when layered which is something else I was looking for!
This is what impressed me the MOST out of using these markers, and I used them a lot after receiving them, almost 3 whole days of swatching, testing, and creating the final piece with them. Look at how they blend!! I have never seen such good blend with a bullet tip, I was beyond impressed!! The blend is so smooth and the gradient turned out so well! I honestly didn't even use every marker I could have, the jump between the yellow and orange at the end of the first blend was a pretty big jump but after layering the two in the middle they blended so well! It could partially be the paper as well, not sure. But if you're worried about the blending on these markers, I wouldn't be!
Next I tested the colorless blender. To be honest, I don't tend to use colorless blenders because I'm just not super skilled at it. I always find they just don't do as much as you would expect, I'm always hoping it will lighten the color a good amount but it's just a little. And I don't love the effect it gives of being blurred at the edges where you use it. But despite these things, that are ALWAYS a part of colorless blenders, this marker works well! I'd say for those who are more natural at how to use them, this would be totally usable.
Lastly I did a little comparison of an Arrtx marker next to a Copic marker. I didn't want to do a whole comparison review this time around, but I still wanted to see how these markers looked next to Copics. The ink looks just as smooth and nice as the Copic in my opinion, the edges of the Arrtx marker are obviously more bold but this is due to the tips.
I was really liking the markers so far, but I realized I had only used them on the swatch sheets provided by Arrtx and then the Arrtx marker paper. I wanted to be sure the markers weren't only their best on the Arrtx paper they were made for. So I did 3 little tests, one on the Arrtx paper they sent me, one on Canson's Bristol Board paper, and one on some miscellaneous "mixed media" paper I got for $5. So we're testing it out on the same brand paper (Arrtx) , arguably the best marker paper (Bristol Board) and then just any paper (mixed media) to see the full range of the markers in action.
Here is the first test, which I did on the Mixed Media paper, and I decided it would also be fun to just use one of the sets for each, so I only used the skin tone set for this piece. I think it turned out really good! I was just as happy with the marker's performance on this paper as I had been on the Arrtx paper. It was a bit hard making the piece look interesting with just the skin set, so if you're just going to get one set maybe don't go for this one, but I did enjoy using this more orange/peach color for the background and shirt. I really had no complaints about how it worked on this paper which was good because it was definitely the cheapest paper and isn't even specifically made for markers.
Second test, this time on the Arrtx Paper! As you know I struggled a bit with choosing the right side (and ended up re-inking this piece 3 times, yikes) but that is totally my user error so don't hold it against the paper. I used the 80 set on this one, and took a little inspiration to make an 80s themed drawing! I specifically chose to make a very dark skinned character because I knew we didn't have mid-tone browns. Because of this, I couldn't really highlight much and I wanted to show how that can be an issue when the skin doesn't have a lot of color depth and the lineart gets a bit lost. I tried to use the colorless blender to lift the color in places and make it lighter, but it really didn't get much lighter and kind of just got more grainy in the areas I used it unfortunately. I attempted to blend a super light pink and a very dark brown to see how well it would do, and it did an awesome job! Like I said before, you don't have to worry about blending with these! Which is great because it is nearly impossible with Ohuhu markers, at least for me. I also used the more fluorescent pink color, which I was excited to single out because I really liked it. You get fluorescents in cheaper sets a lot, and they will just be the colors of highlighters exactly, as if they're using the same exact ink used in them. It makes them feel a bit pointless because you could just use a cheap highlighter for the same color. But the fluorescents in this set aren't like that! This pink is NOT that "highlighter pink" but a much more hot pink color and I really like it, not just cause I like the color, but because it's not just a highlighter!
Last test was on the Bristol Board! I used the 90 set for this one. To start, I really liked the purples included in this set, so I focused in on them. I like the more blue toned purples here as opposed to the pink toned purples in the 80 set, that's just personal preference. And I really enjoyed using 145 for shading the skin, I find desaturated purples are perfect for most shading! As for the paper, the markers worked well on it to, I really noticed no difference in how the markers behaved on the different papers, which is really nice! I still wouldn't recommend using them on watercolor or pastel paper, but that goes for any markers. Pick something with low texture and you'll be good to go for these!
With all these tests under my belt, I felt confident enough to make my final piece! For this artwork, I wanted to use the Arrtx brand paper, just to show it off further in this review. I used a mix of markers from all 3 sets sent to me.
This piece is actually a redraw of artwork I made in 2019 with a mix of different alcohol markers, mainly using Copics. That artwork is above, you can click to go to the original instagram post!
So let's get into the new drawing!
SKETCH - Orange Pilot Color Eno Colored Mechanical Pencil (Highly Recommend these btw)
LINEWORK - Copic Multiliner 0.5 + Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen XS + Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen SC
PAPER - A4 Arrtx Marker Paper
MARKERS - Arrtx ALP 36, 80, + 90 set
WHITE PEN - Uni Ball Signo White Gel Pen (DEFINITELY recommend over gelly roll - thicker and more opaque!!)
Here is the process video of me making the artwork! -
( I had to split up the video to upload it to my blog, so please watch both videos if you are wanting to see the full process.)
I am so so happy with how this piece turned out!! I honestly loved every bit of working with these markers. I didn't have issues with them, I did stick to using colors that weren't super light so I'm not sure how those lighter colors will do with time, I am still concerned some of those lightest whites will dry out sooner than other markers. I was able to create all the colors I was hoping for really!
I could have stood to keep her skin a bit lighter in the highlighted areas, but I do think with all 3 sets I had the markers to do this. It's really more my own lack of skill in traditional as I've been focusing so much on digital art lately. I've been doing mainly digital since the start of 2020, and using digital art I've learned a lot about lighting that I didn't know about at all before I started digital. But now I have the knowledge of how to do it digitally, and not so much traditionally. In digital, you can always add a lighting layer to make colors lighter, which you really can't do with alcohol markers, so I needed to work backwards of my normal process and I just didn't start out with a light enough color. Again, I think this comes down to my skill.
Also wanted to mention I kept the sky kind of full of lines and not blended on purpose, it's a style choice I tend to enjoy very inspired by Kasey Golden, where you "blend" two colors by just making the two colors be very sketchy next to each other. These markers would have been perfectly capable of smoothly blending the sky if I had chosen to, which you can see in the water where I did blend much smoother.
I used a lot of white Gel Pen in this piece because it's something I like to use personally to make my art feel more cartoon, but I also used it in spots of this artwork to highlight by putting it on and then smudging it. It worked pretty well so thought I'd mention it!
I honestly don't have much else to say! I was very impressed by these markers and their abilities, especially when put to the test in a full piece like this. They honestly did really well and I would definitely recommend them as a cheaper alternative to Copics, Prismacolors, Wisnor & Newton, etc! In fact, I'd dare to say to get these over Ohuhu (bullet nibs) any day!
To finish my review, here is an overall scoring of the different aspects of these markers. I'm going to say Copics rate near the late 90s in terms of being a perfect alcohol marker, with markdowns for being so expensive, so keep that in mind with these scores. I've got 10 sections, each rated 1/10, with a total possible score of 100. Let's go!
Packaging: 10 (No complaints!)
Barrels: 5 (Good barrel but not accurate colors.)
Cost: 10 (Great price for the quality!)
Color Range: 6 (Pretty Good)
Nibs: 5 (Good, would be willing to pay more for a brush tip!)
Ink Quality: 8 (Great Quality!)
Smoothness: 7 (Any un-smoothness was due to the bullet nib.)
Blend ability: 10 (Best Feature)
Dryness: 4 (Am concerned about lighter colors being dryer.)
Overall Experience Using: 8
That's a total score of 73! I was really pleased with these and I think that score represents that well! I do want to re-state my specific complaints and concerns, just so you know all the details:
I believe the lighter colors are more dry and might lose ink easier.
There is no ink refills or single sold markers.
Some of the colors in the sets are too similar.
Colors on Caps do not always match the true color of the marker.
There is a lack of browns in the sets in my opinion, especially in the skin tone set.
There is no brush tip which can make smooth color more difficult to achieve.
And some of the biggest pros:
Way cheaper than most alcohol marker brands.
Mostly comparable in ink Quality.
No duplicates in a set!
Enjoyable and easy to use.
Perfect at blending!
So - those are my thoughts and feelings about the supplies Arrtx sent to me! I had so much fun learning about these markers, experimenting with them, and getting to tell you guys all about it! Arrtx has a lot of other supplies to I'd love to try some day, specifically that Jelly Gouache everyone has been talking about lately! Anyway, I do really recommend these as a cheaper competitor to Copic and I think you should check it out! Please let me know if you enjoyed this review! I am very excited to do a similar one in the coming months when I receive my Sibylline Meynet gouche kit! Thanks for reading - and remember to check out Arrtx!
Don't Forget to check out Arrtx Sites!
Official website: https://www.arrtx.com/
*DISCLAIMER - I was sent these products for free by Arrtx. All feelings and opinions expressed are still my own and represent my true feelings of the product, good and bad.
If you want to see more from me, subscribe down below! And to view my artwork, follow me on my instagram @raineydaydoodles, and check out all my accounts at https://raineydaydoodles.carrd.co/