Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Hi again! Today i'm sharing my first art supply review, a Copic Marker VS Ohuhu Marker comparison! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my recent post of these two drawings:
To test these two marker brands, Copic and Ohuhu, I decided to draw the same image twice, and then color each piece using one of the brands. I thought this would make for a good direct comparison of the marker's colors and overall quality. I wanted to try and make both of these pieces as Identical as they possibly could be, so I tried lots of different color combos to find something I felt I could achieve with both brands. I did not want to have any bias towards Ohuhu for not having the correct color matches for my Copic piece, since I am a huge fan of Copics, so I made sure to choose colors both brands had and worked on the pieces simultaneously.
I've tried lots of alcohol marker brands, including Winsor & Newton, Prismacolor, and the first brand I ever tried, Touchnew. Once I got Copics though, I was sold, and essentially just started filling my collection. Recently though, Ohuhu Markers, a cheaper alternative to Copics, started to grow in popularity. So I wanted to do this test to see just how similar these two brands really are, and to see if I feel that Ohuhu's are a quality substitute for Copic markers, or more pricey alcohol markers in general. So lets get into the specifics of these two markers.
First, lets look at the left piece, which I colored using only Copic Markers:
I chose the colors for this piece first with Copics, and then found matches in Ohuhu, as I was more confident I could get my imagined color scheme with them. That already says a lot about how much I like using Copics. I always know I can reach my desired colors using them, even if I have limited colors, because they blend so well. I also chose certain colors because I thought it would be a good way to test the Ohuhu markers, for example, I wanted to do black pants to see if I could seamlessly blend a black and grey with the Ohuhu markers to make them not a pure black. Additionally, I tried to do a plaid pattern because I wanted to see if the Ohuhu markers would layer well. I am extremely happy with the results of this piece, and the colors match what I envisioned for the piece. I will discuss the Copic's performance more down below, but for now lets take a look at the Ohuhu piece.
Here is the right piece, which I colored using only Ohuhu Markers:
As you can see right away, all the colors in this piece are more saturated. That can actually be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it, but for me, I prefer to use lighter tones. Her hair in particular is a lot darker than I would like, but I used the lightest orange in the 100 Ohuhu set. I think the skin tone turned out the best, though I do know from some quick color tests I did before this that I did not enjoy using ohuhu markers to make a darker skin tone. I have a post you can view on my Portfolio section titled "My 1st Ohuhu Marker Test" which shows the results of trying to create a nice dark skin tone with the markers. It was pretty rough. You can also see that, because the lightest shade of Olive green I had was already so dark, it was really difficult to show any shading. The whole top just looks dark and confusing. It was so confusing in fact, that I messed up the placement of the white plaid squares on this one because the green was blending in with the black lineart! The colors just feel too dark to me in this piece, and it wasn't even meant to be an especially pastel piece.
Now lets get into what I learned by researching the markers and by doing this test.
I'm going to judge both markers on the following 5 criteria:
6. Artist Needs
I will do my best to cover everything I learned from the test, and to explain why each brand would be better for certain artist's needs. So if you're wondering which markers to go for, this is for you!
Copic Markers come in 3 main types:
- Classic, or Original, Copics were the first from the brand. These can still be purchased and come in 214 colors. These Copics come with a bullet nib and a chisel tip.
- Sketch markers are the new Copic standard. They are available in all 358 Copic colors and have a brush tip instead of a bullet nib.
- Ciao markers are similar to the sketch, but contain less ink and are cheaper for this reason. They also have a brush tip, but only come in 180 colors.
My review will be discussing both the sketch and the ciao markers, which are both brush tips.
Ohuhu markers come in two types:
- The Original Ohuhu marker has a bullet nib and a chisel tip. These are available in 120 colors.
NOTE: I searched for a long time to find an official statement that 120 were the max color options for Ohuhu markers, but could never find one. This is based on the fact that the largest pack of Ohuhu markers available to purchase is 120.
- The New Ohuhu marker comes with a brush tip instead of a bullet nib. These are currently only available in 48 colors.
My review will be discussing the original Ohuhu marker.
NOTE: The Ohuhu marker was changed in 2018. When I say original, I do not refer to the pre-2018 style marker which are no longer sold. I just mean the bullet tip marker.
NOTE: These are the Amazon prices. I will not be showing the prices of every available color set below, but instead I will use 36 sets for Copics and 48 + 40 sets for Ohuhus. This section is just to compare the price of each marker, not to show every available price and set. There are many different selections of color sets for both brands in varying price ranges: so make sure to check all your options before deciding on a set.
Classic - Basic colors, 36 set: $155
Sketch - Basic colors, 36 set: $147
Ciao - Basic colors, 36 set: $92
Original - 40 set: $20
New - 48 set: $34
There's obviously a huge jump in prices here. I wish I had the brush tips to test because honestly, the bullet tip of my Ohuhu markers was my main quip.
It's safe to say that Copics are among the most high quality alcohol markers out there. The question usually is, is such quality really necessary? Well to me, yes it is. Copic marker ink has always felt a step above to me, even compared to other expensive alcohol markers like Prismacolor or Winsor & Newton. Not only is it consistent and smooth, but it seems to last much longer to me, as though the other marker's ink too easily soaks into the paper. I'm not just talking about the ink quality though. I also mean the quality of the barrel and even the packaging. A Copic not only looks high quality, it feels high quality. The tips of the markers themselves are always sturdy and don't fray. I've never received an already dried or drying copic marker. The cap color is also usually extremely similar to the real ink color. Copics are just overall trustworthy. That is the main reason why I choose to use them a majority of the time over other brands. I like to feel confident in the supplies i'm using, and I always feel that with a Copic marker.
While the Ohuhu marker is held a step above most other cheap alcohol marker alternatives, they are not perfect in terms of quality. The barrels design is very nice and has the look of a professional artist's marker. However, I noticed one barrel had begun to almost crack towards the lid. Obviously cheaper plastic is a reason for the marker's price point, but this could be an annoyance if it kept peeling and eventually broke. I also had a marker which had leaked ink out of the cap and down the barrel. Another thing I noticed was that the cap colors are not always a perfect match to the real ink color, which was really aggravating when trying to pick a color, and than you use it and it looks totally different.
I also noticed in my practice test that, while trying to blend two markers, the paper was beginning to rip and shred when I went over the area too many times, something I've never dealt with with Copics. I'm unsure if this was caused by an overly stiff nib or low quality alcohol ink, but either way it's an undeniable issue. Overall though, I would say the quality seems reasonable for the price, and that these are still good quality markers. The ink itself seems fairly comparable to Copics in all honesty! I was surprised with how well they worked! My main complaint would be that the markers are not very "juicy", meaning that if you're filling in a large area, it would soak into the paper very quickly and dry a little patchy. This was easily fixed by just adding a second layer, but this obviously makes the color a bit darker, so just something to note. Considering the color options for Ohuhu already range on the dark side, this is a bit limiting.
As I mentioned before, Copic has 358 color options total. That's a lot of colors. For basically any shade you can imagine, there's a Copic color match. Couple that with their ability to blend without getting muddy and you can make tons of colors even with just 10-20 markers. The most important part to me is how many light color options Copic has available. Some colors are so light they barely show without multiple layers, but trust me, that's a good thing. The lighter the color the easier it is to layer and blend. Copics also have a very easy to understand color numbering system: For example, BV01. The letters, BV, represent the color, Blue Violet, while the numbers indicate how dark the shade is. Each color also has a unique name to keep easy track of the marker. Lastly, Copics can be refilled. Each refill bottle (which are about $8 on Amazon) can fill up a Copic marker around 15 times. To me, the amount of color variety Copics offer is what makes them the best alcohol marker.
Ohuhu markers are only available in 120 colors. This isn't necessarily the issue, though. The problem with the 100 marker set is that there is not a lot of contrast in the colors. The majority of markers are mid tones, with some dark colors and just a few light colors. This of course would make it harder to make nicely contrasted art. My main complaint is the set did not have a light brown color, so it was nearly impossible to properly shade a darker skin tone. It's not that there were no light colors, but they were the minority when they should be a priority. Light colors can always be layered, but darker and more saturated colors are already at full capacity. It also felt like some colors were way too similar to each other. This is more of a nitpick, but the numbering system of Ohuhu colors is not at all easy to understand. Each color is just assigned a number, and that number doesn't indicate anything, and they don't have names. So you just have to memorize the colors and their numbers. Plus, no refills, and since you can't buy individual Ohuhu markers, if you run out of a marker and don't want to buy the entire set again, you just have to deal with it. But of course, I've seen people make incredible art with these markers, so I don't want to say you can't make good art with these. It just may be more of a struggle.
Copics are really good at blending, especially with the brush tip. The colors just seem to blend with very little effort and without getting muddy. I think this is partially because Copics feel more "wet", so the ink has more time to blend on the paper, and partially because Copics just contain higher quality ink. It is not only easy to blend two colors into each other, but to blend two colors on top of each other to make a whole new color. This is something I really enjoy doing when coloring skin tones, by shading with purples and blues, and adding pinks into shades of browns. Overall, Copics are just really good at blending, and don't end up looking muddy and splotchy.
NOTE: For any newer artists who may be confused about this (as I was) - a colorless blender is NOT meant to blend two colors together. You do not use it to transition from color to color. It's use is actually to lighten whatever color you apply it to. I won't get in to how that's useful, but don't think that Copics have a leg up in blending because Ohuhu does not have a colorless blender.
I would say that at least in my experience, this is where the markers really fell flat.. Especially when my color options were more limited. I definitely noticed that the strong colors had difficulty blending without getting muddy or just turning to straight black. For my practice test, I wanted a dark, a medium, and a light tone marker to create a medium brown skin tone. But this set didn't have any mid tones, so I tried to blend from the lightest to the darkest by just layering. This really didn't work. Like I said before, the paper began to tear in some spots after layering the marker maybe only four times. Because these markers dry into paper so quickly, there was very little time to blend two colors together. My main issue was the appearance of areas that had been blended or layered. The colors would become unsmooth; almost having a fuzzy effect. Alternatively, with other colors, the markers would just not blend at all. If you are a new artist who isn't ready to experiment with blending, or if you prefer flat colors and cell shading, you'll probably be fine with these. But if you have any want or need to blend colors, this probably isn't the marker for you.
6. Artist Needs
Both Copic and Ohuhu markers have a place in the art community and can be used to make Amazing art. But it can be difficult to decide which marker is best for you. So here is a chart which shows what I think are the upsides and the downsides to both markers, which can hopefully help you choose a marker based on your particular needs as an artist.
I hope this review has been helpful to anyone looking to choose between these brands! Don't forget, there are lots of other brands to consider as well; I just wanted to compare these because I knew they would be very different compared to each other. If you want to see more of my art reviews and tutorials, subscribe down below! And to view my artwork, follow me on Instagram: