Touch-Five Alcohol Markers: Cheap knock-off or budget option?

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    Sep 29, 2020, 10:22 am1.1k pts

    Art should be about expression. It's a nebulous realm where you can put thoughts, feelings, and talents into something tangible that can be appreciated by others. It just sucks that sometimes it feels like you have to blow out your bank account to get the professional results in your mind to translate to paper.

    This is a feeling that every artist, every creative person, every craftsman has probably felt at some point in their career. "If only I had the right tools, I could..." or "If only I had the right brush, I could..." or "If only I had a drawing tablet, I could..." or even "if only I went to art school, I could...".

    But art shouldn't be exclusive to only those who have dough lying around to blow on the best of the best tools, supplies, have enough left over to fund an online casino. Ultimately, it's the artist behind the tools that determine the quality of the art. That being said, it would be a hell of a lot easier to carve a statue if you have a chisel, right?

    Ouch, my wallet

    I love drawing, and if you've clicked onto this article, you probably do too. While there's an immense variety of materials from which to create traditional artwork, such as paint and clay, drawing is one of the easiest, most approachable art forms around. All it really requires is a pen and some paper, and voila! Line-art.

    However, to get that clean, professional colors you see in comic books or cartoons, markers are where it's at. No, not Crayolas, but quality alcohol markers. Easily, the best brand on the market for such markers are the Copic Sketch markers- but these bad boys come in at a whopping three to four dollars per marker (on Amazon)!

    That may not sound like a lot, but that means a pack of twenty-four costs seventy-five dollars, a pack of thirty-six costs one-hundred and fifteen dollars, and a pack of seventy-two costs three-hundred and twenty dollars. By comparison, Crayola markers cost about ninety cents each.

    So, the question is, is there an affordable option out there that will yield high-quality results?

    Touch Five Markers

    To keep within my meager student budget, I decided to fork out fifteen dollars for a pack of forty Touch-Fives markers on Aliexpress. That puts it at around forty cents per marker, which not only makes it the cheapest alcohol marker on the market, but also one of the cheapest markers out there period.

    On the face of it, these markers seem as cheap as their price. For instance, the text written on the bag they come in says "Touch New" while the markers themselves say "Touch Five". However, I found myself pleasantly surprised by their quality once I put ink-to-paper.

    The colors are vibrant and really pop. Compared to colored pencils or Crayola markers, they don't leave any streaks when applied (mostly), and when done well create a solid texture with rich pigments in the way that only markers can.

    The cons

    That being said, I would be remiss not to point out where the lower-quality parts of the product come into play.

    The Touch-Five markers do not have a brush-tip. Instead, they have a solid round nip (not unlike the ones on Crayolas) and a wider, flatter chisel-tip. This makes filling out larger areas a bit annoying, and using the chisel tip to do so will leave streaks.

    One of the main reasons to use alcohol markers over water-based markers is blending. You can go over an area and gradient from one color to another. The problem is, you can't seem to do that with these Touch-Fives. Instead, you end up with a more cell-shaded look, and you can't vary too much from the colors your given (more professional alcohol markers can blend colors to create other colors).

    On top of that, the ink in these markers bleeds . . . a lot. It's very easy to color over the lines, and if you're coloring in a sketchbook, the ink bleeds onto the pages underneath. I'm using a Papyrus sketchbook, and there are probably sketchbooks better suited for markers like these, but this is what I've got and what I've experienced.

    Final Thoughts

    All that being said, I still recommend the Touch-Fives. When you get it right, the results speak for themselves, and in combination with some sharpies and white-out, you can get professional results for a dirt-cheap budget. If you're not in the position (or don't feel comfortable) in investing in Copics, Ohuhus, or Spectrum Noirs, then Touch-Fives is right for you.


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