Alcohol Marker Comparison: Prismacolor, Copic, Artist Loft & More

When I went on a mission to find the best set of alcohol based markers for me, I wanted to try every brand that I could. After all, these markers are expensive, so this was a large purchase for me. I had been using Prismacolor markers since high school, so I thought maybe it was time for a change…

(Disclaimer: All of the markers I tried were new, I was not sponsored for this review by anyone, all thoughts are my own, and the pictures were edited only to add a watermark.)

So I wanted to try Prismacolor vs. Copic, and also against the “off brand”- in this case “Artist Loft”… the Michael’s brand. Here is what you can know about the markers before experimenting:

  • Copic are more expensive, but they sell “re-inking” kits, so long term, they’re more of an investment.
  • Copic have a different shape- a little bit oblong and nice to hold.
  • Copic have a brush tip at one end, and a chisel on the other.
  • With Prismacolor, they have a fine tip at one end, and then you choose- either chisel OR brush tip. You don’t get both. They have 2 kinds of markers. And their chisel tip is outrageously big. Like… almost too big to color anything.
  • Copic markers cost more

Anywho… lets try drawing with them, shall we?

Right away, the Artist Loft markers feel like crap with you write with them (for lack of better experssion) and they leave these like… speckly areas when you color. It’s not smooth looking. In fact, I’m not going to talk about them anymore in this review. I ruled them out right away when I felt them.

So lets look at Prismacolor vs. Copic. I did this because Faber Castell is water based.

Here, we have the brush tips. Copic on the left and Prismacolor on the right.

I spent the next hour at Michael’s trying to decide between these brands…

Ultimately, here are the thoughts I boiled it down to:

  • I didn’t want to choose between brush and chisel tip- I wanted them both. Copic offers both, and with Prismacolor you have to choose.
  • The brush tips feel different between these 2 brands. The Copic brush tip is a little more smooth and the Prismacolor one is more… squeeky? That’s the wrong word because it doesn’t squeek. Sticky? It’s also not actually sticky. It’s very durable and I like the feel of both, but they’re different and it’s worth mentioning.
  • I liked the idea of Copic being “refillable”

Ok. A little bit more experimenting, shall we?

The one downfall of alcohol based marekers is that they don’t get a super crisp edge. It’s just the nature of the Science behind them. the edges are always a bit fuzzy. So in my work here, I draw my black outlines with Faber Castell black markers (I have them in basically every tip in black) and I wanted to make sure that none of the brands smudged their ink. And none of them did.

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Then I tried comparing some other colors because the green Copic marker that I grabbed didn’t seem very brilliant… and no matter which color combination I grabbed to try against Prismacolor, the Prismacolor markers were always more brilliant in color than Copic. (Prismacolor on far right, next to Copic)

I didn’t find the caps to be very true to the colors either. Here I am trying to find a brilliant purple, and failing.

And here’s something else… the Copic markers also left these very small white speckles in the colors. Can you see them here?

The Prismacolors don’t do that. They color beautifully.

So as much as I went into this WANTING to want the Copic markers, and I really, really, really wanted the brush/chisel tip combo that Copic offers… I just in the end need the marker that looks the nicest on the paper.

For years I have had the Prismacolor chisel tips (and my daughter has a set now) and ultimately, that chisel tip is too big to be useful for anything. Like… I ONLY ever color with the tip of it.

So I decided on the Prismacolor brush tips. And I thought I was going to leave with them that day at Michael’s…. until I saw these prices. !!!

After doing an extensive online search and making a chart and comparing over 10 companies to see who offered the Prismacolor markers the cheapest, I found the best deal on Amazon. Of course, the bigger of a pack you get, the less they cost per marker. Amazon is cheaper, even if you use the 40% off one item coupon at Michael’s.

So I ordered the Prismacolors. And we have lived happily ever after. <3

You can find all of my Art supply buying guides here!

That is totally an Amazon affiliate link. Just sayin’.  


  1. Frankly – I HAVE to have the fine tip…. I just bought a set of skin tone ones (off brand) on Wish and actually love them. For the price, even if they don’t last long, I’m happy.

  2. Prismacolor and Copic markers are both high-quality and popular choices among artists, but they have some differences. Prismacolor markers are affordable, have a wide range of colors, and their smooth and blendable ink is great for gradients and shading. Copic markers are known for their high quality and versatility, with replaceable nibs and ink refill system, as well as a wide range of colors. Copic markers are alcohol-based, allowing for easy blending and layering for various effects, while their fine point tip allows for precise control.

  3. Noah Enholm says

    Copic and Prismacolor use alcohol ink as opposed to water-based ink to produce spectacular color effects, layers, and blends with little to no streaking. The extremely blendable ink makes it possible to create unique color combinations and more imaginative tones.