It has been a long time since I used a Sharpie marker. They are an alcohol marker, which means a strong smell, and I’ve always found the colors to be more opaque than I personally like. However, times change and while the original Sharpie is still around, there are several new versions.
When I saw that there was a brush tip version, I had to try them out. I saw that Jetpens carried them, so I bought the basic 4 color set-Black, Blue, Green and Red, (no yellow! How can you have the basics without yellow? Sorry. Personal bugaboo of mine), as well as singles in Yellow, Brown, and Purple. Since then I’ve added Orange and Lime Green (not pictured).
Diameter – Grip: 14.5 mm,
Ink: Nontoxic, Permanent, Fade, Water-resistant
Colors: Brown, Berry, Black, Blue, Green, Turquoise, Lime Green, Orange, Magenta, Purple, Red, Yellow
Tip: Length -11.4 mm, Material – Felt, Replaceable – No
Look and Feel
The Sharpie Brush Tip marker looks very similar to the original Sharpie marker. When I opened it, I was greeted with the same alcohol smell, which I find stronger than with alcohol markers like Copics or Spectrum Noirs. The price is cheaper though, so that might be a good trade off for many.
As with most alcohol markers, Sharpies write on almost any surface, not just paper.
It is similar in size to the original marker, with similar styling-gray body, color-matching tip, plastic clip that is part of the cap.
The tip is quite different than with the original style. There are two kinds of brush tip. One is a solid, spongy felt and the other has actual separate bristles. The Sharpie is the felt kind.
It is much longer than the original tip, more flexible, and I think it covers large areas much faster.
With any alcohol marker, there is the problem of streaking and the problem of color bleeding through to the back of the page.
Alcohol ink is ‘self-shading’, that is the color becomes darker when you add a wet layer over dry. Streaking is caused because the ink dries so fast on most papers that you are, in essence, shading when you overlap your strokes. The paper you use makes a big (BIG) difference. Some papers keep the ink on the surface longer, which keeps them wet and you don’t get as much streaking. You can get specially treated papers for markers. Some thicker papers work well. You can also work in circles which evens out the overlapping so the streaks don’t show as much.
I think these brush tip markers streak less because you can use the side to cover larger areas faster, thus avoiding layering wet over dry.
The specially treated papers prevent the ink from bleeding-through to the back and other pages, but most paper will have color bleeding to the back. The Sharpie brush-tip is no different in that respect.
The colors were more vibrant than those I remembered, though still tending to the opaque so if you layers colors you’re more likely to cover over rather than get a visual blend of both colors. It does differ-some colors are slightly more transparent. If the ink is still wet, you can get some blending, but for the most part you’ll need to buy the secondary (green, purple, etc) colors rather than mix colors.
In one aspect, the Sharpie brush tip fails as a brush tip. I expect a brush tip to give me line variation as I change the angle, and push down on the tip. I was able to get slight variation, but it was hard to control. Some people might do better, especially with practice.
I used my non-dominant hand for much of my testing which makes me heavier-handed than usual. As a result I found that the tips on one of the marker got a little mushy and the fine point frayed a bit.
I found the brush tips a bit difficult to write with, forcing me to a larger font size than I usually write with. Some slight variation in line is possible, but difficult to achieve.
I used a fountain pen friendly paper that is not marker specialty as sort of a control, so you can see what the bleed through is like.
This will vary considerably by paper, so testing is the best plan.
I was using my non-dominant hand when I painted this piece using the squirkling technique. The Sharpies were excellent for it giving me a nice impressionistic style. Looking at this you can get a good feel for the transparency and blending of the colors.
I mentioned earlier that Sharpies will write over almost anything. This is an example where I painted a background with acrylic paint, then drew with gel ink pens and laid down some Washi tape, finishing by coloring over them with the Sharpies. Even though the Sharpies are largely opaque they became more transparent on the slick surface almost to the point of having no color, in some cases.
I like the effect. The gel pen ink dissolved somewhat under the Sharpies, but you can still see them a bit.
I wouldn’t buy the Sharpie brush tip expecting to get the flexibility of a brush tip. It is more flexible than the original Sharpie tip, and having more length, it gives faster, more even coverage. I think it is easier on the wrist than some markers.
The line it gives is broad, so it isn’t the marker for those who want fine lines. It is an excellent marker for bold, broad strokes however.
It you have a heavy hand (tend to press down hard while writing or drawing) you might wear these markers out quickly, but that will be the case for most markers, especially brush tips.
These are great markers for use over acrylic paint or other media because they’ll write on almost anything.
I haven’t used Sharpies for a long time, and they still won’t be my go to markers. But I’ll be keeping some of these brush tips in my craft bag now.
Disclaimer: I bought these markers from Jetpens because I wanted to try them out. Jetpens did not ask me to review them or even know I intended to do so. I’ve linked to their site because I like their service, their prices are competitive, they have items that are hard to find elsewhere in the U.S., they have fast delivery and free shipping for purchases over $25. They are one of my go-to stores. Your mileage may vary, and I always recommend comparing prices.