Arrtx Markers are an affordable, high-quality option for artists and colorists on a budget who'd like to try alcohol markers without breaking the bank! The folks at Arrtx were kind enough to send me 3 sets of their Alp alcohol markers to try. Read this in-depth Arrtx Markers Review to see how they performed and help figure out if they're right for you! Plus, see examples of art I created using these alcohol markers.
Arrtx Alcohol Markers
Arrtx sent me 3 of their Alp alcohol marker sets, which you can see above. "Alp" is the brand name of their alcohol markers that are dual-tipped with a chisel tip on one end and a fine point on the other end, as shown below.:
With this many alcohol markers, filling in a color chart is essential to help keep you organized. Filling in a color chart is also a great way to get acquainted with the markers as you discover all the colors firsthand!
The Arrtx Marker Sets come with blank color charts for you to fill in, but the paper is not ideal because it is thin and the texture is somewhat slick. Also, the color doesn't absorb into the paper very well so the colors appear lighter and paler than they do on card stock or marker paper. Lastly, the color charts are folded which creates wrinkles, so when colored in, the ink pools into the wrinkles and as a result, the color looks much darker in the creases than elsewhere on the paper. I've included a scan of the color chart that I filled in for the 90-set so you can see what I mean (click to view larger).
For better color accuracy, I'd recommend printing out a color chart onto card stock or marker paper and filling it in. This is especially true for the Skin Tone Set, because many of the colors appear washed out when you color in the chart on their paper, making it hard to distinguish between the different colors.
Arrtx was kind enough to sent me these PDF versions of their color charts, which you can download, print and fill in. It's always a good idea to date your color charts, because colors do tend to fade over time, some more than others. Dating the color chart makes it easier to keep track of how much different colors may fade.
The markers aren't in any type of order when they arrive, so I recommend rearranging them so that they're in the same order as they are in the color chart, to make it easier to find the right color. Filling in the color chart is the perfect opportunity to do this!
Below you can see the colors in each set. Click on a color chart to view it larger.
Color Chart for 90-Set of Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers (below)
Color Chart for 80-Set of Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers (below)
Color Chart for 36-Set of Skin Tone Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers (below)
Which has better colors: the 80-set or the 90-set?
At a glance, the 80-set and the 90-set appear quite similar in terms of the range of colors. Both sets feature a beautiful range of colors, ranging from vibrant and rich, to light and pastel, plus a range of neutral grays and browns.
Although each set might appear similar, each set actually contains unique colors. In other words, there are no repeats between the sets (including the Skin Tone set), which means that each set contains colors that are exclusive only to that set. (The only exception is that both the 80-set and 90-set include the same color Black.)
Therefore, if you buy all 3 sets then you'll have all the available Arrtx Alp alcohol marker colors!
The differences between the 80-set and the 90-set
In terms of the color differences between the sets, if you take a closer look at the color charts you'll notice that:
The 90-set has more medium-to-dark browns than both the 80-set and the Skin Set. If you purchase the Skin Set you may notice the lack of dark browns (most of the colors are rather pale) but if you have the 90-set, then those browns can be used as skin colors.
The 90-set has a wider range of grays, both cool and warm.
The 90-set has more pale (pastel) colors.
The 80-set has wider range of oranges and greens.
The 80-set includes 4 fluorescent colors.
If you had to choose just one set, ask yourself whether the oranges, greens and fluorescent colors are important to you (if so, then choose the 80-set), or whether you use more grays and browns (in which case, choose the 90-set).
If I was forced to choose one set, I would be inclined to choose the 80-set because it has a beautiful array of bright happy colors, perfect for coloring in whimsical illustrations of butterflies, flowers, positive phrases and groovy animals! That’s just me - you’ll need to choose the set that best matches your own artistic interests. I used colors from the 80-set to color in the Heart Sun coloring page above (which you can color yourself in my set of 10 printable Heart Coloring Pages).
If you purchase all 3 sets, you'll have a gorgeous range of colors at your disposal!
Note that some colors are extremely similar to the point where it's difficult to tell them apart, even with my trained artist's eyes. In the example shown above, Carmine and Coral Red (both in the 90-set) are practically indistinguishable, and the same can be said for a few other colors across all the sets. While a trained eye could point out that the Coral Red is slightly lighter while the Carmine is a slightly cooler red, in terms of practical usage these two colors can easily be swapped for one another when coloring and blending. While some people may see it as a negative to have two colors in a set that are practically duplicates, it actually doesn’t bother me. You can look on the bright side, which is that if you love a certain color so much that you use it until it dries out, you'll have a nearly-identical replacement color ready to go! This is handy because Arrtx doesn't currently sell markers individually, which means to get that color replaced, you’d need to buy a whole new set, which is rather costly if you only need just one marker.
36-Color Skin Tone Set
If you color in a lot of faces, then the Skin Tone Set is really handy for its range of 36 skin tones. However, it's important to note that the colors in the Skin Tone Set are mostly lighter skin shades, which is disappointing because it feels like the set doesn't accurately represent the full range of human skin tones. If you want more dark skin color choices, you'll need to invest in the 90-set as well because it includes more medium-to-dark brown colors. (UPDATE: After reading my review, the kind folks at Arrtx notified me that they are planning to release a new set of dark skin tone markers.)
If coloring in faces is not important to you, then the 80-set and/or the 90-set will provide you enough skin colors to get started, and if you feel that you're lacking in choice, then you can also purchase the Skin Set.
Above you can see a work-in-progress as I colored in this page from my set of 10 printable Enchanted Faces Coloring Pages. To color the face, I used 7 different colors from the Arrtx Alp Skin Tone Set, plus 2 colors from the Skin Tone Set for the lips. Click to view the image larger. I’ll also show you the finished coloring page below!
Arrtx Alp Markers Carrying Case
Arrtx Alp Markers come in a super-handy carrying case with a lid that bends back and props up (as shown at the top of this review page), making it so easy to transport and use these markers. I absolutely LOVE this carrying case! Individual slots for each marker helps keep the markers well-organized within the case, allowing for quick and easy access to the exact marker you want. This carrying case is actually useful, compared to other marker brands that include free carrying cases that don't contain individual slots, which result in the markers quickly getting out of order.
Also, the case includes a comfortable handle which makes it really easy to transport, as you can see here! The lid snaps shut and feels pretty secure, although be careful not to tip the case too forward at an angle or there’s a chance it might pop open and your markers may spill out. This hasn’t happened to me - I’m just mentioning it as a precaution.
The great thing about this useful carrying case is that because it is the perfect way to store these markers, you won’t need to invest in a separate carrying case or storage trays (unless you want to, of course). The carrying case is built into the price of the set, which makes it a really good deal.
Quality & Performance of Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers
Now that we’ve gotten all the basic information out of the way, you’re probably eager to get to the most important info: how well do these Arrtx markers actually work?!
So far I've tested these Arrtx Markers on 3 different surfaces:
Ohuhu art marker paper (Amazon affiliate link)
Neenah Exact Index 110lb Bright White Cardstock (my favorite paper for printing my printable coloring pages)
A page from one of my published coloring books
I’m happy to report that these Arrtx Markers performed brilliantly on all of these surfaces!
I’ll now show you several artworks that I created using Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers so that you can see for yourself the kind of art that these markers can help you create! Then I’ll follow up with an analysis of how the markers performed.
Above you can see a super-groovy poodle that I colored in using colors from both the Arrtx Alp 80-set and 90-set. This artwork appears in my Hippie Animals Coloring Book as a B+W coloring page that you can color in too, if you want! I used a lightbox to trace this coloring page onto Ohuhu art marker paper. These Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers worked wonderfully on the Ohuhu marker paper. As you can see, the colors are extremely vibrant and well-saturated, and they blend together well. When I finished coloring in this groovy poodle with Arrtx markers, I used Sakura Gelly Roll Pens to add some extra dots on top of the artwork.
Above is a coloring page from my set of 10 printable Enchanted Faces Coloring Pages. I printed this coloring page onto Neenah Exact Index 110lb Bright White Cardstock and colored it in using colors from all three Arrtx Alp sets: the 80-set, the 90-set, and the Skin Tone Set.
As you can see from this artwork and the poodle artwork, Arrtx Alp markers can be used for blending to create shading and ombrés. Since Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers are double-sided with a fine point on one end and chisel tip on the other, at first I wasn’t sure how well they would work in terms of blending. With other alcohol marker brands, I usually purchase and use brush tips, so using the fine point tip was a change of pace for me. Once I got used to it, these tips were fun to work with.
What is it like to blend with the fine point tips?
Blending colors is one of the main perks of working with alcohol markers. Blending is really easy with brush tips, but since Alp markers only come with fine point and chisel tips, the blending experience felt a little less smooth (resulting in less smooth color transitions) than when blending with brush tips. When you look at this close-up of the flowers from the Hippie Poodle artwork, you can see how the colors don’t transition completely smoothly and instead there is some visible “banding” between the colors in the petals as they go from light green to dark green, yellow to orange to red, etc. Banding is less of a problem when using flexible brush tips, because you can really work the colors into one another in a way that you can't with the stiff fine point tips, resulting in a smoother blend that can appear seamless.
As you can see, blends are still totally achievable with fine point alcohol markers though, especially if you're working on paper that is meant for alcohol markers. Ultimately, whether you prefer a brush tip or a fine point type is all up to your own individual preference and what style of art you want to create. The banding in the flowers above doesn’t really bother me because it’s not that noticeable unless you’re looking closely, though I can see that if your aim is photorealism, you’d probably be better off using brush tip markers so your transitions can be as smooth as possible.
One thing that the fine point tip does excel with is creating even lines. Brush tips create variable width depending on the pressure and angle, but fine point tips create consistently even lines of the same width, which can be of benefit when you need a consistent line - for outlining, for example. If you look at this close-up of the top of the hair from the face coloring page shown earlier, you can see how I outlined the hair (and the rest of the figure) using a dark blue Arrtx Alp marker. The fine point tip allowed me to create a nice even outline, which would have been extremely tricky to pull off with a brush tip.
The fine point tip is small enough to get into tight spaces, making it great for adult coloring, as well as drawing, outlining and patterning. However, you can't achieve quite as "fine" lines as you can with brush tips. If you really need to create tiny lines to fill in tiny spaces - like sharp, tight corners of certain shapes, then markers with a brush tip would be preferable.
Because the fine point tip is so small, it's not practical for filling in large areas with color, which leads us to the chisel tips...
Arrtx Alp Chisel Tips
In general I rarely use chisel tips, but when testing these markers I used them to quickly fill in backgrounds, because that's where chisel tips excel: filling in large spaces with color. Due to the broad nature of the chisel tip, chisel tips are not as precise when trying to fill in tight spaces or angles, so if you're coloring in a large area that also has some tight spaces (like if you're coloring a background around leaves or flowers, as I did here), then you'll need to switch to the fine point for those smaller areas.
I used the chisel tips to color in most of the magenta background of the artwork above - a “Love who you are” coloring page from my Live a Colorful Life Coloring Book. However when I got close to the border, I switched to the fine point tip because it was more precise and easier to control. To color in the black background, I only used the fine point tip because there were so many tight corners that using the chisel tip would have been impractical.
All in all, the Arrtx Alp chisel tip quality seems great! Using the chisel tips felt on par with other professional-quality alcohol marker chisel tips!
How the markers feel
I found these Arrtx Alp Markers to be very comfortable!
The caps of the markers are rather tight, which means it can take a tiny bit more effort to open than other alcohol markers I've used, but for most people this won't be a problem unless you have joint issues. On the plus side, when you close the cap on the marker, the tightness does feel satisfying because you feel assured that the marker won't dry out.
The rounded triangular shape of the barrel is very comfortable to hold, moreso than the fully circular barrels of some other markers. However, be careful when putting the cap down on your table because it can roll away.
Arrtx vs. Copic
Many artists interested in alcohol markers have heard of Copics, which have been considered the gold standard for alcohol markers for several decades. In recent years, due to the coloring trend that peaked wildly in 2015-2016, many established art companies that had been manufacturing traditional art supplies also started manufacturing alcohol markers (for example, Prismacolor and Blick). Additionally, many newer companies such as Arrtx have also joined the fray in a bid to capture some of that market share.
The newer companies like Arrtx that have begun producing alcohol markers typically offer alcohol markers that are significantly cheaper in price than Copics, which has many people wondering: are Arrtx markers as good as Copics?
As a professional coloring book artist who has sold over 3.5 million coloring books, alcohol markers are often my go-to art supply for coloring. I've been coloring with Copics for over 7 years and own all 358 colors of their Copic Sketch Markers.
After using these 3 sets of Arrtx Alp Alcohol Markers, I can enthusiastically recommend them as a wonderful entry-level option for beginners, hobbyists and art students of all ages. If you're a coloring enthusiast, Arrtx alcohol markers can be a great addition to your stash of coloring supplies. The colors are vibrant and beautiful, the ink flows well, and there's a lovely range of colors to work with - all for a very affordable price!
The downsides of the Arrtx markers is that they aren't currently available for purchase open stock (individually), and Arrtx currently doesn't sell ink refills or nib replacements*. This means that when your markers run out of color, or if the nibs get frayed, you would need to buy a whole new set to replace just that one marker. At that point, if you enjoy working with alcohol markers, you could consider buying an open stock Copic Marker to see firsthand how it compares to Arrtx (and if you can't afford Copics, you could try a similar but more affordable brand, like Blick markers).
*NOTE: After reading my review, the kind folks at Arrtx notified me that they are planning to offer ink refills and replacement nibs in the near future.
The links below take you to these Arrtx marker sets on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Arrtx Brush-Tip Markers
The Arrtx Alp Markers that I reviewed in this article have a chisel tip and a fine-point tip. If you're interested in trying affordable brush-tip alcohol markers, Arrtx has recently released new sets of brush-tip alcohol markers called "Oros" markers, which will probably be easier to blend with than these fine-tip markers. The colors are all the same as in the Alp series that I've reviewed here. I haven't yet tried their brush markers myself, though I'm planning to when I have more time. Currently their brush-tip markers are offered in an 80-set, a 36-skin color set, and the 90-set will be coming soon. You can also buy a combo pack of the 80-set plus the skin-tone set. Even though I haven't tried the Arrtx Oros Markers yet myself, I felt it was worth mentioning since I like their Alp Markers so much!
Many thanks to Arrtx for offering me these three complimentary sets for me to review! It’s been a real pleasure to make art with these Arrtx Alp Markers. I love the range of colors, the overall marker feel, and the extremely handy portability of the carrying cases that keep the markers nice and organized. Two enthusiastic thumbs-up!
Read more about my favorite coloring supplies and brands - from markers and colored pencils to gel pens and paint pens! I’ve also provided links to where they can be purchased online.
If you’re interested in markers for coloring and making art, check out my in-depth guide to art markers which will help you understand the different types, learn what they can do, and decide which ones you want to try!
Did this article pique your curiosity about Copics? If so, have a look at my detailed article all about Copic Markers to learn why they’re considered the best of the best when it comes to alcohol markers.
If Copics are out of your budget but you’re itching to try brush-tip alcohol markers, check out my review of Ohuhu Markers, which are economically-priced and come in a wide array of colors.
If you’re into coloring, you might enjoy this brief article on Tips for Using Alcohol Markers in Coloring Books.