What if you could find watercolor markers that are non-toxic, and odorless, with ink that doesn’t bleed through the paper? Now add in professional quality and high to maximum lightfastness. Yes, I was thrilled to have the chance to review these Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers, because they are exactly that!
Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers – Look and Feel
Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers come in sets of 5, 10, 20 & 30 as well as individual markers. I was sent the 30-color set for this review (and believe me, I was excited to get the largest set!)
Each marker is double-ended with fiber tips of different sizes and shape. The nibs are self-cleaning. You can color light over dark. The lighter nib will discolor. Just keep coloring with it, in a clean area or on scrap paper, and the discoloration goes away. Eventually the nib will probably stain, but the colors will stay true.
Note that these nibs are fiber. That means you shouldn’t use them on paper that is too rough, because it will eventually fray the nibs. Try to use a light hand because too much pressure over time will cause the nibs to mush down. This is good advice for all brands of fabric-tipped markers.
The brush nib is flexible, easily covering large areas. It gives a range of line sizes from fine to large.
The bullet nib gives lines of exact size making it good for hatching and other line techniques.
The flared cap won’t roll away.
The labeling on the markers is excellent. There are icons showing which nib is at which end along with the color name. On the other side, it tells you that the marker has pigmented, water-soluble ink, lists the lightfastness rating, and tells you that the marker should be stored flat.
I would have liked the pigment index name(s) as well, but this is far more information than you’ll see on many brands of markers.
All the markers in the set were rated with high or maximum lightfastness. This is unusual for inks.
A note from personal experience with water-based markers I’ve used in the past. When I pull the lid off of a marker, I do so carefully, holding it over a tissue or piece of scrap paper. Markers will often develop bubbles of ink around the seal, and depending on how much has leaked out, it may get on your fingers or drip on things you don’t want inked. I’ve never had a set without one or two seal bubbles. There was one in this set. It wasn’t bad. I just cleaned it with the tissue and it hasn’t happened again, but, from experience, I suspect it will.
There are thirty colors available, whether through this particular set or for purchase as individual markers.
The markers come in a cardboard box, with three tiers of stack-able sets of 10. This allows you to keep the markers lying flat as recommended for storage.
The colors are cadmium yellow, dark chrome yellow, beige red, orange glaze, scarlet red, pale geranium lake, deep scarlet red, pink carmine, middle purple pink, purple violet, indanthrene blue, ultramarine, phthalo blue, cobalt turquoise, cobalt, dark phthalo green, leaf green, may green, permanent green olive, earth green, green gold, sanguine, Indian red, dark sepia, warm grey III, warm grey IV, cold grey IV, cold grey VI, dark indigo and black.
Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers – The Color
What is the difference between water-soluble and watercolor ink? Not much really. Both are water-based, as opposed to alcohol-based or oil-based inks. Any water-soluble ink can be wet and spread to some extent. Watercolor markers, then, are water-soluble markers that should wet and spread easily, allowing you to use them either as markers or as watercolors.
Albrecht Dürer watercolour markers are filled with water-based, water-soluble, pigmented ink, and it’s non-toxic, and odorless. The color is easily spread, and even allows for drippy, juicy effects.
Faber-Castell doesn’t publish their pigment information, but all the colors are non-toxic. That means even if Cobalt or Cadmium is used in the name, those pigments are not actually in the color. Faber-Castell has a color matching system, so that all their Art and Graphic products use the same pigments. That means if you can use these markers with their pencils, watercolors pens, and so forth, the colors will be the same.
These markers can be used as a marker with color drawn directly from the nib onto the paper. You can draw individual fine lines or broad strokes or fill in areas with solid color. In the example above, I used the brush nib on the left and the bullet nib on the right.
With the brush nib, you can vary the line widths, and you’ll get deeper, smoother coverage over large areas. The bullet nib will cover as well, but it would take you three times as long. The bullet nib gives you lines of identical width, which creates a beautiful hatching effect.
The markers can be used in more than one way. The most common is to color, then wet the color with a brush. The ink will dissolve into a thin, watercolor-like consistency, and spread, becoming lighter. How much it dissolves and how much lighter depends on a variety of factors.
The color being used, the amount of water and the paper all make a difference.
These markers are a favorite with urban sketchers, plein air painters, and mixed media artists, who often use waterbrushes, so I used the same waterbrush in all my examples. By using the same brush throughout, the difference caused by the individual colors and the papers was more apparent. I used papers that were very familiar to me, to narrow down differences caused by the individual ink colors.
While some colors were harder to dissolve (the blues) and some were almost too easy (the yellows), most of the markers dissolved about the same. I chose one of the colors that seemed to handle in the most common manner for the next test.
On all the papers I used, the color was harder to dissolve or lift once it has set for a while.
The example above was done on smooth, hard-surfaced paper. It isn’t watercolor paper, but handles watercolor well. The lines on the left were from the bullet tip and the ones on the right from the brush tip.
On this paper, the drawn lines did not completely dissolve.
This next example was done on a slightly soft, cold pressed watercolor paper with a light tooth. You can see that markers lines dissolved almost completely.
I played around with other papers and got varying results. The markers worked well well with most of them. These were the two papers that I felt gave the best result. The ink also performs in almost opposite ways, so I felt they would give you a good idea of the range of effects possible.
The watercolor cold press is the paper I used to paint the example in the video.
The color doesn’t look very intense in these first examples, because I used lots of water. You’ll see that they can be much brighter when used with less water.
This paper is another with smooth, hard-surface. It is one that is very watercolor-resistant. As expected, the color spread very little, but actually it was more than I expected.
The other common method of using watercolor markers is to color on a smooth surface such as a plastic palette or dish or on a piece of clear acetate, as I’m doing here. The surface needs to be one that will not absorb the ink, and that is white or clear so you can see your colors.
You pick up the color with a wet or damp brush, just like you would from a watercolor palette, and paint on the paper. You can still get streaks, but not the solid lines you might get from drawing on the paper.
The other advantage of using the markers this way is that you can mix colors together on the palette. A great way to get solid color mixes when you want them.
I’m going to refer to this as the acetate/palette method in the rest of the review.
Note that it is not wise to dip fiber-tipped nibs in water or touch them with a wet brush. This can cause the ink to stop flowing. It is usually temporary. I didn’t try it on these markers for obvious reasons.
Faber-Castell notes that this ink won’t bleed through to the back of most papers. I wanted to clarify that.
I used cheap typewriter paper for this test. I drew two large dots on the paper with a marker and ran a very wet brush over the dot on the left.
On the back of the page, you can see the color that was wet. Mostly it shows through with a little bleed-through along the edges. That’s because water bleeds through. Once color mixes with water, some of it will show up as well. I was actually impressed because I expected far more bleed-through.
This is only going to happen on non-watercolor paper that is very thin, and probably very cheap.
Cellulose is recommended for the best washes so, of course, I had to try the markers on 100% cotton.
Even with a small amount of water, the color flowed. No, it flooded! It was difficult to get hard bold edges once wet, but oh! those juicy drippy effects were all over the place. I got a fabulous wash for the sky, using the acetate/palette method. When I drew directly onto the paper, and wet the color, I got blossoms (those darker outlines caused by the flow of water).
This paper has a medium tooth, and I think it is too rough for the fiber tips. I like the effects I can get, though. The next time I use it, I’ll use the acetate/palette method for the most part. If I want the drippy effects, I’ll use different brushes based on how much water they hold. This will give me more control or less – but I’ll be able to decide when and where I want it.
This painting was done on the same cold pressed paper as used for the video. I colored, and used a wet brush to dissolve the ink. I was able to blend colors easily. I could pick up color from both wet and dry areas, and use it elsewhere in the painting. Going forward, I’ll choose brushes based on how much water they hold so that I’ll have more choice of effects.
I went back to the smooth, hard-surfaced paper for this last example. I used the acetate/palette method to avoid hard lines in the beginning, and once I painted most of it, I let it dry. Then I drew with marker directly on the paper for the darker areas. I used a damp brush to blend and soften the lines where needed.
Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers – Overall
Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers are professional quality with odorless, non-toxic water-based ink. They are capable of a wide-range range of effects, and can be used as either markers or watercolor or a blend of both. Thirty colors are available in a range of bright to muted, and transparent to opaque. Great markers for almost any drawing or watercolor activity.
Faber-Castell has been in business for over 250 years with production sites in 10 countries and is available in 120 countries. Faber-Castell USA is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and is committed to committed to their vision of quality, tradition, and innovation now and in the future.
- Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers – 30 Assorted Colors
- Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers – 20 Assorted Colors
- Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers – 10 Assorted Colors
- Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers – 5 Assorted Colors
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- Hahnemühle Cézanne Cold Press
- Hahnemühle Watercolour Sketchbooks
Disclaimer: I received a 30-color set of Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Artists’ Watercolour Markers for the purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post contains affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in