I was quite pleased to receive a set of 160 Ohuhu Water Based Brush Markers and two Ohuhu Marker Pads Art Sketchbooks to review. The dual-tipped markers come in a cool carry bag with marker holders, extra marker nibs, and both pre-printed and blank color charts. The sketchbooks are heavy, and hardbound with smooth, multi-use papers.
That’s the nutshell version. Read on to learn more.
The Water-based Markers
Ohuhu has two styles of water-based marker, the Maui and the Lanai. This review covers the Maui style markers, which are dual-tipped. The brush tip has slight flexibility while the fine-liner tips are totally rigid.
The brush tip is 1-2mm, and the fineliner is 0.4mm.
The set comes with five brush tip replacements and three fineliner tips. You can simply pull the existing nib out of the holder and put in the newer nib. The refill nibs looks smaller in the photo below but that is because I was trying to reduce the size and number of photos. They are the same size in real life.
I didn’t find any way to purchase extra tips or refill ink.
Identification and organization is made easy by the illustrations, numbers and caps. Each marker is numbered at both ends, with an illustration of the tip, and the brush tip cap is flared while the fineliner cap is not.
The set comes with both pre-printed and blank swatch charts. The colors on each are numbered to match the markers. This helps you easily find the colors that you’ll need. I really like this feature!
Names are often misleading or don’t tell you much. The pre-printed colors are nice, but not always accurate.
Coloring the blank charts really shows you what the color is, and instead of pawing through 160 colors, and scribbling on scrap paper to find just the right one, you look at your chart for the number, find locate the holder side with the right range and there you have it.
With such a wide range of colors, you can illustrate almost any subject. And it isn’t just the colors themselves. With many brands of marker, all the colors are the same intensity, giving your work a flat look and making it hard to pick out details.
All the colors are transparent, but they vary in intensity too. You can color people with subtle flesh tones, foliage with fabulous variety, and just about any animal I can think of. These colors make great abstracts, too.
As with almost any medium, there is some color shift, the colors becoming lighter as they dry. Even after drying the colors are still bright.
Using the Ohuhu Water-based Markers in the Ohuhu Marker-Art Sketchbook I tested for several things when doing this example. The paper in these books is a smooth, multi-use paper.
The color could be smudged, if you tried hard enough, and did it almost immediately after laying the color down. The more saturated the color, the easier to smudge. So if you drew a line, it was highly unlikely to smudge. If you colored an area, and kept coloring over the same area several times, you’d be slightly more likely to get smudging.
This is true of any brand I’ve ever tried, but these were as smudge-proof as any I’ve found.
I wet the paper, drawing into the wet area. The markers worked like markers, just with lighter color. In other words, the color didn’t spread and flow as watercolor would. You can see the effect in the light colors of the upper right-hand area.
Laying down some color and then wetting with a paint brush lightened and softened the color a bit, but there was still no flow. You can see the effect in the darker halo around the peacock feathers.
So the markers acted like markers rather than watercolors even when adding water. See below, because this differed considerably when watercolor paper was used.
No color bled through to the back, even when saturated in two ways –
- sitting the tip to the paper for several seconds, just letting the ink flow into the paper, and
- coloring a layer, then coloring into it some more without letting the first layer dry
When a light color was used over darker color that was dry, the lighter color would pick up just a little of the darker. The lighter nib could be cleaned by scrubbing it on a piece of scrap paper. I’m sure they’ll stain eventually, but the color will remain pure.
It was possible to apply several layers of color without pilling IF each layer was allowed to dry. Coloring wet over wet did pill (cause bits of paper to tear off leaving ‘pills’).
For this example, I did a painting with watercolor but wanted to deepen the color, and get some fine lines while hopefully matching or complementing the watercolors beneath.
I didn’t use any pens in the background, that’s all watercolor.
With 160 markers to choose from I was easily able to match colors, and find good complements for shading. Most of the dragonfruit and leaves have had marker smudged over them. I used the brush tip to apply, and smudged with my finger.
I applied a small area of color, and smudged immediately, using my finger. The color smeared generously, blending nicely over the watercolor. After a minute or so, I could no longer smudge the color. The red and darker blue on the dragon were added with the fine-liner tip.
I painted this dragonfly using only the Ohuhu markers on cold pressed watercolor. The wings were done by wetting the paper first and drawing into the wet, then spreading the color with a wet paint brush. After that dried I used the fineliner detail to add the wing details.
The body was done by putting down the marker color first with the brush tip, then softening and blending it with a wet paint brush. The fineliner tips were used to darken areas once that dried. The branch was done the same way, but I wet a paper towel and dabbed to try taking color away. The colors are fairly staining, so I softened more than lifted color away.
The background was done in several layers, using the brush tip throughout. I covered a fairly large area then spread and softened it with a wet paint brush.
I varied the technique a bit, sometimes letting the marker color dry thoroughly before adding more color, sometimes not. The same with each layer. Sometimes I colored wet into wet, other times I let an area dry completely before adding more.
When the color beneath was still damp, streaks were left. You can see this, especially in the blue area beneath the branch.
There was no pilling.
You can pretty much use these markers like watercolor when using watercolor paper.
Overall: Ohuhu 160-color Dual Tipped Brush Markers
- Almost any subject can be drawn because of the many colors
- Replaceable nibs
- Nib Features:
- Dual Tipped
- 0.4mm fine tip
- 1-2mm brush tip
- Dual Tipped
- Numbered for identification and organization
- The many colors make it possible to match colors in other mediums
- Ink Features:
- Acts differently according to the paper
- On smooth, multi-use paper
- little to no smudging
- doesn’t act like watercolor
- On watercolor paper
- will smudge for a longer period of time
- can be used like watercolor
- On smooth, multi-use paper
Note: Ohuhu Dual Tipped Brush Markers are also available in smaller sets.
The Marker-Art Sketchbook 2-pack
The Ohuhu Marker-Art Sketchbooks are impressive to see, and impressive to hold. The two-pack has one sketchbook in square format and one in portrait format.
This 2-pack set include sketchbooks in sizes 210 x 210 mm (8.3 x 8.3 in) and 210 x 297 mm (8.3 x 11.7 in)
The books are thick and solid, with fine stitching, beautifully textured hardcovers, a solid elastic band for closure, a ribbon, and perforated pages that can be torn out.
The cover edges overlap the sketch paper. I know some people prefer covers to be flush with the paper. The texture is the only ornamentation, other than the debossed logo in the upper right corner.
The pages are tear-away making these a good candidate for chunky books. Just tear out pages to make room for those photos, maps, tickets, pockets and other ephemera you want to add. It also allows you to tear out art you might want to frame or simply to make it easier to scan or photograph.
I did find it a little difficult to start the tearing, and found it important to go slowly, applying even pressure. On the other hand, I could hold one page at the corner and bounce the book up and down. I dropped the book accidentally doing this, because it’s heavy, but the paper didn’t tear, even at the perforation and there was no damage from dropping it.
Despite the thickness of the books, the excellent binding allows the pages to lie flat, even when it is open at the exact middle. So often you have a distinct slope at the inside edge of thicker books, but that is NOT a problem with these sketchbooks.
These are books that will stand up to some rough-housing! They are a bit heavy for everyday carry, but would be nice for packing away to use while traveling.
There is an inside pocket for storing a few thin items. The opening is at the inside edge so you don’t have to worry about them slipping out.
Each book comes with a plastic EVA sheet that can be used to protect the paper beneath. I didn’t find it necessary to use these with the Ohuhu water-based markers.
I used one anyway to see how well they worked. They’re fairly thick and I worried they might feel spongy to work on, but they weren’t. I barely noticed it was there.
These will come in handy when working with wet media, like alcohol markers or watercolor, that could stain the pages beneath.
Unfortunately, these won’t quite fit in the book pocket. That makes sense since it covers the whole page, while the pocket is slightly smaller. The surface is fairly tacky, not slippery, so keeping it in the book with the elastic band closed should be enough to keep from losing it.
Ohuhu – The Paper
The paper is multi-use, formulated to work well with several different mediums. It’s acid-free. At 120 lb, it’s heavier than you usually find in a sketchbook. It’s smooth, but not slick. It’s hard-surfaced, the kind of paper more likely to bend than roll.
As I had discovered when testing the Ohuhu markers, this paper handles light washes of watercolor, but begins to will pill if you layer wet into wet. It holds up very well if you layer wet onto dry.
The colors go down bright.
When the marker colors are layered on this paper, the finish makes me think of gouache.
As I said earlier, this paper is formulated to work with several mediums. Technical pen glides smoothly. Ballpoint works well (though not if the paper is wet, as I discovered by accident on the upper left).
I was impressed at how well colored pencil works even though there isn’t too much tooth in the paper. I was able to build up layers and burnish with no problem. The colors blended evenly. So far color hasn’t transferred to the facing page when the book is shut.
The only medium that bled through to the back was alcohol marker. The color dries evenly (even if you have streaks when it is first applied).
My ballpoint pen ran out of ink. Trying to get it to restart, I was scribbling with some pressure and noticed that it was scoring some lines. I colored the area with colored pencil, which left the depressed lines white. The lines didn’t go through to the back.
I love debossing like this, but normally it requires so much pressure that my wrist hurts. It didn’t take too much pressure on this paper — it didn’t show up on the back at all. It’s a wonderful technique for tangling!
Overall – Ohuhu Marker-Art Sketchbooks
- 210 x 210 mm (8.3 x 8.3 in)
- 210 x 297 mm (8.3 x 11.7 in)
- Weight: 200 g/m (120 lb)
- Other Features
- Easy-Tear Pages
- Elastic Closure Band
- Back Inside Pocket
- Beautifully textured Hardcovers
- Extras: EVA sheet insert to place under paper while drawing to prevent bleed-through
Note: The Ohuhu Marker Art Sketchbooks are available in other sizes and in single sheet paper packs.
The Carry Bag
The carry bag is nifty! With 160 markers it is a little bulky for carrying, but you could take out one of the folders if you want less to tote around. It’s nicely made with sturdy fabric, good stitching, and zippers that move easily all the way around the bag.
There are two marker holders that fold in half to fit into the carry bag. Each carries 20 markers per side,40 markers per half adding up to 80 total markers per holder
The individual elastic bands keep the markers secure but allow you to easily remove each marker as needed. It’s slightly more difficult to put them back in, but only slightly.
The outside case pocket is handy, but when the case is open the pocket opening is at the bottom of the case, so things can fall out. I’m going to
- 5 replacement brush nibs, 3 replacement fine tips
- A pre-printed number color swatch card
- Numbered swatch cards
Where Can I Find Them
- Ohuhu Website – Ohuhu Water Based Brush Markers
- Ohuhu Markers on Amazon
- Ohuhu Website – Ohuhu Marker Pads Art Sketchbooks
- Ohuhu Marker Pad on Amazon
Always the best new toys to learn about, thanks!
Thank you so much! I had great fun learning about these!
Hello Ms. Sandra,
Those markers are SO pretty! And the dragonfly is gorgeous! Thank you for another wonderfully informative and educational review. 🙂
Thank you, Mugdha, for your kind words!
I have a small tub of these markers but have only used them for brush lettering so far. I enjoyed reading your in-depth evaluation of them
Thank you, Laura!
Its strange Sandra but your review could not have come at a better time. For some months I have been thinking about trying the ohuhu markers and even have one of the sets on my Amazon wish list, but even though they are so affordable I have been holding off because, to date, I have been so disappointed with watercolour markers. Mind you judging from your write-up the problem could be in me, the user, not really knowing what she is doing. lol.
But honestly – your review is great and it is interesting how watercolour markers do not act like watercolour on regular paper / sketching paper and even some forms of mixed media but still act like watercolour (some only a bit) on watercolour paper. Although I prefer video reviews I always read yours because they are done so well, thank you so much.
I was over the moon to see you review the sketchbooks and, because of your review, I am going to order one or two of those right away if I can get them in Canada. They sound absolutely super. I don’t think there is a sketchbook alive that will successful use alcohol markers but if you know of any I would love to hear about it.
Thank you Sandra – loved the review and it answered any questions I could possibly have.
Thank you so much, Zoie! I used to do videos along with my reviews, but my Mac Air M1 no longer talks to my camera, and the amount of space makes it very difficult to do them, so I only make them for tutorials anymore.
That’s okay. I remember the videos 😉 . But your reviews are still fantastic 😉
Oh, and there are some sketchbooks that handle alcohol marker but they have a slick sizing that makes them useless for anything else, including pen. I haven’t used any for years, and even then, infrequently, so I don’t remember which ones they were, unfortunately.
Well, I keep on searching for good sketchbooks. 🙂 I did get that set of Ohuhu markers and the same sketchbook set you received. Can’t wait to use it all.
nice review, Sandra, I have them in my wish list. not sure about that paper but the markers sound good for the way I work. thanks for reviewing these – I’ve been looking at them or awhile.
Thank you, Alice! I think you’ll like these. Especially at the price.
Nice review, Sanda! Those colors are luscious!!!
Thank you, Mary! It’s a fabulous set!
Sandra, your reviews are always so thorough and delicious! Love your beautiful designs. Thanks for such a fun review!
Thank you so much, Sally! You’ve made my day!
That’s a great idea to use markers like these (I have the Tombow markers) to add an extra punch to a watercolor piece! Thanks for another terrific review…the sketchbooks are particularly appealing to me!
Thank you, Teresa! I’m glad my review was helpful!