Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Copics are the Mac Daddy, professional illustrators' choice when it comes to alcohol markers. But, at $8+ per marker, I have a hard time recommending them to my students - especially if they're just dabbling with alcohol markers to see if they even like them!
It's taken me YEARS to collect a full set of Copics, and for just as long, I've been on the hunt for the best Copic alternative to recommend to my students at Awesome Art School. Since my thing is drawing and shading faces, I'm ESPECIALLY on the lookout for the best skin tone marker sets! Let's check out my latest alcohol marker set by Chotune to see how they stack up against the competition.
What I'm after in an alcohol marker is a brush nib. The brush nib on a Copic marker is flexible, and the strokes on my paper feel very painterly to me, which I love! I also love copics because they're refillable.
At the time this video was filmed, Copics were the ONLY refillable alcohol marker I knew of. Recently, I've discovered Amazon is selling Ohuhu refills. I haven't tried them myself yet, but can't wait to try them!
I love this feature because if you run out of ink in your favorite shade, it's SO much cheaper to order a refill for ONE color instead of ordering an entire SET of new markers to replace the ONE shade you're in love with!
Ohuhu alcohol markers also have a brush nib, but I feel like they're a lot stiffer than my Copics. I loved my Ohuhu set of 36 skin tone markers for shading faces (along with my Copics). In fact, I used this Ohuhu set exclusively to write my book Skin Tone Secrets on Amazon.
ArtBeek is another alcohol marker I've demo'd quite a bit here on YouTube as well. They are SUPER juicy, and the brush nib is WAY more flexible than the brush nib on my Ohuhus. Even better is the cost point. At just 50 cents per marker- they're basically a steal. Since holiday season is just around the corner, you might as well take a look at this ArtBeek set of 262 markers as well :) It comes with a whopping 98 skin tone markers!!! INSANE, right?!
If we compare my new Chotune alcohol markers to the ones shown above, surprisingly, they feel the MOST like Copics in terms of the brush nib! And at just 80 cents/marker (vs. Copics price point of $8+ per marker), Chotunes might just be a steal and totally worth considering for your own art supply stash at home.
Unfortunately, this set of Chotunes skin tone markers is not available on Amazon U.S., at the moment. I did Google them and found you could order them from Amazon Belgium, EBay, and a couple of other random sites :)
Let's see how they work on paper!
Just as I do with ANY new art supply before I dive into a project - I swatch every single color to see how each marker looks on paper.
Why do I swatch? SOOOOOO may reasons! Let's just say I've learned the hard way how much of a GIFT swatching is to your future self :) One of the main reasons to swatch is marker cap colors often DON'T look anything like the color actually hiding inside the marker.
Once all my new Chotunes were swatched, I noticed there are way more light skin tone markers than mid-tones and darks. If you tend to shade medium to darker-skinned faces, this may not be the set for you.
A few short weeks ago, Lucy Brydon and I embarked on another adventure with 10 amazing women for an art retreat at Scotland's Lickleyhead Castle.
This SCAR (Scotland Castle Art Retreat), was retreat #4 since 2019, and the SECOND retreat Lucy and I have hosted together since June 2023!
We had THE BEST time in our new venue, just south of Auchleven in Aberdeenshire. We art-ed our hearts out, ate the most amazing catered dishes from Cafe 83 (Kenmay), rekindled magical friendships, and created new ones that will surely last a lifetime!
Lickleyhead Castle is located in Aberdeenshire and was built in 1629. Just being inside buildings from centuries ago is so interesting!! They're full of SO much history. Read more about it here on the castle website. It may interest you even more if you last name happens to be Leslie, Forbes, Leith, or Duff.
The landscape is breathtaking here. Just look at these castle grounds!!
The above photo was taken just before a huge storm hit the UK.
The sky was so moody and beautiful before literally BUCKETS of rain fell and flooded SO many of the neighboring village roads. The funniest part about being in a castle for a giant storm is you barely hear the rain because the walls are so thick!
And the great thing about rain is - it's the PERFECT excuse to art!!
Lucy and I split teaching time for each project. I typically taught the drawing portion, while Lucy taught watercolor and gouache. Lessons included inspiration from the castle itself - recreating a portrait hanging over the fireplace, capturing a cozy book nook, and rendering a stone garden gnome from the castle gardens.
Some of us worked our fingers to the bone and art-ed as much as possible, like Robin (WAY TO GO GIRL!) ...
And Melanie... (you're killing it, girl!)
While others of us couldn't resist goofing off...
LOL! Ok, Melanie appears to be well-rounded here,
art-ing hard while also playing hard!!
We had some of the most delicious food we've ever tasted while being spoiled by Andrew and Connor from Cafe 83 (Kenmay).
They introduced us to entrees and desserts we'd never tried before, like raspberry sorbet with lemon posset (THIS was outstanding, and just SO fun to say).
They also provided the most delicious cocktails like Andrew's Blackberry Gin Brambles - which I think we could have devoured every single night!!
We enjoyed an excursion day to see the sights in the countryside including a stone circle and hairy coos (cows)!
Since no one slipped through the stones to find Jamie, we spent the rest of our day shopping for souvenirs, antiquing, and enjoying a cozy lunch together in the quaint village of Balletar (just 15 minutes from Balmoral for you Royal fans).
Our last day was spent at the Aberdeen Art Gallery taking in the paintings, pottery, sculptures and fashion.
Later that evening, we enjoyed our last night in the castle together by the fire in the main sitting room. We laughed together, reflected on highlights from the week, and took even more selfies after yet another luxurious dinner provided by Andrew and Connor.
We hope our guests had just as much fun as we did!!
It was such a magical week!!
Wanna Make Art Like The Pieces Featured in Today's Video?
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Thanks for hanging out with us today!!
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
- Elizabeth W.
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Karen, you are absolutely fabulous! You make me feel like I can draw anything. I have recently retired and finally have the time to do some of the art that I have loved since I was in school. I am really at the beginning of my art journey and I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you for all you do.