Inktober Supplies: The Search for a Cheap Gray Marker

After watching the LethalChris Drawing: Inktober 2016  Secktch Book Tour on Youtube I was inspired to give markers a try as a media again. Chris the artist of this channel uses gray markers pretty effectively in his sketchbook to provide tone and shadow. Which seems much easier than my current method of diluting ink.  I have dabbled with markers in the past but I have never picked them up seriously. Generally, I never get far with them because I find the streakiness frustrating. However, this can be overcome with premium alcohol based markers and like everything else in Art, practice.

Chris uses Copic markers in his videos which from what I understand are pretty much the last word when it comes to quality in the marker world. But, the closest art supply store to me that sells them is over fifty miles away and they are $12.00 USD. I just can’t bring myself to drive that far to spend that much on something, I am not sure I will stick with after Inktober is over. I know I can get a gray Copic Ciao set (their smaller entry level marker) on Amazon for $20.00 USD. But, I didn’t want to wait for delivery. Although, after all the fuss of this week I wish I had.

The Markers


Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens Brush Shades of Grey

I started with the only grey marker set I could find at the art store near family I was visiting last weekend Faber-Castell Shades of Grey.  These markers have a great price point I paid $18.00 USD. They are even less on Amazon. They are single tip brush marker. They are great for sketching. The pack also comes with a mix of cool and warm grays which I like a lot for tonality. The marker bodies are colored base on the ink inside which is useful and makes things go quicker as you don’t have to take the time to look at the cap straight on to see which color you are holding.


20171011_164835 (1)
Inktober drawing for day 11. The prompt was “run”.


Faber-Castel with India and White ink.


My biggest complaint is that they seem dry out of the package and I don’t think they will last all that long. Also, they are very streaky and no changing my coloring pattern seemed to alleviate it.  Nor did going back over the initial layer help to fix the issue. I had a vision of a bright white moon against a grey sky so this pack was not going to be a good choice for what I wanted to accomplish. But, I do think they make a good on the go sketching pack so they will find a home in my mobile art kit.

This is my Inktober drawing for day 10 the prompt was gigantic. As you can see the markers are extremely streaky.

Art Alternatives #coloring


I went to my local art store and asked what they had for grey markers. I was pointed in the direction of the adult coloring supplies. Art Alternatives #coloring are cheap I paid $10.00 USD. #coloring comes with 3 grays, black, and a blending marker. They are dual tipped with a brush and bullet ends. These markers are nice and wet out of the box and you can cover large sections easily. There can be some streaking but that is overcome with using a circular motion. These are certainly designed with coloring in mind.

I used my Pocket Pentel Brush Pen for outlines and details. The coloring was done with #coloring markers.

The brush tips are very soft and already show signs of wear after two drawings in a 5x7in sketchbook. These won’t last long. The cap colors are way off from the ink appearance on paper. The warm looking cap actual holds a cool gray, while the cool appearing cap holds a warm gray. The blending marker does not really do much. These are a good option if you are just starting, broke, and/or cheap. (All of which apply to me currently.)

Spectrum noir

Because I was not happy with my first and second purchases I went to my local craft store and picked up a package of Spectrum noir cool grays for $15. They are dual-ended with bullet and chisel tips.


These are less streaky and blend better than the previous packs. They are nice and wet out of the box. They are comfortable to hold with the rubber grips. Another nice touch is they are hexagon shaped and will not roll all over your workspace. I am pretty sure my work with them will become less streaky with practice.


Revisiting the “gigantic” prompt form the 10th.


Day 12 Shattered

I think these are not bad given what I paid for them. My only complaint is that the lightest gray is already running dry. So despite their large size, they don’t seem to hold that much ink.

Final Thoughts

I think I may have been better off just buying the Copics given I just spent $43 on markers that I am not in love with. But, this has been a good learning opportunity. Also, I still don’t know if Copics are as awesome as they look in the YouTube videos. It is hard to know what the real value of something is without trying it first. Perhaps I will pike up two or three Copics to try in the near future.


5 thoughts on “Inktober Supplies: The Search for a Cheap Gray Marker”

  1. Ahaha I loved your post. Copics are honestly amazing and the Ciaos are my favorite. Yet I’ve had that exact pack of Faber Castells and they lasted me over a year so maybe the dryness is a boxing defect? Mine were fine. Usually art stores will let you test the markers before buying them. I used to be super cheap too but investing in Copics has proven to be successful. Happy drawing!


  2. If you want grey, why not graphite? Your work is very beautiful and moody, and I like that you eschew color for in favor of shadow and light gradations. But to master shape and form, maybe stop worrying about the medium? Draw more, and post more here. Just do it!


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