Recently, Tombow came out with two 12 packs of dual-tipped markers. These TwinTone markers come in a Pastel set and a Bright set. At this time, I don’t believe they can be purchased in single colors.
Today, I’m reviewing the Pastel 12-set. Tombow and Exaclair, USA have been doing some exchanges, so I’ve used paper from their line of products for my test.
I’m not hosting a giveaway this time, but there is a giveaway for these markers going on at the Rhodia Drive blog, here.
Colors: Not Specified
Ink: Water-based, water-soluble
Tips: Two Fiber tips-bullet tip 0.8mm; extra-fine tip 0.3mm
Length: 6 inches
LOOK AND FEEL
The TwinTone marker has two fiber tips in a slender plastic body. The cap on the extra-fine end has a plastic clip, making it easy to tell which end is which. It’s a light and small pen. Possibly too small for those with large hands, but it’s very nice for my small hands.
Although the website information specifies fiber tips, the extra fine end has plastic. It looks like a plastic nib, and feels like one to me, when I draw with it. It draws a fine line, and with some of the colors, they are very faint. It is possible to build up the color, as you’ll see in the performance section, but if you are using these markers for writing, you’d want to use some of the colors for accent, not for actual writing. Not surprising, since these are pastel colors, and you’d expect them to be light.
In fact, some of the colors are darker than I would expect in a pastel pack, so you do have colors suitable for writing with.
The bullet tip creates a thick line, but it has a fault common with markers, and that is pilling. The amount of pilling varied quite a bit according to the paper. The pilling is worst when you are working wet-into-wet. If you wait a minute or two between layers rather than continuing to scrub color into the paper, the pilling is lessened and in some cases avoided.
I found myself working smaller than usual because of the time it took to build up the colors. That said, it is possible to get some cool effects with these markers. The extra fine tip allows coloring in small areas and you can get a wide range of tints because the color changes as you build the colors – making that time spent building worth the effort.
In some cases the color seems quite different, depending on which tip you use. The yellow, for instance, is a light yellow when drawn with the extra-fine tip, but is a light orange right out of the nib on the bullet end. This isn’t an actual color difference, but just the amount of saturation in the color.
The ink is water-soluble, so you can use it for watercolor effects. I found the amount you can spread the color varies according to the paper (which is common). More about that in the Performance section.
The ink is quick drying. This is a good thing for avoiding smearing, though if you don’t watch the pilling, you make get smears from those. The quick drying isn’t as good when you are using a watercolor effect. If you don’t apply the water almost immediately, you lose at lot of your color.
For some reason, Tombow doesn’t have any information on the colors on the pens, on the packaging or at the website. They do have a chart showing the colors, but give no names. The color of the barrels gives you a decent idea of the ink color but isn’t exact. By the time, I’d done a drawing I was able to identify which pen was which color.
The green at the bottom of my test colors looks blue in the watercolor effect, but that’s my scanner at work not the marker. The green is still green when wet.
I did my first test in a Rhodia journal, which has Clairefontaine paper that is smooth, but in which I’ve had good luck with many different media.
I did get some bleed-through, and definitely pilling, because I truly saturated some areas. This was my destroy the product test, where I deliberately push until I feel I know exactly what the medium will do.
I found it was possible to build up to dark values, though you lose much of the transparency when you do this. The colors blend well, and create beautiful mixes. Even when mixing several together I don’t think I created mud, though I didn’t like some of the greens I got.
I switched over to another Rhodia journal – the Heritage this time, which has ivory paper with orange graph ruling. I didn’t have as much trouble with pilling because I was letting layers dry in between.
I used the bullet tip to do the magenta shading on the right and bottom, and then used a water-brush to blend out the color. I got even coverage and good transparent color.
By drawing directly over the lines with the extra fine tip, I was able to hide the orange ruling, even with the light strokes of the extra-fine tip. But in the magenta shading you can see how transparent the color is, because the ruling does show. These markers give you a lot of control – you can choose what effect you want.
My first layer for the gem was done with the bullet tip, leaving the interior blank. After a few minutes, I started coloring with the extra-fine tips, layering until the gem was colored solid. I painted on white ink for the high-lights – not opaque enough for high gloss effect, but it’s what I had on hand.
I wanted to play more with blending colors, so staying on the same paper, I switched my effects, using the bullet tip on the background, and only the extra-fine tips on the stone. I just kept hatching the various colors over each other until the color was fairly solid. It kind of looks like corroded metal to me.