Quick Demonstration of the Lightfastness of Cheap Markers

I purchased an inexpensive set of 80 Chinese markers last year. Similar alcohol markers have flooded sites like AliExpress, eBay and Wish in recent years and while I am not particularly comfortable with the ethical side of buying knockoff markers, I couldn’t resist the price. I know it doesn’t make a great excuse, but since I’ve never been able to afford this type of markers, the pricing opened a whole new medium for me to explore. I feel like it’s a way to get to know markers before making the sort of an investment you are uncomfortable making when you don’t even know if you’re going to enjoy using them.

I had decided even before ordering that I would not be selling any of the drawings I make with these markers because of the unpredictable (and unsurprisingly quite poor) lightfastness rating. I’d say I was pretty well prepared for it, so this blog post is not about how I bought cheap markers and was disappointed that I didn’t get premium quality. Where I am now,¬† having used these markers for about a year, I would still recommend them as substitute for someone who cannot afford the real thing. They are lovely for what they are.

That said, here is how they performed:


This was by no means a proper scientific study, but I feel like it’s informative nevertheless. The top half is from last year when I received the markers. I placed the sheet on a cork board where it was visible and easy to grab when I needed it. I knew it would be reasonably exposed to sunlight from time to time, so it didn’t take long for the sheet to become useless. I’ve been following the transformation with fascination. Some of the colours have faded ENTIRELY. Some of them are surprisingly similar to the bottom half which I swatched today.

These of course aren’t the only brand/make of markers out there, so I urge you to do your own test with whatever set you own/order, if for no other reason than to amuse yourself.

The best advice I can give to anyone using these markers is to to scan your works when they are done, hold on to the original and tuck it safely where the sun doth not shine.

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