Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers are my latest set of toys. As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers and couldn’t wait to experience Faber-Castell’s take . So I ordered up a 10-pack and gave them a spin.
Some Background on Faber-Castell
Faber-Castell is a global manufacturer of art materials, office supplies, and fine leather goods. The company was founded in Stein, Germany in 1761 by Kaspar Faber, and has remain in his family for over eight generations. Faber-Castell has opened branches all over the world, and has been selling art and office supplies in the United States for 250 years. (As of writing.)
About Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers
If you’ve been working with the watercolor medium for any length of time, you should have some familiarity with Faber-Castell’s line of Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils. Their watercolor pencil line is considered of professional quality. They’ve recently spun off two new additions, their Magnus Watercolour Pencils (basicly a fatter pencil) and Watercolor Markers.
Tips & Inks
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers utilize a water soluble, pigmented ink. The markers feel pretty solid in the hands, but not too light or heavy.
These are dual-tip markers, sporting a bullet-shaped nib and a soft, flexible brush tip. Thankfully the brush tip is about as soft as a copic or Winsor & Newton marker, and not a crazy-stiff a brush tip on Faber-Castell’s Pitt marker. The brush tip so far seems to be well-made and hasn’t worn out or frayed yet.
The bullet tip comes to a point, not super sharp. With a little practice, you can achieve a nice range of thicknesses in your linework. The ink also flows pretty evenly from the bullet tip.
The caps come off pretty easily without any surprises and can be attached to the opposite cap with ease.
As noted from the Faber-Castell’s official website, the shafts and caps are made from a material called polypropylene. This type of plastic (and I’m a huge fan of the miracle that is plastic) prevents the ink inside from drying out for a couple of years. This is great because you won’t have that wonderful surprise whenever you open a marker that you haven’t used in a while and find its bone-dry.
Working with the Ink
I consider Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers pretty juicy. Not messy, but after some use, you’ll find ink gathers around the ferrule of the brush nib. I believe that these markers are specially designed for hot-press, smooth papers which allow most of the ink to sit on top of the surface. Softer and/or lower quality watercolor papers soak up the ink right from the tip. Thus becoming difficult to work with.
The ink is highly concentrated. So a little literally goes a long way. This means having a wet brush in hand if you’re attempting any variations or gradations in color.
Layering wet-over dry isn’t so bad. On good quality paper, the colors overlay quite nicely. No complaints there.
One of the features pitched by Faber-Castell is the fact they don’t bleed through your paper. I have had the great misfortune of using these markers on pretty cheap watercolor paper. No bleeding through to the backside.
Blending with Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers
When wet, blending and pulling color from the ink from Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers is pretty easy. When dry, attempting to rewet and blend depends upon the type of paper you’re using. On cold press paper, you can pull a little color from the dry surface as if it were permanent. On good quality, hot-press paper, I have a much easier time reactivating the dried watercolor and dissolving it.
Creating a smooth blend or gradation is a little challenging. Maybe it’s my brushes, the paper I’ve been using, or the effort that I put into my gradations. But what I usually end up with is pretty streaky looking. A wet brush tends to pulls up a lot of pigment and moving it into a series of streaks.
Thus far, painting wet-on-wet directly with Faber-Castell’s watercolor markers can be troublesome. Due to the wet surface, the ink stops flowing as smoothly from the brush tip, even stopping altogether. Transitions on top of dried color that has been rewet break up with a little work and become splotchy.
Solving the Issue with a Limited Color Set
Faber-Castell has limited Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers to 30 colors. That’s not horrible, but there’s always a color that you need, yet can’t get directly from your marker. That’s one of the reasons why I opted for the 10-pack. Not too expensive, but has a enough range to be useful on their own.
Given that we’re utilizing watercolor ink, we can easily grab a non-porous surface, such as a pallet and mix whatever we need. This has been my experience, and the colors that I’ve used thus far have mixed pretty well. Nothing unpredictable has occured during my testing.
For example, I wanted to add a layer of black, or a similar color to the background of my painting of New Japan wrestler Togi Makabe. The black from from my set of 10 has a yellowish tinge that I’m not fond of. So I started out by mixing in a good amount of Ultramarine, then later on, I started adding Middle Purple Pink (which is a Magenta) to push the color in a more purplish direction.
This is kind of an iffy issue for me. If you plan on digitizing your work, this is a pretty irrelevant topic. But if you’re attempting to create work to be physically sold or displayed, this could be an issue. Please take what I write with a grain of salt. I haven’t been able to personally evaluate the lightfastness of any of the Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers colors.
According to the information provided by Faber-Castell, they rate their watercolor markers from one star (reasonable lightfastness) to three stars (maximum lightfastness). Most of the colors have a three star rating. The rest are rated at two stars.
My Overall Opinion
There seems to have been a ton of different watercolor markers that appeared in the market. Most of these brands are geared towards hobbyist and kids. Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers are for professional use. The quality of the product and ink inside isn’t cheaply made. As a bonus, Faber-Castell has stood the test of time as a manufacturer that artists can trust.
The color pallet is limited to only 30 color. Despite this limitation, the color range is pretty good. And you can easily mix whatever other color that you need.
The colors themselves are vibrant and concentrated. The ink in my opinion isn’t on the level of the “ink” used by Winsor & Newton watercolor markers, but those use an ink that’s more akin to their tube paints cousins.
Talking About my Set of 10
My set of ten came in a well-designed, flip-top box. Along with the markers, came with a slim booklet providing a brief introduction to Faber-Castell and their watercolor markers.
The 10-pack of Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers has a good range of colors. Yet it’s slim enough to travel with a sketch book and a water brush. If you don’t own a waterbrush already, I suggest purchasing one from Amazon. [Amazon]
I don’t have any regrets buying these watercolor markers. Alright, I’m lying. I do have one regret. I wish I had purchased more colors, whether they were in a larger set or individually. For example, while working on my sample piece, I could had really used an indigo marker or a burnt sienna.
Amazon does carry Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Markers in both sets and singles. I suggest you order a set [Amazon] and try them out for yourself.
Now for Some Awesome Fine Print, Sort of…
This article contains the honest opinions of the author. Although the author would more than love to take some of the manufacturer’s money, the manufacture has not paid for this review and hasn’t provide the author with any free products. (Which they should consider doing.)
Using the Amazon affiliate links within this review directly supports this website and maintains the motivation of its author. Thanks!