It can be tempting to go to your nearest supermarket or basic stationary store and buy a set of discounted coloring pens. But apart from their attractive price tag, there’s not much else that’s good about them. Certainly not if you want high quality results. If intricate penmanship and slick artwork are what you’re after, you’re better off investing in professional-quality markers. Here’s why cheap pens are false economy (and why we think Chameleon Pens are better - even if we say so ourselves!).
As the video shows, cheap coloring pens are cheap for a reason. After all, you get what you pay for. They tend to be:
- More difficult to blend and more likely to tear the paper
- Prone to smudging and streaking
- Lower quality ink so impacts artwork
- You need a lot of them to create seamless blends
- Aren’t actually that cost-effective in the long run
More difficult to blend and more likely to tear the paper
Cheap coloring pens tend to be lower quality, from the nib to the ink inside them. When you try to blend, you will find yourself shading over the same area (where the different colors meet) over and over in an attempt to blend.
This will fray or tear the paper unless you wait until the ink is absolutely dry - but it will be quicker to wait for the next series of Game of Thrones. And even after that ordeal, the two colors still haven’t properly blended and might even appear to be streaky or blotchy.
In contrast, professional blending markers are much higher quality so are more capable of producing seamless blends. For example, Chameleon Pens feature a unique, innovative Mixing Chamber where you can infuse colors and achieve a range of tones from just one pen.
As you shade, the original color slowly fuses back into the nib (how long it takes depends on how long you’ve infused it in the Mixing Chamber). This creates beautiful, seamless blends and tonal gradients - even between contrasting colors. And better yet, the paper won’t be as quick to tear because you didn’t need to go over the area multiple times.
Prone to smudging and streaking
Because cheap pens are of lower quality, it’s likely you might end up smudging your work if you accidentally brush your fingers or hand over your work whilst coloring. Annoying! As well as this, low quality ink is usually difficult to shade with and leaves undesirable streaky patches. This will lead you to shade over the areas again, which once again runs the risk of tearing the paper.
Lower quality so impacts artwork
With cheap markers, it’s tricky enough to blend similar colors together without streaks and tearing paper, so you can forget about contrasting colors. This can make it difficult to be creative and produce high quality artwork.
That’s why professional pens set the benchmark. Markers such as Chameleon Pens offer higher standards and capabilities that simply can’t be achieved by school-grade or cheap pens and allow you to create professional-quality pieces of work. Using unique tools will give you unique results.
For example, Chameleon’s Color Tops allow you to seamlessly blend two colors together, even if they sit on opposite sides of the color wheel. And the Mixing Chamber unlocks the hidden tones inside all 50 colors of pen. All you have to do is hold the two nibs together for a set amount of time and shade away to see a smooth blend.
You need a lot of them to create seamless blends
Unless you want your artwork to have bright colors separated by harsh, unblended lines, you’re going to need a lot of pens if you’re using a cheaper set. Say you wanted to create an illustration with realistic highlights and shadows. To achieve those gradients, you’ll need pens in all of the different tones of a particular color. Or a wide selection of markers to lay down and color over with a blending marker.
Not only can that rack up the price, it can also be hard to track down all of the different tones you need. You might not be able to find the exact shade you want and have to settle for an alternative color which might detract from your vision. And certainly slow you down.
This can still be the case for other professional blending markers. Often, professional and budding artists find themselves investing in (and carting around) hundreds of pens just to ensure they can produce realistically blended work. Some of those pens might get used just once in a (BL4 Cornflower) blue moon.
In contrast, Chameleon Pens patented technology allows you to dilute that marker’s ink to produce different tones so you don’t need to own as many pens. There are 50 colored markers in the Chameleon Pens collection and each is able to produce between three to five tones (depending on the color and how long you’ve infused them for). If you use the Color Tops (of which there are 50), you have access to 1,225 possible color combinations.
Aren’t actually that cost-effective in the long run
Cheap pens are cheap for a reason. They won’t last very long, the ink will run out in no time and the nibs will break or fray quickly so you have to replace them on a regular basis - if that’s even possible.
You might be thinking that’s fine because they’re cheap, but if you have to keep buying a new set, the costs can start to add up. Not to mention, the color tone from batch to batch isn’t likely to be consistent.
As well as this, you’ll need a lot of pens if you want to produce realistically blended work (as we discussed in the point above).
Professional pens might be more expensive initially, but they’re actually better value for money in the long run. Why? Well, they’re better quality, last longer and the nibs and ink are replaceable and refillable. That means you usually don’t need to replace them for years and only need to refill or change the ink and nibs, as opposed to the whole pen. Plus, you get to create much more beautiful work.
Of course, that’s not to say that cheap pens have no purpose - they are great for trying out new ideas and as a starter for children and people who enjoy coloring but aren’t prepared to invest in the higher upfront costs of professional markers just yet. But if you produce artwork and illustrations on a regular basis, professional quality pens are a worthwhile investment.
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