I’m always answering questions about color markers and giving opinions on which ones I like best. Here is a quick review of four marker types that are readily available and some important advice using them. Plain and simple - there are Chartpak AD markers, and then there all of the other brands! Why am I so in favor of the Chartpak brand? The answer is found in the ink formula.
The four marker types I have used are 1) Chartpak AD markers, 2) Letraset Markers, 3) Prismacolor Markers and 4) Copic Markers. Three of the four have dual tips for coloring with broad and fine lines. I don’t have the need for dual tips (and the higher cost associated with those brands). The Chartpak AD marker has a different ink chemistry that allows the color to flow much better on bond paper and trace without the streaking. Plus, the Chartpak marker has more ink in it. That’s the big difference between Chartpak and the other brands, and in my opinion worth the headaches that come along with Chartpak markers. The Chartpak cap design is very poor for two big reasons - worthy of calling out to you.
No Snapping Cap Design. Chartpak marker caps do not have a “snap in place” design like the other brands and can separate and fall off, drying up the marker. Always press the caps on tightly to avoid this typical problem.
Problematic Inner Ring Design. Charpak marker cap design has an inner ring that can severely dent the marker tip if you are not careful replacing the cap on the marker. Always align the tip with the cap and don’t rush it. I’ve seen people in a hurry slam caps on crooked and slice tips off or dent them to the point where they are no longer usable.
One other note for anyone living in a high altitude location! Beware of exploding markers! Chartpak AD markers are manufactured at a low elevation. The air pressure at high altitudes can “pop” a marker when first uncapped - this is similar to traveling with a bottle of lotion that unexpectedly explodes after flying to a high altitude loaction, spilling lotion all over your bag. The photo above shows the aftermath of a new Chartpak AD marker that exploded on one of my students in a Denver workshop. Avoid this rare but costly problem by carefully uncapping each of your new markers to adjust the internal air pressure. Doing this once to new markers should prevent the problem from ever happening.