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Marker Comparison

Marker Comparison

Happy Friday All!

For a long time, I held off buying the Tim Holtz Distress Markers because I didn’t know how they compared to the Stampin’ Up! markers I already owned. I didn’t want to waste my money on markers that have the same properties. Over time, I saw enough videos and blog posts about the distress markers that made me think they were worth buying. In the end, I was really glad I did!

I really wished I had access to a video that specifically compared these two markers. Well, here you go! And I also throw in a few comparisons to Copic markers.

In the video, I compare the markers using multiple techniques on both regular paper and watercolor paper.

Hopefully this video will answer any questions you have on the different ways to use markers and how the results compare.

Note: In the video I state that Stampin’ Up! markers cannot be refilled. But, in fact, they can.




To purchase at Ellen Hutson, click the EH link. To purchase at Simon Says Stamp, click the SSS link.

Distress Markers, Full Set
Distress Markers
Stampin' Up! Full Marker Set
Stampin’ Up! Markers
Copic Sketch Markers
Copic Sketch Markers
Neenah Solar White Cardstock
Neenah Cardstock
Strathmore Watercolor Paper
Watercolor Paper
Stampin' Up!Aqua Painter
Aqua Painter
Stampin' Up! Blender Pen
Blender Pen
Ranger Craft Sheet
Craft Mat


  1. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Penny Laschanzky

    great tutorial, Darlene! completely helps the rest of us understand the differences between and why one type will work better than others depending on what the technique is. Thanks!

  2. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 9:51 am


    So glad there was a video today! It really helped me understand what the TH distress markers do. I just bought a bunch of your recommended colors and was debating if the distress markers are something I should add to my wish list.

  3. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Dotty A

    What a GREAT post today… thanks so much for all the wonderful info, I really was wanting to know how the TH pens worked and you really showed it in a way I can understand….
    Thanks again!!!!!!!

  4. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Maria G

    Great information and nicely done. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Tamara K.

    Thanks so much, Darlene! I love it when you do these comparison videos. So helpful! I’ve been using H/A Shadow Inks to blend backgrounds now thanks to your last video.

    Just a little note that I saw on a Tim Holtz video somewhere, (if you’re not aware)… The distress markers have a reversible brush tip so if you wear it out, you can pull the nib out and turn it around. So yeah…thanks again! I’m in the mood to color something now. 🙂

    • wrote on January 11th, 2015 at 1:25 pm


      Thanks for that money saving tip. I have a marker that the tip is bad and I was going to buy a new one. I will definitely give that a try

  6. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Lynne Ingram

    This is a terrific video, comparing all three markers. I agree with your conclusions and love having the versatility offered by different kinds of markers. Copics are definitely my favorite but water coloring with distress markers comes in second.

  7. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 2:32 pm


    A GREAT video, Darlene. I’m just starting with the distress markers and the comparison is very helpful. Thanks!

  8. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Maria A. Rodriguez.

    Thank you Darlene for this very informative video. I love water coloring my images, this is the only method I use in all of my cards. I also found out that the SU markers leave a line in the paper like in your demonstration when I apply the wet brush but, I was experimenting a little and I decided to wet the paper first, not soaking wet, I just do a pass with the Aqua Painter and then, apply the marker either directly on the paper or from the mat. This works better eliminating that ugly line. Since the SU markers are water based, I love the way they work on my images. I have never tried Stress Markers or Copics, I’m pretty happy with the SU ones.
    I also found out that recipe for refilling your Blender Pens and here it is.
    1/4 teaspoon Rubbing Alcohol.
    2 teaspoons glycerin.
    4 teaspoons distilled water.
    You can double or triple this recipe depending on how many pens you want to refill.
    Just pull the spongy thingy inside the pen and leave it soaking over night, that’s what I do and it works fine.
    Thank you for taking the time to do this videos, it’s so sweet and fabulous of you to take the time to compare and give us your honest opinion about the products you use so we can make an informed decision when we go out there and buy this stuff.
    I hope this recipe works for you also.

  9. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 2:54 pm


    One of these days I’m going to be ready to sit down and dedicate time to stamping. Gosh know I’ve been buying enough stuff. I just need a guardian angel to sit by me and direct me . Your videos are great . Jan

  10. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 3:07 pm


    Hello, thank you for sharing your great video. My friend sent me your link since I am still learning a lot how to use distress ink , and would like to get COPIC for the future.
    I’ve been learning distress re-inkers lately, and it is still very difficult for me to use it.
    I do not have distress markers yet, but this video helped me a lot , and nice to know how different each markers. Thank you !!!

  11. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 3:11 pm


    Thanks for this great video. I now understand a lot better how these markers work and what I’m doing wrong!!

  12. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Casey Thrush

    Thanks again for such an awesome video. I love that when you turned the paper over to show that the copics go through I saw a mans face with a beard!! It looked really cool.

  13. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 4:41 pm


    Another great video! You are so kind to do these and they are so informative! Thank you!

  14. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Robin in WA

    Thanks for another great video!!

  15. wrote on December 6th, 2013 at 7:38 pm


    Happy Friday Darlene 🙂
    I really enjoyed this tutorial and really appreciate you taking the time to create it. I’ve seen and tried most of these techniques all around the web but it is wonderful to have them all in one place, done in your clear and professional style. Blending has been a frustrating challenge for me as I seem to just try and fail, but after watching this, I think I may be ready to try again. Thank you so much!

  16. wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Carol B

    Wonderful comparison once again. Love your videos, your skills astound me. Have a very Merry holiday.

  17. wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Sonya van Stee

    As always, well-done and informative! I love how you don’t prejudge any of the products and allow them to speak for themselves! I may even venture out and get myself some copics! *gulp*

  18. wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Cathy R

    Thankyou Darlene, great video on these markers and when to use what 🙂 Cathy x

  19. wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Kris W

    I live close to Neenah and wonder do they sell their white paper right there? If so does anyone know where to go for that paper she utilizes?

  20. wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Lynn W

    Thanks for the video. I must take exception to your comment that Stampin’ Up! markers cannot be refilled, however. Maybe I misheard you, but if you do a web search you’ll find instructions and videos on how to do that.

    • wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 8:36 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Lynn. Yes, several people have already noted that. I added an annotation to the video, but unfortunately it doesn’t show up on mobile devices or tablets.

  21. wrote on December 7th, 2013 at 11:45 pm


    Hi Darlene, thanks for another informative video. Love your ideas and tutorials. Makes my life lots easier.

  22. wrote on December 8th, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Holly Saveur

    SUPER tutorial Darlene..you made it so clear..I have them all and like them all too..I use them all differently..also use my SU ink pads to color images..love that too..just love to color!
    groetjes Holly.

  23. wrote on December 9th, 2013 at 1:10 pm


    Thank you for these great comparison videos. I’ve been curious about the distress markers and debating whether it served a different purpose than the SU markers which I already have to justify also getting distress markers. Your video answered the question!!! Thanks for taking the time to do these videos and also for the ink comparison video you did (I had been curious about the HA inks). These are so helpful and I really appreciate all that you do! Thank you, thank you!

  24. wrote on December 9th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Sara T.

    Thanks for this incredibly helpful tutorial, Darlene!! I’ve gone back and forth between SU and Distress Markers because I wasn’t really sure what they did, but now I know!

  25. wrote on January 31st, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Julie Rae

    Darlene, when it comes to alcohol markers, you might want to compare Copic to Spectrum Noir. I find Copics to be out of my price range but Spectrum Noir are MUCH more affordable. Jo-Anne’s Fabrics sells the beginner sets, $14.95 for 6. They are refillable and have replacement nibs available. Paper Wishes is one sale point for these markers. The only drawback, if one sees it as such, is that the SN do not have a brush nib. They have one wide nib and one medium bullet point nib. Still, dollar-for-dollar, they are quite nice. Snag a 40% or 50% off coupon from Jo-Annes and have a field day!

    I am assuming by the appearance of your blog and the SU materials for sale that you dumped the corporate bully. Good on yah! I buy SU on occassion but I tired early on (2003) of the wood-mount only mentality when stamps were available unmounted or in acrylic everywhere. They have gotten so big they cannot or will not react to smart trends. Not to mention they have such a huge, blindly-loyal following in customers and dems that they probably feel they can push on such issues as yours. Terrible abuse of your good status with them and your loyal blog followers. Why be limited because your dem can’t sell it so she won’t show it. How stifling to one’s creativity, too. Isn’t it freeing to be able to use whatever you want? There is so much out there in the marketplace. I applaud you, your passion & creativity, and your strength to follow your heart. Bet’cha feel a lot better after coming to terms with all that pressure.

    Thank you for sharing not only your lovely creations, but also your extensive supply list (complete with pictures), love it all!

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