Try These Markers for Casual Coloring & Journaling
We tested out Tombow’s new Twintone Markers to see if they’re worth adding to your marker collection.
By Jasmine Lim
When it comes to coloring tools, Tombow is one of the most popular brands out there. Their versatile Dual Brush Pens are beloved by many artists and colorists (including us!), so when we heard about their newest collection of Twintone Dual-Tip Markers, we had to see if they would measure up to their two-tipped siblings. What we found may surprise you: The Twintones don’t quite live up to the awesomeness of Tombow’s Dual Brush Pens, but they are still great for certain uses. Read on to see what we thought of these writing-slash-coloring tools.
Tombow’s Twintone markers are available in two different 12-piece sets: Brights and Pastels. Each marker follows the typical duel-ended marker style—one end is a broad bullet tip (0.8mm) that allows you to create thick lines, and the other end is a fine tip (0.3mm) for creating precise, thin lines. What’s great about dual-tipped markers is their versatility: Colorists can use the broader bullet tip for coloring large areas and the fine tip for small details. Similar to Tombow’s Dual Brush Pens, these Twintone markers are water-based. This means the ink is made up of a water-solution, which makes them easy to use, less likely to stain, and odor-free.
The Best Paper for Coloring with Tombow Twintones
On regular, uncoated copy paper, we were pleased with how bold and vibrant both the pastel and bright marker shades looked. The dual-tips made it easy to color the tiny flower details and open spaces in the letters on our funny “What the Fudge” swear word coloring page.
We just had a few bones to pick with these markers. First, the water-based ink made it difficult to fill an area with color. When we overlapped areas that had already been colored using back-and-forth strokes, the heavy ink saturation made paper pilling and bleed-through our two biggest issues. (Now, on this thin paper, that’s not totally unexpected—we found the same problem with Tombow’s Dual Brush Pens!) The bullet tips of the Twintone markers are also quite rough and we found that the fibrous tips tended to shed after just a few minutes of coloring. To resolve this, we colored in short, downward strokes and let the ink dry before going back to fill in any white spaces or areas of uneven color. This definitely seemed to reduce the paper pilling and fiber issue significantly.
Next, we tested these markers on our favorite digital copy paper. Each color was just as pigmented and the smooth, coated surface helped the pens move along the page easier than on the uncoated paper. However, we still ran into the same issues we experienced with regular copy paper: paper pilling, bleeding, and a scratchy feeling from the bullet tip. There was a little paper warpage here too, but nothing a good book can’t flatten out. For beginner colorists, this type of paper would fine—but if you’re working on a piece of art you want to keep around for a while, we’d recommend a thicker, sturdier paper to work with (like a 60-100lb coated cardstock or a multimedia art paper).
On the pages of a coloring book with uncoated paper and double-sided designs, the Twintone markers did surprisingly well. The markers were smooth to color with and both tips were perfect for the little details and patterns. There was slight bleed-through on the back, so we’d suggest using these markers on single-sided pages only, or making sure you don’t want to color the design on the other side. (P.S. If you have a design you really want to color in a double-sided book, we’ve found that Tombow’s Dual Brush Pens don’t bleed through the page at all.)
Pros and Cons of Tombow Twintone Markers:
Paper pilling, bleeding, and the scratchy marker tips were our biggest issues with the Twintones, but there are other small things we think are worth mentioning, too. First, the markers are not labeled with color names (or numbers) like other brands we’ve used. This can make it difficult to keep track of which colors you’ve used on a coloring page. We also noticed that the white labels on the markers rub off when used regularly. This isn’t a huge inconvenience since there isn’t important information printed on them, but it may be annoying to some! These issues aside, the Twintone markers offer a great selection of colors to choose from in both marker sets and we do think the dual tips would be great for other uses. With the fine tip, we were able to embellish our curse word coloring page by adding small patterned dots to the center of the flowers. Adding small details with the fine tip is a perfect way to give your designs different textures. While these markers didn’t work out color large areas well, we’d recommend the Twintone markers for other creative outlets like journaling, doodling, and adding your own patterns and details to a coloring page.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a set, you can find these Twintone Markers—along with Tombow Dual Brush Pens—on their website, or from retailers like Amazon or Michaels. Each set of 12 markers will cost you around $12-20.
So, What’s the Verdict?
Overall, Tombow Twintone Markers weren’t as adult-coloring friendly as we’d hoped. For coloring large spaces or the entire page, we think Tombow Dual Brush Pens serve as a better alternative in a similar price range. That being said, don’t shy away from using these markers in different ways on your next coloring project—you may just be surprised with how many versatile uses the dual tips have to offer.
Have you tried Tombow's new Twintone markers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!