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Karin Pigment Decobrush Review

The Karin Pigment Decobrush markers were a highly anticipated and welcome addition into the brushmarker world. Supposedly the first of its kind, the Pigment Decobrush offers an acrylic coat instead of the usual water based paints you’ll see in most other brushmarkers like Tombow, Pentel or even Karin’s own Brushmarker Pro series.


If you enjoy using acrylics, you’ll be familiar with household brands like Posca which have been producing acrylic tipped markers for years. However, unlike the Posca markers, the Karin Pigment Decobrush offers a brush nib instead of the usual hard marker tip. This allows you more versatility in use when you want to swap from colouring and calligraphy.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a brushmarker with such an array of colours in the market, especially one for acrylics. The Karin Pigment Decobrush offers up to 84 colours in its Master Set, 60 colours in its Professional Set and 36 colours in its Designer Set.

Many brush nibs wear out after a while and it gets annoying to write with when the nibs are frrayed. With Karin brushmarkers, you need not worry about that. Each brushmarker comes with a hardy Japanese made flexible nylon tip.

Karin’s patented ‘Liquid Ink’ technology is well, liquid gold in the brushmarker world. Each Pigment Decobrush contains 2.4ml of non-toxic opaque acrylic ink that produces vibrant colours and retains intensity all the way to the last drop.


In today’s review, we’ll be checking out their HUGE Master Set that consists of 84 colours, some of which you’ll recognise in their original Brushmarker Pro lineup. Within the Master Set is 7 individual boxes stored with 12 juicy markers. In another stark contrast from the Brushmarker Pro is the fact that the colours have been separated into themes. Namely, the Basic, Passion, Violet-Blue, Nature, Grey, Nude and Pastel. If you want to check out a swatch of all 84 colours, head over to our Karin Pigment Decobrush Marker Master Set Swatch & First Look video!

Explosive range of colours aside, the first thing you’ll notice about the Karin Pigment Decobrush is the way the markers are stored. This differs greatly from how Karin packaged their Brushmarker Pros as the Pigment Decobrushes are kept lying instead of upright. There’s a reason for this too! When you open up the box, you’ll see that the brushes are tilted slightly to ensure that ink is constantly flowing to the brush nib. This prevents the brush from drying out and allows for instant usage when inspiration strikes!

An instruction manual accompanies the markers with detailed storage specifications and a total guide of how to use and what to do if the markers dry up accidentally. Each individual box also comes with a printed swatch on the lid and a swatch sheet that can be pasted over each box should you want to swap colours around or, customise a set of your favourite colours to bring out. The 12 colour set boxes are light and can easily fit into bigger bags.

Individual 12 colour sets are available for those who want to start with something smaller.

A major plus point of the Karin Pigment Decobrush and a much welcome one by the community is its ability to write on surfaces other than paper. As a water based marker, the Brushmarker Pro or any other watercolour markers in fact, aren’t quite able to create permanent finishings on surfaces like glass and wood. With the Pigment Decobrush, you’re able to write and paint on glass, wood, canvas and stone too and ensure that they last.

As part of our review, we did a writing test on glass, canvas, genuine leather and PVC leather. For a full showcase of the write and wipe test, do watch our review!


From Top to Bottom: Black Paper, Tomoe River Cream, Cosmo Airlight

To start, we did a writing test on 3 different types of commonly used papers: White (Cosmo Airlight), Cream (Tomoe River) and Black. To give you a sense of how different the Pigment Decobrush and Brushmarker Pros are, we also did a side-by-side comparison.

While both brushmarkers did splendidly on white and cream paper, the Brushmarker Pro, expectedly, fell short when written on black paper. This gives the Pigment Decobrush an edge due to its opaque nature and the effect was a beautiful matte effect on black paper. The Pastel Set especially shines when used on black paper as it does appear less visible on white and cream paper due to its lighter tones.

The Pastel colours are significantly lighter than the other sets, making it less conspicuous on white and cream papers.

As avid journalers, we of course had to test out the brushmarker on some of the journals we sell and personally use. The Brushmarker Pro has always been a little too juicy for the Leuchtturm1917 papers and does feather and bleed on the 80GSM paper. The Pigment Decobrush on the other hand, does not bleed and feather as much, giving those who love using Leuchtturm’s original notebooks and Karin brushmarkers a nice compromise. (Psst, Leuchtturm’s 120GSM notebooks however work excellently with the both Karin Brushmarkers and offer little to no feathering and bleed)

Ghosting is much more prevalent on the 80GSM (bottom) in comparison to the 120GSM (top) paper.

The Pigment Decobrush will come in handy to those who want a way to write on cups, signages and other glass surfaces. The brushmarker writes really smoothly on glass and disclaimer, is not exactly permanent.

After we left the ink to dry, we decided to do a wiping test on all surfaces to check their permanent status. A dry wipe didn’t clean the ink off however, with a wipe of wet tissue, the acrylic came right off. We would suggest applying a coat of varnish over if you want it to remain permanent!

Only for the most daring and confident! The end result of writing on the PU leather of our Leuchtturm notebook was pretty permanent.

After leaving the notebook for about 10 minutes, we were not able to scratch or wipe off the ink at all. With this in mind, we would suggest only painting or writing when you’re sure of what you want. On a separate note, we were able to wipe off the ink seconds after writing so if you make a mistake, we highly recommend wiping off any errors immediately.

The genuine leather was perhaps the most unforgiving when it came to using with the Karin Pigment Decobrush.

After leaving it to dry, we found that we were not able to erase the ink at all. It also doesn’t allow for any mistakes as we also weren’t able to wipe it off within seconds of applying. If you want to calligraphy or paint on your leather covers, do make sure you’re very sure of what you want to do as you won’t be able to erase it.

Final Thoughts

84 colours. 84! To us, that’s the biggest draw to the new Karin Pigment Decobrush. While the price for the Master Set is steep, it’s worth every cent if you’re a frequent journaler, calligrapher or someone who needs a quality pen that writes well for all kinds of surfaces.

The versatility of these brushes is also something we love. With a brush nib, you’re able to achieve those thin and thick lines with ease. This also makes colouring large surfaces more painless than if you were using a hard, one size nib marker. The ease of blending either on the surface itself or tip-to-tip is also a huge advantage over other markers.

What are your thoughts on the new Karin Pigment Decobrush? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re still undecided on whether or not to get these awesome acrylic markers, do check out our full review and swatch below!


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