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February 28, 2010

Information on Copic Markers + Giveaway

I have been receiving a lot of questions about Copic Markers, so I decided to do a post on them.  Please keep in mind that I use them "my own way" and some of these points are just my opinion.  However, I will be sharing links to the "official" stuff, too.  Enjoy!



Copic Markers have been around for a long time in the architecture and art worlds.  They are high quality, long lasting (won't dry out for years and you can store upright or on side), color consistent, non-toxic, acid-free when dry, refillable and come in 334 fabulous colors. They are permanent (color your gems and buttons) but don't cross contaminate - you can't ruin one marker by touching it's tip with another. 

They are alcohol-based dye markers, which means a lot of great things. No matter how many times you color over an image, it will not cause the paper to pill.  They give smooth results (no more stripes in your colored images!) and the ability to blend.

There are four types of Copic Markers.  You can find info on each HERE, but I recommend the Sketch.  They are most common in the industry and come in the most colors.  I also like that they have a VERY durable nib in Medium Broad and Brush.  The brush end is soft, flexible and never frays.  Amazing marker.  Sketch markers also have an oval body, which prevents rolling - love this.  They can even be used in the airbrush system (more on that in a bit).  Here it is...

Copics Sketch I do a have a few green pens in the Original Marker since they have a bullet tip good for coloring in tiny stems on flowers.  Here it is...

Copic Original
The Colorless Blender Pen is a must.  However, the name is a bit misleading.  It is not really a blender, but actually can be used to "erase" mistakes, make colors lighter, highlighting, push color, etc.  I promise to show you lots of techniques with it in the future.  Get it. :)

Copic also has some great glitter pens called Spica.  They have tiny glass flakes, offering a gorgeous sparkle.  They can be bought individually HERE or in sets HERE (my fave) and HERE.  (Regular Copics can be stored upright or on their side, but Spicas need to be stored on their side.)  Here is one...

Copic Glitter
Copic also has a Multiliner SP fine-tip pen in 10 different tip sizes.  I like to have the black 0.3 - it is fabulous, acid-free, archival safe, won't bleed with Copics, etc.  I use it for all my journaling, touching-up of stamped images, etc.  Here it is...

Copics Fine
"Official" information can be found HERE from Copic.


There are many techniques that you can use Copics for.  It is not just about basic coloring.  You can blend, create patterns, feather, etc.  I will be sure to share these with you on my blog via videos.  But I did want to mention that these aren't just markers that are wonderful for basic coloring.  There is sooooo much more.


The Copic color coding seems complicated, but it really isn't.  And to be honest, you really don't need to pay attention to codes if you don't want to.  I tend to ignore them and use what I like. :) But I will explain the numbers anyway. Here is the cap...

Copic Cap

  • The Letter(s) - The letter in the code is the color family.
R = Red
YR = Yellow-Red
Y = Yellow
YG = Yellow-Green
G = Green
BG = Blue-Green
B = Blue
BV = Blue-Violet
V = Violet
RV = Red-Violet
E = Earth
N = Neutral, W = Warm, C = Cool, T = Toner
  • The First Number - This tells the color saturation or intensity.  Lower numbers are more vibrant.  Higher numbers are more gray.
  • The Second Number - This tells the color brightness.  Lower numbers are light.  Higher numbers are bright/dark.

This color coding system helps when picking which markers can be used together as a "natural blending group."  Look for markers with the same letters and first number.  So, B21 to B29 work great together.  When blending two markers, pick ones that are two to four digits apart.  So, B00, B02 and B05 would blend great.  Some colors don't follow this rule, but usually they do.

If you are getting started, I don't recommend just going out and buying random colors you happen to like.  To really get the most out of your Copics, you need to have 3 or 4 markers that can be used together as that "natural blending group" - various shades of a color.  So, if you want to start out with 10, for example, just pick a 3 of your favorite colors and get sets of them, along with a Colorless Blender Pen.

I get asked a lot about my favorite colors.  Now, keep in mind that I use Copics for bold coloring, not for a ton of shading or shadowing or softness.  (If you like softer, please check out advice from Debbie Olsen HERE.)  So my colors are bold.  If I really want lighter, I use my blender pen to pick up a darker color... creating a light color.  (I will share this technique later.)  You may want to add in a few lighter colors.  (ETA: You don't need to have as many Copics as I do to enjoy them.  Keep in mind - this is my job, thus having them makes a lot more sense.  I likely wouldn't have as many for a hobby! :)

People ask about my favorites - ones I reach for often.  Some are part of a natural color grouping, and some are just random good colors.  (Notice under Pinks I have some R's and some RV's.  Sometimes colors with different letters work well together.)  I have a lot listed here...

Copic Favorites
If you are looking to try out some, here are a few suggested color combos that I find fun to use together.  Remember, if you want a very light color, you would need to add that in, as I like more vibrant.

Copic Suggested
Another great option for starting out is to look at the sets HERE.  This is where I started.  I picked a price range and started my addiction. :)

As for refills, you can get them for every color.  However, I wouldn't get any right away.  I have yet to need to refill any of mine!


To prevent bleeding of colors, it is important to use specific papers and inks with your Copics.  There are many options, but my favorites are Neenah paper and Memento ink.

Neenah Solar White cardstock works great with Copics.  You can buy it in packs of 25 sheets HERE, or by the ream (250 sheets) HERE.  I highly recommend the ream.  This is the white cardstock I use for EVERYTHING.  I use it to mat my photos... for regular stamping... for copics.  I just adore it.  Yum.

My favorite ink for Copics is Tsukineko Memento.  I use the Tuxedo Black ink HERE most, but all the colors work.  This ink makes me happy.   Here is the ink...

Copics Ink

Something really cool that you can do with Copics is Airbrushing.  There are a few systems.  Two of them use aircans that can be replaced.  The other is a mini air compressor.  You just pop your Sketch or Original Copic into the handle, press the button and spray away!  It is great for sky's, etc.  I have the air compressor and will share it in future videos.  I am surprised how much I love it.



And, as collectors of stuff crafters, we need to know how to store these, right?  There are a few ways, but I prefer the storage units from Studio 3 HERE.  They are perfect and by far better than the many other storage options I bought and tried.  (I use the extra shelves for my white pens, refills and Memento Ink.)

Copics Cubby
By the way, since Copics are air-tight, you can store them on their side or upright.  Doesn't matter.


When I decided to start buying Copics, I went to the craft store that originally "brought" Copics to the stamping arena - Ellen Hutson.  I did this for a few reasons.  First, I like to support the stores that help the industry.  Also, she has put a lot of information and tutorials out there.  (Check out the store's blog HERE.)  Finally, she has some great sets for sale that offer a wonderful place to start, while also carrying them individually.  She usually ships same day - which rocks my world - and has low shipping and free shipping for orders over $150.  Oh, and one more thing I like - she carries the paper I love most - Neenah.

I also like Eclectic Paperie.  They have great service, too, along with a lot of Tim's products that I love.  They also have a great blog and videos.

Another site that has good prices and service is McCallisters.  Their prices are a few cents lower. However, I am all about supporting our industry's stores (like Ellen Hutson and Eclectic Paperie) most.  But I have ordered from and love all three of these options.


Here are some places for more Copic help:

  • Copic's official info can be found HERE.
  • Copic's Marianne Walker's blog HERE is bursting with info and tutorials.
  • Sherrie Siemens was my Copic teacher and she has incredible info on her blog HERE.  And she is one of the best Copic colorers out there. ;)
  • Again, Debbie Olsen has great stuff HERE.
  • I like THIS post that Nichol did recently HERE.  She keeps it simple - love that.
  • Another great Copic colorer is Donna Mikasa.  Love that girl.
Hope this helps to explain Copics a bit for you.  I will add additional information as I get questions.  Thanks!


ETA: Decided to giveaway a few markers that I accidentally bought two of.  In fact, they are three of my faves.  Just leave a comment here by Wednesday night 11:50pmEST telling me if you use Copics, want to try them, etc and I will pick a winner of these:



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Jennifer thank you so much for this information.Have a great sunday.

Fabulous info! I'm trying to stay strong and not add another addiction to the list but you sure are tempting me. ;)

What an excellent resource Jennifer, thank you!

Jennifer - you are such a gem taking the trouble to write all that and give us the links and everything. So so generous. Thank you thank you THANK YOU. I NEED this information.
And I just yesterday ordered a bunch of new copics - and I used your "rule of three" suggestion Hooray.
Just one question - do you find that Copics bleed with Memories Dye ink or is it just me using the wrong kind of paper.
You are the BEST Jennifer.

Thanks for this info. I'm not into Copics yet but if I start I'll come back to this post. You make it very clear.

Memories isnt the best ink for it.

Jennifer, you are a fount of helpful information, and inspiration....thank you! I'm not quite ready for copics yet, but i know where to come when I do cave in!

Thank you for a fantastic article, Jennifer. :o)

You hit it out of the park. Wonderful information and I love your sheets you can print off and take to the store with you to buy. Fantastic.

Wow - what an amazing tutorial. I never really "got" copics and now I do. Love Ellen's shop too. I only live 2 towns over - wish they had a retail store b/c I know it would be amazing. They get customer service and industry trends. Have a great day.

Thank you - it helps to get info on a good starter set!!!

What a WEALTH of information! Thank you!

thanks so much for all the information. I've always wanted to try them, but didn't have any idea what to start with.

great info, the pictures here really make me happy too, i love color

Great info. I have a few copics & love them!

Thank you for this great info! I just started coloring with copics and so your description is perfect!

Thanks for all of the info! Never have heard of them and am now super curious....

So helpful and informing, thank you! I plan on taking a Copic class at Inspired in May - this will be quite handy to print out and use! =)

Wow, what a great article - I'm going to include it among my list of Copic resources, I call "Copic Topics." You've answered a lot of questions for folks I'm sure!

Thank you SO MUCH for this article, I was one of those who ask you about the Copic Markers so I'm glad to know more about them now.
I'd love to win the giveaway, to try them ;)

I have taken a beginner Copic class, but need to get some more blending groups.

I only have 8 copic markers and still playing with them to see how to get the right effect. I'm sure there are some tricks so they don't blead outside the lines. Would love to win a few more and you provided some great resources!

Thanks for the great information about copic marker.

had only try out the colourless marker only due to the fear of the markers drying up as well as not knowing which colours to start of the collection for trying out...

I work for a couple architects. How are these different than what they use: Prismacolor Premier Double-Ended Art Markers? Same thing, different brand? Thanks!

wow! what a post Jennifer--so gracious! :) I do use Copics and also Design markers... I used to use them a lot more in the world of Architecture before "the computer", now just for cards mostly :) Thanks for a great share!

Awesome info and great giveaway. I love Copic markers, I have a starter set and would love more to play with!

Thank you!! Your post on copics has been such a help to me today! I'm ready to take the plunge and buy a few copics to try, but had no clue where to start as far as colors.

My husband and I started out years ago with Prisma color markers, and only lately have I slowly gotten a few here and there of the Copics (mostly from Hobby Lobby on sale). But I'm ready to take the full plunge. :) Thanks for all the info!

I took a beginner Copic class, but need to fill in some blending groups to get the most out of them.

Thank you SO MUCH for this info. I want badly to get into Copics but have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of choices, variables and cost to get started. ThankyouthankyouTHANKYOU for this walk thru the Copic Forest-I can now see how to get started in a reasonable way!

I use Copics and am trying to slowly build my collection. My next purchase will be one of the airbrush systems.

I have always been afraid to try these due to the overwhelming colors. Your explaination is awesome ! I sure hope Copic takes notice ! I will print this and take it to the store and try a few. Thanks so much for sharing. We loved your butterflies !!

Hello, I just recently started my "collection" and man are these things addictive! I really love the way they look, and I appreciate your post all about them.
Thanks again for all the inspiration!
:) Jaime

Haven't made the Copic plunge yet but it is on the radar!!

First thing first, thanks for the fantastic post, I never used copics but I'm very interesting on them!! really useful post, and thanks for the cool giveaway! =)

I've been using copics for a year and I still feel like a newbie! Your coloring is always amazing! Great informational post!

Thank you so much for posting this! I've never owned/used a Copic marker and never really knew the features/benefits until now. So thank you so much for sharing!! I now have to go get some! ;)

Great information on these wonderful markers! I have about 10 of the little devils but don't really know how to use them (shading, color combination etc)!! Yikes - I need help! I currently don't have any of the colors you are giving away which would add to my collection. Thank you and keep up this wonderful blog.

Thanks a lot!
Vey useful information!
I've never tried copics, but I will....!!

thanks for such an informative post. I bought a few copic markers last year but didn't know what I was doing and didn't buy them in color families! I also do not have the right ink or paper - - thanks for the links! I am off to go buy me some paper and ink - - thanks for the chance to win a few of these fantastic markers!

Tammy B
Wilmington, NC

I don't use copics yet, but your article made me think I might be able to do it. I love the colors of the markers you are giving away.
Your comment "collectors of stuff crafters" with "collectors of stuff" crossed out cracked me up. My husband doesn't get that part of the fun of our craft is the collecting. He is supportive of buying it--just doesn't get it. Hey, we use it, too, don't we?!?
I will be coming back to this page!

I just bought a handfull and I am now trying to learn how to use them. I've been waiting for your post on these wonderful Copic markers. I would love to start adding more colors!! Thanks for you post!

I love my Copics but I have been buying them slowly so my progress is slow as well. The grey tones are amazing and I am experimenting with coloring things black and white.

Wow! How long did that post take to make?! :) Thanks for the information on the copics, I've been curious too!

Thank you so much for all the info! I have about a dozen Copic markers and am just learning how to use them. I would love your extras since those are colors I don't have! I am also going to place an order for the paper and glitter Copics as mentioned in your blog! What a wealth of wonderful info!!!

Thanks Jennifer - great blog post at the perfect time I guess a lot of us out there are interested in Copics but, not sure where to start! This is a big help!!

I have a few Copics. I love them! I had no idea what I was doing when I bought them though and got random colors--glad you warned others NOT to do this! Ha! I feel so much more informed now and I can't wait to go shopping for more! =) Thanks so much!!

I would love to try Copics! I love to color and make things more my own.

Thanks so much!!


Thanks for such a amazing description! At the last Super Show I bought my first group of 3 Sketch markers...just to try them out. I love the look of Copics when I see them used, but I've resisted buying them because I want them to be a NEED not a WANT. I have Memento ink, but I've never tried the Neenah Solar White paper.

Thanks for a chance to "double" my Copic collection!

I have a few copic markers but would love to have more. Thanks Jennifer!!

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