A high-quality marker is a coloring artist’s most treasured tool. It helps actualize ideas and bring them to life in the form of fine gallery-worthy artwork.
The Copic marker has for the longest time held the prestigious title of the best art marker. Its quality, consistency, color variety, straight down to the design, is simply unrivaled.
But we can’t ignore the elephant in the room: the costly price tag that comes with Copic markers. The sky-high price tags render Copic markers inaccessible to very many beginner, hobby, and student artists.
If the price of Copic markers locks you out from enjoying its benefits, you shouldn’t have to remain in the cold. Simply hop on to the next best alternative.
Therefore, what is a good substitute for Copic markers? A good substitute for Copic markers matches its quality closely and has most of its notable features. The best alternative markers will have high-quality alcohol-based ink, a broad variety of color options that blend well, and multiple tip options.
You might not find an identical replica, but a few brands come close enough.
This article will guide you in selecting the best Copic substitute by showing you exactly what to look for in a marker. You’ll also find in-depth reviews for seven of the best Copic marker alternatives.
How to Choose the Best Copic Marker Alternative
There are a couple of Copic marker alternatives, substitutes, or Copic dupes, as most people love to call them.
These are not exact duplicates of Copic in shape, construction, delivery, and performance. Copic markers are considered the cream of the crop, from a stunning 358-color selection to multiple tip choices and ink refills, which is why they’re so expensive.
When opting for the next best thing, you’ll notice some differences here and there, a feature or two missing, and so on. These are often still very high-quality markers, just a little imperfect.
It is really up to you to decide on what characteristics are relevant to your work and matter most to you. To accomplish that, you need to familiarize yourself with the unique features of Copic markers. They are the same things you shall be looking for in the next best markers.
Let’s recap those:
Go for alcohol-based ink markers. These guarantee permanency and have a short drying time. That way, you won’t inadvertently smudge or smear color to other parts.
Ensure the ink is made with the highest technology and a rich pigment. It should also have a nice consistency that is not too thick or too thin. Most importantly, the ink should allow for blending.
The availability of refillable ink on top of all these features makes the biggest score. It saves you money in the long run because one bottle refills the marker multiple times. If a marker is not refillable, it should at least sell individual color replacements.
The dual tip is a prominent characteristic of Copic markers. Therefore, the best Copic marker alternatives will have a different tip on either end. It could be fine, chisel, or brush, depending on your needs.
Although Copic offers nine nib styles, you’ll be extremely lucky to find another brand that does all nine. Whatever the shape or size, it must be of good quality and dispel ink in a smooth flow.
Another factor to consider is the flexibility of the tip. The problem with other brands, except for a few, is making the felt tip too stiff causing streaking. The softer the tip the better.
Copic markers are undisputed in matters of color.
The second best competing brand in terms of color selection has only 150 variants which is less than half of what Copic has invented.
Nonetheless, 150 options is still quite the selection. A skilled artist can work wonders with very few colors anyway. As long as they blend well, you can always create new shades.
Since you can’t have all Copic colors at your disposal, you may have to choose an art marker set based on the colors you utilize the most.
Human character illustrators, for example, will do best with flesh tones, while greyscale animators will naturally opt for a wider variety of grey shades, etc.
The design of your art marker is equally important even though it is something not many pay attention too.
An innovative design both in and out is what sets the best Copic marker alternatives apart from the rest. Aside from aesthetically pleasing barrels being a source of pride and motivation, the shape of your markers must be ergonomic. It will reduce chances of hand fatigue after designing or illustrating for an extended period of time.
You also want to avoid the small yet annoying things like having to constantly pick markers from under furniture: the way round barrels constantly roll off surfaces.
Clever craftsmanship in the inner ink tank and tips also prevents leaks and one side of the marker from drying up while the other overflows.
The 7 Best Copic Marker Alternatives
A lot of marker brands have strived to step up their manufacturing game and reach the Copic standards. But the best art marker seems hard to beat.
To save you from wading through hundreds of products comparing features and reviews, we already shortlisted those that cut the mark for you. Here are the 7 best Copic Marker alternatives:
|1.||Prismacolor Premier Double-Ended Art Markers||Fine/chisel tip, saturated, blendable, 72-count|
|2.||Ohuhu Double-Tipped Sketch Markers||Brush/chisel tip, blends well, 72-count|
|3.||Arteza Everblend Art Markers||Fine/chisel tip, blends well, 60-count|
|4.||Winsor & Newton Promarker Set||Fine/chisel tip, versatile, 48-count|
|5.||Bianyo Classic Series Markers||Fine/chisel tip, blends well, 72-count|
|6.||Art-n-Fly Professional Brush Markers Set||Brush/chisel tip, refillable ink, 48-count|
|7.||Caliart Permanent Artist Markers||Fine/chisel tip, smudge-free, 81-count|
All of these markers have alcohol-based inks and are of hogh-quality. But let’s look at each a little more closely, shall we?
1. Prismacolor Premier Double-Ended Art Markers
Although Copic still holds the crown, Prismacolor Premier dual-tip markers are a worthy competitor. The markers have the most likable Copic features, including a fine and chisel tip on each end.
Like Copic, the ink is alcohol-based and disperses smoothly, yielding the same color saturation and vibrancy. It also dries fast and is permanent.
Unlike other low-quality markers, the tips are somewhat flexible, which provides smooth coverage devoid of streaking. It also enhances easy blending.
The 72 colors are no match for Copic but are more than plentiful to get the job done. The ease of blending actually enables you to recreate the colors. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the highest 148 color pack but they also have a smaller 24, 12, and 6-color pack if 72 is an overkill for you.
Prismacolor colors are as consistent as Copic’s and have color codes printed on the caps, too.
The biggest downside is that these markers are only disposable. You cannot refill them once they run out. But it helps that you can buy individual colors as a replacement.
Some also feel these markers run out quite fast. This is perhaps because the ink is slightly runnier than Copic and bleeds easily.
The set could also use some flesh tones for pale skin and natural blonde hair. If you are into coloring human characters, you’ll have to supplement these colors.
Occasionally, the caps fit unusually tight and are hard to remove. This could be intentional to keep the markers from drying out, but if you have issues with your tendons, you might not like fighting your markers open.
2. Ohuhu Double-Tipped Sketch Markers
Another trusted Copic marker alternative is Ohuhu. If Copic’s brush tip is one of the features you’d die for, you are going to love this Ohuhu brush and chisel dual-tip marker set because that’s exactly what you get.
One end is a flexible brush tip, and the other is a chiseled tip. This gives you the freedom to switch between sweeping strokes, precision, broad lines, calligraphic styles, and so on.
The nibs are of decent quality and the chisel tip glides with minimal resistance preventing streaking. Its alcohol-based ink is nearly at par with Copic markers: it is highly pigmented, smooth flowing, quick-drying, less smearing, and perfect blending. It’s only just a little bit thinner.
A 72 color selection is quite extensive, and the fact that the set incorporates a good number of pastels and skin tones makes it even more attractive. There’s even a colorless blender to highlight, add depth, character, and even correct minor mistakes.
The zipped organizer and carrying pouch is a bonus for when you need to bring them to class, a studio, or somewhere else you feel inspired to draw.
A major drawback, similar to the Prismacolor set, is that the markers are not refillable. You use and toss them. And what’s worse is that Ohuhu doesn’t offer single colors. You have to buy an entire set just to get a color replacement, or try to find a different brand with the exact color.
Another downside is that the cap colors do not perfectly correspond to the marker’s actual shade, which is seriously misleading. You are better off doing a swatch sheet, or you risk ruining your work.
The simple, lowly round barrel isn’t such a huge concern if aesthetics don’t matter to you. Some people even prefer this traditional shape, except that the markers will keep rolling away from you, which is an actual pain point.
3. Arteza Everblend Art Markers
If you are not a new artist, then you are familiar with Arteza’s stylish and classy flare in their product design. These markers follow through with this tradition, but does their performance match up to Copic’s standards?
Everblend art markers draw beautifully and professionally for any gallery worth art. As good as Copic markers, if you ask. The alcohol-based ink is sufficiently smooth, permanent, and dries quickly enough not to smudge. It is also non-toxic certified.
There are 60 colors in this set, and we like how the shades have been variegated. Blending colors and layering is a breeze, and color gradation is achievable with minimal effort.
Each marker comes with two different tips one at either end, a chisel and fine tip. The icing on the cake is that the tips are replaceable. They do not come in as many styles as Copic, but it’s better than having to toss away the whole marker because of a ruined tip.
The triangular-shaped barrels are a flattering design, and you’ll enjoy flaunting the book kind of case, which is exceptionally stylish to your peers and colleagues.
4. Winsor & Newton Promarker Set
The brand name Winston and Newton is synonymous with quality and quite dependable for amazing art supplies. So, what does this Promarker set have to offer?
The double-tip is the first highlight of this set. Each marker has a chisel tip for broad coloring and a fine bullet tip for precision detailing and reaching those tight corners effortlessly.
In the barrel is a fast-drying, permanent alcohol-based ink with high-quality dye. It is versatile enough for wood, plastic, etched glass, tile, and acetate surfaces. Formulated with the richest, brightest pigments, they provide the same excellent streak-free coverage similar to Copic markers.
This particular set offers 48 colors with a perfect balance of bolds, pastels, neutrals, and flesh tones for a realistic touch. The blending and layering abilities of these markers is not the best but acceptable.
To the downsides, Promarkers are not refillable, but it helps that you can buy colors separately in case one runs out. Still, this is not as cost-effective in the long-term.
There also seems to be a problem with the consistency of the ink being too thin. It flows faster, and you may find the markers tend to leak a lot.
5. Bianyo Classic Series Markers
Bianyo classic series is one of the perfect subs for the coveted Copic markers. You enjoy the same great features, only at an affordable price.
The markers are alcohol-based, so permanency is guaranteed. Also, the ink dries fast eliminating any chance of smudging. Each end is fitted with a soft nib. One side is a broad chisel shape and the other a fine point tip.
Like the Copic, the barrel design is square which is sleek, ergonomic, and keeps markers stationary on flat surfaces. Every top fits at the back of the marker and has a name and code for easy retrieval.
Bianyo offers 72 colors, which is plenty good enough to start with. The colors have the same if not more saturation than Copic markers but they need more work to blend adequately.
A thick zippered canvas case is provided to hold the markers, and is a lovely addition to the overall package.
These are superior markers and one of the best Copic dupes in the affordable range. The two things that could make Bianyo faultless are expanding the color variety and either making them refillable or selling single colors.
6. Art-n-Fly Professional Brush Markers Set
If you are searching for an identical replica of Copic markers, Art-n-Fly is one of the closest you can get. The brands are similar in more ways than you can imagine making this set a force to reckon with.
For starters, the markers are created with Japanese technology. You can expect the same Copic quality alcohol-based ink which performs remarkably.
Each marker has twin tips: a broad chisel and a brush tip on the ends. What’s more, you’ll be elated to know that the nibs are replaceable and the marker is refillable as well. You can virtually use these markers eternally.
Clearly, the manufacturer took time to create a marker that takes away all the stresses of the everyday artist. Even the hexagonal-shaped barrel design is fancy, sleek and ergonomic.
The set could be better with more colors, but the 48 available colors are gorgeous. There’s a little bit of everything to get you by, including primary colors, pastels, earth tones, and flesh colors.
Other than the limited colors, this is one of the most impressive Copic marker alternatives.
7. Caliart Permanent Artist Markers
Last but not least is this set by Caliart. It imitates some of the best Copic marker characteristics.
The twin tip helps users quickly switch between a broad chisel and fine tip nib to create multiple line widths and stroke styles.
The ink is alcohol-based, permanent, and well pigmented to ensure your work stays vivid for long. Put it on any surface – on paper, ceramic or plastic it will color like magic.
There are 80 prismatic hues and tones plus one blender marker, which is significantly smaller in number than Copic, but more than what many artists will need at one go. Besides, you can blend them to invent different colors.
However, like many markers in this review, these are non-refill markers, which is a bummer.
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