Copic markers are a favorite amongst illustrators and artists worldwide, and they are definitely considered some of the best markers you could use!
If you are considering purchasing some Copic markers for yourself, then you need to do a bit of research first, as they come with a considerable price tag.
So, how do you draw with Copic markers? Copic markers can be blended to create smooth color transitions, used to block in color or outline your work, and so much more. How you use your Copics will depend on the kind you’ve bought, what nibs you have, and your desired outcome.
Understanding how Copic markers work, the different types available to buy, how to draw with them, and what all the terminology on the package means will all come in handy when you go to create your own artwork. So read on to master this wonderful medium!
How Do You Draw With Copic Markers?
Before you learn how to draw with Copic markers, you first need to know about the different types of Copic markers, as the different types and tips are all suited for different things, such as line work or shading. From there, you can start picking up tips on how to use them for the best results.
To ensure that you have all your bases covered when thinking about buying Copic markers, we have created this complete guide to answer just about every question you might have, as well as some extra information that will be useful when working with them.
What Are Copic Markers?
Copic markers are not your average markers that you received in grade school. They are well-known and well-respected within the art and illustration community for their wonderfully smooth application, their professional quality, and their wide range of vivid (and refillable) colors.
Copic markers are double-sided, with a nib being found on either end of the marker. The middle of the marker contains a reservoir that is filled with high-quality alcohol-based ink. This ink is non-toxic and low-odor, so it is safe to use for just about anyone.
What makes Copic markers stand out is that they can be blended and layered, which many art markers cannot do without leaving streaks of color or bleeding through the page. They are permanent markers and will not rub out, and are streak-free, allowing you to create flawless artwork time and time again.
Copic markers do come with a high price tag, but unlike other cheaper markers, they have been designed to last for many years. This is thanks to the ink reservoir found in the middle of the marker, which can be refilled. The nibs on either end can also be replaced once they start to wear.
The ink used for the markers is also consistent, so when you do refill the marker, you already have with ink, you can be sure it will match the color you previously had.
Founded and made in Japan, Copic markers were initially designed for manga artists. Since then, there has been so much interest in these markers that they have expanded to include 3 styles, several nib types, and over 300 colors.
When buying Copic markers, you are purchasing a stamp of quality and professionalism, with each marker being hand-tested to ensure the best color consistency and quality.
What Type Of Copic Markers Are There?
The Copic marker line was expanded due to the growing popularity of the original Copic marker, and there are now 3 types of markers for artists to choose from.
These three markers include the Copic Classic (or Copic Original), the Copic Sketch, and the Copic Ciao. All three of these markers are suited for different purposes, but they all share the same high-quality attributes that one would expect from Copic.
The three different types of markers all come with refillable reservoirs, and all use alcohol-based ink, which makes them great to be used with one another. The nibs on all these markers are replaceable, and each type is double-sided too. However, the starter nibs will be different between the various marker types.
Knowing the different markers and what they are best used for helps you decide which ones to add to your kit next, and the best way to use them. Here is more about the three different types of Copic markers.
Copic Classic Markers are the first form of Copic markers made, and they have some great benefits. They can help with many different art forms and illustrations and are reliable and versatile.
The Copic Classic Marker does stand out among the three, as they hold more ink than the other two types of markers, and they have 9 different nib options – so the versatility is increased.
The square barrel of the Copic Classic Marker holds quite a bit more ink, so it does not have to be refilled as often. When purchasing them, you will be given the bullet tip and the chisel tip, but you can then choose from the other 7 tips to add on.
There are 214 colors to choose from with Copic Classic Markers, which is less than the Copic Sketch range, which has 358 colors.
One thing to consider when purchasing Copic Classic Markers is that you are given the chisel and bullet tip, which are great for certain purposes, but which might not see to all of your needs. There is the option to purchase different tips, but this might become quite a process if you have a large collection of Copic Classic Markers that need new tips!
Many artists and illustrators opt to use Copic Sketch Markers over the other options, and they are actually the most popular ones sold.
One of the biggest advantages of using the Copic Sketch range is that there are 358 colors to choose from, which is incredibly substantial. It is the marker type with the most colors, so you will never be left without the color you’re looking for.
The Copic Sketch Markers are sold with a chisel tip and a brush tip, which many illustrators and artists consider as the most useful tip around. If you are looking for additional nibs for Copic Sketch Markers, you can only buy a bullet tip extra, as these markers can only take chisel, brush, and bullet tips.
The barrel shape of the Copic Sketch Markers makes them easy to hold for extended periods, which helps reduce hand fatigue.
While still with a high price tag, the Copic Sketch Markers have some of the best benefits that Copic has to offer, and are definitely destined to be an artist’s best friend.
Copic Ciao Markers came about as a more affordable option for artists and illustrators, and are probably the best choice for those who are looking to try out the markers for the first time, such as teens or beginners.
Like the other Copic Markers, the Copic Ciao range is refillable, uses high-quality ink, and the nibs can be replaced. They come equipped with a chisel and brush tip.
There are fewer colors in the Copic Ciao range compared to the other two lines, but there are still 180 colors to choose from, which is not a small number at all. The ink reservoir is smaller than the other two options as well, so they do need to be refilled more often.
The circular barrel of Copic Ciao markers makes them ideal to hold comfortably, and the lids have small holes on the top to prevent possible choking, further making them a good option for younger artists.
What Copic Marker Nib Types Are There?
You are not just limited to the three different types of Copic markers available, as there are numerous nibs that can be fitted onto the markers to suit the artwork you are doing.
Which nib you would use most often is possibly the biggest deciding factor in which Copic Marker to buy, as some Copic Markers come with specific nibs, and some, like the Copic Classic, can take on 9 different nib types.
Below is more on the three most popular nib types, and what they are best used for, so you can work out which would be ideal for you.
Super Brush Nib
The Copic Super Brush Nib, commonly known as the brush tip, is the most versatile nib of the lot. The tip of the nib can be used to create very light and thin strokes, but if you hold the nib to the side, it can create thicker strokes that help fill in larger areas.
Once you have practiced and figured out how to maneuver the marker, you can create different width strokes in one go, from thick to thin, depending on how you hold the marker to the paper.
This versatile tip is favored by many and is why the Copic Sketch and the Copic Ciao Markers are popular, as they both come with brush tips. The Copic Classic can be fitted with a brush tip sold separately.
The Copic Fine Nib, also known as the bullet tip, is the nib to use for thinner strokes when you want to create finer details and lines and not lay down too much color.
Bullet tips come with the Copic Classic range and can be bought separately and added onto the Copic Sketch Markers.
The Fine Nib does help to create more delicate details, but it doesn’t necessarily create thinner lines than what the tip of the brush nib might, so it does lose out a bit when it comes to versatility.
The Copic Broad Nib, or the chisel tip, is a nib that many different marker brands feature and is often a standard nib found on markers.
The benefit of using a chisel tip is that the different surfaces of the tip can create different width lines and strokes, which makes it a versatile tip to use. It definitely creates more width than a bullet tip, but the versatility just falls short of the brush nib.
However, the chisel tip is still a great nib to use, and it comes with the Copic Classic and the Copic Ciao and Copic Sketch. There are different size chisel tips, either the broad nib which comes with the Copic Classic or the smaller medium broad nib that is set on the Copic Ciao and Sketch markers.
You might find that the chisel tip works out best for your artwork, and you can spend some time experimenting with the different surfaces.
Additional Copic Nibs
The Copic Classic Marker is the only one that can take all 9 nibs offered by Copic. The other two markers are much more limited, but they might already feature the nibs you need. The Copic Sketch can only take the brush, bullet, and chisel tips.
These are all the nibs offered by Copic:
- Calligraphy (3mm)
- Super Fine
- Standard Fine
- Calligraphy (5mm)
- Soft Broad
- Standard Broad
What Surfaces Do Copic Markers Work Best On?
Copic Markers are best used on marker paper, but cardstock is also a good option as long as you test it out first.
You do need to keep in mind that Copic Markers might bleed through different types of paper, so you should test this out first, and layer some more paper underneath the one you are using to prevent bleeding too much, and to absorb any extra ink.
Uncoated paper is best, and the colors won’t feather or bleed. Thick opaque cardstock is also good, as long as it is uncoated.
Coated papers will not absorb the ink as well, and this could cause the ink to feather or wipe off. It is always a good idea to test the paper before committing to a project.
Copic Marker Color Range
Copic has a much larger color range than just about any other marker line out there. In total, there are 358 different colors to choose from, and the option to blend different inks together in a marker reservoir to create your own shade!
For just about every artist, 358 colors are extreme and you’d likely never end up using all the options, but it is helpful to know that the colors are there if you ever need them. The Copic Ciao Markers only come in 180 colors, but this is still a large number of options, and really isn’t limiting at all.
It does help to know that Copic colors are the same throughout the different marker ranges, so if you buy a certain color in a Copic Classic, it will be the same as the Copic Ciao or Sketch.
Copic Markers have a color code found on both ends of the marker. These letters help you identify the color family and the color itself.
The first two letters identify the color family, the second digit shows saturation, and the last digit indicates the level of intensity.
For example – RV29, RV refers to red-violet, 2 refers to saturation, where 0 is more saturated and 9 is less saturated, and 9 refers to the intensity, where 0 is light and 9 is dark.
The first letter or two letters refer to the color family. There are quite a few different color families in the Copic range, such as Red, Yellow Red, Blue Green, Green, Earth, Neutral Grey, Fluorescent, and so on.
Markers that have the same letters are within the same color family.
Looking at the saturation level allows you to blend colors better. 0 is a high level of saturation, where 9 is a more desaturated color. You are able to keep the blending group the same by matching the saturation number.
The intensity of a color is important to consider. If you are looking for highlighting colors, go for a lower intensity between 0 and 4. For mid-tones, markers labeled as 4, 5, and 6 are best. For darker shadows, higher numbers are best suited.
Tips And Tricks For Using Copic Markers
Copic markers give you some of the best quality colors and coverage around, but you still need to know some tips and tricks for using them to get the best results!
Here are some tips for using Copic markers:
- It is best to use lighter Copic markers first and then work towards darker colors. This means it is easier to fix any mistakes when you start, as it is more difficult to correct darker marker mistakes.
- Test the marker on the paper you are using to make sure that the colors will not bleed. Layer some more paper underneath the one you are working on to reduce any bleeding through.
- When using other mediums on the piece of art you are working on, make sure that the other mediums have dried out completely before using the Copic markers.
- When blending colors, fill the intended areas with the lighter color first, and then go over it with the darker color. Then blend the area with the lighter color until blended together well.
- Copic markers dry quickly, and you need to be wary of this as once the Copic marker dries, when you go over it again, it will darken the color further.
What Makes Copic Markers Special?
You might at first thought choose to go with a cheaper art marker, and while this is fine if it works out, you cannot dismiss the great features that Copic markers have.
Copic markers really stand out among the rest, and if you can afford the price tag, they are definitely markers that will make a difference to your work.
Made with alcohol-based ink, Copic markers are very high-quality. The ink is non-toxic, acid-free, and permanent. The resultant colors are smooth and easy to blend.
With over 358 different color options available, and the ability to blend ink and create your own shades, they are unmatched by other markers.
To make the price tag bearable, the ink reservoirs in the markers are refillable, and the nibs are replaceable. This means that you never have to throw a marker away, and can instead add in more ink or change the nib when needed. This allows Copic to give their markers a 3-year shelf-life.
There are 3 different markers from Copic, all with their own advantages and benefits, but all of which share the same benefits and high-quality that Copic offers.
Copic Colorless Blender
A very handy tool to keep in your kit is the Copic Colorless Blender. This is filled with solvent, which is the same alcohol-based ink found in the other markers. This colorless blender can be used to blend colors, but it is also great for highlighting.
The colorless blender helps to highlight work by lifting existing ink off of the paper and making the color lighter. This also means that it can be used to fix mistakes.
How To Draw With Copic Markers
The most important thing to know when wanting to draw with Copic Markers is how the markers work and how they are made up.
Copic Markers are a range of markers that will be recommended by just about anyone who uses them. They are high-quality, reliable, and perfect for many different art forms.
Take a read through the above complete guide to find out all you need to know about Copic markers, the different options to choose from, the different nibs, and the color options to choose from too. It also helps to know the various paper options that Copic markers are best suited for.
Hopefully, the above guide helps you decide on whether Copic markers are best for you, and then the best way to make the most of them for your artwork!
If you’ve gone through this entire article and are still not sure how to apply everything you’ve learned to your own artwork, we’ve found a fantastic visual tutorial by Polar Bear Sketches on YouTube that will provide you with a visual explanation. Take a look!
Are Copic markers good for beginners?
Copic Markers can be good for beginners, but the price tag might not be. If you are wanting to try out Copic markers as a beginner, then opt for the Copic Ciao range. They are more affordable than the others and are easy to use. They also have 180 color options.
Are Copic Markers good for manga?
Copic markers were initially created for manga, so they are ideal for this purpose. There are more than enough colors in the range to complete any illustration.
What can I use Copic markers on?
Copic markers are best used on uncoated card or paper. However, they can be used on certain wood, board, and fabric too. Just keep in mind that the ink is alcohol-based, so the medium it is used on should be suitable for this and should be able to hold the ink and show the colors well.
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