Copic markers are one of the most coveted color illustration tools and are arguably the best in their class. Even top artists swear by them for their professional work.
Like many people who hear of its glory, you might be burning to get your hands on these hyped markers. You quickly dash online, but alas, the quoted prices make your jaw drop. Sigh!
The price of Copic markers can be anything between two to five times what you would pay for other high-end artist-quality marker brands. That may seem exorbitant to the average buyer, hobbyist, or beginning artist, who is always left with this question:
Why are Copic markers so expensive? Copic markers are so comparatively expensive because of their excellent performance, longevity, and unmatched color range, which is the precise definition of professional-grade markers.
If you’ve ever considered investing in Copic markers but were skeptical about the hefty price and whether it is justifiable, this article is for you. We go into the nitty-gritty of Copic markers and what makes them so awesome, albeit costly.
What Are Copic Markers and What Makes Them Special?
Copic markers are not your ordinary felt tip colored pens that you label boxes with. These are top-shelf markers with a high reputation among adult coloring artists and professional artists in illustration, film, fashion, architecture, fine art, and various industries alike.
The brand’s eminence did not grow overnight. Its solid reputation was built through years of reinventing the product and maintaining quality consistency. What started as colorful markers for Japanese manga illustrators back in the late ‘80s quickly grew to become a market leader that demands worldwide attention.
Today Copic markers are almost indisputably recognized as the best markers for illustrators and illustrations of all kinds.
Here are some of its fantastic features that explain why Copic markers are so expensive, and so beloved:
1. They are premium markers.
Copic markers are certainly not of the same caliber as your regular dollar store markers or even art student-grade markers. Their delivery and performance are second to none.
Copics perform at the top standards of professional illustrators. These markers undergo thorough quality control and multiple tests before leaving for the market to maintain consistency. So, you can already expect them to be costly.
2. The illustration quality is beyond impressive.
Copic markers are alcohol-based ink markers. As such, the application is permanent, unlike water-based versions. Your colored illustrations stay pristine and vivid for longer and don’t get ruined with exposure to moisture.
The markers write so smoothly you’ll be merely gliding through the paper with zero chances of streaking. You are free to color on any paper but be sure that it will bleed through most non-artist quality papers.
Marker paper, watercolor paper, and card stocks produce the best results. The markers are also versatile enough to draw designs on plastic, metals, and fabric.
3. The brand has every color imaginable.
No other brand beats Copic markers in terms of color variety. The brand offers a perfect replica of practically every shade, hue, and tone under the sun.
There are 358 colors in total. Honestly, the temptation when buying Copic markers is so real; you’ll want to grab every color you never knew existed.
Since its inception, the brand has remained steadfast in color consistency from one batch to another. It is then safe to say that Copic markers are a reliable choice for large and long-term projects.
4. The colors blend flawlessly and beautifully.
Copic marker ink blends really well when wet. You can also layer one color on top of the other days after drying on the paper to darken or highlight specific areas.
This is a really fundamental aspect of any artwork as it enhances a seamless color transition that separates professionals from amateurs.
However, the best part about this brand is that they have a color-coding system to help its users combine related colors effortlessly. Each marker is assigned some numbers and letters representing the color family they belong to and the level of saturation and tint.
5. The markers have a superior use life.
The initial cost of Copic markers, as with any investment, is indeed huge. Why do we call it an investment? Because you buy them once and utilize them for decades, and that’s the big picture many people miss.
With Copic markers, you only need to refill the ink with the corresponding color once it is used up. This ink is much cheaper than buying a new marker.
The old ink bottle was 25mL if you happen to get old stock, but the new bottle is sleek, mess-free and is 12mL in capacity. The bottles are able to refill one marker 5 to 9 times, depending on the barrel capacity which makes a lot of financial sense. There are also much larger refills available, perfect for professional illustrators who need the same colors day after day.
In the long run, they are much more cost-effective than one-time use markers that you toss and replace with an entirely new marker every time.
6. The markers are dual-tipped with changeable nibs.
If nothing has convinced you that Copic markers are a game-changer and worth the price tag, perhaps this really cool feature will.
Copic markers are double-ended with either a chisel and fine tip or a chisel and brush tip. What’s more, these tips are removable and replaceable. Replacement nibs are sold separately, and you’ll also need some nice flat tweezers.
This does not in any way mean that the original nib deteriorates quickly. On the contrary, a Copic marker tip can last for many, many years with reasonable care.
The purpose of this ingenious feature is to allow artists to quickly and conveniently switch between styles when needed. It also saves on the unnecessary cost of stockpiling several markers of the same color in different nibs.
There are nine tip styles in total, including:
- 3mm and 5mm calligraphy nibs
- Rounded nib
- Fine and superfine nibs
- Standard, soft, and semi-broad nibs
- And of course, the all versatile super adorable brush nib
7. There is variety within the brand.
Consumers love choice, right?
There are three primary types of Copic markers to suit different budgets, applications, and skill levels:
Some of the fantastic features of Copic markers cut across the three members of the Copic family. They all draw smoothly; deliver the same exceptional quality; and are color-consistent, double ended, and refillable. They all come with replaceable tips, too.
Each has distinct features as well. The Copic Ciao, for example, is lower-priced, making it super attractive for anyone on a small budget. Conversely, it needs frequent refilling than the rest as it has the smallest barrel.
Ciao has the fewest color options. But at 180 hue choices, it is still heaven for the majority of illustrators who haven’t had access to even 100 colors from other cheaper brands!
It is round-bodied (which is notorious for rolling off surfaces) with a brush and chisel tip. It’s a great series for beginners looking to up their work quality with professional markers.
Copic Sketch is the most sought after Copic marker of the three and generally more expensive than Ciao. The insanely massive color range at 358 is perhaps what makes it a crowd puller.
The barrel is medium capacity with an oval shape; you don’t have to keep picking it up from the floor. The oval shape is ergonomic too. Like Ciao, the tips of the Sketch are chisel and brush.
Copic Classic has the biggest barrel which lasts the longest and translates to fewer refills. The square-shaped barrel is quite unique. It may take a while to get used to holding , but at least it doesn’t roll away.
You get it in 214 colors as well as in chisel and fine tips. You may miss out colors compared to Sketch and the magical brush tip, but this is still an incredibly large selection.
On the brighter side, Copic Classic is compatible with 7 other nibs, compared to the relatively limited 3 tip options for Copic Sketch. The two are within the same price bracket.
8. They are non-toxic.
High-quality markers tend to have that “good marker” smell, which is surprisingly toxic and can make you feel light-headed. You never have to experience this with Copic markers.
The chemical composition of Copic markers is certified non-toxic by the ACMI (Art and Creative Materials Institute) and doesn’t emit any harmful fumes. The markers have a faint, almost unnoticeable scent and are a pleasure to use.
Are Copic Markers Worth the Money?
Copic markers are worth the money for anyone who knows the actual value of a professional-grade marker and can benefit from this exceptional quality. They are a cut above the rest in terms of quality, consistency, unlimited color possibilities, and perpetual usability.
You can opt for cheaper brands if you are an occasional hobbyist or just beginning to learn the ropes and working your way up the different skill levels. But once you master the art of coloring with alcohol-based ink marker pens, Copic markers are the ultimate investment for remarkable coloring.
A set of Copics is generally cheaper than purchasing individual colors.
But there’s a major advantage of being able to buy one marker at a time. You get to choose only the colors you need most and enjoy Copic features on your own color preferences and budgetary terms. Also, it doesn’t send you into financial shock by putting a significantly huge hole in your wallet at once.
It is unlikely for anyone to splurge so much on anything, unless it is truly special. Well, the tens of thousands of glowing reviews about Copic markers back this up and answer the question of why are Copic markers so expensive.
If you’re a professional artist or working your way up to that level, Copic markers can’t be beat.
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