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The topic today is Copic! We will be talking about the best Copic markers on the market! If you don’t know what a Copic marker is yet, then we will tell you why Copic pens are widely regarded as some of the best markers to use for art and design. We will include advice on how to use Copic pens to create all sorts of designs. You can also create art with Copic pens, so we will fill you in on how to do that because it is not always as easy as it seems. We have taken into account the various Copic markers reviews that you can find for yourself online, along with our experience and knowledge, to help us on deciding which manufacturer makes the best Copic marker sets, and we will explain what you should look out for when purchasing one for yourself because it might be a bit overwhelming when you are faced with all the Copic markers and even Copic alternatives. If you have been wondering how to use Copic markers properly and if you have wanted to create Copic marker artwork, you have come to the right place!
Table of Contents
- 1 Copic Markers Explained
- 2 Types of Copic Markers
- 3 Top-of-the-Range Copic Markers
- 4 What to Consider When Choosing a Copic Marker
- 5 Using Copic Markers
- 6 Alternatives to Copic Markers
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Copic Markers Explained
So, what is a Copic marker, and what is Copic marker art? Copic markers are not just any old marker pen, they are alcohol-based which is what makes their color so easy to apply. Those who love their coloring books, or graphic designers who like drawing them at first before graphically creating them, have been huge fans of these pens for a long time now and have left adoring Copic markers reviews for you to learn from and appreciate.
The brand comes from a Japanese company named Too Corporation. If you have ever been a fan of anime and manga, then you might know that these pens were created as the medium of preference for artists working in that style.
Why Are Copic Markers High in Demand?
There is little that does not impress with these markers. Copic markers are prideful in the way their colors boost your artwork to a professional level. They are recognized worldwide as the leading medium for graphic designers or any kind of artist who likes to explore everything and anything that they can create art with. Here are a few of the reasons why Copic pens are so popular.
Quality of the Ink
Without the ink, you would have no marker, thus, the ink is the main ingredient in what makes a Copic marker set one of the highest in quality. The ink in Copic pens blends marvelously, and it leaves a striking color behind as you use it. The ink is highly saturated in color, as well as density so the thicker paper is best, best it may bleed through if you use them on thin paper.
Copic markers are unique in their vibrant colors, but also their physical design. There is a tip on both sides of the pen, so you can choose which one you want to use, according to the style of the drawing and the various specific details. The one side has a nib that is thicker and more rounded than the other side, which will be a finer nib for the smaller details.
Lightfastness refers to how long the vibrancy of your finished artwork or design lasts when it is exposed to light, or worse, sunlight. The sun is any artwork’s muse, but mortal enemy simultaneously, because it zaps them of their lively coloring. Even if the ink is alcohol-based there will be some risk of the color fading after some time. This also applies to Copic pens, unfortunately, but they will last a bit longer than most Copic alternatives because they have been designed to hold their color, so they are relatively lightfast, just not 100%.
Refillable and Changing Nibs
The ink quality might be one of a kind in vibrancy, and the lightfastness might be impressive, but what sets Copic markers over and above the rest, adding to their high demand factor, is the fact that the nibs on the tip can be replaced for fresh ones. Better yet, you can even buy refills of the ink so that you do not have to buy the whole pen every time the ink runs out.
The replacement nibs and refillable ink cartridge are lifesavers for those artists and graphic designers who are working on a budget. Copic pens are not the cheapest medium to work with, but once you start working with Copic pens, it is a struggle to use anything else. Refilling the ink cartridge and replacing the nibs can make the world of a difference to the planet because you will not have to waste a whole pen once the ink runs out, but rather buy the cartridge.
Types of Copic Markers
The time has come for you to step up your game and use the next best medium to bring your work into the limelight. Copic pens are just the trick you need to get yourself the recognition you deserve! They may have a higher price than most other Copic alternatives, but they do promise a whole lot more. If you are going to be diving so far into your savings for these markers, it is you investing in your work. This means you must know what the best Copic markers are for the various effects, and which one is the right option for you.
There are various types of Copic markers, and they are sorted into three different categories. These categories are defined according to the effect they give off – ciao, and classic, and sketch. Regardless of the few minor differences, they all share the following qualities:
- Nibs on either side
- Ink can be refilled
- Nibs can be replaced
- Ink is alcohol-based
- Ink is top-notch quality
Ultimately, these are the best things you could want from any type of marker that you are going to be using a lot. This means they will last so much longer, whilst still producing the best results. There might be an initial high cost, but they will save you money in the long run by only having to buy the cartridges.
Copic Markers: Classic
This is the Copic pen to have, the original design, and still considered the most popular. They hold the most in comparison to the other two, and this helps create large-scale artworks. You have the choice to buy them individually, or you can purchase a full set. However you choose to buy them, nine different nib styles give different effects, so their versatility is astounding. A full Copic marker set consists of a total of 214 colors, so you are not limited there either.
Where Classic Copics only come in complete sets of 214, Sketch Copics have 358 colors, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for the Classic Copic pens, because the ink in these pens has been designed to blend beautifully, thus creating other colors in the process. So this makes them more superior because they hold more ink, and they can be blended to suit your artwork specifically.
As for the nibs, they come with two – unfortunately, you will need to purchase the other seven nibs separately which will significantly increase the price of the markers. The process of constantly having to replace nibs during the process of coloring can be quite tedious and annoying for some people. Even though the barrel has a square shape, it is helpful because it will not roll off the table. Yet, at the same time, this also makes it harder to grip onto.
Copic Markers: Sketch
As we have mentioned, there are 358 color variations, and you can get every one of them if you buy yourself a full set of these. This is a phenomenal number of colors to choose from. It might even seem slightly overwhelming at first until you get the hang of it. The nib on the tip is like a brush, so you can swipe our pen in sketch-like motions to create a wispier effect than the solid line with your Classic Copic pens. You can, of course, create several effects with the brush tip, other than the sketch lines.
The only bummer with the Sketch Copic pens is that the set only comes with one spare nib, and you will need to replace them yourself. This can cause a hindrance to your art flow. But your hand might appreciate the pen barrel shape being more comfortable to hold onto in comparison to the Classic Copic pens.
Copic Markers: Ciao
The Copic brand has designed the ciao Copic markers to be easy to use for beginners, and this is due to their small size. The grip is something that you do not have to think about much, because it feels so natural in your hand. Their small size also makes them perfectly suitable for children to use. Another amazing factor is one that you may not have heard of before, but the lids on the pens have holes at the top so that in the case that they are swallowed, no choking will happen.
While they are more affordable and smaller than the Classic or Sketch Copic pens, the full set of Ciao Copic Markers is equipped with 180 colors to work with. However, even though they have fewer colors than the other two, they provide the same amount of fun. The smaller barrels of ink would require you to refill them more frequently, which could be a bit of a hassle, not to mention costly! Although they are still worth the cost when you consider all the benefits, and the ease of use. The set comes with one nib that gives a brush effect and a chisel nib.
The only other drawback of this design is that they are rounded. This means that they will roll off your table if you do not put them back in whatever storage container you are making use of. This is not exactly the most serious drawback in the world, so we can be assured that these are promising pens, and worth every penny!
Top-of-the-Range Copic Markers
If we think of the various brands, not forgetting about the sets of markers available under each brand, we will begin to see that deciding which marker to purchase can be quite difficult. Although, this is mostly for beginners. Even still, those who are leveling up in using Copic markers might want to find a brand that is better for professionals might also struggle to find the right one.
Here are some of our favorite Copic markers for beginners and professionals alike. Note that each one of these can be refilled with ink, and their nibs replaced. If you are looking for a Copic marker set, we have listed pens that come with a set of 24 pens, minimum.
Best Suited Markers for Beginners: COPIC Ciao Markers 24 Piece Set
Ciao Copic markers come with a selection of 180 colors. This might seem little if you are aware of the amount that both the classic and the sketch Copic markers offer, but they are the best Copic markers for beginners to use because their design makes them easy to hold. They are small pens that small hands can hold easily, making them great candidates for children.
You can buy Ciao Copic markers full set, or you can buy them individually. There are also sets that come in different selections of colors, a limited set if you will. This comes with all of the necessary colors, 24 to be exact. These are all you need to blend the color to get the right one to suit your design, so you are not limited after all. One amazing thing about the packaging for these pens is that the example of the color on the pen’s packaging is pretty accurate to the real color when applied to paper – which is a rare thing indeed.
Top Pick for Professionals: COPIC Marker Set
The professional Copic markers are truly one of a kind. They stand out phenomenally amongst all other pens that are similar to their kind. You can make glorious art with Copic markers of a professional value like these. According to Copic markers reviews that can be found online, these are a very popular choice for many graphic designers, and artists alike. These markers come as a full of 72 pens, and they are sizable enough to hold a decent amount of ink so that the cartridges will not need to be excessively replaced if you are making a large design.
The colors in this set are more pastel tones, as well as several various flesh tones, so if you prefer non-paste, then you might prefer the classic 36 Copic pens. These markers are made great by the fact that there are nine different nibs, all offering different effects, that can fit onto their tips. There are many effects you can achieve with these pens, so you will not get bored easily with these pens. All you need to do is do a little experimentation with all the different nibs and you will be an expert in no time at all!
Best Value for Money: COPIC Alcohol Sketch Marker Set
Maybe you are not quite a beginner with Copic markers, yet you are not on the professional level yet, and you are looking for a set of markers that are the next level up for your art journey to get better recognition. The sketch Copic markers are exactly that, they are the middle ground between classic and ciao Copic markers. Some say that they find the nibs limited because there are only three nibs (brush, chisel, and the bullet) but others will then prove to them that those nibs are more than enough to create a range of effects.
This sketch Copic markers set is inclusive of 12 different colors which initially comes off as very limited in comparison to the other brands, but they are the most commonly used colors, so you might not even notice if your design is small. Something that might boost their ranking up a bit is that they can be applied via an airbrush, so you can cover larger spaces, and attempt blending through the fan spray of the ink.
Alternative Copic Pens and Their Features
Copic markers are a vast brand with many variations, so you are not limited to the classic, ciao, and sketch Copic markers. There are a few others that you can choose from that offer different effects for the various styles you may wish to incorporate into your designs. Some other Copic variations include the Multiliner Copic marker or the Wide Copic Markers. Both of these are more of a limited edition, in terms of their color selection. There are fewer colors, but these pens offer a unique style that the other three we have discussed cannot do.
The Multiliner Copic markers are used typically by calligraphy artists. Their unique nibs are shaped in a way that allows the lines to swivel between a thin line and a thick line if you hold the pen correctly.
The wide Copic marker is there if you wish to fill in the bigger spaces of your design. The nib is firm and short, but it is elongated so that it creates much thicker lines. They are sturdy so you can color in a bit more vigorously, but still take care because these nibs are not cheap, and replacing them too often can be an annoying factor for many. There are a variety of 36 colors that come with this type of Copic marker, so they are limited that way, but regardless, blocking in colors is made that much easier with these pens.
In addition, wide Copic pens are equipped with a large enough barrel to hold a substantial amount of ink, to cater for the large space you are going to be filling in. This makes them a little more, but worth it because you will not run out of ink as fast. On the other side of the coin, the larger barrel makes the grip less comfortable and the pen might feel awkward in your hand at first. Both the wide Copic pens and the multiline Copic pens can be applied with an airbrush attachment. All you need to do is go online and buy the air grip attachment, and then connect your chosen Copic marker and spray away.
There is one addition to your Copic markers collection that you will soon discover is something that you cannot go without. We are referring to the colorless Copic marker. Inside these pens is a solvent that you can run over your artwork and the color will lighten which can create a beautiful effect, thanks to the dilution that takes place. The solvent can also help correct mistakes, for the same reasons as creating a lighter color on certain parts of the artwork. The name of this pen is a bit deceiving because it only fades a color, and it does not blend them.
What to Consider When Choosing a Copic Marker
When choosing the best Copic marker, you need to be aware of a few things before you go out and purchase the first one you see. The artwork’s style is imperative to consider because not every pen is suitable for the task you require it to achieve. You could go find Copic markers review online, or you could keep reading.
Deciding Which Colors
Color choosing might seem like the easiest part of the artwork, but this could not be further from the truth. There are one or two factors that influence this decision, like your budget for starters. For obvious reasons, the number of colors that you can purchase will depend on how high your budget is. Are you able to buy a full set of colors? Or the half sets? We recommend getting some colors from the three main color sets, and you will have very little problem with blending the colors to the right hue.
On average, your collection should range between 30 colors and 40 colors. This way you will have a wide range to choose from so that you never feel like you are lacking ingredients for your masterpiece.
Various Copic Nibs
Of course, you must be curious by now about the nibs of these Copic markers. There are so many variations that offer so many different effects, you must make sure you understand what each of them is more suited for so that you can purchase the right ones. They are all different from one another, from their flexibility to their thickness, size, and angle. Some are better suited to create finer lines for smaller details of your artwork, and some are better for coloring in large spaces. The effect that comes from the different nib depends on how you hold it in your hand and how you position the nib against the paper. Here is a list of the various sizes and shape you can expect with Copic markers
- Standard fine
- Calligraphy (3 mm and 5 mm)
- Semi broad
- Soft Broad
- Standard Broad
Using Copic Markers
We are pretty sure by now that you have worked out that this type of marker is not like any other marker out there. There may be alternatives, but Copic markers are notorious in the graphic designing and art worlds. Their colors are incomparable, and the effects they give off are unique to their design. To appreciate these pens, let us talk about how to use them. It is a good idea to become familiar with the process before purchasing so that you are aware of what you are getting yourself into. But we are sure that you will not regret your decision.
How to Replace the Tips
We have spoken about the various nibs that you can choose from. Well, it would be a great place to start by understanding how to replace them when the time comes. You must work gently because spilled ink can get messy.
- Start by removing the cap of your Copic marker
- Using a pair of tweezers take hold of the nib, then pull it off with a downwards motion
- Using the same tweezers gently attach the free nib onto the end of your pen
- Before using the pen allow the new nib to saturate with ink
Refilling the Markers
When we say refill the cartridge of the marker, we mean from a bottle of ink that you can purchase from the same store that you bought the markers from. This can be physically in-store, or online. The bottles are typically 12milileters. Choose the right color for your pen, and make sure you are correct, and then you can follow the following steps.
- First, you must take off the caps of your Copic markers
- Using tweezers take the nib from the broad end of the pen casing
- Squeeze the small nozzle of the Copic ink refill bottle to fill the cartridge
- Carefully replace the broad nib with your tweezers.
Using Copic Markers
Over and above the other markers on the market, Copic markers have yet to find their match. Even though their ink is alcohol-based, causing it to bleed through certain papers, they hold a high reputation amongst artists and designers. Understanding how to use them is important because they are expensive so one can waste little time by trial and error. Luckily for you, we have a few guidelines that you will find helpful on your learning journey.
Remember that you are not working with paint, and the blending of colors is much trickier. Or, at least, nothing like what most are accustomed to, so it is a good idea to gather as much knowledge on these pens as possible.
“But how do I use Copic markers?”, you may be asking yourself. Essentially, they work like your typical graphic pen or marker except that their ink cartridges can be refilled and their nibs can be replaced. The various Copic markers reviews that you can find on any art online store will explain how popular these pens are – they do not have many setbacks, and they have a lot of versatility.
One might compare the effect of a gradient in a color, like an ombre of colors. This means that one color fades gracefully into the other. You must take care that you are choosing the right shade to match each other because there is nothing worse than colors that clash – unless that is what you are trying to achieve for a retro style. Luckily, Copic has created what seems like an unlimited supply of colors, an exaggeration of course, but there truly are so many to choose from.
To make colors blend smoothly for a gradient effect, you must draw vertical or horizontal lines going from right to left, or from up to down. The second color must be parallel lines to the first color, but starting from the other side. So, if your first color was a horizontal line going down then up, the next color should be a horizontal line going up and then down. The second color should blend in with the faded ends of the first color’s strokes.
Blending Unique Colors
If you cannot afford the elaborate sets with the endless range of colors, then do not fret! You can mix your unique colors for your specific needs quite simply with Copic markers. This might take a little practice in which color will create your desired outcome when mixed, but a little experimentation is not going to hurt, but rather add to the fun!
Maintaining Your Copic Markers
Copic pens are particularly easy to care for, all thanks to the caps that keep the nibs securely out of the way of anything that might cause damage. This also keeps them from drying out too fast. You can use some mineral spirits to clean the outside of the nib if there are any ink smudges. This might spread to your artwork if you leave them unattended for too long.
Just like with watercolors, you can make a color darker or deeper by going over the same area with the same color. This can add some depth to your artwork when placed in the right places. You can then allow the layers to create a gradient effect into the parts that only have one layer.
What Paper to Use
Using Copic markers on any old paper just will not do. The right paper, with a certain quality about it, is what you should be using instead. If you are going to be blending with your Copic pens, which is a high likelihood, to be frank, will mean that the paper you are using must not have highly absorbent qualities. The paper itself should be thicker and sturdier so that it does not buckle under the layers of ink you are going to add.
Copic markers blend better on paper that is not very heavy and absorbent. However, like most markers, the ink tends to bleed through the thin paper because it has alcohol as its base. Most markers tend to bleed through thinner paper, including the paper that is in most coloring books.
The reason you need thicker paper and less absorbent paper is to prevent as much of the ink from seeping through to the other side as you are using the pens.
Alternatives to Copic Markers
Copic might very well be the best brand that makes this type of marker, and for all the right reasons. But this does not make them the only manufacturers. Other brands have created similar pens, with their slight differences. Some of the brands that we are going to discuss a bit further on, will be more affordable than the Copic markers, which is always a win for those working on a tight budget. When looking for an alternative brand to the Copic marker, there are one or two things to keep in consideration that will ensure you get the right one for your artistic needs.
- What quality is the ink?
- Can you refill or replace the ink cartridges inside the pen?
- Are there many color options for you to choose between?
- How strong and flexible are the nibs?
Luckily for us all, many different brands have created their version of Copic pens, some better than others. Two of the brands that have managed to get close enough to the real deal, we have mentioned below because we think they are worth the recommendation. These are the Onuhu, Arteza, Bianco, and Shuttle Art brands, as well as Prismacolor.
Top Choice: PRISMACOLOR Premier Double-Ended Markers
These are not very different from Copic markers, having very much the same feature that the Copic pens have, with some minor differences of course. They are double-sided, so there is a nib on either end of the marker, just like with Copic markers. The price might be much lower, but the same cannot be said for the level of quality you can expect from these pens. On the one end of the pen, the nib is small and pointed. This site is suited for the finer details of the smaller parts of your artwork. The other side has a chisel nib, which is suited for filling in larger spaces. If you prefer, you can also choose a Prismacolor marker with a brush tip.
In addition to the markers’ easy blending abilities, this brand of alcohol-based markers has ink that, despite having a much thinner consistency than its Copic counterparts, still meets the standard of Copic markers as it is as consistent in its flow. Bear in mind that this does mean the color will seep through to the other side of the page, especially if you are working on thin paper.
Ultimately these pens are amazingly lightfast, and their result is not unlike the Copic pens, only the application might differ. There is a range of colors to choose from, so you can create to your heart’s desire. As an alternative to Copic markers, these are a great option.
Best Overall: OHUHU Double-Tipped Marker
The second brand that has created a copy-cat Copic pen is Ohuhu. These pens are super affordable, which is why they are so popular amongst marker artists. If you buy a set of these, you will find there are 80 different colors to choose from. This is a decent number of colors for both the beginner or the professional artist.
This brand has also created a colorless blender, like the Copic range. This pen is also filled with a solvent that will fade a color lighter, or lighten it as much as you want it to. This can help you make corrections on mistakes you have made by making the mistake lighter, and then going over it with the correct color.
Most Affordable: ARTEZA Complete Alcohol Markers Bundle
Despite the fact they are relatively inexpensive when compared to other brands of similar products, Arteza is often praised as being the preferred alternative to Copic pens on many websites – this is mainly due to the fact they are a relatively cheap alternative to Copic. Although not on the same level as some of the more competitive brands, like Copic, these pens still offer a very high-quality level that qualified them for this list of almost-perfect alternatives to Copic. Arteza ticks all the boxes – vibrant colors that can easily be blended, comfortable barrel shapes, and dual-tips make using these markers a pleasure.
In this set by Arteza, there are 192 different colors to choose from and experiment with. Their ink is alcohol-based, just like with the Copic originals, and they are also double-sided with a nib on either end of the pen – thankfully. You might not be using the famous Copic pens, but these pens are far cheaper than the original Copic brand. This is great if you are on a budget, and cannot fork out the exorbitant amounts that Copic requires.
As we are sure you can tell, Copic markers are a must-have for any artist! You should now understand how to use Copic markers for your art project. These versatile and phenomenal pens are something that all graphic designers swear by. They are bright and vibrant in color, yet they also offer an exorbitant number of different colors that other pens of its kind do not, like pastels, and the many various flesh tones.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes Copic Pens So Expensive?
Copic markers are quite costly, making them more of an investment into your art or design practice. They are expensive because the ink inside their cartridges is of top-notch quality. Secondly, the ink cartridges and nibs can be replaced with new ones. This means the pen will last longer than pens whose cartridges cannot be replaced or refilled.
Are There Copy-Cat Copic Markers?
There are various alternatives to Copic inks that produce a high-quality finish, and although Copic is noted for its superior quality ink, there are other brands that can achieve the same result. These include Arteza, Shuttle Art, Bianco, and Caliart, Prismacolor, and Arteza, and they each have their uses, benefits, and drawbacks.
Which Copic Colors Are Best?
There are a few selections when it comes to Copic markers, like the classic Copic marker, or the sketch Copic markers, as well as the Ciao Copic markers. Each of these three has various advantages, but they also each have their disadvantages. If you are a beginner the most suitable Copic marker will be the Ciao Copic pens because of their small design and ease of use. If you are looking for a professional-grade Copic pen, the Classic is the right one for you with its large bellies. The sketch Copic pen is the middle ground, so if you want something a little better than your beginner’s set, the sketch Copic markers are the way to go.
Can You Use Copic Markers as a Beginner?
If your budget allows, then starting out with Copic is a good idea. A beginner to Copic pens will benefit the most from purchasing a set of Ciao Copic pens. This is because their design is cylindrical, yet small, allowing for a comfortable grip. It is also smaller than the other two Copic pens, so children can easily hold on without it ruining their art process.
What Is the Difference Between Ohuhu and Copic?
There are many similarities between Ohuhu markers and Copic markers. Both of these brands have tips on either end of the pen. The ink inside is alcohol-based for both the Ohuhu and the Copic pens, yet the consistency of the ink for the Copic brand is thicker. This means that Ohuhu is more prone to the ink bleeding through to the other side of the paper, particularly if the paper is thin.
What Is the Lifespan of Copic Markers?
This is not an easy question to answer, because each artist will handle their pens differently. If you use them often, they will run out sooner than if you only use them seldom. Some of the pens have larger cartridges so their ink will last longer than the other brands, but ultimately, these pens are pretty long-lasting because their ink and nibs can be replaced.