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 Copic Marker Basics

Copic Markers are one of the most popular markers on the market today. Originally, they were primarily used by cartoon and comic illustrators. When they were discovered by crafters, they tool off like a rocket. 

They are different than other markers in that the dye ink is suspended in a buffered alcohol solution rather than water. Both the alcohol ink and the paper dry very quickly. The color actually blends with the fibers in the paper that you are using. The more color on the paper the better the blend. That means that your Copics will work together to create a seamless project when applied correctly.

There are four different styles in this line. All the markers are refillable. So, while you will make an initial investment in these markers, you won't be tossing them. Better for your purse and better for the environment.

Another wonderful feature of the Copics is that the nibs can be replaced with the same or different nibs that give more functions to each marker.

You can purchase these markers as singles or in packs of different sizes and colors.

Copics have a three-year shelf life, Like any other alcohol markers, you want to keep them out of direct sunlight.

Copic Colors

Copic Classic

The Copic Classic has been a popular tool 

These markers give you a lot of options when it comes to colors and nib options. There are 9 nib options with this group. When purchased, the nibs that are on the marker are the wide nib and the fine tip nib. This marker holds the most amount of ink, 

The body of the marker is square, which is nice because it will not roll off your workspace and will store easily. There are 214 colors on the line.

When you purchase the ink refill, you will get about 9 refills from one bottle.

Image courtesy of Copic Markers - Everything You Need to Know About Copics Before You Buy — Art is Fun (

Copic Sketch

The Copic Sketch offers the most amount of colors

The Sketch markers are the most popular markers with colorists and crafters. The group comes in with 358 colors. That amount of colors will give you the largest selection and the best blending options.
It comes with the Super Brush Nib and the Wide Nib. The Super Brush Nib gives you the best blending.

The body is oval and the nibs can be replaced. 

You will get about 12 refills from each bottle of ink refill.

Copic Ciao

One of the best things about the Copic Ciao line is that they are really more budget-friendly than the other markers. They come with the Super Brush Nib, The body of this marker is round which makes for an easy grip, This marker is just a bit bigger than a sharpie. There are a more limited amount of colors in this group-150 colors. The nibs are replaceable.

You will get about 15 refills from an ink refill

Copic Wide

This marker is probably the least used in paper crafting. The only use I can imagine would be to color backgrounds. It has a flat body. There are 36 colors available.It does have replaceable nibs.

Copic Numbering/ Identification System

All Copic markers have a number either on the body or on the cap of the marker. The color of the marker is shown on the end of the cap. 

The first two letters are the color family of the marker. The color families are groupings of  colors,
Here are the colors families for Copic Markers:

  • B is blue
  • BV is blue-violet
  • R is red
  • RV is red-violet
  • V is violet
  • G is green
  • YG is yellow-green
  • Y is yellow
  • YR is yellow red
  • BG is blue-green
  • F is fluorescent
  • C is cool grey
  • W is warm gray
  • T is toner grey
  • N is neutral gray
  • N is neutral gray
  • E is earth
The first number on the identification is the blending group. This is a number from 0-9. It shows how saturated ( intense) the color is. The lower the number, the more saturated the ink is.

The last number is the specific value of the blending group. That indicates how bright or dark a marker is.

Natural Blending Groups

Natural blending groups are numbered sets of markers that will generally blend together seamlessly. There are usually three markers within a natural blending group. You will get a light, a mid-tone, and a dark. Some groups have more and some less. 

There are other blending groups that are mot within the same color range. 

Nib Options With Copic Markers

Each of the different sets of markers, comes with a preset nib. At some point you may have tp replace your nibs. Not all nibs will work with all markers, Here is a guide to the additional markers that will work with each set.

Copic Classic Markers

  • Brush
  • Calligraphy 
  • Round
  • Soft Broad
  • Standard
  • Semi Broad

Sketch Nib Options

  • Super Brush
  • Medium Broad 
  • Medium Round

Ciao Nib Options

  • Super Brush
  • Medium Broad

Wide Nib Option

  • Broad Calligraphy
  • Extra Broad

Why Is Paper Important When Using Copic Markers?

Paper is the foundation on which the color rests. So it makes sense to use good paper for your projects,. Especially where you are using cardstock for a greeting card. You want something that will hold up to the mail system.

Neehah Solar White 80 lb paper would be my first choice. It is smooth and not too heavy. Especially if you are making cards, it is important to have a good strong base for your cards. That way your card will not get destroyed in the mail. This cardstock fills the bill perfectly. You can use heavier paper than 80lbs, but that is the minimum weight you should be used for coloring. Just remember that if you use heavier paper than the 80lb weight, you will use more ink.

What Inks Are Compatible With Copic Markers?

So there are some considerations to make when you are using Copic markers on stamped images. If you chose the wrong ink, you are going to get a runny mess.

For the most part, you will probably stamp with black ink. The best Copic compatible inks include:

  • Momento Tuxedo Black
  • Lawn Fawn Jet Black Ink
  • My Favorite Things Black Licorice Hybrid
  • My Favorite Things Extreme Black
  • Gina K Designs Amalgam Black
  • Ink On 3 Black
Your best bet with colored inks are the hybrid inks. But no matter what inks you decide to use, always give them ample time to dry before you color on them.

Coloring With Copics

What To Avoid With Copic Markers

There are just a few more things to think about when you are using your Copic markers

Do not over blend! You will lose your contrast and your image will be a mess. If you need to make a correction, let each new layer of ink dry before you add more color.

Do not color too slow! Your paper is like a sponge. The more time your marker is on it, the more it will absorb. This leads to bleeding of ink to the other side of the paper. It also causes a waste of ink which can get expensive

Always use a flick stroke with a brush nib when possible. If you run straight lines on your image, you will never get rid of them.

Try not to let the ink in your marker dry. The nibs will get worse and will create bad results.

We have included a few supplies that have been picked for your consideration. We may earn a commission from the sale of these items at no cost to you. All earning will be used to add resources to this community. We appreciate your support.

Caring For Your Copic Markers

The first thing to consider is how to store your Copic markers. The most important thing to remember is to keep them away from direct sunlight. That will dry your markers. 

Temperature is important too. You will want to avoid storing them in extreme cold or warm temperatures. 

Refilling Your Copic Markers

There will come a time that you will need to refill the ink in your markers, Refills are available for all of the Copic colors.  There are two basic ways to refill your markers, The drip method and the direct fill method are both effective to get the job done,

The Drip Method

The drip method is primarily used with the older refill bottles but can be used with either refills.

  1. Protect your workspace with newspapers or scrap paper. Sometimes you may drip some ink and it may stain your space, 
  2. Uncap both ends of your marker, This will help even the pressure in your marker.
  3. Uncap the refill bottle. Be sure to handle it carefully and only turn it upside down when you are ready to drop some ink on your marker.
  4. Tilt the marker to a 45-degree angle and gently squeeze the refill bottle to apply ink one drop at a time onto the chisel broad nib, The end of the refill bottle is designed to dispense drops and the nib will soak them up. 
  5. Apply 20 drops of ink. ( you may need as many as 30 drops) You are better off underfilling the marker so that you do not get an ooze of ink.
  6. Replace the nibs and caps on your marker. 
  7. Recap the refill bottle.

Using The New Copic Refill Inks

The new refill inks are even easier to use than the older version.

  1. You still want to cover your workspace with newspaper or scrap paper.
  2. Uncap both ends of the marker. This just helps equalize the pressure within the marker barrel.
  3. Take some tweezers and gently remove the chisel/broad nib. Never remove the brush nib (unless you're replacing it with a new one) because it's made from several pieces of felt and may come apart.
  4. Uncap the refill ink pen and insert it into the marker. The nozzle won't easily release ink until you squeeze, but be gentle so that you don't squirt too much out by mistake.
  5. Squeeze the ink bottle to slowly fill the marker. Because the marker is opaque, you can't see how much ink is in the beach line represents 1 milliliter (ml). If you know the marker is empty (because the nib is dry), use the markings on the refill pen to add 1.8ml for Sketch, 1.4ml for Ciao, and 2.5ml for Classic/Original. If the marker isn't completely empty, but you want to top it up, just add 1ml because you don't want to risk overfilling it, which can cause leakage.. This is where the measurement tick marks on the bottle come in handy.
  6. Now you just need to use your tweezers to gently re-insert the nib back into the marker, and you're done!

The Colorless Blender

The colorless blender is the same ink as in all other Copic markers. The only difference is, there is no pigment (color) in the ink. It is a clear version of the Copic Marker.

Blending With The Colorless Blender

And yes, you can blend colors on your projects with the blender. Here is how to use it to blend colors:

  • Saturate your desired area with the colorless blender first.
  • Add the color you want over that layer while it’s still damp.
This will result in a much smoother, blended effect because the colorless blender ink moves the color on the page.

Making Corrections With The Colorless Blender

You can also use the colorless blender to correct any ink that has gotten out of the lines of your image. You just push back the color into the right area. If you repeat this several times, you will note that the color gets lighter and lighter

Other Things You Can Do With The Colorless Blender

  1. Add highlights to a specific area
  2. Create colorless transparent objects
  3. Add texture and patterns
  4. Mute colors
  5. Clean up edges of an image

Copic Marker Tips

  • Before you color on any paper, you should test the markers on it to see if you’ll get any bleeding. Make sure that you have a few more layers of paper underneath to see how severe the bleed might be.
  • If you are using a variety of mediums on your artwork, make sure all other artwork is completely dry before coloring with the markers. If you are laying down lines of ink before coloring, you definitely want to avoid smudging these lines.
  • Make sure you use the lightest colors first and gradually work towards your darker shadows. If you color with darker colors first, it will be difficult to fix mistakes.
  • To blend, first color the desired area evenly with the lighter color. Next, you want to color the desired area with a darker color. Use the lighter color to blend the area where the two colors meet by applying to color over this area multiple times until the colors blend together.
  • You can also blend color by treating the marker ink sort of like watercolor paints. Use the marker to color on a piece of plastic. The ink shouldn’t absorb into the plastic and will leave a small puddle. Take the marker of the second color you want to blend it with and touch the nib to this puddle. It will pick up a small amount of the color on the tip of the nib. Use the marker like a paintbrush and you’ll see the blended color result on the paper.


There is a lot more to using your Copic Markers and we will be adding more information in the coming days.