So I just got my very first Copic set. YAY! Keep in mind I’ve only been using them for a couple of weeks now so anything I write here is either from my limited experience or from what I’ve learned from other people.
What are Copic markers?
The markers were developed in Japan for illustrators, artists and commercial use. They come in 358 colors (the amount of colors available differs according to model) + the option to mix your own colors in to blank markers. The markers are refillable and can be used basically forever. They are alcohol based, that means that you can blend the markers without clumping up the paper.
They are mostly used by manga and comic book artists but have also become very popular among illustrators, storyboard artists, architects, designers, fashion designers and stampers.
For good examples of Copic marker art see Trev Murphys website: http://trevmurphy.com
The markers come in 5 models (6 if you include the 25th anniversary issue).
Original/Classic (214 colors)
These were the first markers produced. They have a variety of tip options from finer to broader brush tips and a couple of broad tips. The tips can be exchanged and the markers are double sided. The markers have a square shape and are the most expensive of the bunch at around $7.99 per piece.
Sketch (358 colors)
These are the most popular markers among professional artists. They are double sided with a chisel (wide) tip on one end and a brush tip on the other end. The markers are oval shaped and hold less ink than the Originals. Sketch markers are compatible with the Copic airbrush system (I have no clue how that works though). They are priced at $7.99 per piece. They are the most popular due to their comfortable shape and large color palette.
Ciao (180 colors)
These markers were originally made for children, hence the holes in the marker covers so you don’t suffocate if you swallow them. They come with the same double-sided tips as the Sketch markers but have a round shape and hold less ink. Ciao (pronounced “chow”) are by far the cheapest markers at $5.49 per piece and are a popular entry point for most artists starting out with Copic markers.
Wide (36 colors)
These are the least popular of the bunch but are cool for coloring in large areas or backgrounds. They only have a tip on one side but it can be exchanged for a different tip (so it has 2 tip choices). They are flat shaped and are priced at $6.74 per piece.
Comic (72 colors)
I don’t really know much about this model. Currently they are only available in Japan and they come in 72 colors. That’s all I know.
Why buy Copic markers
Copic markers are the way to go if you are looking for a convenient easy to use coloring method. They are alcohol based and therefore blend very well without ruining the paper. They also give you a watercolor effect witch I think look very cool. The markers are an investment basically. They may be expensive but they last forever since you can refill them using special inks and change the nibs if they wear out. This is must have tool for illustrators, comic book artists, designers, etc.
If you are looking to use the markers for blending I suggest you first buy a basic set of 3 markers in the same color group (I recommend the sepia or grey tones). Each marker has a color code that helps you determine what color family the marker belongs to. By buying a basic set you can practice blending before you commit to a full set of markers.
If you are on a budget buy the Ciao markers. They may look childlike compared to the other models but have the exact same quality ink and tips as the Sketch markers. The only difference is that they hold less ink and come in less colors. If you plan on using refill inks the smaller barrel shouldn’t be an issue (one ink cartridge can refill up to 15 ciao markers) and for the other colors that are missing from the Ciao set you can still buy single Sketch markers.
Copics come in sets as well. There are smaller sets but the more prominent sets are the 12, 24, 36 and 72 packs. I think 12 colors are enough for basic coloring but you need at least the 24 pack + a couple of extra markers for blending.
There are also PLENTY of tutorials online on how to use compic markers. Everything from blending, basic coloring, purchase guides, etc. I strongly recomend checking them out BEFORE you buy your markers. You can get a feel of what you really need for your work after you know how these markers work.
I love them! I’ve only used them for a couple of weeks and the money I spent was very well worth it so I don’t regret the purchase. I bought the 24 color Ciao set and I am planning to buy additional colors that I am missing as I go along. Thanks to these I started doing way more analogue art (I’ve become a slave to the digital to be honest).
I got my markers from Ebay straight from Japan. This was the cheapest way I could find because I was really on a budget and you can’t get them that easily in Slovenia. The only store that used to sell them in my town had a very limited selection and don’t even hold the markers anymore. The only other store I found that hold them is in a town on the other side of the country. Slovenia may be small but I have the patience to wait for the markers to arrive from Japan at a cheaper price :3.
You have to excuse the amateurish coloring on these… This was my first try ever using the markers and I colored in some doodles I made in my sketchbook :P.
While researching for this blog I found this video that really has a lot of good info about the markers.