Copic Marker Site
Marianne Walker's blog
Sherrie Siemens' blog
Debbie Olson's blog
Lori Craig's blog
Cindy Lawrence's blog
Colleen Schaan's blog
These markers are alcohol based, which are different from markers that are water soluble. They color very smoothly and will not cause the paper to 'pill' when layering or blending. You can also replace the tips when they are worn or damaged.
Is It Worth It?
One thing you have to keep in mind is that Copics are fine artist markers. They're very high quality, so they are and will always be more on the high end price range.
If you don't really like to color with markers, or only color occasionally with markers, it's probably not worth the money and time to invest in these. If you use your markers everyday and you're tired of the streaking or want to be able to blend and create more depth to your images, then these are totally for you!
There are Bic, Sharpie, Tombow, Prismacolor, and Touch Twin (all are alcohol based) markers that you can buy for much cheaper. They don't come in as many shades as the Copics do, but still color very nicely. As far as I know, none of these other brands are re-fillable, except for the Touch Twins.
Differences between Ciao, Sketch, and Original
Amy Rysavy made a video to show the differences between the 3 different types of markers. *This video was made before the new 2011 and 2012 colors were released.* This is a very informational video and Amy shows all the different shapes and coloring nibs/tips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_easkpc76o
The Ciao line is the cheapest, but please keep in mind that the ink is the same in all 3 different styles. The differences between the Sketch, Original, and Ciao are the number of colors that are available in each stylem and they all have a different shape, size, and nibs/tips. The Sketch come in 358 colors, the Ciao come in 180 colors and the original Copic Markers come in 214 colors.
Depending on your craft level and coloring abilities, it may take some practice before you become comfortable coloring and blending shades together. If you want to try these, I suggest buying 3 different shades of the same color so you can see the blending possibilities. Just remember to buy a light, medium, and dark shade.
If you're a beginner, I suggest reading any of the Copic instructor blogs that I have listed at the beginning of this page. They give great tutorials (especially Marianne) and if you haven't been reading their blogs, I would also suggest going through the archives and starting from the beginning. There are also tutorials on the Copic Marker blog.
Keep caps on markers when not in use. Alcohol markers dry out quickly if left uncapped. Markers can be stored upright or flat, it doesn't matter. There have been debates on this...but I store my markers vertical and have never had a problem with them! I've had mine stored this way over six years and my markers are still great.
While there are many different ways to store these, I keep mine in the 36 Marker Copic Marker Cases. They are lined up on my desk in order of the Copic Chart.
Since I travel with my markers quite a bit, even if it's just a craft day with my friends, I got the Copic Carrying Case. I bought mine from Oozak, but many other Copic retailers also sell it.
RefillableThe markers are refillable, so you can buy re-inkers for your markers. You won't ever have to buy another whole marker again. A refill bottle of ink will fill a Sketch marker 10-12 times. You'll tend to need to re-ink your lighter colors first. I re-ink my E51 (skin) and W01 (gray for outlining) the most.
The Right Kind of Ink
You have to use ink that's made to go with alcohol based markers. If you don't, your black ink will smear while you're coloring with the Copics. I personally use Brilliance Graphite Black ink. I also use A Muse's black ink, but it's still a water based ink. The A Muse ink dries much quicker then the Brilliance does, though the Brilliance seems to work better for larger images. *In 2012, A Muse changed their black ink and it no longer works with the Copic markers. I still have my old and retired ink pad, which was specifically made to work with the Copic markers.*
Adirondack, Marvy Matchables, and Momento Black ink are other recommended inks that work well with the Copics.
The Right Kind of Cardstock
Also, you have to use quality cardstock. If you don't, your colors will either bleed too much or not blend together very well. I use Papertrey Inks Stamper's Select White Cardstock and I really like working with the thicker cardstock. I have tried to use other brands, but because I'm a strong colorer, the ink tends to bleed more on other cardstock.
All the Copic classes use X-Press It paper and most crafters recommend Neenah white cardstock. Gina K also has a select white cardstock that is suppose to be excellent. For something cheaper, at Walmart or Sam's Club, you can get Georgia Pacific cardstock.
How to Read the Color Codes
You will notice there are three numbers in codes for colors. First alpha characters represent the color family (R=red, B=blue, YG = Yellow Green, E= Earths, etc.) The break down works like this - for instance, R01 - R is for the Red family.
The second number in the combination here is 0. There is a GREY SCALE that ranges from 0-9 that will show the intensity from light to dark. This will represent the value or shade within the color. This last number represents the intensity or brightness of the color, with 0 being the lightest and 9 being the darkest.
So R01 is the same shade or value as R09, but a MUCH lighter color. When selecting colors to use for shading, if the alpha/number in the first two column are exactly the same, make sure there is a difference of 2 or more in the number of the last column.
For example, shade R01 with R03 or greater. If you shade with a marker 1 number up, such as R02, the difference in colors is so slight that your untrained eye probably will not even detect it. Keep that in mind when selecting colors to purchase! Grays are divided into 4 categories - C for Cool Grays, W for Warm grays, N neutral grays and T is for Toner grays.
I get asked a lot if I'll do a video tutorial and honestly, I probably won't ever make one. When I first started to color with my markers, I watched a couple of really great tutorials. That really helped me out in practicing.
I typically use E00 Skin White for my flesh coloring. I typically outline and shadow with E13, 11, and color in with E00, E51, and E50. I also use R20 to highlight the cheeks. Theres a great tutorial on Magnolia Stamps's site.
If I want to color skin a bit darker, I typically use E15, E13, and E11.
Prices and Shopping
Since I own all of the Sketch markers, I don't shop for these often. I only buy markers now when Copic releases new colors. :) There are many brick and mortar art stores that sell them, but I personally think you get a much better deal buying them online. *The lowest price for a Sketch marker is $4.75, after you sign into your free account.*
There are a lot of places that sell Copics, but I can only speak for the places that I have actually purchased stuff from. Both of these places have excellent customer service and are the two places that I still order nibs and refills from.
Merriartist - Free shipping after $90 and it's $5.24 a sketch marker. *Not the cheapest price, but they typically tend to have more stuff readily available and Merri is such a sweet lady! Her shipping is also really quick.*
Oozak - Free shipping after $50 and it's $4.99 a sketch marker (you will only see this price after you sign into your free account). *Still not the cheapest, but Rusty is just fabulous to work with and he always has the newest stuff at a great price. His service is worth my extra cost. His site is pretty popular though, so order quickly as items sell out quite often.*
The cheapest place to buy Copics is at Carpe Diem. I personally think their shipping is quite high and I've heard mixed reviews on their Customer Service and how they run their business. (Shipping is free after $50, but has to be Sketch markers.) If you are planning on making a huge purchase, the lower price may work out to your advantage.
More and more brick and mortar stores are selling Copics. Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joann's, and Archiver's all sell limited colors and quantities of Copic markers. If you're patient enough, it's a good way to use your 40% or 50% off coupons and build your collection. I started in 2007 when I lived in Denver. I would go buy markers individually every week at Hobby Lobby.
Regal Rose – R85, R43
Melon Mambo – RV29
Rich Razzleberry – V06, RV59+V06
Pacific Point – B14, B16
Tempting Turquoise - BG05, BG57
Old Olive – YG03+YG93, YG95
Daffodil Delight – Y32, Y35
Pumpkin Pie – YR14, YR15, YR16
Tangerine Tango – YR07, YR09
Real Red - R29, R46
Elegant Eggplant – V09, V25, BV08+V09
Night of Navy – B39, B99
Not Quite Navy – B97
Always Artichoke – G99
Garden Green – YG67
More Mustard – YR23, YR24
Cajun Craze – E09
Riding Hood Red – R37
Cherry Cobbler – R39, R59
Bravo Burgundy – RV99, R89
Pink Pirouette – RV000
Pretty in Pink - R32, R81, R11+R81
Rose Red – RV29, R46, R85
Perfect Plum – V95, V99
Marina Mist – B14, B52, C1+B52
Bashful Blue - B93, B41
Baja Breeze – BG72
Wild Wasabi – G82, YG63
Certainly Celery - G21, G43
So Saffron – Y21
River Rock – YG91, G40+YG91
Chocolate Chip – E77, E79
Soft Suede – E44
Early Espresso – E49
Crumb Cake – E43, E44
Sahara Sand – E81, W4
Very Vanilla – E30
Basic Gray – T5, N7
Basic Black – 110, 100
In Colors 2012-2014
Primrose Petals – R56
Summer Starfruit – Y26
Midnight Muse – B99
Raspberry Ripple – R59
Gumball Green – YG67
In Colors 2011-2013
Pool Party – BG10
Calypso Coral – R22
Lucky Limeade – YG93, YG23
Wisteria Wonder – BV23
Island Indigo – BG09