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Thread: COPIC users

  1. #1
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    COPIC users

    Hey guys,

    I'm thinking of getting some Copic markers, probably a small set to begin with, and giving markers a shot. I thought I'd come here and look for some input from people who use the markers regularly.

    • Which Marker do you prefer? The Sketch or the Ciao?
    • What paper do you like to use?
    • What ink do you use in combination with the marker?
    • Do you use Copics with any other medium besides ink?
    • Tips or advice for a first timer?


    I already use watercolors but I'm looking for something that's a little more controllable. I like color pencils but I feel like I need to really push the hell out of them and I go through color pencils too quickly. There's also a wax buildup with color pencil that gets prohibitive over time.

    We'll see how this marker thing goes.


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  3. #2
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    I highly recommend the Sketch markers. Look at that soft brush tip. It's really easy to the control line thickness, and I have no need for any other kind of tip (personally).

    As for paper, I just use whatever doesn't bleed through to the other side. Regular A4 printing paper won't be of much use here, but my sketchbook happens to have thicker sheets... You want the paper to be able to absorb the ink as little as possible, because these markers work best in layering and blending. Different papers also affect the ink color very slightly, and there's also the bleeding, etc. The Copic company even sells paper specifically designed for these markers.

    I don't know much about ink, either, but the Pigma Micron pens I use apparently have good reviews and are very popular in their own right. They work well enough with Copic markers. No bleeding and very nice lines.

    I also use Copics on fabric, which they were also designed to work on, so they're permanent. You definitely have to allow more room for bleeding, though.

    Copics are expensive, but they feel very nice--almost painterly, if you get the Sketch, which has the brush nib. They're also long lasting--I've had mine for several years, scarcely used, and they haven't dried up. If you do run out, you can also buy refills, different nibs, an airbrush... I've never tried any of those, though.

    What's really interesting is that you can get an empty marker, mix your own ink using the refill cartridges, inject that into the blank marker--and there you have it, your own custom Copic marker. This is especially useful if you have refills of the Colorless Blender. If you want a marker that's a lighter shade than what's available, you can mix your own proportion of Colorless Blender + [random color] to get whatever value you want.

    Tip: don't stroke too slow (it'll overload the paper with ink) or too fast. Find the right speed. If you want to blend two or more colors smoothly, do it while it's still wet--which is pretty much immediately after your stroke. The Colorless Blender marker will help with this. You can use that blender before or after you lay on the colors, and the two colors will blend in different ways.
    Last edited by Kuroyue; March 14th, 2012 at 03:49 AM.

  4. #3
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    Copics are god's gift to markers, the brush tip is as smooth as butter. Just get the greyscale markers to start with though. It's worth investing in every other value. I don't think the over sized markers are necessary, just stick to the small ones. They don't really go with any other medium as far as I know. If you get the values just right go ahead and scan it into photoshop and do a color layer. They are great for quick rendering. Unfortunately the colors start to fade after a few months, so it wouldn't be cool to pass them off as fine art. I don't know about the colored markers, because the only times I've seen it work was from highly skilled and wealthy designers that could spare a thousand dollars on a complete set.

    You can get marker paper or just work around the bleed. I'm more comfortable just dealing with the bleed personally. I just have to work twice as fast or twice as big. I use 11x17 cardstock sometimes or a moleskin, sometimes I use a white paint marker and my tonal sketchbook. I wouldn't use any paper with much tooth to it.

    You can use whatever kind of ink you want with it, so long as you're not doing a wash. Some people prefer a set of microns, personally I use a micron pen brush. The pentel pocket brush is cool too.

    I'd recommend doing some clean line art in pencil first, because the faster and more confident you can work the better it will look. You have to develop a sense of timing for when the ink dries. Because the second pass will be darker if you fill things in too late. The slower you make your marks the more it bleeds.

    Play around with making random marks and get a feel of what it can do and how to blend. You may not have anything worth pinning on your fridge for a while, so don't be afraid of mistakes. The flat end is a little useless, I just drag the brush on it's side for broad strokes.

    One accessory I'd recommend is a storage clipboard for all the pencils, erasers, markers, rulers and stuff and junk. You'll need a clipboard if you are working with marker paper anyway. That shit always slips off the binding.
    Last edited by Raoul Duke; March 14th, 2012 at 01:18 AM.

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  6. #4
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    Get the ciao just to try it out (they have brush nibs as well), but if you like the markers, begin buying sketch as it has bigger barrel for ink and you won't have to refill as much. It smells less relative to other markers, and easier to blend and work with. Wider variety of color too.

    Copic may be expensive at first, but it works really well and is about $0.80 per refill, so in the long run it's efficient.

    I like to use thick computer print paper (Staples brand) because it's cheap and the colors blend really well. Vibrant too.

    I use copic with colored pencils and pencils. Paint with copic first though.

    And of course, everything else Raoul Duke said.

  7. #5
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    I just use regular Copic markers and refill them with Copic inks. For black lines I use Copic multiliner pens or Kuretake brush pen (its ink is not dissolved by marker fluid).

    Use special marker paper. Anything not labeled "marker paper", i.e.not tissue thin with a nonabsorbent layer, will drink your markers like crazy.

    You can touch marker work up with colored pencil, pastel, or gouache / acrylic. You can't really layer markers on top of anything else besides ink.

    Tips... work fast, overlay the previous stroke with the next one either in small zigzagging or circular motions - otherwise you get streaking. You can't mix markers, you can't really have diffusion, you can't erase them, and you can't put too many layers on top of each other. You can do a little mixing if you use two markers or a marker with a colorless blender, but not much - just enough to blur the edge a little. So plan carefully.

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  9. #6
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    I gotta try goauche on top of marker. Never thought about that before.

  10. #7
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    I love copics, I've been slowly expanding my palette since they're dead expensive. I really want to try sketch but they're even more expensive that Ciao. I would also have to buy them online since my local art store only stocks Ciao and then Letraset and Prisma colour.

    I feel like I understand colour blending a lot better using copics than digital. I also tend to make less mistakes because I can see what I'm doing.

  11. #8
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    I use the angled, hard-tipped copics on a daily basis for Industrial Design stuff. Streaking looks cool and gives your drawings life, as long as it's done in a controlled fashion. Sorry to disagree with arenhaus.

    I use them with Bic pens and pencils, but they will smudge the Bic pen, so make sure you apply the pen strokes AFTER the marker strokes. Occasionally, if I want to get messy, I'll sketch using a black fineline marker and then shade using copics. Those are the black thin markers labeled F. They have just a little give to their nib, in contrast to the ones labeled 0.3, 0.5 and so on. I don't know if copic has their own fineliner, but I have three or four of their multiliners which just didn't do it for me. But definetely give thema try and make up your own mind.
    I mainly use the cool grey scale, but any grey scale works, although a neutral one may get a little dull. There's a warm grey, a toner grey, neutral grey, and cool grey.

    When I first started using them, I exclusively used marker paper, but now I've switched to regular printer paper. Yes, they bleed like hell and will empty your markers a hell of a lot faster, but you won't have to worry about throwing away expensive paper. I usually go through 20-30 sheets of paper in a regular sitting, and I like not having to worry about making mistakes when the paper's so cheap. When a marker's dry I either go get a refill or a new marker from across the street.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iambanana View Post
    Streaking looks cool and gives your drawings life, as long as it's done in a controlled fashion. Sorry to disagree with arenhaus.
    It depends on the style. You use streaks to accentuate mechanical shapes, I minimize streaking to get uniform washes. Nothing to be sorry about.

    regular printer paper. Yes, they bleed like hell and will empty your markers a hell of a lot faster, but you won't have to worry about throwing away expensive paper.
    ... just the expensive markers.

    Marker paper is transparent enough to make transfers easy even without a lightbox. I sketch in pencil on printer paper and then render on marker paper laid over it. Again, it depends on the style and method. I tend to solve most problems at the thumbnail/sketch stage, so it is exceedingly rare for me to botch a marker page.

    I generally use markers for quick throwaway work stuff anyway. When I want something nice, I use watercolor.

  13. #10
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    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    I just invested in some nice windsor and newton brushes so I'll be sticking with perfecting my brush work for a little while. I was wondering if anyone had a brand of ink they preferred. I found someone that uses deleter no.6 for copics but I was wondering if anyone out there who had experiences using any of the more readily available brands like higgins etc.

    I already use the pentel pocket brush pen which is pretty decent but I've had trouble with that ink smudging easily so I don't exactly expect it to stand up to alchohol based pigments very well. I could of course be wrong. As far as pens I've been using koh-i-noor rapidographs for some time and I've never had trouble using them with markers. Haven't tried Copic yet though, obviously.

  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post
    I gotta try goauche on top of marker. Never thought about that before.
    That's what Clamp did. Specially for highlights.

  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Lynch View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    I just invested in some nice windsor and newton brushes so I'll be sticking with perfecting my brush work for a little while. I was wondering if anyone had a brand of ink they preferred. I found someone that uses deleter no.6 for copics but I was wondering if anyone out there who had experiences using any of the more readily available brands like higgins etc.

    I already use the pentel pocket brush pen which is pretty decent but I've had trouble with that ink smudging easily so I don't exactly expect it to stand up to alchohol based pigments very well. I could of course be wrong. As far as pens I've been using koh-i-noor rapidographs for some time and I've never had trouble using them with markers. Haven't tried Copic yet though, obviously.
    Well if you invested in a Windsor Newton series 7 then you have the capabilities of doing a nice inkwash. A set of greyscale markers is like a portable, fast and crude inkwash. But the two don't mix.

    When it comes to ink all you have to worry about is waterproof and non-waterproof. Try a different brand each time. Don't waste your time with colored ink other than sepia. The pigment and binder balance is inconsistent in my experience. You'd be better off just fucking with cheap acrylic.

  16. #13
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    My personal advice is start with three colours, preferably warm or cool greys. Working with those before committing to an enormous set is more likely to help you learn how to use the copics effectively and probably also effect what colours you're likely to buy later. This is strictly my opinion though.

    Oh, and check out Adam Hughes's youtube tutorials on using copics-- nothing will get you as excited to grab a set of copics than those will.
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