How to Сhoose Best Copic Markers to Start With


The Japanese manufacturer Copic specializes in the production of alcohol-based markers and multilinear for comic artists, artists, and hobby painters. The opaque markers are available in over 300 colors and turn gray preliminary drawings into vivid images that catch the eye. We have summarized everything you need to know about the popular Copic markers in an overview for you:

Special features:

  • Alcohol-based.
  • Not watercolor table.
  • Currently, 358 colors.
  • Colors can be overlaid.
  • Four models in the range.

The most important summarized

  • Copic markers paint with alcohol-based paint that smells strong when freshly painted on. The colors are smudge and waterproof and therefore not watercolorable. So you can not create blended color transitions with the markers.
  • When painting with coloring markers, you should use a base or special marker paper with a coating on one side so that the paint does not bleed through the page.
  • The markers can be refilled up to 13 times using Copic various ink refilled. The felt tips are also replaceable.

What are Copic markers, and what are they used for?

Copic markers contain bright, alcohol-based colors and are produced in numerous shades. The markers are in high demand because of their high quality and are best suited for sketches, comic strips, bullet journals, and hand-lettering work. The markers gained worldwide fame because they became more and more popular in the manga scene in Japan and are nowadays part of the basic equipment of every professional manga and comic artist.


  • Wide range of colors.
  • Colors mixable (in Copic Empty Marker).
  • Also paints on ceramic, stone, wood, and other surfaces.
  • Smudge-proof.
  • Colors can be overlaid (for more opacity or blending effects).
  • All markers are refillable.
  • Tips interchangeable.


  • Quite a high price.
  • Strong smell when painting (alcohol).
  • Transitions can only be created with Copic Blender (not watercolorable).
  • The colors are not light fast.

From Japan to the whole world

Copic is a brand of the Too Group, headquartered in Tokyo. The pens were originally created for the manga industry in Japan – since the ink does not react with printer ink from copies, it made it easy to create sketches and comics. Within a few years, Copic expanded its range specifically to meet the needs of designers and architects in all creative fields. Today, Copic markers are marketed all over the world.

Related post: The Best markers for illustration

The Copic range

There are four different types of Copic markers that are sold (in Japan, there are five). The four types contain the same ink, but are of different sizes and the price also varies. A brief comparison shows how they differ in detail:

Copic Classic
  • 213 colors plus a colorless blender.
  • Two-sided: wedge-shaped Broad nib tip and thin Fine nib tip.
  • A total of 9 different tips are selectable.
  • Square barrel with rounded corners.
  • Also, available as an Empty Marker.
  • Can be combined with the Copic Air Brush System.
  • Sets of 12, 36, and 72 are available.
  • Popular among architects and furniture designers.
Copic Ciao
  • 179 colors plus a colorless blender.
  • Two-sided: wedge-shaped Medium Broad tip and Super Brush brush tip.
  • Round barrel.
  • Also, available as an Empty Marker.
  • Cannot be combined with the Copic Air Brush System.
  • Inexpensive alternative to Classic or Sketch (suitable for beginners).
  • On the market since 1998.
Copic Sketch
  • 357 colors plus a colorless blender.
  • Two-sided: Medium Broad tip and Super Brush tip (optional: Sketch Fine tip instead of Medium Broad tip).
  • Oval barrel.
  • Also, available as an Empty Marker.
  • Can be combined with the Copic Air Brush System.
  • Different sets selectable: 6s, 5s plus Multiliner, 3s, 12s, 24s, 36s, 72s.
  • The most popular Copic model among professional artists.
  • On the market since 1993.
Copic Wide
  • 35 colors plus colorless blender available.
  • 21 mm wide wedge tip.
  • Flat oval shape, short barrel.
  • 3 sets are available: Basic Dark Colors (Set A), Basic Light Colors (Set B), Basic Gray (Set C).
  • Suitable for coloring large areas.
  • Also, available as an Empty Marker.

Copic Classic Marker Set

Copic Classic Marker Set

Copic Ciao Marker Set

Copic Ciao Marker Set

Copic Sketch Basic Set

Copic Sketch Basic Set

Copic Wide Markers

copic wide markers

The Copic color system: How to choose new colors appropriately

This is what the color code on your pen means:

  • Each color has a code of 1-2 letters and 2 numbers and a name like Pale Olive, Holiday Blue, or Forest Green.
  • The letters stand for the color group (e.g. Y for Yellow, YG for Yellow Green, and G for Green).
  • The first number stands for the color intensity – the higher the number (0 to 9), the more grayish the color tone appears. If you want to blend color gradations, select shades whose codes have the same letters and the same first numbers.
  • The second number (0 to 9) indicates how light or dark the shade is. Light shades (0 to 3) are suitable for highlights, shadows can be created with shades between number 7 and number 9 in the second place.
  • For smooth color transitions, you should choose colors 2 or 3 numbers apart in second place. For a clean transition of the Holiday Blue tone, the following color combinations would be suitable, for example,
  • BG000 (Pale Aqua), BG05 (Holiday Blue), and BG09 (Blue Green) for high contrast transitions; BG000 (Pale Aqua), BG02 (New Blue), BG05 (Holiday Blue), BG07 (Petroleum Blue), BG09 (Blue Green) for smooth transitions.

Copic marker refill

When the ink runs out, you don’t have to throw away your expensive marker – instead, consumers are supposed to buy the even more expensive refillers to go with their pens. This seems daunting at first, but with the refill containers, you can refill each pen about 13 to 20 times. Each color has a matching refiller – so for a complete Copic set, you’ll need plenty of studio space and the wherewithal to buy pens, refillers, interchangeable tips, and paper. Video instructions for refilling are available on Youtube:

How to Refill your Copic Markers | Replacing nibs and Copic Care – Video


  • To refill, you need a Various Ink or Copic Ink Refiller and an empty pen. In the Empty Marker from Copic, you can mix different colors and create individual nuances.
  • Pull out the wide-felt tip of your marker and place it on a washable surface.
  • Carefully refill the color from the refiller. Press lightly to speed up the flow of color.
  • Put the felt tip back into the pen with tweezers. Turn the pen upside down (over a surface) and hold the tip down until the ink has completely run down.
  • After a small writing test, the pen should be like new.

Additional Questions

Which set of Copic markers is best for a beginner?

To start off your Copic marker collection, the C1 and C2 set would be an excellent choice. These two light shades are optimal for those who are new to using Copic markers, as they are quite forgiving. They also offer a great opportunity to discover how a single Copic marker can layer upon itself to create more depth and shading.

Are Copic markers a good choice for those who are just starting out in art?

Yes, absolutely. As someone who has considerable experience teaching art, I would strongly suggest Copic Sketch Markers for those who are new to this medium. Indeed, I recommend these Sketch markers to artists of all levels – amateurs, intermediate artists, advanced colorers and even professionals. The versatility and quality of these markers certainly make them a great choice.

What should be avoided while using Copic markers?

The answer to this question would need some more context to deliver the right advice for use.

Is the hype around Copic markers justified?

Yes indeed, they are very much worth the attention. Copic Sketch Markers are an exceptional choice for serious artists and hobbyists, where cost is not an object of concern. The high-quality brush nib, coupled with the vast array of colors, make these markers worth every penny. Furthermore, you can also reduce the expense by purchasing a set of Copic markers rather than individual pens.

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