Monday, September 26, 2011

Copic 101

Hi friends,
I get several questions about Copics. I don't think I'm a Copic expert, but there are a few things I've learned over the past year & a half of using them that will hopefully help those of you getting started, or those who have similar questions. Michael's is starting to carry them, so before you take that expensive plunge, learn from some of my experiences & mistakes.

Q: Copics are expensive. Should I buy them in sets?
A: No. I bought many of mine in sets & if I knew then what I know now, I would not have done that! Sure, it would be great to have all of the colors, but what's the point of the expense when you may not use them all? I have several markers I've never used that are sitting there collecting dust :( ---> waste of money! Why? just because markers are packaged in a set doesn't mean they blend together. Instead, I would recommend you buy them in color bundles. That is to say, about 3-4 color markers that blend well together.
ETA: (thanks for the reminder, Shelly :) One set I do luuuuv & recommend is a past color collection of 0000. It's hard to go light with Copics, but the 0000 collection are lighter pastel colors. This is a great set to add to your stash.

Q: Which colors should I buy?
A: That is up to you. Lots of bloggers list the colors they've used on their creations. If there's a color combo that catches your eye, jot it down. For example, my go-to skin color combo is E000, E00, E11 & R20 for blush. There are several companies who have put some marker colors together to take out some of the guess work. Some have even bundled markers to match their cardstock & ink colors.  Flourishes, Papertrey Ink, Susana's Custom Art & Card Design (who carry colors chosen by Suzanne Dean) are just a few. I tend to use PTI colors because I use their cardstock often & I like those colors to match. I personally think if you can only do a few colors, get skin tones first, then hair colors. You can get away with using other markers & coloring mediums that are far less expensive for the rest.

Q: Which is better, Sketch or Ciao?
A: I would not say one is "better" than another. That is personal preference. Some people prefer the oval barrel of the sketch. Some people prefer Ciaos as a more cost effective option. I own both. The main differences between them are that Sketch hold more ink therefore cost more per marker. Sketch have the name & number printed on the end cap, Ciaos don't (but I made my own for the Ciaos & you can download that chart HERE). Ciaos have a safety cap, so if a child or pet swallows one, he/she will be able to breathe. You can use the Ciaos in the airbrush system by adding some foam pads to the chamber.

Q: Should I become "Copic Certified?"
A: That depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Are you trying to learn about the markers because you plan on selling/distributing them, teach others about them? Then yes. Are you wanting to learn what colors will blend, coloring techniques that will improve your coloring skills? Then not so much. If the latter is what you want to accomplish, take a techniques class. Some of the Copic regional instructors offer Copic techniques classes as do some Scrapbook stores. Suzanne Dean has online classes Color Me Creative that will help you on your road to becoming a Colorista. But the single most important thing you can do is PRACTICE!!! yes, just like anything else in life ---> practice is key. But to truly reach the level of Colorista you should: have knowledge of techniques, knowledge of good blending colors, & PRACTICE. Check out loads of You Tube videos for specific coloring tips from crafters everywhere.

SCS has a whole thread about Copic Chatter. You can find that---> Here.
Marianne Walker IS a Copic expert. You can check out her blog---> Here.

Enjoy your Copic adventures!


  1. Love your advice- I agree with buying in color groups, not in a big set. I do like the oooo set though......I think buy that light group and use Sharpies and bic's in the darker colors and fill in as you want/need with Copics. Lots of video's on You Tube on how to do that! I have plenty for now- and I like Sketch markers, and fill in when I receive gifts from others.....

  2. Thanks for the Copic 101 lesson.


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