Tips for Using Copic Markers

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to share a quick post to talk about Copic markers, and to list a few easy tips with working with them.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to watch my introduction to copic markers here, where I explain the different types of markers available and how their colouring system works.

bleding copic markers
Image from DickBlick

Copic Marker Tips

  • Test a swatch of your colour before putting it into your image – If you’re unsure how a colour looks, swatch some out on a scrap paper and let it sit for a few minutes to see if you like how it looks.  This leads into my next point…
  • Copic inks dry lighter – When you’re putting them down on the paper, they’re wet (especially if you’ve put down blender first), so the darker wet paper makes the ink’s colour appear darker, and after it fully dries the colour looks much lighter.
  • Put down your colours lights to darks – The easiest way to lay down colour with Copics is to start with your lightest colours, then overlay them with gradually darker colours.  This helps in blending and in covering any mistakes (like if your lighter colour accidentally bleeds it can be covered with a darker colour).
  • The easiest method of blending is to lay darker colours over light colours, then go back over where the two colour meet with the light colour until it looks blended.  This is much easier if you lay down the clear blender ink on the paper first, as the paper stays wet longer, allowing a smoother blend. (You can watch my video on blending copic markers here)
  • Use the blender to push your colours around – did a colour bleed over an edge a bit? Push it back within the lines with the colourless blender!

tips for using copic markers

  • Work in small areas, keeping your edges wet – don’t colour your whole image in lights and then go over the entire thing in darks.  Start with a small section and finish it completely, then move onto the next section.  Keeping your paper wet while blending is key.
  • Use small circular motions – when filling in an area, use small circular motions, and make sure all of your edges stay wet.  This will help you get a smooth blend between colours
  • Use feathery strokes for hair – If you’re colouring hair, small feathery strokes help to emphasize the hair’s flow, blending darker and light colours together in thin flicking strokes.
  • Use the right paper – Marker paper is best, as it really stops the inks from bleeding (Copic actually makes their own paper specifically for this, so if you’re doing an illustration fully in marker, this is your best bet).  Try to avoid watercolour paper when possible – not only does it promote bleeding, but it is so absorbent it can actually draw the ink out of your markers, making their ink store deplete faster.  If you want to use Copics in a mixed media setting, try smooth bristol.  You will still have to be careful of bleeding, but it does a better job than thicker papers, doesn’t drain your inks, and can stand up to some wet media as well.
  • Use Copic’s Opaque White to help with highlights – Opaque white is perfect as a deleter ink, and can completely block out colour, leaving a crisp white highlight.  Paint this on if you’ve accidentally coloured over an area you wanted to stay white…but remember, never colour over top of Opaque white, Whiteout, or any other deleter ink!! It will discolour your nibs!! (You can read my full review and uses of Copic Opaque white here).
  • Practice, practice, practice – The truly only way to get better at using Copic markers is to use them! Play around with them and have fun.  Make a photocopy of your inked image to try out colouring, so if you mess up your original drawing is still okay, and you won’t be angry 🙂

So whether you like to use Copics in paper crafting, card making, mixed media arts, or comic/manga illustration, I hope this little list of tips is helpful!  Copic markers are awesome, and if you’re curious about them but haven’t tried them out yet, I say go for it…you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

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