Copic Markers Tutorial

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For a long time, many in the illustration and design fields have regarded Copic markers as the best markers available. They come in over 300 colors, are non-toxic and acid free and mix well with other media, like airbrush or colored pencil. Now that they are becoming more readily available outside of their country of origin, Japan, those wanting to create all kinds of art are taking advantage of their versatility and great appearance.

Purchasing Copic Markers

  • To start with, you may want to purchase one of Copic's many combo packs. They offer packs containing 12, 36 and 72 basic color combinations. Some 72-color packs have color combinations more specifically geared towards different uses. There is one set for anime/manga, and another for the industrial design field.

Different Types of Copic Markers

  • Copic markers also come with a variety of tips. The basic Copic markers have two tips, one pen-like, and the other chiseled. All color choices are also available in wide tips for covering large areas. Sketch markers are also available with finer tips and ink that doesn't run out as quickly.

    Empty markers are also available. This allows you to take advantage of Copic's unique color-mixing feature. Since Copic markers are refillable, you can mix two colors together to create a new one.

Application

  • Copic markers can be applied to almost any type of paper. If you are applying markers over pencil lines, make sure the lines are barely visible, as you won't be able to erase them once the marker is applied. Using a hard pencil (like a 5 or 6H) will make lines light enough that they won't show through. Apply color with Copic markers in quick, sweeping motions, not letting the marker tip touch the paper for too long, to prevent bleeding.

    When filling in an area, use multiple, overlapping strokes to darken an area of color. If you apply one stroke over another while the first stroke is still wet, the colors will blend seamlessly. If you wait for a layer of color to dry before adding another layer, the layer underneath will show through.

    Also, try overlapping colors that are slightly different in value. For example, use dark blue over a lighter blue to create subtle and realistic changes in value that add form to your drawing.

    Lastly, if you want to lighten an area that you've colored with Copic markers, use the colorless blender marker that comes with each set. Applying a few strokes with this clear marker will cut the color down a few values.

Mixing with Other Mediums

  • Colored pencils work well with Copic markers. You can add detail or texture to an image colored with Copic markers simply by applying colored pencil strokes on top.

    You can also try using Copic markers to color drawings rendered with India ink for a comic-book look. Because you are using black ink that doesn't get affected by the Copic markers, you don't have to worry about "staying within the lines." Making drawings using this technique can result in a dynamic image.

    Acrylic inks can also be used with Copic markers. Highlights painted with white acrylic paint stand out particularly well.

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