24 Tips for using Copic Markers

24 Tips for using Copic Markers
By Nicole Tinkham

BIG NEWS! We’ve got some great information that you’ve been waiting for your whole life! Alright, maybe we’re exaggerating a little bit, but we do have something exciting to share with you.  We’re happy to announce that we’ll finally be getting Copic markers into our retail store very soon! They’ve been around for awhile but if you haven’t had the opportunity to try them out, the following tips will really help you get started. Copic markers are pretty basic (see Prismacolor vs Copic Markers for the many features), but there are numerous techniques when using them. We’ve included 24 hot tips in this blog where you can find everything from shading to fixing mistakes. The only question that remains is, are you ready to become the Copic marker expert you always wanted to be?


To achieve different blending techniques, you’ll want to add a colorless blender to your collection. Blender markers are used in various blending techniques to push the color around on the page. Here are just some of the ways you can use a colorless blender.

1.    You can transfer color onto your blender marker by touching the tips of the two markers (the color marker and the blender) together for a few seconds.

2.    Another way you can transfer color onto a blender is by using the palette technique. Scribble the colored marker over a plastic-like surface (something nonporous). You can then pick that color up with the colorless blender by swiping over the colored area.

3.    The dark to light effect- With color on the tip of the blender, drag the tip in a straight line. The beginning of the stroke will be darker and will fade as the stroke continues. You’ll want to do this in a quick motion to get the desired look.

4.    The circle technique- This is the same concept as the dark to light technique mentioned above. The difference here is making your stroke in a circular motion instead of a straight line. Your darker area will be around the outside of the circle and will gradually get lighter towards the middle.

5.    Limit how much you color over dark areas, you could get over-blending and you don’t want that!

6.    Transferring color over to your blender will not contaminate the nib. You can always clean out the nib of the blender by scribbling the color out on a piece of scratch paper.

7.    The darker the color is, the less ink you need to transfer to your blender.

8.    You can also lift color from your piece to create highlights or texture by pressing the nib over the color.

9.    Fix marks that made their way outside the line by pushing the color back in the lines with a blender. Let dry and keep repeating to lighten the color.


Shading with Copic markers tend to be fairly easy as they’re great for layering. Here are some shading tips to experiment with.

10.    Copic markers work well wet on wet. Starting with your lightest color, fill in the whole area. Go back in and layer on your darker colors for shading.

11.    Color in small circles to get an even, blended look.

12.    You can leave areas uncolored for bright highlights.

13.    Only blend two colors at a time, using the lighter of the two to do the blending.

14.    When finished, you can use your lightest color to smooth the drawing out. But be careful not to over do it or you could lighten your dark shadows.


Each color Copic marker has a code that corresponds with its color. Below are some tips to understanding this secret code.

15.    The first letter in the code represents the color family. For example, R=red, Y=yellow, and BG=blue/green.

The first number is associated with the saturation. The lower the number, the brighter it is. Higher numbers are toned down a bit.

The second number refers to the brightness. Lower numbers are lighter while higher numbers are darker.

16.    Keeping the letter and first number the same ensures a natural blend.


17.    Smooth white cardstock works best with Copic markers.

18.    Test your sketch pens by drawing a circle and then filling it in with a Copic marker, getting close to the line but not on it. Add more color so it spreads and bleeds. Pay attention to your circle outline. If it’s not bleeding, you have yourself the perfect pen to use with Copics.

19.    When it comes to stamping, Tsukineko Memento or Brilliance Ink, Ranger Distress Inks, A Muse Dye, or Stewart Superior Palette Noire all are recommended for use with Copic markers.


20.    Markers tend to bleed through paper which is why we recommend having a piece of scratch paper under the surface you’re working on to protect your work area.

21.    Let your line work dry before going over it with a marker.

22.    Prevent streaking by making sure your edges stay wet.

23.    For large areas, soak the paper with a blender marker and while still wet use your marker over top. This will blend colors together better.

24.    Copic markers can be used with other mediums like colored pencils and paint but be extra careful that your nibs don’t clog.

As we always say, you must first DO to understand how an art product works. In other words, go try them out! Grab a few colors and experiment. Go a little crazy! See what happens when you use different papers and blend unusual colors together. Try out every single thing you can think of. Experimentation is the best way to learn and the whole goal is to never stop learning, right? Be sure to fill us in with what you discover along your creative journey. Feel free to share below or over on our Facebook page.

And stay tuned for Copic markers right here in our retail store!

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