Copic Marker Tutorial

August 9, 2010

Copic markers are used for coloring many types of art, and they are very popular when it comes to coloring manga.  Copic markers are much better than your average marker.  They are alcohol-based so you can layer colors and blend your strokes to give nice, even color to your drawings.  Copic markers can make your drawings look professional and amazing.

There are four types of Copic markers available: Copic, Sketch, Ciao, and Wide.  There are key differences between these markers that you should know.

The Copic marker is square-shaped and has two different nibs.  There is a broad end for coloring in larger areas, and a brush tip for smaller areas.  It holds more ink than the Ciao and Sketch.

The Sketch marker is oval-shaped and also has two different nibs.  The broad end is less broad than the Copic, and the brush tip is larger than the Copic (see picture below).  It holds more ink than the Ciao.

The Ciao marker is circle-shaped with two different nibs. The nibs are the same as the Sketch marker.  This marker hold the least ink of the four marker types.

The Wide marker is oval-shaped and is much wider than the other three types of markers.  It has one nib only, which is very broad.  This type of marker holds the most ink.

When looking at the caps of the markers, the code and name of the marker appears on the caps of the Copic and Sketch, whereas only the code appears on the cap of the Wide.  The cap of the Ciao marker has no name or code on it.  They are written on the side of the marker instead.

The number and letter codes on the marker explain what color the marker is.  The letters indicate what color family the marker belongs to.  For example, B is for blue, V is for violet, R is for red, and so on.  If there are two letters such as RV, the color family is red violet.  There are usually at least two numbers after the letter code.  The first digit indicates saturation, which is how vibrant the color is.  A ‘0’ would be very vibrant and a ‘9’ is not vibrant, and is more dull.  The second digit tells you how light or dark the color is within that saturation group.  For example, E50 is a light earth tone and looks like a light beige.  E59 is a dark brown color, but is still similar in tone to E50.  When blending colors, it’s good to pick colors that have the same letter and same first digit, but a second digit that is 1-3 digits higher or lower than the marker you are blending it with.

Another nice feature about Copic markers is that they have replaceable nibs in case your nib gets damaged, and you can refill the ink if your marker starts to dry out (this will be discussed in a separate tutorial).  You can also combine ink colors to make your own custom color.

For beginners who have never tried Copic markers, I would recommend getting a set of markers to start with, then adding individual markers to your collection that you want.  Also, I would recommend getting either the Ciao or Sketch markers if you are using them to color manga drawings, because the nib sizes are ideal for this type of art.  You can still experiment with the other types to see what you like best.  My personal favorite is the Sketch.

Now go give your manga drawings some nice, professional-looking color!


3 Responses to “Copic Marker Tutorial”

  1. Excellent article. The pictures are really helpful.

  2. nice post. thanks.

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