Ever since my 2009 introduction to these sweet markers, I have not left them out of my art arsenal to create awesome scrapbook pages, cards and mixed media works. I have also accrued a vast number of them (ALL 346 and then some ;o) and can tell you that they blend like a dream (no more demarcation lines between colors OR shading areas)! I definitely recommend Sketch markers for the super brush but Copic Originals can easily be converted to accommodate the really flexible brush end (it works just like paint brush would if it were soaked in paint) and Originals also last longer in terms of ink capacity.
YES, these Japanese markers are expensive (MSRP $6.49/marker) but only because they are an investment; once any color is purchased, the nibs and ink color can be replaced and refilled, respectively, at any time an artist or the marker needs it AND the refill ink bottles (labelled VARIOUS by Copic) last many marker re-inking occasions. The multiliners SP also are an investment because the ink cartridge can be replaced when it runs out. There are one use multiliners for a cheaper price but they don’t come in as many colors as the SP line does. Multiliners do not bleed, smear or interfere with Copic markers because the pigment pens are water-based whereas Copics are alcohol inks. Sakura Micron pens will work with Copic markers as well because of their pigment based oil ink but make sure your drawing/sketch is thoroughly dry before coloring. Copics can be found in high-end art material stores and online. Pearl Paint stores were one of the first U.S. carriers of Copics and regularly get in a new supply, but be forewarned, the markers are in very high demand and tend to be sold out. The most bargain big box art store I’ve found for the best price is Dick Blick’s Art Materials at $5.29 a pop and online, http://www.copicmarkerS.com for bundled deals or individual markers.
I made a price and use comparison with another alcohol ink based marker in a previous post and encourage others to try different brands that suit one’s financial budget, lifestyle and artistic use. Copics have a smoothness that I really enjoy (much like Prisma colored pencils are highly pigmented and blend beautifully with Gamasol) and the fact that I can manipulate the colors anyway I please (an empty marker body can be purchased to be filled with any combination of inks). Oh! I forgot to mention that certain papers can make or break the ease of Copic marker blending and thus, your artwork. Xpress Blending Card was just introduced to the U.S. from Australia and this paper is TOP NOTCH – the best I’ve come across and used. It absorbs the inks without feathering outside an image’s lines thereby allowing smaller areas to hold high concentrations of ink/blending, it’s heavy but flexible and smooth-surfaced. There’s also Neenah Solar White papers which are currently more accessible online but I am not familiar with it. Please go to Marianne Walker’s site for more information and technique use for the markers. Copic’s own website is a great source of inspiration and instruction as well.
I plan on showing some examples of my own work so that the gorgeous colors and smooth blending of COPIC can be seen. I also might give away some blog candy in the form of Copic markers and maybe someone will get to enjoy them as much as I have ^_^
If there are any questions, please leave one in the comments. Thank you!
Quick update: Carrying cases for Copics are a personal preference but Copic does manufacture storage units tailored to its brand. Recently, they introduced a black nylon case (the COPIC logo silkscreened in white on the front) that can house 380 markers (that’s one of every color if you’re keeping track plus room for VARIOUS ink bottles and other illustration utensils) alongside its other accessories, like the airbrush system, and wallets that can hold 24, 36 and 72 individual markers, respectively. The unique thing about the wheeled carrying case, aside from the fact that it is the largest of its kind thus far, is the six interior mesh-containers that can keep colors separated neatly and allow for a limited number of markers on a tabletop surface instead of the entire bulk taking up precious drawing and coloring space. Did I mention the orderliness!? Oh, blessed access without chaos, lost/broken/stolen markers, etc. If you’ve got these grey cylindrical gems, you know how coveted and treasured they become! Mine certainly are and the abuse they take with use and transport will now be greatly reduced once I get my hot little hands on this sturdy rectangular case ^_^