September Product Review – Copic Markers
By: Susan Wolf Caplan, Product Guru
Copic Markers are professional illustration markers. They are double ended, low odor and alcohol based. These markers are also refillable and come in over 200 colors. Sounds pretty interesting, don’t they?
The one thing stopping me from buying a few to test for this review was their cost. My local store sells them for $6.50 each. Therefore, I still do not own any.
However, my friend Marianne has taken the plunge and bought a good selection. Recently we got together to figure these markers out and see why so many people are hooked. I approached using these markers as I approach any other product: play with it and see what happens. There are "certifications" for Copic markers, but like most stampers, experienced or not, I would rather jump in and enjoy rather than go to school. This review is based on my experiments and experience.
Marianne purchased special paper that is sold on a website specifically for the Copic markers. This is the paper that I used for my first attempt. I quickly discovered that waterproof ink (Memento) cannot be used to stamp the image, because the markers being alcohol based, will make the stamped image bleed. My images was a smudgy mess!
My next attempt was with Brilliance ink. After allowing the ink to dry and heating with a heat tool (just to make sure), I began coloring the image the way I always color, from lightest to darkest. I usually start with a light shade, repeat with a medium tone and then with the darkest tone for definition. Well, that did NOT work with these markers. The colors would not blend and the image looked very streaky. I tried to blend with the colorless blender, but that didn’t work either.
I read that the best results are achieved when coloring from dark to light and in a circular motion. So, I colored with the darkest shade and blended with the lightest color. That looked even worse! Frustrated and disillusioned I gave up.
I am not one to throw in the towel so easily and since my friend has invested quite a bit of money I was determined to figure these markers out for her. On our next get-together we revisited those little devils. This time we used different paper. I use Becket Expressions, which is a smooth finished paper, for most of my work. This is what we would be using this time around.
I stamped the teapots with Brilliance black and allowed them to dry. I then chose three shades of yellow markers. I began with the darkest shade along the edges, blended in a circular motion, towards the center with the medium shade, and finished my blending with the lightest shade. I was very pleased with the results. The colors blended fairly effortlessly. Could it have been the paper that gave me problems last time? I tried again with two shades of blue. Once again the colors blended beautifully. However, if you turned the cardstock over, the color does bleed through the paper. A problem if you want to use them on a card front without layers.
Marianne ran into the problem where her coloring bled out of the image lines. She colored within the lines and as the image dried the coloring bled outside the line. You can see this if you look carefully in the card below. This did not happen with the cardstock that I used.
I have my list of Pros and Cons on these markers below.
- Waterproof (but not on clothing)
- Can be used on other surfaces
- Acid free
- Double ended
- Dye based Alcohol markers, so they WILL fade over time.
- Scratches if used on glossy surfaces
- Cannot be washed if used for wearable art. Will bleed.
- Very expensive. $327 for 72, $58 for 12, $4.75 for 1 ( as per an on line vendor)
Seeing as these markers are not fade proof and cannot be used on glossy surfaces as most other markers, I don’t see the point in investing in them. I have both Sharpie and Adirondeck permanent markers. I think I will experiment with them a bit more and see if I can’t get good results. Who knows, you may just see my results in an upcoming review!
I give the Copics a C- (because of cost and they are not fade proof.)