Copic® Markers

Alcohol Marker Guide
It can be a little intimidating to know what to buy when you first start collecting and using alcohol markers. There are several brands and so many colors to choose from and it’s hard to know what you will want. This guide is to help inform you of the differences types of markers and supplies you may want to start with.
Why Use Alcohol Markers?
The most common type of marker has water-based ink such Crayola, Tombo or Sharpie. These kinds of markers are usually cheap, but they will dry out quickly, over-soak your paper, leave strokes, wont blend and often pill up and ruin the paper. They are great for certain types of projects, but very difficult to use when coloring in stamps or images. The chemical features of an alcohol based marker allow the ink to blend with other colors to create a soft, smooth transition between shading and tone. This quality is what provides the vibrant colors, dimension, realism and professional look for your images and artwork.
Spectrum Noir vs. Promarkers vs. Copic Sketch Markers
In this guide I will be discussing the three main types of Alcohol markers that are used within the paper crafting industry. That is Spectrum Noir, Letraset Promarkers, and Copic Sketch Markers. There are many other brands of markers with alcohol based ink although they are less common and more difficult to find. Some of these are Letraset Flex Markers, Kurecolor, Alpha Brush Markers, Latraset Tria Markers, Touch Twin Markers and Graphc Markers.
The detailed comparison sheets on each of the three main marker types should give you a good idea as to what kind of markers will work best for you. Keep in mind that there are a lot of differences in packaging, manufacturing and distribution, but the ink formulation is so similar that you can easily use each of these markers with each other. The best type to use is the one that you are most comfortable with and that is the most readily available to you.

Letraset Promarkers Information Sheet
Spectrum Noir Markers Information Sheet
Copic Sketch Markers Information Sheet
(Please do not copy, share, post or distribute any of these information sheets without permission.)
What do all of these markers have in common?
All three of these brands are filled with alcohol based ink. Not only do you get the image quality and color benefits of alcohol ink, but all of these markers are permanent, non-toxic, acid-free once dry and can be used on many different solid and porous surfaces. 
Image Choices 
Alcohol markers can be used in a huge range of craft and art mediums; they are however typically used to color in stamp images. Almost any picture with open space will work for these markers so consider wood stamps, acrylic stamps, foam stamps, rubber mounting stamps and digital stamps when choosing images. I recommend visiting my digital store at
Paper Choices 
To color an image with alcohol markers you need a cooperative paper for alcohol based inks. It should blend the colors and hold enough ink to create great color and effects without filling up and damaging the paper. Different people may also prefer different papers depending on how they use the markers. 
  • X-Press It 92lb – This is a great go-to paper for most coloring. The colors will blend without too much work, the paper is crisp and the inks tend to stay in place better than most. This is my top recommendation for beginners. It is also particularly good for digital printing. The 110lb is excellent for coloring, but it does tend to jam up in printers. 
  • Borden & Riley Bleed Proof Paper for Pens – This paper is thin enough to easily cut and use in projects. It has a smooth surface and is easy to lay colors down on. It blends well with lots of layers and works great for blender effects. 
  • Canson Sketch 50lb – This is a nice soft paper, colors move and blend well and mistakes are easy to fix. Great for beginners, but not the best for more advanced techniques. 
  • Neenah Classic Crest Solar White – This is the preferred paper by a lot of talented Copic artists. The colors are vibrant and blending is smooth and consistent. The paper will also hold several layers of ink before becoming saturated. Beginners should be cautious because the ink moves very quickly and will bleed easily if you don’t have a lot of practice with the markers. 
  • Strathmore Bristol Smooth – This paper has a slight antique tone. It is smooth and easy to lay color down. It produces nice vibrant color and works well for colorless blender effects. 
  • Gina K Pure Luxury – This paper is extra thick and will hold a lot of ink. The color is more subtle and less vibrant and it’s not as easy to blend with, but it won’t bleed through the back like most other papers do so you can use it if you have a project that shows on the back side. 
  • Make It Crafty Blending Card – This paper is one of my favorites. The colors are vibrant and beautiful and it will hold several layers without pilling up or separating. It is however, harder to blend the markers on than other paper and can be difficult to find in the United States.
  • Do not use; Bazzill, Stampin’ Up, CTMH, Wassau, Staples Brand, Office Depot Brand or Office Max Brand Cardstock.
Ink Choices

Digital Stamping: When printing digital images, most laser printer ink will work, but inkjet printers depend on the type of printer and ink you have. Different ink types are very unpredictable so you may have to test out your computer before you know for sure. If you find your ink is running, try heat setting if first or letting it dry for a couple hours. You can also try a lighter setting that uses less ink on the paper. There is no absolute answer when it comes to this but I do find that most generic HP inks work pretty well. 
Traditional Stamping: To use alcohol markers on stamped images, the ink must be permanent and chemically incompatible with the alcohol base so that the two inks don’t blend and run together. 
  • Memento Tuxedo Black Dye Ink (Images can be stamped and colored almost immediately.)
  • Adirondack Pitch Black Dye Base Ink (Heat gun set or dry 15 minutes before using.)
  • Archival Brilliance Graphite Black Pigment Ink (Heat gun set or dry 1 hour before using.)
  • Alcohol markers do not work with Staz-on ink or Stampi’n Up ink, alcohol based ink pads, water based pads, glitter inks, fabric inks, chalk inks or washable inks.
Additional Products
  • .3 Copic Black Copic Multiliner – This marker will help you fill in gaps on stamps, adjust images and create patterns and details. 
  • Sepia and Grey Copic Multiliners – These are perfect for adding details, patterns and textures to the images. 
  • Spica Glitter Pens or a glue pen and super fine glitter for adding sparkle to the image after your done coloring it with your markers. 
  • White Gel Pen with Pigment Ink – This will allow you to create eyes, highlights and special effects. Be sure to use these when you are done coloring with the alcohol markers or you risk ruining their tips.

Recommended Copic Marker Collection
From Katie Butler, Certified Copic Instructor
Beginner Jumpstart Set
(30 Marker Set – Required for Beginner Classes)

0 - Colorless Blender 
E000, E00, E02, E11 - Light Brown and Skin Colors
E13, E15, E17, E18 - Standard Brown and Hair Colors
R00 - Cheek Color and Lightest Part of Red Set
R22, R24, R27 - Traditional Red Set
Y21, Y26, YR24 - Orange and Hair Tones
E08 - Deep Orange, Rust and Red Hair Tone           
Y11, Y18 - Bright Yellow and Blond Hair Tones
YG13, YG17 - Bright Green Set
B93, B95, B97 - American Blue Set
B000 - Sky, Backgrounds and Shading
C00, C1, C3, C5, C9 - Cool Grey for Black, White, Shadows and Color Altering
Additional Markers
(Add to the Jumpstart Set to Make the Full 72 Marker Set – Required for Advanced Classes)

E29 - Deep Brown to Complement Standard Brown Set

R59 - Deep Red to Complement Traditional Red Set

YG01, YG03 - Lime Green Shades to Complement Bright Green Set

B91, B99 - Light and Dark Shades to Complement American Blue Set

V91, V93, V95, V99 - Violet Purple Set

BG53, BG75 - Turquoise Set

YG61, YG63, YG67 - Moss Green Set

R81, R83, R85, R56 - Mauve Pink Set

E43, E44, E47 - Natural Brown Tones

BG11, BG13, BG15 - Aqua Blue Set

B00, B01, B02, B04, B06 - Bright Blue Set

BV01, BV02, BV04 - Light Purple Set

R01, R02, R05 - Melon Red Set

W0, W2, W4, W6 - Warm Grey for Black, White, Shadows and Color Altering

B60, BV23 - Lavender Grey Set for Effects, Backgrounds and Shadows


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