Welcome! We had a pretty quiet Christmas this year--just the three of us. Tomorrow we are taking a big meal somewhere, but today was free. . . and I needed to do some serious cleaning! After I finished cleaning my floors upstairs, I came downstairs to work on my markers. They need to be in tip-top shape before my first classes in February! I have Copic Certification classes in the Atlanta area on February 10-11, and then in Dallas on March 3-4.
So tonight I started checking through my personal class marker set for dry and dirty markers. As much as I've used them--especially the skin tones--I knew that I'd have some in need of help. I'm planning to create two posts on refilling markers, tonight using an inexpensive jeweler's scale, and on Wednesday night not using a scale for those of you who don't like extra things to keep up with in your work space.
My personal preference for filling markers is the scale method. Why? It saves me time! I used to "fill" a few of my most heavily used class markers at almost every class. I would add 25 drops if the marker was just starting to feel a little dry, and maybe 50 drops if it seemed very dry. Unbelievably though, I would often still have someone say, "My marker seems dry" before the end of the second class day! When Lori Craig mentioned having a student in class who told her about filling markers by weight, I was intrigued. In fact, I ordered a scale the next day! (I purchased mine on Amazon and usually find them for around $7-10.)
When my scale arrived and I started weighing some of my neediest markers, usually my YG03's after a LOT of leaf coloring, I found that some of them weighed in the 7-2-7.7gram range (without caps on). WOW. No wonder I needed to add ink so often! They were very dry, and I wasn't adding nearly enough ink when I added my measly 25 drops. (My driest marker needed over 140 drops to be full again--yes, that OCD trait comes in handy on occasion. . .)
So that's my story of why I really prefer to use a scale when I'm refilling my markers. Is it necessary? NO, absolutely not. All you really need is a dry-ish marker, and a refill/Various Ink in the very same color! But I like tidy answers. . . I just can't help myself! ;-) Wednesday evening I'm planning to post a second refill post with no scale in sight. But tonight it's all about my favorite way.
With both caps off, a FULL Copic Sketch Marker usually weighs between 9.5 and 10 grams, in my experience. (This weight does not apply to Classic, Ciao, or Wide Copic markers--only to SKETCH.) I like to know both the caps-on and the caps-off weight. If I know the caps-on weight, I can weigh one marker after another without even uncapping them as long as they fall into my acceptable range. If my Copic Sketch marker with caps on weighs between 14 and 14.5 grams, I consider it full enough and slip it right back into my Copic Wallet.
However, if it weighs under 14 grams with both caps on, I take the caps off and refill that marker. Obviously the marker above has both caps off. (I had already weighed it and determined that with both caps on, it was about 13 grams, definitely less than my preferred weight range.)
Why do I take both caps off to refill my marker? Copic Sketch, Ciao, and Classic markers are ALL double-ended; however, ONE reservoir in the marker feeds both ends of the marker. If you leave one cap on, you will create an air lock, and the ink will not absorb into the chisel end (Medium Broad tip) very quickly. Removing both caps allows the Various Ink (refill) to be pulled right into that reservoir. So just do it--take that extra two seconds to remove both caps, okay?
While I am filling the marker, I usually check for dirty caps too. Dirty caps aren't just a cosmetic issue; especially on the Super Brush end, a really dirty cap can get sticky, making it hard to get on and off the marker. It can even keep the marker from sealing well if it's really dirty. Now, I confess that I don't always use my Copic Colorless Blender to clean the caps. I'm fine with using 91% rubbing alcohol to clean the caps. Let me be VERY clear: I would never, EVER put rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) into my Copic markers, which are ethanol-based. I won't even clean a sticky nib with rubbing alcohol. I always use my Colorless Blender if there is any chance of it contaminating my marker.
So, when I use rubbing alcohol to clean the caps, I let them sit in the alcohol while I re-ink my marker, then pull both caps out of the alcohol and drain them on a paper towel. While they drain, I clean dried ink off the barrel and the gray plastic near the marker tips. When the body of my marker is clean, I use a cotton swab to completely dry out both tips before placing them back on my newly filled and cleaned marker. Call it Spa Day for my Copic Markers. They work really hard--they deserve it!
Well, that's the scoop on refilling Copic Sketch Markers my favorite way--by weight. On Wednesday, I'm planning to share a second post that involves NO scale, and that also addresses a few other miscellaneous issues that you sometimes run into with your Copics (such as a sticky tip, or perhaps a drippy marker). I'll link Part 2 here when it is posted. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section, and I'll try to address them here or in the next post.
One question that I know will come up is WHICH scale to purchase. I do not see the exact scale that I am using on Amazon right now, so I hate to try to recommend one without having tried it. I have not paid more than about $12 for one, I don't think, so look for good reviews and reasonable prices. Oh, and don't let ink drip into the area beneath the weighing tray, because it will also find its way into the LCD panel and totally tank the scale. Don't ask me how I know. . .
I hope that this helps! Thank you for stopping by,