Welcome back! I have a LOT of pictures and information to share tonight. I'm hoping that it gives you confidence to perform basic maintenance on your Copic Markers. It's simple, truly!
On THIS POST I showed you how to fill a Copic Sketch marker with Copic Various Ink if you are using the jeweler's scale method. I like the scale method, but it certainly isn't necessary to purchase a scale in order to (1) KNOW when your markers are dry, or (2) REFILL your markers.
How do I know when my marker is dry? The marker above is definitely in need of some TLC!
- If your marker, especially the Medium Broad/Chisel tip, is not coloring solidly, it is probably dry.
- If your Super Brush nib is not blending well or if it is streaking, it may be dry.
- If your marker is noisy--sometimes squeaky, and sometimes just louder than usual as you move it across your paper--it may be starting to get dry.
- If the Super Brush tip is lighter in value than the rest of the Super Brush after you color for a couple of minutes, chances are, you need to re-ink that marker.
How much ink do I need to add to fill my Copic Sketch Marker? Well, that depends upon how dry your marker is!
- The general rule of thumb is to add 1-1/2 to 2cc's of Various Ink to a dry marker.
- Check the number markings on the side of your 25cc. Various Ink bottle, making note of how many cc's of ink you have before inking, and check it again while you ink and after you ink to see how much ink you have added. The YG23 Various Ink bottle above is at 23cc. My YG23 Sketch marker is clearly dry. So I would expect to use about 2cc's of ink to fill the dry marker. (Honestly, I usually refill my markers long before they need 2cc's of ink--a juicy marker is a happy marker!)
- Perhaps this doesn't need to be said, but always CHECK and then DOUBLE-CHECK to be sure that you are using the same color of Various Ink as your marker color. I have picked up the wrong color by accident before. . . twice!
How do I get the ink into the marker? There are actually several options.
In my first post, I showed you what I think is simplest, and that is dripping ink onto the larger side of the chisel tip. I wanted to show you two other ways as well, because we all have different preferences.
- If you wish, you can pull out the chisel tip (with either your Copic Nib Tweezer, or even with clean fingers--non-oily and non-lotioned) IF you don't object to stained fingers.
- Next you merely drip ink into the marker reservoir. If you give it a big squeeze, you will probably have a cascade of ink down your hand. You need to add ink s-l-o-w-l-y enough that it can soak into the reservoir.
- You should always take BOTH CAPS OFF to re-ink your marker. Otherwise you will create an airlock, and the ink will not want to soak into the reservoir.
- From the markings on the side of the Various Ink bottle, you can see that I used about 2cc's of ink to fill this very dry marker.
How about that transformation? Easy-peasy, right?
Way 3: The Copic Booster Needle--yes, that is one BIG needle!
- For both Sketch and Ciao markers, you need to remove the chisel tip before inserting the needle into the marker reservoir. The Booster Needle, or Refill Booster, comes with a safety sheath; keep it and replace it on the needle after you use and clean the needle. Be wise: if you have a house full of small children, try using the drip methods instead!
How do I use the Refill Booster?
- Insert the Refill Booster into the marker reservoir and give it a gentle squeeze until you have added enough ink (again, generally 1-1/2 to 2cc. for a dry marker).
- Occasionally when I have a VERY dry Super Brush, I will have ink start to drip out of the bottom of my marker before I have added 1-1/2 to 2cc's. If a marker tip is very dry, you may have a bit of shrinkage. As the tip absorbs ink, it will swell again to fill the entire space. (I first noticed this when I put a new Super Brush into a marker and thought that it was too small; but within a minute or so, it was the perfect size, as ink flowed from the reservoir into the new Super Brush tip.) So if you have added only 1cc of ink to a very dry marker and experience dripage, give it a minute to absorb that ink and swell back up to full-size instead of letting ink drip straight through your marker.
- Pull the needle out when the marker reservoir is full, and replace the chisel nib.
- Before you put the Refill Booster Needle away, clean it with either rubbing alcohol or Colorless Blender, and then replace the protective cap.
That's it--refilling a marker is NOT difficult! And changing a nib? So easy. . . You've already seen how to remove a nib with the Copic Nib Tweezer. That's half the job done. Instead of putting the same nib back into the marker, slide a new one in. Yes, it's THAT easy!
Finally, just a few miscellaneous tips.
- While it is simple enough to remove a chisel tip even if you don't have a toothed Copic Nib Tweezer, you will find that removing a Super Brush without damaging it is a job best accomplished with the Nib Tweezer. If you tug on that Super Brush with your fingers or a non-toothed tweezer, you can very easily break the outer felt loose from the inner felt, resulting in either the outer felt coming completely off, or in the outer felt becoming very "bendy" and not bouncing back to its shape after being used. Of course, if you are replacing a damaged tip, I suppose it doesn't really matter if you pull it apart in the process--as long as you have a replacement handy!
- Rule of thumb: any time you need to add ink, add it to the chisel tip rather than the Super Brush.
When might you need to take the Super Brush out?
- Sometimes you may want to insert a different tip, like the Medium Round #4, a stiffer nib than the Super Brush.
- Usually when I remove a Super Brush, it is because my brush tip is not working right. That can be because I have let it get into a substance that clogs the nib (such a chalks), or even merely because I have used a marker quite a bit and have had it uncapped for long enough that ink particles are dried on my nib, resulting in a sticky nib. (But the sticky nib is what I most often need to remove a nib for.)
- When you remove the Super Brush, grip the nib firmly with the Copic Nib Tweezer and pull straight out. You want to grip firmly enough to catch both the inner and out felt layers.
- A sticky nib can usually be remedied by cleaning the dried ink off of the nib. The safest way to accomplish that is to remove the Super Brush nib and to clean it in Copic Colorless Blender. I usually put a few drops of Colorless Blender into a sandwich bag, drop my sticky tip into that bag and squeeze (almost like finger-kneading) the offending tip. Then I pull it out of the bag and squeeze it in a paper towel to get the Colorless Blender out before reinserting it into my marker. Reinsertion requires a good, firm push to get it far enough in. Nine times out of ten, this little process will rescue a misbehaving nib for me.
- I've said this once before, but a FULL marker is a happy marker! A juicy marker is less likely to sustain damage to a tip than a dry one. So do yourself a favor and keep those markers well-inked!
- Drippy Nibs: occasionally I have a marker that drips--usually when I'm almost finished with something, of course! A drippy marker is normally just an OVER-FILLED marker. First, try removing BOTH caps, and coloring with both caps off for a while. Since there is one reservoir feeding ink to both end of the marker, a slight overfill can usually be remedied this way. If a marker is very over-filled, you may actually have to scribble some excess ink out. (I usually use my chisel tip for that since it applies ink more quickly.)
- Rarely I have a marker than seems to dry out more quickly than all of the rest of my markers, in spite of being treated the same way. Usually that means that either I did not put the cap on well (listen for that snap!) -OR- I have reversed the caps. Edited to add: A third, but VERY RARE possibility is a cracked cap. I have seen only two of these in ten years.
- Theoretically all caps in a line (like Sketch markers) are the same size and are totally interchangeable, so that you can put an R24 cap on either end of the R24 marker, and it's absolutely fine that way. Once in a blue moon though, I run across a marker that seems to have a looser cap on one end. Most of the time, if I just switch caps (putting the cap I had on the Super Brush end on the Chisel end, and vice-versa), it helps my drying problem.
There--I think I've told you almost everything I know! I hope that you find these tips helpful and not overwhelming. Your Copic Markers are a quality tool that can last a lifetime, given proper care. Again, ask in the comments section if you have questions, and I will try to answer, or try to find an answer if I don't know it.
Thanks for stopping by,