Updated on 6/30/2010 to add my Copic Class sets
Up to now I've avoided making marker color suggestions very often because color is a personal choice. As long as you like a color and have different values of the same color, you should be able to shade effectively. All of that to say, this is not the "Holy Grail" list of Copic colors! When I'm working at home, I don't choose from only 72 colors. However, for class purposes, I chose colors that would work with the images that I could foresee using in classes--flowers, greenery, skin and hair tones, etc. I also chose some warm and cool grays. If I'm lucky, both of my sets of 36 will be on the same table. If the tables are smaller, each set still contains at least three of a given hue and should be workable.
Please note that a few of the color combinations do not follow the normal rules. For example, I've paired G21 with YG63 and YG67 because there was a not a YG61 available when I ordered my class sets. (There IS a YG61 now, and I use it a LOT.) I chose YR18 to be the shadow color for my YR65 and YR68 three-some: it's darker and it works. With YG01 and YG03 , I chose YG17 as a shadow--personal preference for it over YG05-09 because it has more yellow in it. I hope this helps some of you who are looking for new color suggestions! (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)
Can you help me choose Copic markers?
Hmmm--I can offer suggestions, but really, you need to choose in the end. First, you need to decide whether to get the Original, Sketch or the Ciao line. The Original and Sketch lines are airbrush compatible. If you do not intend to use an airbrush with them, you may consider the Ciao line, which is the least expensive. The Original and Sketch markers come in over 300 colors, while the Ciao's come in 144 colors. However, ink refills (also called Copic Various Inks) are interchangeable between all of the lines. They also work great for alcohol ink techniques such as polished stone also, by the way.
The Originals have a wide chisel tip and a harder, bullet tip. If you color really tiny images, you may prefer these. The Sketch and Ciao lines have a wide chisel tip and a softer brush tip. You have to be more careful and use a lighter touch to stay inside tiny outlines with these, but I personally prefer them for blending. Again, though, it's all about how YOU will use them.
Now, on choosing colors: I find that I use the lighter shades more than the darker ones as a general rule. I love to get smooth transitions in value with my Copic markers, so I prefer getting my markers in sets of three (or even four) shades. If you were ordering twelve markers to start with, I would pick four of my favorite colors, and then make sure that I have three values of each of those colors. So if you like a deep red, for example, you might like an R27 or R29. I'd also get an R24 (same family, lighter value), and perhaps an R21. That way you would have the ability to blend from light to dark. If you prefer coloring only flat images, then it might be better to have more colors and fewer values.
Finally, there is a wealth of technical Copic Marker information on Marianne Walker's blog (Copic Product Specialist), and I would highly recommend that you start there and educate yourself before you make a big decision. Hope this helps!
Do I need to store my Copic Markers on their sides?
Per Copic, it is not necessary to store your markers in the sides. Store them in any position that works well for you. The markers are airtight, assuming you have put the caps on well, and pressure should equalize from one end to the other rapidly. I would caution you that if you carry your markers on an airplane, you should probably open the marker very carefully, preferably opening both ends a bit, in order to let the pressure equalize. Otherwise you might get a drip from the pressure.
The Spica Glitter pens, however, should be stored on their sides, according to Marianne. Otherwise the glass flakes can accumulate at one end, align, and clog.
Do I need to order refills when I order markers?
I would consider ordering a refill on the clear blender when you order it, but otherwise, the ink last for quite a while, depending upon how much you color, obviously. My first two refills, other than clear blender, were on a pale aqua blue and a pale yellow since I often use these colors around the image that I'm coloring.
Help! I refilled a Copic marker and now it leaks! Did I ruin it?
Relax! Copic markers and very resilient: yours is probably just overfilled. Let a little ink leach out onto an absorbent paper, and it should be good agian in no time.
What cardstock or paper should I use with my Copic markers?
Now, if you're simply asking what I usually use, I most often use X-Press It Blending card. I also sometimes use PaperTrey Ink's Stamper's Select White, or Neenah Solar White or Natural White (through Ellen Hutson). I have tried some of GinaK's heaviest white cardstock and really liked that too.
My biggest problem has been finding cream colored cardstock that I really like with my Copic markers. Both Flourishes and Stamping Bella (both online stamp companies) carry a nice Copic-compatible cream cardstock now--whew!
What ink should I use with my Copic markers?
My personal preference is Tsukineko's Memento, though you can use many water-based (but not solvent-based) inks. I have also used Ranger Adirondack black and brown, as well as Brilliance occasionally IF I heat-set it. What I like about the Memento is that I can stamp and immediately color--no drying time needed. Marianne has a very informative post on ink-testing here.
What are your favorite Copic colors? (See picture toward the top of the post; it trumps this list.)
Pink: warm light to cooler shadows
R11, RV11, RV34
E31, E55, E57
YG91, YG93, YG95
YG 61, YG63, YG67
Blue-Violets for Flowers
Cooler pinks to Dark Red
Pale green to dark green for leaves/plants
YG11-YG03-YG93-G99 I realize that these are very different in their clarity to gray scale, but I tend to use the lightest green as a base, the next two as midtones, and the darkest sparingly for my deep shadows.
I also love YG61-YG63-YG67 for realistic plant greens.
Warm Pink to Coral
YR31 or Y21-YR24
- Fresh Greens
YG11, YG13, YG17 or YG01, YG03, YG17
- Muted Teals
BG70, BG72, BG75, BG78