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Copics – Where to Start??


Hi Everyone!

I get a lot of questions about Copic markers, so I thought I would make a post. I am no where near an expert, but I have been through the “getting started” process. I know how overwhelming it can be with the seemingly millions of available color combinations!!

Caio or Sketch
Sketch is more expense but contains more ink. There are more colors available in the Sketch line and they are easier to find. And I know this sounds dumb, but they are not round, so they don’t roll around the table. Maybe trivial, but a nice feature. I have been buying all Sketch.

If you scroll down a little bit on this article by Sharon Harnist, she explains all the different marker types. She also has some great information on blending families.

What Colors?
I would go with 2-3 shades of each of these colors:


I started with pinks, greens, yellows, and blues because I use those colors more often. I added purples, browns, reds and oranges later. But, your order of purchase really just depends on what you think you would use the most.

Also important to get is the colorless blender (0). It allows you to remove color. To be more economical, you can use this to supplement just 2 shades of a color, removing color from the lighter shade to create an even lighter shade.

Which Markers?
Rather than repeat what has been written on other sites, I’m just going to point you to a few that I found very helpful….

The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the numbering system. Don’t worry – it’s actually pretty straightforward. I used a great tutorial by Mariane Walker on her I Like Markers blog. The general idea is to go down 2 (for lighter) or up 2 (for darker).

Because I use a lot of Stampin’ Up! inks and papers, I decided to match my first set with the Stampin’ Up! colors as much as I could. So, I used a good article on the PaperCanoes blog site. The only problem with this site is that it’s pretty old and doesn’t have all the latest colors. Someone recently pointed me to a more recent one at Joyful Creations with Kim.

Someone pointed me to a good site with lots of tutorials and a nice color starter list, which I used for my second batch of markers. It is authored by Suzanne Dean and you can find it HERE.

Another great way of figuring out what colors you like best is to just peruse the blogs out there for copic coloring. Most people will list the exact markers they used. If you click on “copic markers” in my tag cloud to the right (or just search the term), all my cards with copics will come up. Some of my early cards may not list the actual numbers, so don’t hestitate to email me if you need to know.

I refer to my go-to colors on the My Favorite Things page.

Where to Buy?
I have found them at conventions and locally at Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby doesn’t have a very big selection of colors, so your best bet is really online. I purchase them online at Blitsy and also at Ellen Hutson.

What About the Paper?
I start using Papertrey Ink white cardstock because that’s what I happened to have on hand when I bought my first set. It worked well enough, but I have since moved on to Neenah Solar White cardstock. I buy it at Ellen Hutson because it’s pretty cheap if you buy it in bulk – 250 sheets! They also sell it in smaller packages if you want to try it out first.

One thing I will say, and hate to say… Stampin’ Up! paper doesn’t work very well with Copics. The paper is so great at absorbing color that it absorbs it too fast for blending!

Ink for the Stamp
Most of the time you will be coloring a stamp. The best ink to use is Memento… I use Tuxedo Black and Cocoa Brown. This ink will not bleed as you apply the Copic colors.

For more information, see my Copic Markers 101 video!



  1. wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Eveline van Heijst

    Really helpful. I have only 7 copic markers so far but plan to get more.

  2. wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Peggy K

    THANK YOU!!! I was always hesitant to start down the Copic path because I just wasn’t sure which ones to get. You’ve given me enough info to make some decisions and to make some purchases. Thank you so much!!

  3. wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 3:44 pm


    I got lucky my hubby bought me 17 Copics for Mothers Days and he later bought me the new colors. I only need one more color because its Always out of stock lol My suggestion would be to add a few Grays whether you like the warm or the cool tones. I have the warm grays and find I use them allot on animals and use the darker tone as black sometimes.
    I also used the I like markers blog as well with Thinking Inking.
    Easiest way to start using Copics is to pick your fave colors and add on from there. Darlene’s tutorials are Fantastic!!!!!

  4. wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 5:03 pm


    I enjoyed reading your post about Copics. I’m one of those people who just started building my collection. I wasn’t going to do it… had just bought the big set of Prismacolor pencils to use with OMS which I still love, but I ended up starting on the Copics, too. I did what you did… LOTS of research on the internet reading the articles you suggested and all that I could find. So, far I’ve only bought at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupons so it’s been slow but I did start with a couple of their sets and added to those. I just checked Carpediemstore.com and found other places online that were about the same pricing. I’m definitely not looking forward to the price increase on August 1 so hope to get some other colors ordered that Hobby Lobby doesn’t carry before the price increase hits.

  5. wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 10:53 pm


    Great information on Copics… tks for the links. I buy most of my copics at DickBlick art materials (www.dickblick)or at Marco Paper (www.marcopaper.com). Tks for sharing!

  6. wrote on July 22nd, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Embossing Queen

    Thanks for the post. I use the Copic Ciao because they were how I was first introduced to Copics and because the price point is a bit cheaper. I currently have 64 of them in my collection, I thought I would only need the basics until I started colouring more. The more you colour, you realize you need more colours and shades of these colours. I also find the greys quite useful, and they are good for colouring black hair.

  7. wrote on July 23rd, 2011 at 2:22 am


    Thanks, Darlene! I e-mailed you last week, and I so appreciate you posting this info. I did start with three greens and three shades of lavender. I had a coupon for Michaels, so they were 20% off. I have also found them at Flourishes. They sell them in shade sets and they seem to be a good price. I am new at this, but they were much cheaper than full price at Michaels. Thanks again. I always learn so much with your weekly tutorials.

  8. wrote on July 23rd, 2011 at 10:06 am


    Thank you so much! I was just considering contacting you for a list of colors. Just starting to play with copics, and received my first six based on some of you recent videos. Btw my five year old daughter and I love your videos. Great inspiration and tutorials


  9. wrote on July 23rd, 2011 at 4:12 pm


    I started out buying a set of Ciao Copics at a scrapbooking expo. It sufficed in the beginning until I became hooked on Copic coloring. I started supplementing my set with additional colors in Sketch and now buy only the Sketch. I am now buying the various refills in order to replenish my most used markers. Your videos are great and I have learned so much by watching. I have never been more pleased with my coloring… Hooray for Copics!

  10. wrote on July 29th, 2011 at 11:13 pm


    Thank you soooo much for this!! I just started doing research on whether or not to buy copics. I am always admiring your use of Copics so I went through your posts and wrote down every copic color that you used. I figured if you did so well using those colors, that would be a good place for me to start. I really enjoy your blog posts! Look forward to them every week.

  11. wrote on August 12th, 2011 at 6:56 am


    Thanks Darlene! I was in NY for vacation and I was able to go to a Michael’s and get my first set of Copics…yeah!

  12. wrote on October 18th, 2011 at 10:28 pm


    I love the cards that you make. It has helped me become a little more creative. My question to you is that what is the difference between copic markers and stampinup markers?

    • wrote on October 20th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      @Gina – Stampin’ Up! markers contain water-based dye ink, and Copic markers contain alcohol-based dye ink. Stampin’ Up! markers can be used to color a rubber-based stamp and stamp the image on paper, while Copics cannot do this. Copics are made to shade and blend, while SU markers cannot do this as well. So, they are very different products. However, I will be posting a card in the next couple of weeks that shows how to use Stampin’ Up! markers in a way that blends and appears to be Copic markers!!! I’m really excited about this, so stay tuned!!

  13. wrote on November 17th, 2011 at 7:58 am


    Thank you so much for the information. I’m just starting out with copic markers and all this info is a plus.
    Ter 😉

  14. wrote on April 18th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Pam Perkins Zirbel

    Hey Darlene!! Great tutorial on Copic Markers. Yeah, I have looked on line and ended up with Blick mag at my house. My next huge purchase is to get a 72 marker set. I have a few ‘peoplish’ stamps and love coloring faces and such. I have only an OLLDD set of Whisper markers,but the light pink is just about gone!! Dang! I so cannot wait to get these markers. I have seen others’ use other markers and it is fine. I have 3 copics and love the soft way they go on the paper. Def need to get the colorless one. But thanks so much for your feedback on markers…that was a huge help!!

    Craft on…..Pam

  15. wrote on September 9th, 2012 at 1:42 pm


    je suis en france ou je peut trouvez des marqueurs copic
    merci de ta reponse
    amitiée raymonde

  16. wrote on March 11th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Anna Jernigan

    Well, now, I appreciate a down-to-earth tutorial, or helpful hints about Copics. I didn’t know even understand that they came in two types, and pretty much shied away from them. Hey, I have my Distress Ink Markers (pricey BIG pack), and more recently I just purchased Derwent Inktense Pencils (love them). However, a treasured friend mailed me some Copics, just a random assortment that she found were duplicates, or too hard to open (we have arthritis, so…nuff said). I went to Jennifer Mcguire’s site. (easily found on-line). If you “search” Copics, she goes into some great detail, with pictures, and color-charts, and while no-one suggests purchasing the entire pack..(in fact, like you said…most will encourage you to purchase some “color families”.) Just thought I would mention Jen’s site for yet another area to get the low-down on Copics. Jen also says she isn’t a Copic coloring “master” but she gives the reader some really good solid info about the markers. Darlene, I enjoyed your Copic “get started” tutorial, and am going on to your next topic under the Copic heading. TFS.

  17. wrote on May 10th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Ana Paula Cavalari

    Thank you for the tips, were precious to me. I have also seen and enjoyed your tutorials. Thank you.

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