Hey everyone, Elaineabella here with this week’s Marker Geek Monday post!
Today we’re following on from the last few weeks and my Copic Marker Basics Part 1, Copic Marker Basics Part 2, and Copic Marker Basics Part 3 posts. I hope you’re finding this series of posts useful. This week, in the final post of this series, we’re going to look at some general tips and miscellaneous info that didn’t fit into the previous posts.
Copic Marker Basics:
Over the past few weeks we have covered the differences between the available styles of Copic marker, choosing markers, storing them, the purpose of the Colourless Blender, choosing paper and refilling/maintaining your markers. If you’ve only just joined us, here are the links for the previous three posts in this mini-series:
Today we’re going to cover some miscellaneous info and tips to wrap things up for this series!
Copic Marker FAQ:
There are some questions I get asked frequently regarding Copic Markers, so here they are in a handy list:
- My marker is “blobbing” ink on my work when I colour, how do I fix it? There are a couple of reasons this could be happening. Your marker may be overfilled (see Copic Marker Basics Part 3 for refilling info) or there may have been a change in air pressure within the barrel of the marker due to weather changes or travel. There’s a simple fix: remove the caps from both ends of the marker and let it sit for a few minutes. If the nib still appears very wet, you may also want to scribble any excess ink off on to a piece of scrap paper. TIP: If you have recently refilled your markers, or know that some of them have a tendency to “blob”, keep an eye on the nib while colouring – if it appears to be super juicy and laying down more ink than normal, follow the above advice. This might help prevent your work being ruined by one of those inconvenient splodges!
- How do I know when I need to refill my markers? When they start to sound really squeaky while colouring, that’s a hint! If your colouring is getting a little streaky and tough to blend, look at the brush nib – if parts of it are looking dry then it is definitely time to refill! You want the whole nib to look a little shiny.
- Do you ever use the chisel nib? YES! I often see people complaining that they find the chisel nib useless, and that they would rather have a fine tip (which, it turns out you will be able to with the new nib style available for Sketch markers). I’m always a little surprised, as I often use the chisel nib! It comes in handy when trying to lay down larger areas of colour, quickly. It also comes in handy for using the markers to colour ribbon – I only ever keep white and black ribbons on hand, and use my markers to colour the white ribbon to coordinate with my projects. I probably use the chisel nib far more than I would a fine nib, as I find the brush nib perfect for getting into small spaces. One marker it is nice to have a fine bullet nib for in particular though, is the Colourless Blender, for creating spots and texture.
- What ink is best for stamping and colouring with Copics? With Copics and any other alcohol based markers you will need to use an ink that does not react with the alcohol, causing smearing. Solvent based inks like Stazon are a no-go as the alcohol will react with solvent base and smear, staining your Copic nib into the bargain. For a long time I used Memento Tuxedo Black ink, because it works perfectly with alcohol based markers like Copics. The stamped impression on the other hand, tends not to be as dark and crisp as I would like. More recently I have found that MFT Hybrid Ink in Black Licorice works beautifully, giving both a beautiful crisp black impression and playing nicely with the markers.
My advice would be to test what you have – pigment based inks will either need to be left to dry overnight or heat set to ensure they are completely dry before colouring. Hybrid inks that combine pigment and dye inks are often fast drying, drying with the properties of a dye – all manufacturers may not be of the same quality though, so do test for yourself. NOTE: results with inks may also vary according to the paper used, so be aware that what works perfectly for one person may not yield exactly the same results for you – always test for yourself!
Copic Markers and Other Media:
I love mixing up my supplies when creating, especially in mixed media projects like art journaling. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to use Copic Markers as a base, and most other things over the top, or at least I take care not to colour over certain things with my markers.
- Copics & Coloured Pencil: I love using coloured pencil over the top of Copic colouring to enhance details and/or to fix mistakes! Using coloured pencil can be a great way to correct problems such as sticky/blotchy/shiny patches where a problematic marker has made a mess, or you have simply over-worked it. Wax-based Prismacolor pencils or Caran D’ache Luminance pencils are particularly good for this as they have a high opacity. What you don’t want to do is colour over pencil colouring using Copic Markers! The alcohol based ink will break down the binder and start to clog the nib.
- Copics & Acrylic Paint: using Copic Markers over acrylic paint is likely to clog up your nibs quickly unless you are using a very quick, light touch and not going back and forth over any particular area. If you try to layer colour on top of the paint, it will reactivate and acrylic paint will get into the pores on the nib, clogging them so that the ink can’t flow through. If they aren’t overly clogged, you may be able to rescue your nibs using the cleaning methods described in Copic Marker Basics Part 3, but you may need to replace the nib altogether. Copics don’t work wonderfully underneath acrylic paint either – if you lay down Copic ink and then paint over with acrylic paint, you can see that the die reactivates over time and bleeds through. If you’re using a white acrylic paint to create small highlights, this doesn’t seem to be a problem, probably because the amount of paint is minimal, but when painting larger areas the problem is quite noticeable!
- Copics & Watercolour: again, usually I would use the watercolour over the Copics, or if colouring a watercolour background I would simply be careful to avoid colouring over the area with my markers. Thin, dry layers of watercolour aren’t likely to damage your marker nibs as far as I am aware, except for maybe some staining. Sparkly or metallic paints containing mica might present more of a problem, or possibly watercolours that dry with a more chalky texture.
- Copics & Pastels/Chalks: these are likely to make a mess of your nib, so stick to using them after your markers!
For the most part, the effects that you can achieve by using the abovementioned media over or around your Copic colouring are greater or more desirable than the effects you might get the other way round, so as a general rule that would be the way to go.
With all that said, as long as you are aware of the potential issues and are prepared for some marker maintenance/nib replacement – use your markers however you like. If you want to experiment and see how they play with a light acrylic wash, over different types and brands of coloured pencil, or with watercolours – go for it. After all, one of the major pros of Copics is the fact that the nibs are cleanable and replaceable. TIP: if you do choose to experiment, keep some scrap paper nearby and scribble on it periodically. You may also want to give your nibs a quick swirl in some cleaning solution (see Copic Marker Basics Part 3 for info on cleaning).
Copics and Clear Embossing Powder:
I don’t tend to do a lot of heat embossing these days, and I’ve never used it to protect stamped outlines from smearing with Copics as I have my favourite go to inks that work perfectly. Sandie did a fab Stamp It Saturday tutorial using clear embossing powder recently though, so I thought I would mention it!
I would say that in general, the notes and general rule of thumb above for various media would apply to using Copics with embossing powders. Coloured embossing powders do not play nicely with Copics because the alcohol interacts with the pigments, eating away at the embossing and smearing it (and getting it on the nib). Clear embossing powder on the other hand does not have any pigment and does not seem to react in the same way.
Clear embossing powders should be safe to use with Copic markers. Many people use them to seal stamp outlines before colouring when using a Copic incompatible ink such as Versafine.
As with any media – TEST – to make sure that the clear embossing powder you use behaves well with Copics!
If you would like to take a look at how I colour using Copic Markers, you can watch some of my colouring videos in the playlist below or over on my YouTube channel.
Over To You!
If you have any Copic tips please share! Especially if you have a great way to store the markers and refills. Let’s talk colour!
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Until next time, HAPPY COLOURING!