Friday, March 13, 2015

HELP! What copics to buy!? Copic 101 - advises and help

Hi you guys :3 !
I recently did a youtube video on my copic marker collection, in which I also gave some advises on what copic to get. Yet I really wanted to go into dept with it and really explain what markers to get!
Even though there is various blogs, videos and so on about this - it's always different advises you will get. I will try to remain as neutral as possible, and provide you with facts rather than opinions.

Lets get to it!

First of: what kind of copics should I get? Does it even have to be copics!?

NO! there is tons of marker brands out there you can choose from. It's a matter of preference, availability, prices, quality and much more. Even design matter because it is a tool you're bound to hold in your hand for hours.
So what brands are there out there?

My first marker brand was Letraset promarker. That is a marker produced in UK which is why it's quite easy for an european to get his/hers hand on.
The promarker comes in a variety of sets.
Letraset's promaker design:
-The design of the promarker is fairly larger than your sketch/ciao marker.
-It has a diameter of 12 mm.
-It comes with two ends: a fine nib tip and a broad nip tip.
-This one is not refill able.
-The price is way cheaper than a copic: it costs 2,50£ on the official website, which is $4
- The promarker comes in 148 colors:
 -You can buy a nip to place on the end of the fine tip to make an even finer tip

Letraset doesn't just make promarkers, if you like a brush nib they've created "flexmarkers" which is a dobble ended marker like promarker, but instead of the fine tip, it has a brush nib.

- The design is similar to the promarker
- The marker is slightly thinner than the promarker
-  The marker comes in 148 colors

Leatraset has also created fineliners, tria markers, aqua markers and much more.
I only have knowledge about the flex and promarker, and the fineliners.
They have created a great guide for you to help choose which one of their markers would suit you best:

Of course there is many more markers out there on the market.
Spectrum noir is also a brand I've heard about but never tried. They have a variety of markers to choose from too.

For those of you whom live in USA "prisma markers" is a great choice for you, as they are manufactured in America and should be easy to get a hold on. These are slightly harder to find in Europe.

Faber Castell has also created markers, some especially for manga drawing
They're called pitt artist:
As Faber castell is a german company they should be easy to come around in europe, but since Faber castell is quite famous and is wide know it should be fairly easy to find in any country.

Another marker manufacture which is seen quite a lot in Denmark is Uni.psoca. I have no knowledge on this marker, other than it's water based:

Touch Twin markers, which is from korea, is another rising popular brand.
It comes in both "regular" with a fine and a broad nip, but also in brush/broad tip.
They have a variety of colors too, and this is the brand that you see Mark Crilley use.
I haven't tried them myself, but I get the impression that they are as good as copics.

The last marker brand that I will introduce you to as an alternative to copic markers is "Stylefilemarkers". They're half price of copic but are just as good. They're fairly new on the market and I actually only know myself as owner of these. They're incredible!
Their blend ability and compatibility with copics are smooth. I own SET A (main set) of the regular kind, which sadly does not have a brush tip. Even so they're really easy and good to work with. The colors a rich. They might be a bit hard to come by since it's new. It should however be easy to get a grib on here in europe as it is a german brand.

Then why the big uproar on copics?
To be honest I'm not sure why copics are so incredible popular. The reason could be that they're used by famous mangaka in Japan, it's a Japanese brand specifically made for Manga illustrations. It's not like they're loved for nothing, because Copic is a great marker brand. They're pricey but they're worth every single coin. The markers comes in 4 different types: Wide, Ciao, Sketch and regular.
Every marker is built for refilling so that you don't have to throw out the marker just because it's empty. It does even count in the cheaper one, ciao. Copic also allow you to modify your marker as you please. If you want to switch out either nib, you can. They're replaceable, and not just of the same kind, you can even switch out your broad nib for a fine one if that's what you want. It creates endless possibilities.
Another great aspect is that the marker is made for mixing colors. The company even encourage you to mix and match colors, to make them lighter, darker or just a whole new color.
You can buy empty marker cases and mix however you want.
The sketch is the marker which comes in the  most color, 358 different kinds.

Too. Which is the company, has also created an airbrush system, so that you can use your markers to airbrush color on to paper.
As said: the possibilities are huge.

So which type to choose?

Copic sketch, which I dare say is the most popular (haven't researched it :P), comes in the most colors. The design of the marker is an oval form, making it quite pleasant to have a grib on. The body of the marker is grey and each end it's lid is colored in the particular color that marker is, supplemented with the color code and the name of the color.
This marker can be used with the airbrush system too. The nibs can be replaced with three different kind of nibs: Medium broad nib, super brush nib and medium round nib. It has as standard the super brush nib and medium broad nib.
In one refill case, the copic sketch can be refilled approximately  12 times.
The cheapest I have found this type is 5.99£ on ebay. I belive it's quite cheaper in USA.
Bear in mind that these are made in Japan, which means they will be more expensive if you don't buy them in Japan. And they're even more expensive in Europe because of our tax system.

Copic ciao is very similar to the sketch. It also has the broad and the super brush nib. The body of the ciao is round, which cause the marker to easily roll on your table. The design of the ciao is a grey body, but instead of semi colored lid, the whole lid on each end is colored in the particular color, with no information on the name or color code, that you have to see on the body of the color. That is an advantaged when you have them on your table, ready to be used, but quite annoying when they're stored. There is a quick solution for this:
This is an economical marker, where the ink container is quite smaller than the sketch. The refill bottle can refill the ciao can be refilled approximately 15 times.
The ciao comes in 180 colors and have two nibs options which is the two standard that it comes with. You can't use the ciao for the airbrush system.
This one costs 2,99£ on ebay as the cheapest from a UK seller.
Bear in mind that these are made in Japan, which means they will be more expensive if you don't buy them in Japan. And they're even more expensive in Europe because of our tax system.

Copic wide is a marker made for coloring larger surfaces. I haven't personally tried this one. The design of the wide marker is a rather short but wide marker, with only one nib end. The body of the marker is grey, the lid and the end of the body contains color informations. The standard nib on this one is 3/4 wide nib, but can be changed into a broad callicraphy nib or an extra broad nib. The wide marker comes in 36 and can be refilled approximately 7 times, which mean the ink container is quite large. The price is the same as the sketch as the cheapest on Bear in mind that these are made in Japan, which means they will be more expensive if you don't buy them in Japan. And they're even more expensive in Europe because of our tax system.

Copic regular or original marker is the one of the markers that can be modified the most. It comes with a fine nib tip and a broad nib. It can however be changed into 7 other nibs: Brush nib, semi broad nib, soft broad nib, super fine nib, calligraphy 3 mm nib and  calligraphy 5 mm nib.
The ink container is larger than the sketch marker, and can be refilled from a refill bottle approximately 9 times. The design of the regular marker is a square body in grey. The lid's ends are colored in the particular color and has written color number and name. This marker comes in 214 colors and is compatible with the air brush system. The cheapest found on ebay is 5.99£ which is the same price as the sketch. Bear in mind that these are made in Japan, which means they will be more expensive if you don't buy them in Japan. And they're even more expensive in Europe because of our tax system.

All types of markers can be bought in sets.
The Regular can be bought in 12-sets of different kinds and 72-sets in Europe.
These are the available set in Europe:
The variety of sets is quite broader in the American supplier
It might be possible for an european to find some of the sets on online stores.

The sketch can be bought in 12-set, one 24-set, one 36-set and five 72-sets in Europe.
Here is the available sets in europe:
As the regular type, the sketch is found in quite larger variety in the US

The ciao can be bought in 12-sets, 24-sets, 36-sets, 72-sets and also sets called "5+1",
The 5+1 sets are sets which comes with 5 different copic markers and 1 fineliner in size 0.3.
These are the available in Europe:
And these are the available in USA

The wide marker can be bought only in sets which comes with refillers which contains 12 wides and 12 refillers.

Refillers does not have any official refiller sets.

So what sets to buy...?
I realize that just listing them doesn't make the decision any easier. And if you're new to copic markers it's even more confusing.
First of all: Decide WHAT type you want. Are you even sure you want to use markers?
So if you haven't "passed this stage" I would recommend buying some single cioa markers.
And what kinds to get depends on what you want to draw and how much money you're willing to spend.

ALSO You need to know a bit about the color system.
The copic colors are build up this way:
Letter = The color family - like yellow, green etc.
Number = Shade and tone
The number system works this way: from a (0000)1-9, regardless if its from 11-19 or 41-49, this range indicate the tone.
That means: from 21-29 it's one tone range where 21 is the lightest in the range and 29 is the darkest.
When you start at 30, a new range start.
THAT MEANS the ranges work undependable of each other.

For instance: E0000-E09 goes from being a peachy skin color to a bright brownish red, where E11 is the start of the 10-19 range (there is no number E10 yet)
From E11-E19 it's more of a brown to reddish brown.
Does it make sense?

Let's take a new range:
From E50 to E59 we go from a yellow-ish skin tone to a dark brown. And at E70-E79 the color range goes from a grey-ish/violet-ish bright brown to a darker brown with little red in.

You have to think in tones. I will list my color theory tones, that I have discovered:
E000-E09: Peachy to Red range
E11-E19: Warm skin tone colors. Ranging from a combination of darker peach with some yellow in to a dark brown with slight red and yellow in it.
E21-E29: Similar to E11-E19 but with more yellow in it.
E30-E39: A sandy color range
E40-E49: Very little red in this brown. Gives a brownish stony feeling (like Dessert stones)
E50-E59: A yellowish range
E70-E79: A cold brown color, seemingly violet'ish and grey.
E81-E89: A greeny brown range
E93-E99: A Orangy range

Think of it this way: If you only had base colors, and wanted to recreate these colors, what base colors would you need?
This goes for Blue violets, Violets, Reds, Greens, yellows, blue and all the other color ranges too.
Be aware that the color on computer vary from the real life colors. These discoveries has been made while I studied the real life colors.

I would recommend either ciao or sketch because of their brush nib.

I will list some options for you:
MIXED MEDIA skin options
1)  Want to color with watercolor and shade with markers? Get a darker skin tone (like E51, E53, E00, E21 or E11) to shade your watercolor base. If you want two tones for shading: E51+E51 or E00+E11 or E00+E21 or E21+E11. (It's by choice I listed E21 first. This is lighter than E11)

2) Want to shade with colored pencils and use markers as a base? Get ligther skin tones (like E50, E51, E0000, E000, E00, E11 or E21)

MIXED MEDIA Hair options
1) Watercolor: same princip as skin.
       - Light brown hair: E23, E35, E44, E74
       - Blond hair: E33, E43, E53, E55
       - Reddish brown hair: E17, E18, E37, E57 E59
       - Dark brown: E47, E49, E59, E77, E79, E89
If you want crazy hair colors study the ranges. For shading don't go too low, as the shading will become dull.
2) Colored pencils: Same princip as skin
   - Light brown: E13, E23, E33, E43, E55, E74
   - Blond hair: E30, E31, E40, E41, E42, E50, E51
   - Reddish brown: E15, E23, E25, E37, E47, E57
   - Dark brown: E17, E25, E47, E57, E74, E77

Be aware that having similar skin tones to hair tones might make the colors seem odd. Try not to use same colors with both skin and hair.

If you want to draw in pure markers, these are same good skin color ranges:
-E000, E00, E01
-E000, E00, E11
-E000, E00, E21
-E00, E21, E11
-E50, E51, E53
-E50, E51, E21
-E50, E51, E11
-E50, E00, E21
-E50, E00, E11

And some haircolors:
-E50, E51, E53
-E30, E31, E33
-E42, E43, E44
-E71, E74, E77

You can mix and match across the tone ranges if you want to.
There is endless possibilites with the colors. Try and look at the color wheel for more help:

The American copic supplier offers great material, free to print!

I want to buy a set
So if you have the money to buy a set, definitely buy one! I regret not starting off by buying a set and build it from there.
I don't know what copic where thinking when they listed the set's color. It's really a mess xD
The european suppliers have been nice and organize it a bit for us though!
This is set A, an example.

I will however make it even easier for you guys, and make a VERY organized view of ciao set A and B and Sketch set A, B , C, D and E

For the ciao: Either A or B is good starters. However if I were to pick, I would recommend set A because of the greys.

For the Sketch: set B is very popular among those whom start with copic, and I can see why with the range of skin tones. Set B would difenitly be a good starter, however Sketch set D has a fine selection as well. If you use a lot of grey tones in your art, choose set C.

I hope this helped some of you!