Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back to Basics

Every time I take my Copics with me to a crop, or give someone a hand colored card, I get many comments about how hard it must be to use Copics or how expensive it is to get started.  Neither of these statements is necessarily true.  Today I want to share how you too can try out coloring with Copics with just a little practice and not very much money.

First, you do need a few supplies.  You will need a few markers, some appropriate cardstock, a stamp and some ink.  First off, you will need heavy weight smooth cardstock to stamp or print your stamp on.  My personal favorite is X-Press it followed closely by Neenah papers.  Both of these can be found via the internet and both are relatively expensive if you are just starting out.  For a beginner who is just trying out coloring, it is possible to get a more reasonably priced paper at both Wal-Mart and Target to try coloring with. Wal-Mart generally carries Georgia Pacific cardstock.  Target will usually carry Wassau cardstock.  Both are approximately $6 a pack.  They do have a tendency to bleed when coloring, but for trying out, they work perfectly fine.  And, if you decide Copics aren't for you, they make excellent cardstock for matting pictures or cutting titles.

You also need to choose a stamp.  You will need an open stamp which leaves an area for coloring.  I chose a really inexpensive stamp in generic flowers.  If you are stamping your image, you need a good ink like Memento dye in by Tsukineki which will not bleed when coloring. I like their Tuxedo black for a nice clean stamp. You can also print a digi stamp onto the paper and use that for coloring.

You will also need some markers.  Copic markers are expensive.  However, most big box stores do carry them now and will occasionally run art supplies on sale.  They also allow the use of coupons.  You need at least 2 markers in a blending family in order to shade.  However, three or even four provide the best blending and shading.  Copics come in a variety of types of markers.  Sketch markers have a flat barrel and with both a chisel and brush tip nib.  These tend to be the most popular type of copic marker.  Ciao markers have a round barrel and both of these markers are refillable.  Sketch markers come in approximately 358 colors.  Ciao markers come in approximately 144 colors.  In my photo below, you will notice that I use a mix of both sketch and ciao markers with no problems.  For more information on the markers themselves as well as other resource information, check out the Copic website resource page at  For my project, I chose 6 markers.  I have chosen R81/83/85 for my pink flowers and YG 91/95/99 for the leaves.

I highly suggest going to You Tube to watch a few coloring videos before starting your first project.  It will give you a much better understanding of the concept of blending and shading if you do so.  Another suggestion is to make yourself a “sun” from a transparency to help visualize where the shadows are. In my photo below is the one I made when I first began coloring.

I like to lay down a light layer of my lightest color marker, then add my deepest color in the deep shadows.  Next I blend out with my midtone color.  Lastly, I blend overall with my lightest color again.  There are, however, many ways to blend, so it is definitely helpful to watch a number of videos.

Here is a look at my finished coloring.  With only 6 markers you can complete an entire image like this one.

When I am done coloring, I use most of my images on cards or scrapbook pages.  Here is a look at the card I made with this particular image.

So, now that you have seen how easy it can be to color with Copics, why do you give it a try!


  1. Great tutorial Renee! I am happy to say that I just placed an order that will complete my Copic collection with the exception of the Ns and the fluorescents. Now I'd better get to colorin'!

  2. That was great! I appreciate you sharing your talents and the suggestions on YouTubeing for blending and the "sun" for shading are awesome! Definitely going to try this! Thanks Renee!

  3. Thanks for the lesson as you made it seem so simple, but growing up I was the kid who never colored inside the lines. lol



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