There are 3 main markers: Classic, Sketch and Ciao. All refillable with different nib options.

CLASSIC:  A Classic marker comes with a chisel and fine point nib. It has the most options for replacing nibs. 

SKETCH: A Sketch marker comes with a chisel and brush nib. It has fewer nib replacement options. Recently Copic added a 4th "fine point" nib replacement option (not on diagram)

CIAO: Comes with a brush nib and chisel nib (just like the SKETCH)

The  chisel nib is probably best for handstyles. The brush nibs are good for fills and blending and the fine nib is good for outlines.  

It is important to know what features you will be using before buying. The brush nibs are most popular but you will have to buy them separately if buying the Copic Classic.  (there is also in limited availability the "Copic Anniversary", this has a combination of a brush and fine nib, this is a good combination because you can outline with the fine nib and fill with the brush)

You can also buy empty Classic or Sketch markers, using empty markers you can chose from the 358 colors available through ink refills. The Ciao only comes in 180 colors. All Copic markers follow a color labeling system. The system is a great feature because using the digits you can decide which colors will blend most naturally.

Matching the middle number will allow colors to blend evenly. Although Copic goes into greater detail about how you can use the system here: https://imaginationinternationalinc.com/copic/101/copic-color-theory/

Overall, if you are willing to spend the money, comic has pretty much every feature known to markers, For more information on available products check their website here: https://imaginationinternationalinc.com/copic/101/

NIBS: 4/5





2. performance

Copic markers are renowned for their performance. They are commonly used as a benchmark for alcohol markers. It is difficult to get consistent reviews on markers because most people overlook the most influential variable: PAPER.

Paper will influence the performance just as much as the markers. With that said, you want to a smooth and thick paper for alcohol markers (check links below for recomended paper). Smooth means its easier to blend but too smooth and the ink will smudge. Thick so it doesn't bleed (bleed means the ink spreading on paper). Copic markers are notable for little bleed and great blending , you can see them here compared to Spectrum Noir alcohol markers.

Both fine point nibs and lines were drawn with same pressure and speed

No streaks with coloring and perfect blend

When blending colors, the blender is something to consider. Blenders are just something that helps you spread the ink. The copic blender is basically 77% Ethyl Alcohol (EtOH) its the same stuff you drink (hopefully not at that concentration!)  Its good to apply the blender BEFORE you start coloring. This will help with blending. The blender will also make everything wet and cause a bleed. There are other blenders on the market which have different levels of alcohol (you could even use tequila or vodka for this) and are much cheaper. The Copic blender is actually very weak compared to other brands alcohol blender and you can usually buy regular EtOH much cheaper. (Check links below for other brand blenders)

The nibs on the copics wear out over time but this is true for any brand of marker, the brush nib is especially vulnerable to being worn out if you color in on rough surfaces or with uneven motions. Usually its better to erase the pencil or only apply over light lines (once you ink over the pencil you will NOT be able to erase the lines)... But the markers are great at not smudging and they also dry very fast.

Overall, there is nothing but good things to say about Copic marker performance. They set the standard and this is very evident since almost every marker review uses them for comparison. There is also a plethora of Copic knock off's you can buy from China as well as counterfeit (Be careful when they are too cheap)

NIBS: 5/5






This is where Copic markers suffer BUT you have to think about the true cost. They are very durable (1 pen covers about 10 pages) and you are paying for quality. You also have the option of replacing ink which can bring the cost down significantly (1 refill pack refills marker 9 times)

Shopping around is nececessary but you must also consider HOW you are going to use these. You most likely want to use them for blending colors and fills. Considering this, buying sets which don't have the same color family or saturation numbers is not wise.  Buying them piece by piece can get difficult due to availability. You may think you can just buy a refill for the ink and save money BUT this is dependent on how fast you wear them out. The nibs wear out too and also need to be replaced, so If the marker takes you years to wear out: you are better off buying a fresh one instead of using refills/replacements. The Ciaos are an attractive choice especially if you are not worried about replacing nibs or extensive color availability.

NIBS: 3/5




In the USA check Oozak, Blicks and also watch Ebay (but possible counterfeits) . Michaels also has coupons periodically that give you up to 40% off.

Joe Karizmo purchases Ciaos in a London, UK art strore for £18.95 pack of 5 grey (deal) or £3.75 per marker

Ptoons purchases the classics about $7 Euro per pen, usually at Art stores or Ebay auctions, 



Sketch, best option for blending (colors conveniently selected in the pack):

Ciao (cheaper but harder to get a set that has blending colors):

Recommended paper:

Recommended blenders:

LAST UPDATED 11/11/2017