Copic Markers and Pony colors
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By andypriceart   |   Watch
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Published: October 19, 2013
I get a LOT of questions regarding what colors I use where when it comes to the ponies, and I keep saying I'm gonna make a little guide. Well, let's give it a shot.

For the majority of my covers, I use Copic markers to color. Copics are light-fast, alcohol markers... not unlike a classic school marker, but higher quality. I prefer Copic over other brands primarily for a few reasons: Variable tips (markers, fine, brush, etc), better blending, and they can be refilled! This is the BIG selling point to me... this means you can buy the marker once, and continue to refill. It also means you can custom blend colors should you desire. Copics also guarantee that if you buy Y00 yellow, and then buy another down the line, the colors will match. I've bought the same marker color from other brands and had them not match. I will use other brands here and there for very specific colors or effects, but Copic is 99% of my marker work.

So... when I do a cover or whatever, I do basic ink lines first with a Faber Castell PITT pen... a black sharpline pen with India ink. Basically I make a simple coloring book page. No mistakes allowed here... one can't effectively marker on top of white-out. Let it sit and cure about 30 minutes to avoid streaking and smearing. Also, use them carefully- do not do heavy hatching and blacks here,  Then color, then do final full inks with brush and india ink. I can't put markers on top of my full, brushed inks- markers will smear it.

My choice of papers vary, but for the most part I use Strathmore 80 lb Recycled paper (400 series, green cover). For large pieces I use illustration board.

These are the BASIC colors I generally use for the basic pony palette. By NO MEANS am I saying these are the only choices or correct or whatever... use what looks good to you. I will say this, however- I strongly suggest working with paler colors first, then progressing to darker/bolder colors. You can always darken with markers, you can't really lighten. Watercolor theory.
Copics are designated by a letter and number system as well as a color name, but I'm going to give the letter/number here. 

You'll also notice a lot of colors are shared among the girls. This is to match as close as I can to Hasbro's PMS Colors, as they share a lot of colors on the show, too. AJ's hair is same as Fluttershy's body, etc. You'll notice that cutie marks tend to match eye color, too (not a hard rule)

Twilight Sparkle-
Main body: v01
Mane: B34 (I often use Prismacolor Brittany Blue here, not found a copic quite the same color)
Mane striping:  V04 and RV06
Eyes- V04 at darkest with paler highlights , such as V01
Cutie Mark: RV06

Applejack- (also known as My Favorite of the mane 6 ;)
Main Body: Y35
Mane: Y00 (with R17 bands)
Eyes: yG06 with paler highlights such as YG01
Hat: E33
Cutie Mark: R17 and YG06

Main: C0 (Rarity is NOT a white pony- she is GRAY. Pale, but gray. In contrast, Shining Armor is white. Observe her eyes against her coat)
Mane, top: BV13
Mane, under: V15
Eyeshadow: B00
Eyes: B24 at darkest, fading to B01
Cutie Mark: B01

Main Body: Y00
Mane: R00
Eyes: BG 45 at darkest, with paler highlights such as BG23
Cutie Mark: R00 (with BG45 butterfly body- it's so small for me I generally just make it black lines)

Pinkie Pie-
Main Body: R00
Mane: RV06
Cutie mark: B01 and Y00 (again, the balloon strings are so small, just black lines here... otherwise, same colors)
Eyes: B24 at darkest, fading to B01

Rainbow Dash... so many damn colors...
Main Body: B000
Mane: here we go... top to bottom, R17, Y38, Y00, YG06, B24, V15. Tail is same, just reversed direction.
Cutie Mark: R17, Y00, B24 
Eyes: RV09 with paler highlights such as R23

Celestia- (again, NOT a white pony. Believe it or not, she's pink. But, extremely pale pink, so... )
Main Body: I leave her primarily white... but I take R000 and "trim" her edges, using it for pale shading to give her pink highlights... observe cover #5 to get an idea
mane: tricky... it fades out, so it's multiple colors. Generally, I use B00, YG11, BV00, and R00 for the pale areas, and darken as I go up by applying layers of the same colors to make it richer. At the top, I use darker versions or the same colors... generally B01 (I go as dark as b24), YG03, BV02, R10 (or as dark as R23)
Cutie Mark: Y00, Y11, y35
Eyes: RV06 at darkest, fading to R10
Armor: Base color of Y00, and golden shading as appropriate... I sometimes go into oranges or browns, but I also like Y26 and Y28. Don't forget her V04 stones!

Luna ( also known as Best pony overall!)
Mane body: B95
mane: B24 (sometimes I use B18) with B00 highlights (on the show, her mane is a diaphanous fog... it's clear at the edges. I draw it more as hair... easier on me!)
Cutie Mark: Black
Eyes: BG49 fading to BG 23
Armor: B01 trim on black

main Body: V12 (Just a tiny bit off from Twilight)
Crest and Dorsal spines: VG06
Belly plates: VG11
Head fins: Vg01
Eyes: VG06 fading to VG01

All the crew have orange(!) tongues, I use YR 15, and R39 for mouth interior.

Derpy, Vinyl, Chrysalis, yada yada yada will have to come at another date, but this is our Starring cast. Again, notice that a majority of colors repeat... gives them a unified palette and this is pretty accurate to the show guidelines in my guidebook. Also makes it easier to block in same colors at same time ;)

Copics are available at Hobby Lobby and Michael's, some colors you may have to order as they carry limited range. But, play with 'em... takes some getting used to. Remember to keep them wet, dryer markers equal more streaking and blotching (not bad for effects, lousy for smooth coverage.)

As always with the ponies... HAVE FUN DAMMIT. ;) 

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BasicRowan's avatar
BasicRowanHobbyist Traditional Artist
My sister asked me if I would draw the ponies as zombies for my nephews. This guide has basically been my shopping list at the local art supply store. Thanks for putting this up for everyone to use. :) 
supernatural55555's avatar
tysm i've suffered trying to find the right colors 
do you have vinyl's yet i really need those it would help a ton c:
AnjMirage's avatar
AnjMirageHobbyist General Artist
unfortunately copic markers are not light fast. 
SkyPainter28's avatar
SkyPainter28Hobbyist Digital Artist
MAH GIRD, this is so helpful! Thank you!
Evilness321's avatar
I know this post is a year old, but I just discovered that Copic B99 Agate works perfectly for the dark blue of Twilight Sparkle's mane and tail color :nod: I've been using this post as a helpful reference since I don't have exactly the same colors you do but same products of Copic and Prismacolor. It's been a great help for me to figure out which is closest to work with what I have, thanks for sharing this! 
cyransgoodies's avatar
Are you still going to write down the colors you use for the other ponies? When ever you can that would be awesome!
DJ-Pinkie's avatar
Do you have a favorite place to purchase these?
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
Hobby Lobby and Michael's both carry them, as far as national chains go. Online, I use primarily
AlluringDreams's avatar
AlluringDreamsStudent Traditional Artist
Well I gave the color set for Fluttershy a try (Thank you favorite pony for being the fewest colors). I have to say I'm pretty satisfied, though I'm still not sure about the Strathmore paper. Maybe I just lack control, as apparent from the inking I do with Fabers, but it seemed like the colors creeped. The slight offwhite of the paper also makes the paler colors more spot on, though I might try with the Georgia Pacific Cardstock that I use to see the difference more.
I'm heading out to Blicks to pick up a few more things tomorrow, but I don't suppose I could sliiiiightly squeeze Chrysalis's colors from you before then? Hehe, sorry for insistence, keep being awesome Andy.
DJ-Pinkie's avatar
GREAT HOOGLY-BOOGLY! 300 dollars!?! Must be worth the money!
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
Yeah, they make my wallet hurt every time I buy one! that's why I really recommend getting a small set or a few singles first to play with before making such a monetary leap. They are excellent, but not cheap!
buckweiser's avatar
buckweiserHobbyist Digital Artist
I use alcohol-based markers as well (albeit not Copics - they don't seem to be available here in my country). Any tips on using them on surfaces like Strathmore paper or illustration board?
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
I like the Recycled Strathmore, as it seems to be a little less thirsty- it allows for blending a little better, stays wet a little longer without excess bleeding. With bristol or Illustration board, remember that the markers have to be very fresh and wet- the dryer they are, the more they will streak. The advantage with Copics is that the refills allow you to do that. However, with other brands, you can also "Re-activate" markers using alcohol... ideally, if you have a syringe, you can inject a few drops through the nib.

With any markers, I tend to use a bit of a circular or back and forth motion, so that I overlap each stroke a little- helps blend stroke to stroke and eliminate streaking. 

You can also do blending, smearing, and other effects with alcohol. Try some on the head of a cotton swab and see what you think
buckweiser's avatar
buckweiserHobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the advice.
For the longest time I've been either using tracing paper as my medium, or been mixing media for the same effect. I'll try my hand at a wholly-marker colored piece sometime.
AnimationTyme's avatar
Copics are great for blending colors. And you can push the ink around. Using blender one can impart fabric patterns to the colored ink.

For Copic newbies, Be sure outline ink works with Copic pens or the black ink will smear and/or become fuzzy. Experiment with different inks.  (To test, let the color flow over the ink line and interact to see if ink line becomes fuzzy. Don't move the pen over the ink line.)

For those pranksters out there, You can have a lot of fun with the caps on the pens. Just swap the caps on your friends pens since the color number are on the cap and most of the time no one looks at the body of the pen to see if caps match up. (Just make sure you have wiped your finger prints off the pens. Hmmm. I may have a tiny evil streak in me after all.)

P.S. Well, No Christmas card for Andy from the makers of Prismacolor pencils. lol.

P.S.S. And Andy spelled R-a-r-i-t-y wrong for best pony. heh heh.
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
I love Prismacolor pencils, but I don't use them much anymore... much more time consuming. I still use them for effects and details, etc, in my bigger pieces. You can also blend Prismacolor pencils with your marker work (or other pencils) with a marker or alcohol :)

ShadowDancerBrony's avatar
Well this starts and settles an argument.
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
AnimationTyme's avatar
Well...there goes the rumor Andy can read minds!
Aerialift's avatar
AerialiftHobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much for this guide!

It will definitely be bookmarked for future reference when I try my hand at using Copics!
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
They take some getting used to, but they're fun to use :)
DJ-Pinkie's avatar
This is a stupid question, but here goes. Do you use the original, sketch, or the ciao copic markers? I am really considering buying some of these because of this guide, Thanks!
andypriceart's avatar
andypriceartProfessional Traditional Artist
I use Sketch, which have a chisel end, and a brush end... both of which I utilize. The big chunky square ones (which I think are the original) have a chisel and fine tip... They aren't the most comfortable things to hold, but the fine tip is nice.
RapidoStar's avatar
RapidoStarHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the wonderful advice, and it's nice to see my working process matches yours pretty well. I find I can hobble together a few close enoughs from Prismacolor markers to make whatever drawing I like, though I'm not under the gun to reproduce the original show color palate.

As far as paper choices, I love Strathmore bristol for markers, but I find that a lot of illustration board is too absorbent and bleeds when using markers, though other liquid media seems to do okay. Do you have a preferred brand of board?
anonymous's avatar
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