Question for Copic/Blick marker users

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dalgoda7's avatar
Hi guys, I've been thinking about getting some basic Copic or Blick markers to do some flat color on the black and white ink sketch cards I've been doing..

For those of you who use markers on your ink work, is it better to color *after* the inking is done, or color over the pencils and *then* ink?

I'm hoping that they work well over existing ink, as that'd be easiest for me at my novice coloring level... but I'd love to hear techniques or suggestions, thanks!
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WhiteSpireStudios's avatar
I use Copics after inking with Micron pens. I highly recommend this combo. Copics are alcohol based so water won't make them bleed, not to mention that Copic markers are refillable. I buy ink refills from Otakufuel on ebay. The refill bottles can completely refill a marker up to 10 times! They only cost about $5-6 per refill bottle as compared to about $8 per new marker. That is a huge money and trash saver! The only issues I've sometimes run into is with ink smudging or getting on the marker tips. That only happens when the ink isn't fully dry on the paper or if the marker is getting too dry so it starts is absorb rather than laydown color. One thing to note, that not many people discuss, is the Copic Colorless blender. The name is rather misleading as it doesn't assist with blending colors. It is is basically rubbing alcohol so it pushes Copic ink around. I use it like an eraser or to clean the marker tips off if colors mix. I personally use the sketch style Copics as they have a nice brush tip. It feels like painting and provides control over thin to thick strokes. You can do plenty more customization with Copic markers and inks but I digress. If you use the Copics with your inking pens properly they will work very nicely together. If you have any question feel free to reach out. I hope this helps with the information you seek.
dalgoda7's avatar
Thanks a lot!  I mainly ink with a brush (using Ultradraw pen ink for xtra blackness), and so far the Prismacolor markers I got seem to work decently.

I unfortunately bought chisel-tips at first - the brush tips are way better for finer work.  But I picked up a whole range of colors in the brush tip recently for next time I give this a try.
WhiteSpireStudios's avatar
That's pretty sweet! Prismacolor is a pretty solid brand. I used to have a color set and a grey set but I struggled to get them to bend smoothly. My lack of experience might have been to blame for that though. lol! :D
goemonsama's avatar
I tried to get into the whole Copic thing, but they do not cooperate with the waterproof ink I use. In fact, I don't think they work with anything but certain Japanese non-waterproof inks and pigma ink technical pens.  They are also really difficult to use, you have to work crazy fast and use tiny circular motions for large areas or they will make noticeable streaks. There's cool stuff you can do with shading, though. Shading while it's drying and after it's dry produces different results. I never got any good results with the blender, but maybe I didn't use it right. Oh and there's some weird thing with the number of the marker... Like, the number of the color determines how well it will blend with another color or something... I can't wrap my head around it, honestly.  I feel bad, I have this like $100 set of Copics I got for my birthday from my parents ages ago and haven't touched them since.... I'd donate them to you if I could :(
dalgoda7's avatar
Thanks - the things you mention are some of the things that make me a little scared to dip my toes in the color world (I'm usually pure b&w).

But I picked up a set of 24 prismacolor (cheaper than copic) markers from Dick Blick at a reasonable price, and when they get here I'll give 'em a try :)
JadineR's avatar
I've tried the color over pencils once or twice with my Copics, but it's not something I recommend doing it unless the lead you use doesn't smudge easily.  Unless you meant COLOR pencils (XD), in which case they'll work just fine. You might have to go over the finished product once again, but that's same issue as with inks :)

But yes, it's perfectly all right to color after inking. Never used Blick before but with Copics, waterproof and/or Indian inks work best. Use any other ink and you'll smudge the pic when you're coloring. Copics are "watery" enough, so you can imagine how that horror would look!

You can also blend and shade in different styles: either let the flat color dry and then shade (which makes for a nice cel-effect depending on paper quality) or lay down the flat and then either quickly shade with the second color, or blend it with the Blender. The former works well with "light-colored" markers like skin tone ones and the latter works mostly with the rest. This is if you want a slight painterly effect.

I highly recommend getting the Blender in your first buy, most of all. It's really nice to have for effects. Also recommend--if you're on a tight budget-- getting the Ciao kind of Copics. They're cheaper and while they don't have as many colors as Sketch or Normal ones, they still work fantastic. But Ciao and Sketch work good in unison too.

I babbled, yeesh. I'm not a pro at this by any means yet, but figured I'd chime in with my two cents! :D Hope it helps a bit?
dalgoda7's avatar
Thank you, it totally does!   It's not so much a budget thing, more like I don't want to lay down a bunch of cash if I try out coloring again and decide that it's not for me. ;)

Last time I tried doing color sketch cards, I used acrylic paints, and then laid the ink down on top afterwards.  Not horrible, but not great - plus, the acrylic is a lot thicker and difficult to deal with.  :)

Thanks again!   I think I may just try flat color at first, then maybe layer shade on if I'm feeling brave.
BillMcKay's avatar
I've gone back and forth on this. Now I always ink first and color second. I do then go back over the bold holding outlines again afterward to re darken them. Eyes and eyelashes also. Blick markers are OK for flat color but invest in the Copics if you are interested in shading and blending. They are worth the extra money and cheaper in the long run if you use them often.
dalgoda7's avatar
Thanks for answering!  Re-darkening areas after the fact sounds a lot easier/neater than trying to ink over already-colored pencils - at least for me.

I'm glad to hear that the marker color isn't too opaque over ink.

I think for starters, I might just pick up a cheap pack of basic Blick colors while I'm experimenting (I haven't colored seriously in a *long* time).  If I find it fun/effective I might invest in the Copics.  :)
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