List of 8 Best Copic Markers in 2024

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

best copic markers

”Copic” came from the word ”copies.” In 1987, Japanese art supplies store Izumiya developed markers to address designers’ need for non-smearing coloring tools to use with photocopies of their illustrations. The first marker design was known as the ‘Classic,’ which was available in 71 colors.

Nowadays, the brand has created a wide range of markers and hundreds of colors. If you can’t decide which set offers the best Copic markers, start narrowing down your options by looking at these features:

Copic Sets

For beginner artists, I usually recommend exploring their style first using a set of primary colors. If you’re specializing in a specific style or genre, you can purchase Copic markers individually or a set that offers a few colors you need.

For instance, portrait or landscape artists may find a pack of beige and brown markers useful, while comic book illustrators can opt for a Sketching Grays set.

Nibs:

The number of nibs you can try out will vary, depending on whether you own a Ciao, Classic, or Sketch (more on these Copic marker types later).

Standard Fine, Classic Brush, and Standard Broad nibs are exclusive to Classic markers. Meanwhile, Ciao and Sketch pens are compatible with Super Brush and Medium Broad nibs. The Sketch Fine nib is made only for Sketch markers.

Package Inclusions:

Although the majority of Copic sets consist of markers, the brand also combines a handful of these coloring tools with one or two Multiliner pens in certain packs.

I’m sure that most experienced artists have their go-to fineliners. But if you are open to trying new products, I strongly suggest Copic’s Multiliners as they are formulated to resist smearing when you apply alcohol-based markers over them.

3 Premium-Rated Picks

 

Copic I6-Skin Ciao Markers

Quantity: 6

Barrel Shape: Round

Nibs: Super brush & medium broad

 

Copic SB12 Sketch 12 Colors

Quantity: 12

Barrel Shape: Oval

Nibs: Super brush & medium broad

 

Copic Sketch SKSTM6-GRAY

Quantity: 6

Barrel Shape: Oval

Nibs: Markers – Super Brush & Medium Broad; Multiliner – 0.2 mm

Since all the products here come from Copic, the quality of the nibs and inks are more or less the same. Hence, the product review aims to answer, “Who is this set for?”

If you want to learn about Copic marker types, check our buying guide below.

8 Top-rated Copic Markers

1. Copic ‎I6-SKIN Ciao Portrait 6 Colors

  • Colors: E000, E00, E11, E15, E18, and E93
  • Barrel Shape: Round
  • Nibs: Super brush & medium broad
  • Ink capacity: 1.4 ml

Check price on Amazon

Out of all the sets available on the brand’s website, Portrait is one of the best sets of Copic markers to start with. It provides six different shades of earth tones that belong to the same color group.

Practicing with light and deeper shades of brown helped me learn about the tonal range two markers can produce when I was still new to this medium.

Unlike other brands, Ciao Portrait’s color selection captures the human skin tone accurately. To create diverse skin colors, I use lighter tones as a base from where I would build colors using mid- and dark tones.

Apart from that, the pack also comes with a Tea Rose hue, which is apt for lips, cheeks, or eye makeup. Besides portraiture, this set is suitable for sketching and coloring natural landscapes and sepia scenes. Believe it or not, I completed several illustrations without other colors that I got from other Copic sets.

Design-wise, the marker’s slender round barrel is easy to hold and control for both children and adults. As expected from a premium brand, the medium broad and super brush nibs are hardwearing. I find them excellent for shading, calligraphy, and airbrushing. Sadly, I ran out of ink after only a couple of months. Although ink refills are widely available in art supplies shops, I wish I did not have to buy so soon and reload the reservoir frequently.

PROS

  • Helps me learn about the tonal range two markers can produce
  • Color layering captures the human skin tone accurately.
  • Suitable for sketching and coloring natural landscapes and sepia scenes
  • Easy to hold and control for both children and adults
  • Excellent for shading, calligraphy, and airbrushing
  • With hardwearing nibs and Tea Rose hue for lip, cheek, and eye coloring

CONS

  • Ran out of ink after only a couple of months

2. Copic SB12 Sketch 12 Colors

  • Colors: V09, RV11, R08, YR04, Y13, YG03, G17, B14, B29, B39, E09, and 100
  • Barrel Shape: Oval
  • Nibs: Super brush & medium broad
  • Ink capacity: 1.8 ml

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I easily determined the next Copic marker colors to buy based on the illustrations I worked on using this pack. Although it only includes twelve hues, I can blend two or three of them to produce a new color or create a gradient.

Moreover, these colors also allow me to explore different genres. Using cool and warm hues, I can make vibrant landscapes, stylish hand lettering, and quirky cartoon characters.

Compared to Ciao packs, Sketch markers have more ink capacity due to their oval barrels. I can work continuously without having to refill the ink every so often. Also, the designs are comfier for adult hands.

Because Sketch markers can mount on Airbrush accessories, I can use them like spray paint, apply colors to large backgrounds faster, and experiment with different effects. Of course, there is a limit as to what I can do with these markers.

Most of the hues came with a lighter version, but the brown marker didn’t have a light-colored counterpart. Because of that, I cannot create skin tones.

PROS

  • A good jump-off point for those who plan to build a large marker collection
  • Two colors can produce a new color or create a gradient.
  • Make vibrant landscapes, stylish hand lettering, and quirky cartoon characters
  • More ink capacity than Ciao markers
  • Comfier for adult hands
  • Can mount on Airbrush accessories

CONS

  • Cannot create skin tones

3. Copic Sketch SKSTM6-GRAY Sketching Grays 5 Colors + Multiliner SP Set

  • Colors: N0, N2, N4, N6, N8 + Black Multiliner SP pen
  • Barrel Shape: Oval
  • Nibs: Markers – Super Brush & Medium Broad; Multiliner – 0.2 mm
  • Ink capacity: Marker – 1.8 ml; Multiliner – Undisclosed

Check price on Amazon

Ideal for artists who publish multiple copies of their comic books or zines, the Sketching Grays pack offers ample options for light, mid, and dark tones. Thanks to it, I can add depth or establish focal points in my illustrations. At the same time, I can use this set to incorporate highlights and shadows into my multicolored drawings.

By the way, this set gives me two different nib sizes. The pack features a Super Brush and Medium Broad nib, which I can swap with new tips when the old ones wear out. Moreover, I can mount these markers on Copic’s Airbrush System to create gradients. Besides these benefits, I also get a 0.5 mm Multiliner SP pen.

The pen lets me draw crisp black lines to make outlines or write text. Once the ink dries, I can blend my markers without smearing the shapes I made using the SP pen. Also, erasing the pencil markings will not dull the pigments.

Best of all, I can refill the pen and markers when their inks run low. I’m glad to have this option as it helps me save money.

If there’s one thing Copic could improve, it would be the durability of the fineliner tip, which frayed quicker than I liked.

PROS

  • Ideal for artists who publish multiple copies of their comic books or zines
  • Adds depth or establish focal points in illustrations
  • Two different replaceable nibs
  • Compatible with Copic Airbrush system
  • Blend my markers without smearing the shapes I made using the SP pen
  • Refillable ink

CONS

  • Fineliner’s felt tip wears down quickly.

4. KSS Outdoor Asphalt Formula 89A Inline Skate X8 Wheels

  • Colors: Various shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and gray
  • Barrel Shape: Round
  • Nibs: Super Brush & Medium Broad
  • Ink capacity: 1.4 ml

Check price on Amazon

When I ordered these markers, I was worried that some of them would be duplicates or arrived with dried-up inks. But after testing them, I can say each ink color is unique and that they are working fine.

This 72 set of markers costs ten times less than a complete Copic Sketch set. Considering that it has light to dark shades of every hue in the brand’s color groups, I think it’s an affordable investment for artists with advanced skills. I get ample options for portraits, landscapes, wildlife, still life, and other types of illustrations.

One may argue that the Ciao pack is incompatible with the Airbrush System. However, most of my illustrations don’t require it, so I’m not knocking off a star because of that. Besides, the markers’ juicy inks flow very smoothly out of both nibs, helping me render streak-free blends of colors.

I’m happy these coloring tools came with a plastic box. Knowing that I paid a hefty price for a whole set of Copic markers, I have no plans of buying pen organizers anytime soon. The downside is that I received the case with a small crack. To be fair, it’s just a cosmetic issue—the box is still holding up well.

PROS

  • An affordable investment for artists with advanced skills
  • Light to dark shades of every hue in the brand’s color groups
  • Ample options for portraits, landscapes, still life, and other types of illustrations
  • Smooth and streak-free blends of color
  • Came with a plastic box

CONS

  • The case had a small crack.

5. Copic DKRAIN Ciao Rainbow Doodle Kit

  • Colors: Markers – B02, G02, Y00, YR02 and R22; Multiliner Pens – Black & Cobalt
  • Barrel Shape: Round
  • Nibs: Markers – Super Brush & Medium Broad; Multiliners – 0.3 mm
  • Ink capacity: Markers: 1.4 ml; Multiliner – Undisclosed

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A top choice for pastel-colored aesthetics, the Rainbow Doodle Kit includes soft-hued blue, green, yellow, orange, and red markers. In addition to these coloring tools, it also comes with black and cobalt Multiliner pens.

Since I can fit the five markers and two fineliners in my pen case, I would bring them with me when traveling so I can draw whatever is in front of me.

That said, I can think of infinite ways to use these markers besides cute cartoon characters. I also create botanical illustrations, stylized portraits, abstract patterns, hand lettering, and everyday scenes.

Let’s not forget that these Ciao markers have Super Brush and Medium Broad nibs. Because the brush is sensitive to pressure, I can render strokes with varying thickness. Meanwhile, the medium nib is perfect for applying streak-free colors in large areas and drawing straight lines. I would add outlines and details using the Multiliner pens.

However, the fineliners are not the ”SP” variant. This means that these regular Multiliner pens are not refillable and their nibs are not replaceable. But I guess these fineliners help keep the price low.

PROS

  • A top choice for pastel-colored aesthetics, abstract patterns, and more
  • With portable case for traveling
  • Comes with black and cobalt Multiliner pens
  • Variable stroke thickness with two nibs
  • Medium nib for applying colors in large areas and drawing straight lines
  • Add outlines and details using the Multiliner pens

CONS

  • Multiliner pens are not refillable and their nibs are not replaceable.

6. Copic Ciao IB24C 24 Colors Basic

  • Colors: Light pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, gray, black, and some skin tones
  • Barrel Shape: Round
  • Nibs: Super Brush & Medium Broad
  • Ink capacity: 1.4 ml

Check price on Amazon

From what I see, this pack is among the most popular Copic Ciao sets for beginners. Known as the brand’s most affordable yet good quality markers, it makes industry-standard tools more accessible for students and hobbyists who are interested in learning to blend different colors.

At the same time, seasoned artists would find this set apt for creating all kinds of illustrations. In particular, I like that it has a couple of skin tones for my portraiture.

Both warm and cool hues come in a wide range of shades, enabling me to render smoother gradients and make my artwork look more three-dimensional. In effect, my drawings with Copic markers look as if they were done with watercolor.

Kids in my family also enjoy drawing with this pack. Since the ink is non-toxic and the cap contains air holes, I don’t have to worry about my siblings poisoning or injuring themselves while drawing.

Like any Ciao marker, these have chisel and brush nibs for coloring, sketching, and hand-lettering. I’m amazed that the tips can withstand heavy usage. Nevertheless, I can always buy replacements once they inevitably wear down.

The only disadvantage I can think of is that the ink will bleed on regular paper. Buyers should use these markers on sketchbooks and thick drawing pads.

PROS

  • Makes industry-standard tools more accessible for students and hobbyists
  • Has a couple of skin tones
  • Renders smoother gradients and makes artwork look more three-dimensional
  • Non-toxic design with air hole caps
  • Chisel and brush nibs for coloring, sketching, and hand-lettering
  • Long-lasting, replaceable tips

CONS

  • Bleeds on regular paper

7. Copic CSCF-4 Sketch Color Fusion #4

  • Colors: YR20, YR23, and YR27
  • Barrel Shape: Oval
  • Nibs: Super Brush & Medium Broad
  • Ink capacity: 1.8 ml

Check price on Amazon

On the brand’s website, the Color Fusion series is touted as a set to help first-time marker users refine their shading, layering, and blending skills. Though Copic sells other monochromatic sets with twice as many shades, using this trio allows me to focus on practicing instead of wasting time choosing which colors to use.

Some folks prefer this 3-marker set over the six-marker Ciao option. Though the Fusion pack has fewer pens, it is compatible with the “Sketch Fine” nibs and the AirBrush System. If I decide to collect more markers or accessories in the future, I will not have a problem using this product.

Where ergonomics is concerned, Sketch’s iconic oval barrels give me better grip and control. At the same time, the design prevents the marker from sliding off the table.

The one I got comes with Yellowish Shade, Yellow Ochre, and Tuscan Orange colors. I chose them specifically because they are appropriate for portraiture and sepia-style illustrations.

Honestly, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this set other than the fact that coloring and sketching with three colors can feel limiting and boring at times. It just makes me want to buy more markers because the quality is so good.

PROS

  • Help first-timers refine their blending skills
  • Compatible with the “Sketch Fine” nibs and the AirBrush System
  • Better grip and control with the oval barrel
  • The design prevents the marker from sliding off the table.
  • Appropriate for portraiture and sepia-style illustrations

CONS

  • Coloring and sketching with three colors can feel limiting and boring at times.

8. Copic CMCI30STBS Ciao 12 Colors

  • Colors: BV08, V09, RV04, R29, YR07, Y06, YG06, G17, BG09, B29, E29, and 100
  • Barrel Shape: Round
  • Nibs: Super Brush & Medium Broad
  • Ink capacity: 1.4 ml

Check price on Amazon

I’m sure my readers are now wondering why I would feature two 12-marker sets. For those who didn’t notice, this one consists of Ciao markers while the previous one included Sketch markers. Between the two packs, Copic Ciao allows me to experience Copic’s best features without breaking the bank.

Ciao and Sketch markers’ nibs are made of the same durable materials. In particular, I find the brush nib very easy to control because it is firm yet flexible. Meanwhile, the chisel nib comes in handy for layering and drawing thick and thin lines.

All I have to do is hold the marker at a different angle and refine the widths. Nevertheless, both nibs glide across the paper continuously and layer colors smoothly.

This set contains the same ink formula as any other Copic marker, albeit in different colors. It gives me vivid blendable inks that enable me to mix different hues to create a new one. The ink’s smell is hardly noticeable, so I can color without pinching my nose from time to time.

Unfortunately, Ciao markers run out of ink faster than their Sketch or Classic counterparts. Apart from that, this Basic set has two dark violets that look similar to each other. Since it’s advertised as a starter kit, I wish the hues were more diverse.

PROS

  • Experience Copic’s best features without breaking the bank
  • The brush nib is very easy to control.
  • The chisel nib comes in handy for layering and drawing thick and thin lines.
  • Glides and renders colors smoothly
  • Mixable ink with little to no odor

CONS

  • Markers run out of ink faster than their Sketch or Classic counterparts.
  • Has two dark violets that look similar to each other

Frequently Asked Questions

copic classic-markers 

1. Marker type

In the review, we only featured Sketch and Ciao sets. But keep in mind that Copic has two other marker types: Classic and Wide. Here are their key features and the kind of artists each one is intended for:

Classic

Since the ”Classic” were the first-ever alcohol-based Copic markers, many artists also call them the ”Original.” During its launch decades ago, the manufacturer initially released 71 hues, but this number has expanded to 214 colors.

Sporting a squarish barrel and dual tips, Copic Classic markers contain 2.5 ml of ink in each pen, which is a lot more than what Sketch and Ciao markers can contain. According to the brand’s website, this line of products is apt for architectural or graphic design.

Sketch

A favorite among creatives in the fine art, illustration, crafts, and design industries, the Copic Sketch pens offer all 358 hues that the brand has, but their most distinguishing feature is the oval-shaped barrel. Each marker contains about 1.8 ml of ink and is refillable.

Ciao

Copic Ciao markers are marketed toward novices and students. While they are not super cheap, their price point is a bit more affordable than Classic and Sketch pens. Each slender barrel contains only 1.4 ml of ink and comes in 180 colors.

Wide

Designed for coloring large surfaces, the ‘Wide’ marker is equipped with a 21 mm nib. Note that products under this category are sold with empty barrels. In other words, you need to buy your choice of Copic Ink Refills.

2. Artist’s skill level

Getting a full set of Copic markers as the first purchase is not practical for people who are new to the medium and are yet to develop their style. You might end up having a couple of those markers dried up before you even get to use them.

The best way to train yourself to blend is to start with two to three markers that are several tones apart in the color chart. At this stage, you might even discover your preferred hues. You can purchase new colors once your skills improve.

3. Compatibility with other Copic Accessories

Another reason why Sketch and Classic markers are more expensive than Ciao is that the two have wider nib options.

Also, their barrels can mount on Airbrush cans and adaptors. That said, these upgrades may not be necessary if your style mostly involves the use of the brush and chisel nibs. Still, it is something to think about when buying a set.

4. Ink capacity

If you use the markers heavily, you will notice the difference in Copic Sketch, Classic, and Ciao’s ink capacities. One bottle contains 12 ml of ink, which can refill a Ciao marker 9 times, a Sketch 7 times, and a Classic 5 times.

When working on a tight deadline, pausing to reload your marker can cause delays. But if you’re not using these tools often, you may not experience such a problem with Ciao markers.

5. Ergonomics

It’s easy to tell each Copic markers pack apart, since their barrels are different. For children, experts recommend getting Ciao markers mainly because the round, slender barrels are intended for small hands.

Most adults prefer Classic and Sketch designs as they encourage better grip for coloring. Of course, these are generalizations. Ultimately, the goal is to choose a design that feels comfortable for you.

Conclusion

With so many sets to choose from, deciding which Copic markers to buy first can be overwhelming for both novice and experienced illustrators and designers of all ages.

But the brand thoughtfully curated the best Copic markers in different lines to cater to specific skill levels or needs. Hopefully, you can choose one that is suitable for your preferences using the product reviews I put together.

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