Prismacolor vs Copic Markers: Which is a Better Choice?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll


prismacolor vs copic markers

Prismacolor vs Copic markers is a popular debate among artists. Which one is best for your project? In this blog post, we will compare the two types of markers and help you decide which one is right for you.

Prismacolor markers are well-known for their precise colors and consistent performance. They are also widely available, making them an excellent option for budget-conscious artists. Copics, on the other hand, last longer and carry more color options. However, they are more expensive than Prismacolor markers.

Read on for more details!

Copic vs Prismacolor – An Overview


Prismacolor is an art supplies brand founded in 1983. It carries professional pencils, markers, pastels, and more. Today, it is owned and manufactured by Newell Brands.

Copic, founded a bit later than Prismacolor, is also an arts-related brand. It offers high-quality alcohol-based markers made by the Too Corporation in Tokyo. As of 2023, it is 36 years old.

Here is a short summary of the two brand’s markers:

Prismacolor Markers Copic Markers
Variety – Illustration markers
– Art markers
– Copic Classic markers
– Copic Sketch markers
– Copic Ciao markers
– Copic Wide markers
Tips – Fine tips
– Chisel tips
– Brush tips
– Dual tips
– Fine tips
– Medium broad tips
– Brush tips
– Dual tips
Colors 5 – 156 shades
Color themed sets
3 to 358 colors for Copic markers full set
Blending – Rely on a blender marker
– Can show overlapping lines
– Can be used without a blender marker
– Will not show overlapping lines
Lifespan – Not as long as Copics Longer than Prismacolor because:
– Ink is refillable.
– Nibs are replaceable.
Availability – Online and offline
– Much easier to find
– Online
– More difficult to find
Price – $2.5 per marker
– More affordable upfront
– $3.5 per marker
– More expensive upfront

Prisma Markers vs Copics – a Detailed Look

Prismacolor sells alcohol-based markers like Copic, but the two brand’s products are different in many ways. Let’s dive into these alcohol markers comparison now!

1. Variety (Tips, Barrels, & Colors)

There are two options with Prismacolor: illustration markers and art markers. They each have various tips, barrel shapes, and colors.


  • Prismacolor Illustration Markers – You can find these in fine tips, chisel tips, and brush tips. They are available in black or assorted colors of 4, 5, or 8 markers. They have thin barrels, which are additionally rounded for comfortable gripping.
  • Prismacolor Art Markers – These are equipped with dual tips. You can choose a fine and chisel tip, or a fine and brush tip.

The former comes in sets of 10 to 158 assorted colors. They are large and rounded, so you do not have to worry about fatigue setting in, even after using them for a long time. As for the Prismacolor brush markers and fine markers, they are available in sets of 12 to 156.

Copic has three product lines that you can choose from: Copic Classic, Copic Sketch, and Copic Ciao. They all have distinct tips, barrel shapes, and numbers of color options.


  • Copic Classic Markers – These have fine tips and broad tips and come in 214 different colors. They are designed with a square barrel, so you do not have to worry about them rolling all over your workspace.
  • Copic Sketch Markers – You get 144 more colors with these medium broad and brush markers (a total of 358 colors). Their barrels are oval, which makes gripping comfortable.
  • Copic Ciao Markers – These share the same tip types as Copic Sketch markers. They have the fewest color options, but you still get a whopping selection of 180. Design-wise, they are the smallest at 12 x 12 x 150 mm.

They are easy to handle like other Copic markers. However, the drawback is that they roll over more easily.

In addition, the brand has a specialist graphic marker called Copic Wide. It features a 21 mm nib with sharp edges, so you can color in large spaces while also making clean, thin lines and adding intricate details.

It is shorter, making it slightly awkward to hold. But this is something that is easy to get used to.

2. Blending


Both Prismacolor and Copic markers can be used for blending, but the latter gets the job done better. You do not need to rely on a separate blender marker when working with Copics. Instead, you can use them directly.

Besides not having to switch back and forth between markers, you will not have to worry about your work getting overlapping lines. If you are creating gradients and ombres with Copics, you can rest assured that the results will be smooth and seamless.

However, a colorless blender will still work well with Copic markers if you are more comfortable with using one for blending. You will not get the same luxury of choice when using Prismacolor markers, though. Prismacolor markers drawing, thus, may not turn out as great as you want.

Read more: Tips to blend with prismacolor markers.

3. Lifespan


Prismacolor and Copic markers both have alcohol-based ink, but the latter is refillable. When your Copics run out of ink, you just need to add more ink to them.

But you cannot do this with Prismacolor markers, even the Prismacolor Premier markers. If your markers dry out and die, you will have to bid them goodbye. Buying new ones is the only option.

Another difference is that the nibs of Prismacolor markers cannot be removed and replaced with new ones, while Copic markers can. You can purchase the nibs separately and replace old, worn out nibs when necessary.

If the tips of Prismacolor markers become flared or damaged, you will just have to purchase new pens. That being said, the service life of Copics is longer than Prismacolor markers, and you can make more out of the former.

4. Availability

Copic markers are sold online through retailers, and the brand has a store locator on its website for simple navigation. However, compared to Prismacolor markers, they are still a lot harder to find.

Prismacolor markers can be bought online or offline, with the latter including local art supply stores. You will not have to search high and low for these.

5. Cost


Copic markers are more expensive than Prismacolor markers. For an individual Copic, you will have to pay $3.5 or more. While Prismacolor markers are not as cheap as Copic marker dupes, they are fairly affordable.

One Prismacolor marker costs $2.5. So, if you are on a limited budget, between Prismacolor markers vs Copics, the former will be better.

However, note that Copics are pricier upfront. In the long run, you might be able to save more money with them, as they are refillable and fitted with replaceable nibs.

6. How to use


When using Prismacolor art markers, opt for smooth and not textured paper. Work quickly in small areas to make blending easier, since the ink may dry too quickly otherwise.

If you have the Premier line, avoid using thin printer and notebook paper as the fine tip ink will bleed on them. Brush nibs have a somewhat similar problem, considering their lighter colors may seep through paper more than darker ones, especially with multiple layers being drawn.

In contrast, the good thing about Copics is that they are easy to create transitions with, provided you use vertical strokes. When coloring, make circular motions for smooth results.

Pros & Cons


Prismacolor Markers Copic Markers
Pros – More affordable upfront
– Easy to find online and offline
– Has a wider selection of colors
– Has ink that can be refilled
– Has nibs that can be replaced
– Blends well even without a blender marker
– Cost-saving in the long run
Cons – Has fewer color options
– Has non-refillable ink
– Has fixed nibs
– Relies on a blender marker for blending
– Not cost-saving in the long run
– More expensive upfront
– More difficult to find

Frequently Asked Questions


Which is better? Copic or Prismacolor markers?

This is a question you must answer yourself. Think about your needs and wants, and let them guide you to the final verdict. If you want long-lasting markers with loads of color options and are able to spend the big bucks for them, then go with Copics.

Prismacolor markers will be better if you do not mind that they are short on a few colors but can get the job done affordably.

Are Prismacolor markers alcohol-based?

Yes. Prismacolor markers are alcohol-based. They are just like Copic markers in this regard. You can use them to blend colors and sketch details.

Are Prismacolor markers good?

Yes. They can lay down vibrant ink smoothly and can be used for blending. In addition, you have different tip and color options to choose from. These markers are affordable and easy to find as well.

Is Copic refillable ink discontinued?

Copic’s “Various ink” was pulled from the shelves a few years back in response to users’ feedback about its ease of use. The brand has since offered an upgraded “Copic Ink” product to encourage more refilling without having to dip the marker tip.


Now that you have gone through this blog post on Prismacolor vs Copic Markers and know the key differences between the two, you do not have to let Reddit users tell you which one to get. It is up to your personal needs and preferences.

Which will you be taking home? Let us know in the comments down below. Leave any questions, thoughts, etc., you have there as well. We always look forward to hearing from our readers.

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