Copic Markers are alcohol based pens which you can use to write permanently on many different surfaces such as paper, leather, wood, fabrics, and plastic. They are considered the highest quality marker on the market today, and as such have a price to go with it. Each tip is hand made by artisans in Japan so you can be guaranteed of perfect workmanship every time, however, with the higher demand for them these days, you can sometimes find them very hard to get. Each marker is also hand-tested for overall quality and color consistency three times before it is shipped from Japan.
These are the markers of choice for the majority of professional illustrators because the application is very smooth, the ink doesn’t bleed (when using the right surface), and the colors blend really well. The only downside is that they are not lightfast, which makes them perfect for card making and illustrative type design, but not for something you want to hang on the wall for the next 100 years (unless you scan it and print it in archival ink which is always a great option). They are guaranteed to not dry out from non-use for 3 years because they are sealed airtight when their lids are on. They are also non-toxic which is great in case the kids run off with them!
The pens themselves come in 4 different formats:
Classic – Chisel Nib, Bullet Point Nib, square casing, 214 colours, 9 different replacement nibs, 9 refills from one bottle
Ciao – Chisel Nib, Brush Nib, round casing, 180 colours, different nibs, 15 refills from one bottle
Sketch – Chisel Nib, Brush Nib, oval casing, 358 colours, 3 different replacement nibs, 12 refills from one bottle
Broad – very large flat nib great for doing backgrounds or large spaces, 36 colours, 2 nibs, 7 refills from one bottle
The Copic Sketch is my marker of choice, simply because of its full colour range and brush tip and because my OCD won’t allow me to have a mix of different types LOL
All Copic markers are made to blend together to give seamless colour changes when used on the correct support such as xpressit marker card. Each pen can be refilled and have its nibs replaced, so once you have made the initial $ layout, you shouldn’t have to re-buy a full pen unless you somehow smash the actual barrel part. Refills cost around $11 each as well, and nibs vary from $15-$20 for 3 nibs.
The best place I have found to buy Copics in Australia is Craftonline.com.au – Copic Sketch are $7.99 each and if your order is over $50 postage is free. They also have the full range of colours, so no picking a colour to only find out its not available. You certainly can’t beat that!