If you are interested in any kind of illustration and have been doing some research about the best markers for this type of art, you have probably heard all about Copic Markers. They are one of the highest quality markers (some would say even the best) on the market and are highly suitable for fashion illustration as well. Personally, I don’t think you can’t produce high quality fashion sketches if you don’t use Copics, but there are certainly some benefits of having them in your art collection. If you would like to know more about some of the benefits and disadvantages of Copic markers for fashion illustration, please keep reading 🙂
Copic Markers Basic Information
There are 3 types of Copic markers available on the market: Classic, Sketch and Ciao.
Copic Classic is the first one that entered the market and it has a wide chisel nib on one side and a fine point nib on the other side. It can hold the most ink from all three types and it is available in 214 colors. This style is more appropriate for technical style art such as graphic design, comic art, calligraphy and scrapbooking as it allows you to color a wide area precisely as well as add some fine details. It is also possible to change nibs so it allows for many options when it comes to sketching.
Copic Sketch is definitely the most suitable for fashion illustration and design. They are available in 358 colors and have a medium broad nib and a super brush nib. The brush nib is wonderful for fashion illustration as it is very flexible, long lasting and spreads ink smoothly. They are the best in blending so it is easy to create fabric folds and different types of materials in fashion illustration and design.
Copic Ciao has a medium broad nib and a super brush nib and it represents a more economical version of the sketch marker. It is much more affordable and comes in 180 colors. Although it has the same type of nibs I find it a bit stiffer to use then sketch markers. But this type is also highly suitable for fashion illustration.
If you are considering Copic markers for your collection, definitely choose either Sketch or Ciao if you need a more affordable solution.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Copic Markers for Fashion Illustration
I’ve tried many different kinds of markers and can say with certainty that Copic markers are definitely one of the highest quality and highly suitable for fashion illustration. There are some other markers that are also very good, highly pigmented and affordable but I find Copics to be on top for now.
Great things that Copic markers offer:
- High quality ink and good durable shell
- Very flexible and natural brush nib that can be used in many different techniques and styles
- Broad range of colors and shades (very suitable for fashion design and accurate representation of colors)
- You can refill them which means that when you invest in them in the beginning, later on it will be much affordable to keep them using. For example, an ink refill is almost half the regular marker price and it can be used 12 times to refill a marker.
- If you decide you don’t want to use them anymore it is so easy to sell them as they are highly requested and reusable so you won’t end up losing money unlike if you buy some unknown markers and you can throw them away later
- Dry quickly and blend easily
- Easy to store and there are many stands and storage boxes designed just for them
- You can buy the one by one on your own pace instead of needing to buy them in sets
- It’s kind of addictive when you start building a collection 🙂
- They are one of the most expensive markers on the market and usually not affordable for students
- Sometimes I find they leak too much color at once if kept horizontally for a long time
- Colors are not as bright and pigmented as some other brands
- It’s hard to find them in local art stores so you mainly have to order them online
How to start building your own collection of Copics?
As they are fairly expensive, you have to be smart, research and plan ahead when you start introducing Copics to your collection for fashion illustration and design.
1. Start with Skin tones and Black
Decide on what skin tone will you be using in your illustrations the most and then find three colors that represent it the best. For example, if you want to start with basic Caucasian models for your illustrations you can purchase these three colors:
1. E00 Cotton Pearl for the first layer or the base of the skin
2. E11 Barely Beige for the first darker shade
3. E13 Light Suntan for the darkest shade
Even if you don’t want to build a collection of Copics, I would still recommend to use Copics for skin coloring as they are really the best choice with the array of different shades and a great blendability.
I like Copic black because it is saturated but not glossy or greenish like some other brands and yet it is easily buildable and you can add darker shade easily. Black is essential to have in the beginning and by acquiring it you can easily practice drawing different hairstyles and all black outfits and dresses.
2. Add Grays
Next purchase should be focused on different shades of gray that are great to practice fabric rendering and adding darker shade on particular color. As gray is such a complex and versatile color, Copic brand has 4 different types of gray – cool gray, toner gray, natural gray, warm gray. So altogether there are more than 40 shades of gray and of course, you are not going to go and buy them all I would recommend going for 3 cool and 3 warm shades, for example C3,C5 and C7 from cool range and W3, W5 and W7 from the warm range.
3. Add some Earth colors for hair and different skin tones
When you are ready to start sketching different skin tones, hair styles and practice neutral colored garments, then you can purchase some colors from the Earth shades range.
Here are some basic recommendations: E000 (skin tone), E15 (skin tone), E79 (hair), E49 (hair/skin), E53 (skin), E55 (skin).
4. Find your first colors and buy 3 shades of them
When you have all the basic colors covered, then it is time to go for some fun colors. The best thing to do if you want to get the most out of the purchased colors is to make a list of your top three favorite designers and asses what colors they use the most. Choose 3 colors and use Copic Color Chart to select lighter and darker shades of the same color. My first colors were red, pink and blue and these were the markers I purchased – R27, R29, R49; B21,B93, B97; R20, RV21 and RV23.
If you want to save a little bit of money, I would advise to buy Copic Ciao markers whenever you are looking to add some colors that won’t be used as often as your basics. They have the same effect as Copic Sketch markers so you will not see less quality, it may just be a bit harder to find the exact shade you are looking for because of the smaller color range that Copic Ciao has.
Hope this helps you with building your Copic collection and if you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below:) Thank you for reading!
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