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Ciao markers were originally billed as the markers for beginners or less serious artists. However, the only difference between these and the more expensive Sketch marker are the size; they hold a little less ink and the fact that they are barrel-shaped so could roll from your table. Ciao are available in 144 different colours so they have a little less in way of scope than sketch, but honestly, how many different greens and yellows do you want?
They are also alcohol based and non-toxic and do not blur or bleed like other markers on the market.
I dillied and dallied about which pens to get and in the end and after a lot of research I got the Ciao because they were about two hundred pounds cheaper than the Sketch.
Ciao are also available individually or in sets.
Copic Sketch Markers
Copic Sketch markers are the connoisseur of design and art marker pens. They are alcohol based markers, which are non-toxic and safety checked. They are refillable and are the fastest drying markers on the market. The Sketch markers are the most expensive in the range. They are shaped specifically to stop them rolling off a desk or table. Sketch are sometimes known as 'Professional' markers. They are used by designers and professional artists all over the world. They are slightly bigger than the 'Ciao' markers and therefore hold a little more ink.
Copic Wide markers are of the same quality as the other two but have a wider nib of 21mm in order to cover bigger areas. The nib is roughly three times wider than the other two.
The following information covers all Copic markers including the very first Copics, which were standard marker pens available before the more refined Sketch and Ciao markers came out. For the rest of the review though, I will be mostly referring to Sketch and Ciao as they are the most widely distributed and commonly used.
All Copic markers come with two nibs. One at each end. One being a fine brush tip for detailed colouring and one being a flat broad tip to cover larger areas. There is also a range of interchangable nibs available and you can buy a pair of copic tweezers to remove old nibs and replace them or to change nibs for different effects in your work. You can also remove the nibs for refilling purposes.
Copic was an idea that came to light in 1986 and was developed properly in 1987. The thing that sets aside Copics from other markers is the fact that during the construction process the ink is checked by quality control no less than four times. You can be safe in the knowledge that these pens will never dissapoint quality-wise.
The markers case in the sets is also sturdy so no leaks occur and the caps fit really well and click into position and never fall off.
The idea came about in 1986 when a professional artist realised that many many artists and professional designers were searching for that perfect marker that didn't leak, blur, bleed on the paper, run out and have to be thrown away or weren't available in enough colours. After much research and lots of hard work he and several others came up with the Copic marker. A marker that could be refilled, could be used as an airbrush, could be blended with other colours, lasted for years and was of a quality suitable for professionals all over the world.
If you store your Copics at room temperature then there is no reason why they shouldn't last you for years.
Refilling Your Copics
Copic markers are the number one marker mainly due to the fact that they can be refilled quite easily and cleanly. You can buy bottles of ink and just top up your markers. A lot of you may think this tedious but I have had my markers for a year and have not had to refill any yet, but it is nice to know that you can instead of throwing them away and having to buy a new one.
I initially purchased a set of seventy-two Ciao markers and then went onto buy two sets of twelve and a few oddments. So I have just over a hundred of the one hundred and forty-four available. To be honest the ones I missed are so close to ones that I already have that I don't really need them.
The Copic colour system is also unique in the fact that it does a lot of colours that are near to each other and can be used to blend and shade.
The system is an easy one to follow. For example....R is for Red. Y is for Yellow. B is for Blue etc. The letter is followed by a number which denotes the tone, brightness or dullness of a colour. The second number denotes how light or dark the colour is.
So Y49 would be darker than Y08 because the 9 is higher than the 8. The higher the number the darker the colour. So Y08 would be darker than Y30 because the 8 is higher than the 0. Y28 would have a slight but dark colour to it whereas Y59 would be dark but more bold.
An airbrush attachment is also available for Copic markers. I don't have one myself because I already have an airbrush but I do know people who own them and they have told me that they are quite good. The airbrush consists of a plastic gun type holder that grips the marker. Compressed air from a compressor or a small can of compressed air is then shot from the brush or broad nib onto the work surface to achieve a nice soft textured look not unfamiliar to a proper airbrush.
How to use your Copic markers to colour your art
The most used method with Copics is to use the Brush fine end and deliberately move the nib in small circles so you can overlap your work while the edges of your work are still wet. It's best to get three or four similar colours ready so you can blend them while the work is still wet for best effects. For example R00, R03 and R06. Use R00 first for your base, use R03 for the middle tones and shading and then finally blend in R06 for the darkest tones and shadows. You can always go back to where each colour overlaps and go over it again with the lighter colour to blend it in.
You can also get Copic blender markers, which usually come in a set and can also be bought individually. They are transparent in colour and if you use them to go over two seoerate colours that overlap it will belnd them to gether well.
It is also wise to get yourself some white ink or a jar of Copic Opaque White for highlights in the eyes of your characters or reflections of light. It sometimes brings the whole piece to life.
You can buy copic multiliners for your ink work and outlines. They come in the standard sizes 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8 and so on. You can also get coloured multiliners such as sepia or Burnt umber for more detailed shadow work.
It is best to get yourself some proper paper like a professional copic pad. they are a little more expensive than normal paper but are worth it as they are bleed proof.
I have included some pictures of my own markers and will carry on using these diverse and fantastic pens.
I can vouch for the quality of Copic markers as they are second to none. I used to use Letraset markers, which are good but when I purchased my Copics the difference was really noticable.
I would say that if you do want to buy copics I would suggest the Ciao. Don't be put off by the beginner tag. They are exactly the same as the Sketch or professional markers. They just hold a little less ink and are barrel-shaped so they can roll. The quality is exactly the same as are the nibs and the finsh.
I got my set of seventy-two Ciao Copics for about one hundred and fifty pounds. The same Sketch set would have been three hundred and fifty. I thought let them roll off the desk . I can pick them up and save two hundred pounds. So I did and you know what? I've never had one roll off the table yet.
They come in a nice sturdy case, which is durable and comes with a platic insert which holds the pens in place. You can also get some nice cheap Copic pen cases.
Thanks for reading.
Also on Ciao
Copic is a brand of marker pen made in Japan by Too and they are used by many Manga artists. They are alcohol based, low odour, dry quickly, and create vibrant, solid blocks of colour. The amazing thing about these markers is that they colour 'flawlessly' - you won't see any pen strokes and lines in the area you colour.
There are 3 ranges of Copic pens - the original marker, the Sketch marker and the Ciao marker. The Ciao range is the least expensive at around £2 per pen when bought individually. There are 143 colours in the Ciao range and 1 colourless blender pen. You can buy from many online stores and they are usually sold in packs of 5, 12, 36 and there are 2 packs of 72 available (these 2 packs of 72 will give you the entire range). To buy a pack of 72 it will set you back around £115-£130 depending on which shop you buy from, so i recommend shopping around for the best price. If all 144 markers are bought individually it will cost you around £288 which is a frightening amount when put like that, but buying one at a time means you can pick the exact colours you want.
Copic markers can be used on many surfaces including paper, leather, wood, fabrics, plastic, and many more. However the papercrafting world has caught on to them and they are now very popular amongst cardmakers and scrapbookers. They can be used to colour in rubber stamped images and the results are amazing. Because they are alcohol based markers, you will need to use a dye based ink pad to stamp your image to be coloured or the image will 'bleed' and run when the marker ink comes in to contact with it. The best range of ink pads to use is Tsukineko Memento. You will also find that Copics will soak through very thin card and so i recommend using either a Copic marker pad that can be bought seperately, or fairly thick card.
Copics can be used in singular blocks of colour to create striking results and they can also be blended to create a more 3D effect to your image. Having the colourless blender pen comes in handy for this as it lightens the areas you use it on and you can therefore create shading with it. I would also recommend buying 2 or 3 shades of the same colour - e.g. a light pink, pink, darker pink. You can then 'layer' the colours to add dimension and is a technique i like to use.
Although they seem expensive, these pens are a great investment. They are refillable so you never have to throw a pen away and buy another, you just replace the ink. The pens are dual ended (one broad tip for large brush strokes and one chisel tip for detailed colouring) and tips are also replaceable if you should ever need to change one. This makes them environmentally friendly too!
I love how these pens make the images on the cards i make really stand out. They have a really professional look and make me look like i'm skilled, which i'm certainly not! They are so easy to use and compared to other mediums like watercolours, i find that i can colour an image much quicker with them. The other things i LOVE about these markers is that i can colour coordinate all the other embellishments on my card with my image if i choose. I use them to colour paper flowers and they will even colour brads, buttons, peel off stickers and ribbon to name just a few!
The ciao markers are available in 143 colour shades and one colourless blender. Equipped with a medium broad and a super brush nib and are perfect for the beginner artist or student.