Which Ones are Starter Markers, How do you store them? What do those numbers and letters mean
Where do you store the markers? That seems to be a popular topic. I kept my markers in a Lazy Susan type device that sits on top of my craft table until recently when I actually bought a retail display unit, but there are so many alternatives to storing these markers I could write a page just about storage. I recommend browsing the blogs and paper crafting sites for ideas.
I have a lot of people ask me which colors they should start with, and I really think this depends on what you are going to color. I myself usually use stamps that are images of people, so I needed skin colors, hair colors and basic clothes colors first.
If you want to take this to a higher level you will want to purchase more than one shade of the same color so that you can shade and highlight your images. So how do you know which colors will do that? Buy three markers in the same color family. What is a color family you ask? The color families are indicated by the letter on the marker. For instance, B is for blue, BV is blue violet, E is Earth, R is reds, V is violets, G is greens, RV is red violet, Y is yellow, YG is yellow green, YR is yellow red, BG is blue green, N is neutral or natural grays, W is warm grays, T is toner grays, and C is cool grays. There are also Black and Special Black, a Colorless blend and Fluorescent colors.
So that brings up another question. What do the numbers on the markers mean? The first number is the saturation of the color, the higher the number the more gray in the color, thus it will not be as vibrant as a lower number will be. The second number is the brightness. The lower numbers are light and higher numbers are darker.
As a general rule, when you are trying to pick 2 or three colors to use for blending keep the above information in mind. Pick 2 or three markers with the same letter. Also keep the first number the same ( for instance all markers in the B20’s) Now you want to look at the second number and pick two or three markers that are a couple numbers apart. For instance, B21, B24 and B27.
The lowest number will be used for highlighting, and the highest number is for shading.
I personally have also found you can use two different colors and successfully blend them. Just make sure that the two different colors are close to the same color family (you can check a color wheel if you have one, but visually it is easy to see this yourself) Also make sure the numbers are not too far off from each other.
You will find with Copics that these rules are general rules, and there are some markers that do not follow these rules. Why… I am not sure. As this is what Copic teaches, but there are colors that JUST DON’T blend well that according to “the rules” should blend well. (You know rules are made to be broken)
Questions About Coloring
What ink should you use? Can you color digital images? What kind of paper should you use? What about that blender? There are so many questions to consider. I personally use Memento Tuxedo Black Ink. You do not have to heat set this ink. I stamp my image and let it sit for five or ten minutes and color it. No smearing. I also find with my Epson printer if I print a digital stamp and let the paper sit for a couple of hours there is no smearing. I recently purchase a new Kodak printer and have not had any troubles with smearing with it either. But I have heard different printer’s ink do smear and need to be heat set. So I say make a trial run and see what happens.
I have used several types of paper for stamping and coloring with Copics. Let me say first you will need at least an 80 pound cardstock. The finish of the paper will determine how much time you have to blend your colors. Different papers require a little different technique. I personally use Georgia Pacific that I purchase at Walmart *gasp! That is my standby, cheap paper. For special projects, or items I really want to play around with in blending, I use Neenah Solar Classic Crest White Super Smooth Smooth Cardstock. (#80 does the trick for me. I am sure you will have other people with other opinions, but I say try the least expensive alternative first, and if you aren’t happy with the results work your way up in price.)
What about the Colorless Blender? Well, it is NOT a blender. It takes the color off the paper when you use it. So I found it was especially useful for removing ink when I color “outside the lines”. I have also “heard” that is good for special techniques. I honestly haven’t tried any of that yet, but will let you know when I do.
Do I Need to Take A Class? Are these markers only for “Artists”
Many crafters opt to take classes teaching them how to use Copics. Does it help? I would think so. Is it necessary? I would say no. I think if you use the general principles provided in this short article that trial and error is the best teacher you can have. You don’t need to be a professional artist to use these, there is nothing to tricky or difficult about them. Remember the old saying? Practice Makes Perfect.
(well maybe never perfect, but good)
Where do I start?
I personally love to color people images so I started with skin tones, and pinks and continued to use colored pencils to fill in as I slowly built my collection.
Good starter skin tones for Caucasians:
E00, E000, E02,E11
I do put custom orders together for my customers, and would be glad to do so for you just let me know.
And last of all, enjoy those Copics! Crafting is suppose to be fun and relaxing, so don’t sweat the small stuff!