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Copic products, including markers and airbrush
Product typeMarker pens
Produced byToo Corporation
Introduced1987; 36 years ago (1987)
  • Japan
  • United States
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom

Copic (コピック, Kopikku) is a Japanese brand of refillable markers and related products made by the Too Corporation. The brand is distributed in the United States and Canada by its subsidiary, "Too Corporation Americas".


Copic is most famous for its marker line-up, which uses alcohol-based ink colours and are refillable using standard colours ink refills. While there is a standard set of 358 colors, refill inks can be mixed to create custom colours, and empty markers are sold for this purpose. Sketch markers, the most popular product line, have a chisel-style tip at one end and a brush tip at the other, though additional styles of replaceable nibs and tips are available.

The company also sells an airbrush system which utilizes either an air compressor or canned air to blow ink off the tips of the markers onto the paper.


In 1987, the initial classic line of Copic Markers was introduced in Japan. A total of 71 colours were launched and were developed to meet designers’ demand for photocopy-safe markers. The markers would not dissolve the toner of freshly-printed photocopies, and in turn the markers were given the name Copic, derived from the word “copies”.

In 1989, an additional 71 colours were added to the line, adding a set of more neutral tones and grays to the marker’s library. These additional tones were created to accommodate for architectural design and figure painting.

In 1991, 72 new colours were added to meet the need to design environments and fashion.

In 1993, Copic Sketch was introduced with an assortment of 144 colours. These markers featured a Super Brush Nib, a brush that was quickly adopted by manga and anime illustrators.

In 1998, the Copic Ciao marker was introduced. The line was released with 72 colours chosen for beginners.[1]

Copic marker types[edit]

Copic Sketch markers are available in all 358 Copic colours, with a brush nib and a chisel-shaped nib. They have an oval barrel. They are compatible with the Copic Airbrush System. These are the most popular marker from Too Corporation.
Ciao markers are available in 180 colours. They have a brush nib, a chisel nib, and a circular barrel. They are smaller than Copic's other markers and are marketed as a more affordable option.
Classic markers are available in 214 colours with nine different tip options, including: two calligraphy tips, two types of broad tips, and a range of fine nibs. They come with a chisel nib and a bullet nib on each side.
Wide markers were available in 36 colours, had a wide chisel-shaped nib and a large oval shaped barrel. They have been used for large backgrounds as well as calligraphy. Too Corporation has discontinued the production of coloured Copic Wide in 2016, but Copic Wide Original (empty marker) continues to be sold.
Copic markers can be refilled with Copic ink refills. It is also possible to mix inks to create custom colours.

Copic color system[edit]

The Copic color system identifies and categorizes ink colours by using short colour codes. Such codes can be found on the base of any marker, as well as on the caps of classic and sketch markers. [2]

Copic colour wheel[edit]

The letter(s) on a marker represents the colour family it falls into. There are currently 16 Copic marker colour families: [2]

Chromatic colours (and fluorescent colour)[edit]

  • R – red
  • B – blue
  • Y – yellow
  • G – green
  • V – violet (purple)
  • YR – yellow-red (orange)
  • BG – blue-green (teal/turquoise)
  • YG – yellow-green family
  • BV – blue-violet
  • RV – red-violet (pink)
  • E – earth tones (brown)
  • F – fluorescent/neon colours

Gray tones[edit]

  • N – neutral gray
  • C – cool gray
  • W – warm gray
  • T – toner gray

Achromatic colours[edit]

  • 1black Copic markers are represented by number only: 100, and 110 for special (rich) black.
  • 0colourless blender markers are coded with a single 0 as they contain alcohol-based fluid with no pigment. [3]

Colour saturation (blending group)[edit]

Following the letter is the first number. The first digit represents the level of saturation of the Copic marker. This number ranges between 0- 9, with 0 being the purest form of colour and 9 being most desaturated (with the highest level of gray). [3]

Colour value (shade/intensity)[edit]

The last digit(s) on Copic markers represent a marker's colour intensity (aka how bright that colour is). These numbers are split between 12 levels (000, 00 and 0-9). Markers that fall closer to the 0 range are lighter in value, and become darker the closer they shift toward 9. Markers that are 000 and 00 in nature are often more transparent as they have a higher concentration of colourless blender alcohol-based fluid. [3]


Four types of pens are sold under the Copic brand, all of which are marketed as having "Copic-proof" ink that does not smudge when coloured over with a Copic marker:[4]

  • The Multiliner is a fineliner. It is available in ten different colours and seven different nib thicknesses.
  • The Multiliner SP is an upgraded version of the Multiliner with an aluminum body, a replaceable nib, and a replaceable ink cartridge. It is only available in black ink.
  • The Gasenfude is a brush pen, available in black ink. Unlike some other manufacturers' brush pens, it cannot be refilled.
  • The Drawing Pen features a fountain pen nib. It is available in black and sepia inks, and in two nib sizes.[5]

Copic airbrush system[edit]

The airbrush system uses disposable cans of compressed air, or air from a compressor, to spray ink from Copic Original and Sketch markers onto a surface. Airbrushing uses less ink than direct colouring since saturating the paper isn't necessary. [6]


  1. ^ "History of Copic - COPIC Official Site (English)".
  2. ^ a b "What is Copic Color System?". Copic. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "The Copic Colour Chart, and the Best Copic Colours For Skin". Colour Me Ren. 2 September 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Copic product catalog" (PDF). October 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Copic Drawing Pen". Copic official site. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  6. ^ "The Copic Airbrush System". Copic Australia. Retrieved 3 September 2020.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "Design Dialogues". Retrieved 2022-11-20.