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Copic brand logo.svg
The Copic system including markers and the airbrush.
The Copic system including markers and the airbrush.
Product typeArt markers, pens, accessories
Produced byToo Corporation
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Denmark
  • Philippines
North America
United Kingdom

Copic (コピック, Kopikku) (kōpikku|Japan)(kō'-pick|US) is a brand of refillable markers and related products made in Japan by .Too and distributed in the United States and Canada by Imagination International Inc.


Copic markers are available in 358 permanent, non-toxic, alcohol-based ink colors and are refillable using standard color ink refills. The refill inks can be mixed to create custom colors, and empty markers are sold for this purpose. The markers are airtight to prevent them from drying out and they are guaranteed a shelf-life of 3 years.[1] Sketch markers, which are the most popular version, 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 with the manga industry in mind. A total of 71 colors 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, deriving from the word “copies”.[2] In 1989, an additional 71 colors 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 colors were added to meet the need to design environments and fashion.

In 1993, Copic Sketch was introduced with an assortment of 144 colors. These markers featured a Super Brush Nib, a brush that revolutionized fine art markers with its nib durability and long-lasting lifespan. The Copic Sketch has since become the most widely sought-after marker from the company.

In 1998, the Copic Ciao marker was introduced. The line was released with 72 colors and was an inexpensive pack designed for beginners. Since 1999 many new colors were added to the line of Copic Sketch to meet the success of the markers and the expansion of the manga market. Many colors introduced to the Copic Sketch line included flesh tones, pastels, fluorescents and many more.[3]

Marker & pen types[edit]

These are available in 214 colors with nine different tip options, including two calligraphy tips, two types of broad tips, and a range of fine nibs. They come with a broad nib and a bullet nib on each side.[4]
These markers are available in all of the 358 colors offered with a brush nib and a smaller chisel-shaped nib. They are compatible with the Copic Airbrush System. These are the most popular marker from Too.[4]
The 25th-anniversary markers are available in 36 colors with a brush nib and a small standard tip. They have a special black barrel and were produced in limited quantities to commemorate the company's 25th anniversary.[5]
The wide markers are available in 36 colors, have a wide chisel-shaped nib, and have a large oval shaped barrel. They can be used for large backgrounds as well as calligraphy.[4]
These are available in 180 colors. They have a brush nib and a smaller chisel nib and are smaller than Copic's other markers, with a circular barrel. Made to be a more affordable option. [4]
Available in 72 colors. They have a brush nib and a medium round nib. Copic Comic markers are currently only available in Japan.[6]
Available in only black. They have a brush nib and their ink is waterproof and copic-proof, which does not smudge when copic ink is going over the line. It also has a good body design.
Available in black, sepia, and grey. They have a nib perfect for illustration, design, and comic. It also have a version "SP", which is available in various colours. It's ink is water-proof and also copic-proof..
Drawing pen
Available in black and sepia. It has a nib similarly to fountain pen nib. It's water-proof and copic-proof.


Copic markers come with the ability to refill dry markers with Copic ink refills instead of having to buy additional markers in the same color. Tutorials for how to refill a Copic marker can be found on YouTube and will work for all the marker types, but work best on the Wide and Original.[7] It is also possible to mix the ink colors to create a custom color.

Coding System[edit]

On the two ends of the marker, the caps have a code that contains a letter(s) and either 2-4 numbers following it. This system of numbers/letters describes the type of marker being used.


The first part of the codes is the letter(s), which represent the color group the marker is part of. There can be up to 2 letters that show what color family the marker fits into.[8] [9] The colors are abbreviated as follows:

Primary Colors

  • R - red family
  • B - blue family
  • Y - yellow family

Secondary Colors

  • G - green family
  • V - purple/violet family
  • YR - orange family (letters stand for Yellow Red)[10]

Tertiary Colors

  • BG - blue-green family
  • YG - yellow-green family
  • BV - blue-purple/blue-violet family
  • RV - pink/red-violet family

Other Colors

  • E - earth tones/ browns
  • N - neutral grays
  • C - cool grays
  • W - warm grays
  • T - toner gray
  • F - fluorescent/neon type colors
  • There are completely black markers but those are represented by numbers only, such as 100 for black and 110 for special black.

If still confused about the color that a marker belongs in, for further insurance, the marker caps are also color coded accordingly. It should also be noted that only the original, sketch, and wide versions have the codes on the caps and base of the marker; the ciao markers only have colored caps with the code only on the base.


Following the letter is the first number. The pigmentation and saturation directly relate to the first number given to a Copic marker. This first number can range from 0-9 and fluctuates depending on the vibrancy of the color given to a marker. The lower the number, around 0-2, the brighter and more intense the color is in pigmentation. Those with a higher number ranging from 3-9 for the first number tend to be more dull and less saturated than those with a lower number.


After the first number, there is one last number. The final number in a Copic code signifies what shade the color is. Shade relates to the lightness or darkness of the marker color. Like the saturation, the numbers range from 0-9. Lighter colors tend to be relative to lower numbers such as 0-4 and the darker colors relate to the higher numbers like 5-9. If you can picture a value scale from white to black, that is somewhat like the numbering system, the 0 is the "white" the 9 is the "black" and all the numbers in-between are the ascending/ descending gray values.


There are also a few cases in which a copic code will have more than 2 numbers. These colors will look something like B000, or B0000. These cases only show up in colors that have their saturation and shade numbers marked as zero. The colors just mean that they are even lighter than the "lightest color". For example, take B00, there are even lighter shades of that color even though both its saturation and shade numbers are as low as they can be.

The last code that should be mentioned is the colorless blender. This marker is only coded with a single 0 since it only contains the base of the marker minus the color pigment and is thus colorless.


Copic sells 4 different types of pens. Multiliners are disposable artist pen that come in 8 colors and 10 tip sizes. Multiliner SP is a more premium version of the Multiliners that have aluminum bodies and replaceable nibs and ink. Multiliner SPs come in 13 colors and 10 tip sizes. The Drawing Fountain pen has 2 different sizes and 2 different colors. The Atyou Spica pens have a glitter feature that comes in 24 colors.


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.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d "Copic Marker - PRODUCTS-Markers". Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
  5. ^ Imagination International Inc. "Limited Edition Copic Sketch 25th Anniversary Set!". Imagination International Inc.
  6. ^ "製品カタログ". Copic. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  7. ^ Sandy Allnock (2015-05-15), When and how to change Copic nibs, refill markers, retrieved 2016-03-21
  8. ^ "How to Use Copic Markers - Basic Concepts." Youtube, uploaded by Colleen Sean, 29 Mar. 2012,
  9. ^ "Copic Color Theory." Copic, Too Corperation, Accessed 2 May 2017.
  10. ^ "YR - Yellow Red". Retrieved 2017-11-28.

External links[edit]