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Alcohol Markers FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q.What is the difference between Copic Ciao, Sketch and Classic?


    There are 3 types of Copic markers*: Ciao, Sketch and Classic. All our markers are made in Japan and evaluated against the highest quality standards, they are all refillable with Copic Ink and feature replaceable premium quality nibs. What differs is the overall design, colors available, the type of nib used and the amount of ink in the markers. Copic Sketch and Classic are compatible with the Copic Air Brush System. Feel free to choose the type most suitable to your creative needs. Copic Sketch: our global bestseller with an oval ergonomic design and color coded caps, comes with the flexible super brush nib and a medium broad nib. Available in 358 colors and is the preferred choice among many creative professionals in design, illustration and Manga. Copic Ciao: an introductory marker with a more accessible price point. It has a simpler design and a lower quantity of ink. Features the same nibs as Sketch and is available in 180 colors. Copic Classic: the original model created in 1987 with an iconic square design and color coded caps, features a broad nib and a fine nib. Available in 214 colors and used mainly in architecture, design and graphic illustrations. *Copic Wide is only available as an empty marker which you can fill with your choice of Copic Ink.

  • Q.Can I bring Copic markers on a plane?

    Yes, you can bring Copic markers on a plane either in your hand luggage or in a checked in suitcase. However, Copic Ink and Various Ink* are classified as dangerous items under the Fire Service Act and therefore cannot be brought on a plane. When it come to the Airbrush Set air cans, they cannot be carried as hand luggage, but up to 2 kg per person (about 30 cans for D60N) can be checked in. Please contact the airline or shipping company you are planning to use for more details regarding this matter. *Various Ink is now discontinued and only available while stocks last.
  • Q.Can I send Copic markers?


    Postal services differ depending on the company and therefore we advise you to consult this matter directly with the shipping company you plan to use. Also, please note that we do not issue Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to individual customers or corporations with which we make no dealings.

  • Q.Can I use the fine nib in Copic Ciao markers?


    The fine nibs available for replacement are exclusive for Copic Classic. The size of the nib orifice in Ciao is slightly different from the one in Classic, and therefore you would not be able to use it with Copic Ciao markers.

Basic Features and Storage

  • Q.How do I best store my Copic markers?


    Please store your Copic markers in a cool place which is not exposed to direct sunlight. Direct exposure to sunlight or strong UV rays may cause the body of the marker to crack and the color of the ink to fade. To prevent the ink from accumulating on one side, we recommend storing Copic markers and Multiliners horizontally (however, even if the ink accumulates on one side, you would be able to use the marker/Multiliner again after putting it on the other side and waiting for a while). Also, since our ink is flammable, please store Copic Ink (Various Ink) in a place out of reach of fire.

  • Q.How long does a Copic marker last?

    Generally speaking, if you store the Copic markers correctly and refill them properly, you will be able to use them for a very long time. All Copic markers also feature replaceable nibs and can be renewed, so feel free to replace them as needed when you feel the drawing comfort changed. That being said, since Copic markers are made of plastic, they will deteriorate over time. Because of that we ask you not to store them in direct sunlight (or fluorescent light) and high temperature and humidity.
  • Q.How big of an area can I color with one Copic marker?


    With a B4 sized page and a broad nib as reference you would be able to cover around 5 pages with Copic Classic, 3.7 pages with Copic Sketch, 2.7 pages with Copic Ciao and 9 pages with Copic Wide. Please note that it can vary depending of absorption properties of each type of paper so please use these references as directional only.

  • Q.Why is there a dark gray line of one side of each Copic Marker?

    On Copic Classic the gray line marks the side of the fine nib, while for Sketch and Ciao it marks the side of the brush nib. This way it is easier to tell which nib is on which side without removing the caps.

About the Purchase

  • Q.Where can I buy Copic markers?


    Copic markers are available in leading art supply stores and stationery shops around the world. For dealers in the US and China, please contact our branch offices listed here ( For dealers in other countries, please email us at

  • Q.Can I purchase Copic markers outside of Japan?


    Copic markers are now available in over 70 countries, below you can find a list of our main distributors, please contact the one in your market directly for store locations.

  • Q.Which colors should I start with?


    We recommend starting with some lighter shades since Copic colors are versatile, by applying the color in layers, the ink will intensify and become darker. We suggest that you choose around 10 colors based on what you plan to draw. If you can’t purchase individual Copic markers in your market then please refer to the page on this website where we introduce our readily curated sets in many formats.

Copic Colors

  • Q.Why is there a difference between the cap color and the actual ink?

    Since the caps are made with pigments and resins and the Copic inks are dye based the difference in materials prevents us from creating a perfect match. We therefore advise that you treat the caps as a rough guide. To view swatches that are closer to the actual colors we recommend that you refer to our Copic color management app called ‘Copic Collection’ that is available for download on the App store and on Google Play.  Click here to learn more.
  • Q.What is a difference between 100 (Black) and 110 (Special Black)?


    100 (Black) is a dark black with a slightly bluish tint that goes well with cool grays whereas 110 (Special Black) is a clean black that works well with neutral tones. It is also worth noting that the amount of dye in 100 (Black) is slightly higher. The difference is small however so please use these shades according to your preference.

  • Q.What is the difference between the 4 types of gray (C, W, N and T)?


    Because of their diverse applications in design, we offer 4 types of gray color families. C stands for 'Cool Gray' and contains slightly bluish and cold tints whereas W stands for 'Warm Gray' and contains rather reddish and warm tints. N means 'Neutral', grays in this range could be considered your standard grays. Then we carry T which stands for 'Toner Gray', this color family contains grays similar to the toners in copy machines. The name is derived from the initial purpose of Copic markers which was to put colors on copies made with copy machines. The differences between each shade of gray becomes clearer after you put the shades next to each other. Please use them according to your preference and style.

  • Q.Do you carry metallics such as gold, silver and bronze?


    Since the ink we use is a dye ink, it is not possible for us to produce a gold, silver, or copper color that can be compared to the metallic colors made with pigment inks. However, we carry shades that can help you achieve a metallic impression, Y28 (Lionet Gold) is often used as gold, for silver /cold metallics we recommend using Cool Gray series and E18 or other shades from the E series for copper. When it comes to bronze, we recommend using BG78 (Bronze) and BG7 series.

  • Q.The numbers of Copic Classic markers were once changed. What are their current numbers?

    In 1991, we unified export specifications and color numbers. We also changed the color name of E04, E11, E15, E27. Please refer to the list below for the current numbers: the 100s, the 200s, the 300s, the 400s, the 500s, the 600s, the 700s, the 800s...
    the 100s
    the 200s
    202=E15 204=YR14 207=YR24 208=E44 222=E13 237=E37 239=E07 242=E25
    262=E27 271=E19 276=E49 279=E29 280=E09 282=YR23 287=E33 291=E31
    the 300s
    302=E04 304=R32 308=RV04 310=R27 312=R29 322=R17 325=R37 345=RV17
    347=RV29 348=RV09 361=R35 362=RV14 367=RV06 393=RV11
    the 400s
    401=BG99 405=B23 407=B32 410=B39 411=B14 412=B29 421=B01 427=B34
    439=B06 441=B00 447=B05 448=B37 451=BG05 455=B26 483=B02 485=BG02
    the 500s
    502=BV00 513=BV08 515=V09 545=RV19 560=V04 567=V06
    the 600s
    600=G17 606=YG03 608=G21 612=BG10 617=YG95 618=Y26 627=BG15 628=YG91
    636=G16 637=YG13 638=YG99 646=G29 648=G28 667=G99 668=YG97 676=YG17
    677=G07 678=BG18 679=BG09 681=YG23 684=G02 686=BG13
    the 700s
    704=Y15 706=Y00 707=Y11 708=Y21 712=E34 713=Y02 715=Y13 716=Y06
    774=Y17 795=YG01
    the 800s
    801=R08 802=YR07 803=YR04 807=YR18 808=YR00 809=YR09 812=R20 822=E11
  • Q.How do I read the codes on the caps?

    Copic has its own color system based on which we assign the names of the markers. The letters represent a rough hue (dominant color family, e.g. R stands for 'red', B for 'blue' and 'E' for earth colors). The first digit expresses the saturation of the color - the closer the digit is to 0, the more transparent it is. On the other hand, digits closer to 9 mean that the color is rather dull or muddy. The final digits represent brightness with 0000 being the brightest and 9 being the darkest.
  • Q.Why is there a difference between the colors of the caps and the actual inks?

    Different components unfortunately prevent us from creating an identical match, the caps are made with pigments and resins and Copic inks are dye inks. For this reason, we recommend you to use the caps as a rough guide only. Please check the color chart available on this website or download our Copic management app called 'Copic Collection' for swatches that are closer to the actual colors.
  • Q.I noticed a difference between the color of the caps of the same marker. How comes?

    We constantly strive to bring the colors of the caps closer to the colors of the actual inks. This is why some caps may differ from each other overtime. There is no change in the quality of the product itself however and the ink remains identical from batch to batch.
  • Q.I found a Copic marker with the same number but a different name

    In September 2015 we changed names of the following 8 colors, so that they would better describe and convey the specific color. Please be assured that the colors of the inks did not change. The intention of the color names is to give a descriptive reference and idea of the specific shade and for many it is also easier to remember than the code. However these are reference names only and should not be viewed as an identical match to the descriptive wording.
    Color numbers Current color name Old color name ●:ciao ■:classic
    V05 Azalea Marigold
    R02 Rose Salmon Flesh ●■
    YR61 Spring Orange Yellowish Skin Pink
    YG41 Pale Cobalt Green Pale Green ●■
    E00 Cotton Pearl Skin White ●■
    E04 Lipstick Rose Lipstick Natural ●■
    E13 Desert Sand Light Suntan
    E15 Earthenware Dark Suntan ●■
    E21 Soft Sun Baby Skin Pink ●■
    E27 Milk Chocolate Africano
    E34 Toast Orientale
    E95 Tea Orange Flesh Pink
    FV(FV2) Fluorescent Violet Fluorescent Dull Violet
    FRV(FRV1 Fluorescent Pink
    FYR(FYR1 Fluorescent Orange
    FY(FY1 Fluorescent Yellow Fluorescent Yellow Orange
    FYG(FYG1 Fluorescent Yellow Green Fluorescent Yellow
    FG(FYG2 Fluorescent Green Fluorescent Dull Yellow Green
    FBG(FBG2 Fluorescent Blue Green Fluorescent Dull Blue Green
    FB(FB2 Fluorescent Blue Fluorescent Dull Blue


  • Q.What type of paper do you recommend for Copic markers?


    Various types of paper can be used such as regular copy paper, manga manuscript paper, construction paper, drawing paper or watercolor paper. The finish and comfort of drawing may differ depending on which one you use though so we recommend you first try out a few varieties. If you are new to illustration, we recommend the Premium Bond Paper and Custom Paper from Copic Paper Selections, they both prevent ink from spreading too much.

Other Products

  • Q.Can I switch back to an old nib after having removed it once before?


    We do not recommend reinserting used nibs. This is because once you remove a nib, the ink dye inside will harden after a certain period of time. If you put the nib back on you will not get a good drawing experience. Always use a new nib as replacement.

  • Q.What is Copic Wide?

    Copic Wide features the widest Copic nib available (21mm). It allows you to quickly cover large areas and it is mainly used in design rendering and for drawing perspective backgrounds. Only empty Copic Wide markes are available, so please fill it with the Copic Ink color of your choice.

Usage Precautions/Solutions

  • Q.How do I dispose of Copic products?


    Copic markers: Please remember the markers are made to last and by refilling with Copic Ink and replacing worn nibs you can keep them for many years. If you want to dispose a worn or damaged marker then make sure to treat it as non-burnable waste. Copic Ink refills (Various Ink): firstly clean out any remaining ink by wiping it on a paper towel in a well-ventilated room and out of reach of fire. You can then dispose of the cap and vessel as recyclable materials (please double check guidelines in your market) Copic Airbrush Set (ABS): Make sure you have used up its contents and then dispose of it in the same way you would treat a general spray can according to the disposal guidance of your local government.

  • Q.Why does the ink bleed through the paper? What can I do to avoid this?

    Since our ink is a dye ink, it soaks into the paper you use, hence the ink will always bleed through the paper to some extent. We therefore recommend you place a scrap paper underneath to protect the surface you work on. To avoid excess bleeding we also recommend that you don't put much pressure on the markers when drawing. The level of bleeding also depends on the type of paper you use. In the Copic Paper Selections range you can find Premium Bond Paper and Custom Paper - those 2 types are basically bleed-proof. The Thick Marker Paper and Soft Watercolor Paper (Gasen-shi) bleed through very easily though, but it is easier to create gradations and blend colors on these surfaces. We recommend trying out various types of paper to find the one most suitable for you.
  • Q.I applied a Copic marker over a pen and its lines blurred.


    You might have used a pen that is not alcohol-resistant. Next time please use Copic Multiliner pens which are made specially for Copic markers. They are filled with pigment ink and are alcohol-resistant.

  • Q.What can I do if I start to feel like the cap has loosened up?


    Since our caps are made of plastic, they will crack or deform when exposed to strong external pressure, making the cap feel loose. If it loosens up, the nib can become dry even when the cap is closed. In that case, even if you try refilling the marker, the ink would not be absorbed. If that happens, we recommend to replace a cap with a new one.

  • Q.I forgot to close the cap and the nib dried out. What can I do?


    Our markers are alcohol-based so if you forget to close the cap the alcohol will evaporate and the nib will dry out. Depending on how long the cap was off you may still be able to use the marker. However, if the cotton inside the marker dries out, it will not be usable for a long time. If you find the ink flow has deteriorated, we recommend replacing the marker.

  • Q.The nib has dried out even though I was closing it every time after using the marker.


    Since the cap is made of plastic, it may crack or deform when exposed to strong external pressure, making it impossible to maintain airtightness. Also, if you leave it in a place with high temperature (e.g. right where the warm air from the heater hits) for a long time, even if the cap is closed, the ink inside may dry out and you may not be able to use it.

  • Q.What should I do if the Copic Ciao cap gets stuck and cannot come off the marker?

    In this case you can try the following: 1. If there is no ink on the inside of the cap, simply try turning it - there is a chance it may come off. 2. If you see ink on the cap, it may be possible that the ink has hardened and made the marker difficult to open. In that case, put the marker in hot water (about 60 degrees Celcius/140 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 2 minutes, and then try to turn the cap. If you leave the cap with ink on it, the ink may harden and make the marker difficult to open. Because of that we recommend that you clean the caps of your markers regularly using a tissue soaked in Colorless Blender.
  • Q.Why is ink dripping from the Super Brush tip and what can I do?

    What to do: Use a tissue to absorb the excess ink and remove the cap on the opposite site (the one for the Medium Broad nib) to check the nib. If this nib is slightly lighter, put the marker vertically with the broad nib facing down. -As a solution you may remove the Super Brush nib with tweezers and clean the inner part of the nib orifice using a cotton swab with Colorless Blender. Precautions to prevent ink leakage: Most of the times the dripping is caused by leaks inside the markers. When refilling ink, be careful not to overfill it. Also, if you refill your Copic markers by dripping the ink directly onto the nib, please do it on the side of the Medium Broad nib. In addition, the leakage may occur after the markers have been dropped or thrown multiple times, so please handle them with care.
  • Q.Why has the tip of Super Brush nib turned white?

    It seems that there is not enough ink in your marker. In that case, please refill it. Also, the nib may wear out and turn white over time - if that is the case and you are concerned about your drawing comfort, we recommend that you replace the nib.
  • Q.Why is there a small lump on my Super Brush nib?

    This can happen when dyes crystallize. Colors with high dye concentrations are especially prone to crystallization. Wipe it off with a tissue and try to draw with the marker for a while. If drawing feels uncomfortable, please replace the nib.
  • Q.How do I remove Ink stains on my skin?


    Since Copic ink is a dye ink, it can temporarily stain the skin which is difficult to remove. Even if you wash it with soap, it will not come off immediately, so be careful not to rub your skin or else you could damage it. If you wash it several times, the stain will eventually thin out and will be completely removed in a few days. Some emulsions and makeup removers which contain oils, can be used to remove the ink fast, wiped clean, so please try them if you can. It is also effective to use a tissue soaked in Copic's Colorless Blender or ethanol. However, it may cause rough skin, so be careful, especially if you have sensitive skin or if you want to use this method on the skin of a young child.

About Alcohol Ink

  • Q.Why does the finish on my artwork look shiny and sticky?

    This can happen if you apply ink to the same area multiple times. If you apply too much ink, a resin film will form on the surface causing it to appear sticky. In this case you can soak a tissue in Colorless Blender and gently tap the affected area of the artwork - this will remove the stickiness. Be careful when doing this as harsh rubbing may cause the ink to move or completely disappear.
  • Q.Can I use a home printer to print out line drawings for coloring with Copic?


    We recommend using a laser printer with a heat fixing toner, if using an inkjet printer there is a risk that the lines disappear when applying our dye ink on the paper. Generally there wouldn’t be any problems using certain models of pigment ink printers, however we advise you to do a test run first.

  • Q.Will artworks made with Copic fade over time?


    Since we use dye ink, the colors may fade over time when exposed to strong UV light. It also depends on the specific color and the amount of light - some colors may start fading after several hours or days, while some may not change at all. We recommend that you store your artworks in a folder or away from sunlight. If you want to display your work, you can suppress fading by using frames with a UV protection effect.

  • Q.Are Copic markers water-based or oil-based markers?


    Copic markers are, broadly speaking, oil-based markers. However, many definitions of oil-based markers mention the use of strong organic solvents, and since our inks mostly consist of alcohol, we prefer calling Copic markers alcohol-based.

  • Q.Why does the ink smell?

    Although Copic markers are relatively low odor compared to most alcohol based markers there is a level of inevitable alcohol-specific odor, so please use the markers in a well-ventilated room. If you start feeling sick, please refrain from use. The ink components are similar to those in ethanol used for disinfection and do not accumulate in the human body.
  • Q.Is there actual cadmium in the markers with “cadmium” in their names?


    No, cadmium components are not used in our dye inks. Y15, which is called "Cadmium Yellow", has a color similar to a commonly used yellow cadmium pigment, and so we decied to use it as a name for our marker/ink.

  • Q.How do I use the Colorless Blender?

    The Colorless Blender marker (0) can be used to blur and soften the already applied ink or to help remove any ink stain or mistake (*to a certain degree only, if the area is too big, it may be difficult to fully remove the color). The transparent alcohol-based solution can be used for or a wide variety of purposes and a 200ml refill is available. Click here to learn more.
  • Q.Can Copic markers be used on metal, glass, acrylic panels or films?


    Because our ink is a dye ink, the color appears vibrant after being put on fibers such as paper or cloth. However, because the ink cannot soak into metal, glass or acrylic surfaces, it will probably be very difficult to achieve the results you want using our markers.

  • Q.How do I refill Copic markers?

    Firstly, make sure to match the exact same color of Copic Ink with the marker you plan to refill. Then remove the broad (angled) nib of the marker using tweezers. Insert the ink nozzle straight into the core of the marker and add an appropriate amount of ink. The amount of ink depends on how much ink is left in the marker, but we recommend that you add around 1ml (one mark of the bottle) each time. Click here to learn more.

Product History

  • Q.When did you launch Copic markers?

    The very first Copic markers (now Copic Classic) were launched in 1987. Prior to Copic, we were selling American markers called Speedly Marker. They were used by designers to draw rough sketches and renderings. However, the ink of Speedry Markers dissolved the lines made with the toner of copy machines. We then set out to create a graphic marker that would enable design professionals to start working with freshly printed photocopies straight away without compromising the quality of their work and this is how and why Copic was introduced.
  • Q.Why are Copic markers gray?

    The Copic marker was developed in the eighties to provide designers a marker whose ink would not damage or dissolve the toner of printed copies. Inspired by this the underlying rationale, the color picked for the design was intended to resemble the color of copy machines at the time. In addition, the more practical reason was that the rather light gray shade makes it easy to detect any stains which could potentially smudge or harm the artwork. This light gray which is now a signature color for Copic also acts as a 'neutral' canvas which allows the colored end caps to pop.
  • Q.What is the origin of the Copic brand name?


    Copic markers were developed in the eighties so that it would be possible to draw over the toner used in copy machines. Before, the ink from markers would dissolve the toner, but Copic markers overcame this issue. Given this context and their association for use along copy machines we named our markers 'Copic'.