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Copic Coloring Guide

Copic Coloring Guide

4.3 6
by Colleen Schaan, Marianne Walker

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Some of the highest-quality art markers on the market, Copic markers continue to grow in popularity for paper crafters, and this informative and instructional book assists crafters of all levels in mastering Copic coloring skills. In addition to an explanation of the color-coding system, suggestions for compatible inks and papers to use, and step-by-step


Some of the highest-quality art markers on the market, Copic markers continue to grow in popularity for paper crafters, and this informative and instructional book assists crafters of all levels in mastering Copic coloring skills. In addition to an explanation of the color-coding system, suggestions for compatible inks and papers to use, and step-by-step tutorials on the most popular coloring techniques, this go-to resource also includes a variety of eye-catching card designs to inspire enthusiastic card makers. Projects include Raven Thanks, Quite a Catch, Me Love You, Friends Forever, To the Moon and Back, Apples in a Chintz Bowl, and Home Sweet Home.

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Copic Coloring Guide

By Colleen Schaan, Marianne Walker, Tanya Fox, Matthew Owen


Copyright © 2011 DRG
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59635-425-8


Intro to Copic Markers

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way — things I had no words for.

~ Georgia O'Keeffe

The Joy of Coloring

Coloring, at first glance, may seem childish, unimportant, silly even — an act that many of us did when we were young. But think back — remember why you colored, and how you felt when you were doing it.

For Marianne and me, coloring is an important aspect of our jobs, but it's much more than that. Coloring is a form of communication, a way to gather the ideas from our heads and transfer them to paper, creating a visual image that is easily understood. Coloring is also a form of relaxation. The act of coloring itself becomes a meditation that relieves stress, relaxes the body and clarifies thought processes. Coloring is something we both love ... and we want you to love it too.

With the myriad of coloring mediums that are available, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and even frustrated. Fortunately, Copic brand alcohol ink markers are easy tools to use! With the huge color selection and the clear-cut numbering system, there's no guesswork involved, so you can forget about the "how" and focus on the "do."

With the tips, techniques and projects in this book, we hope to lead you down the road to successful (and frustration-free) coloring ... ENJOY!

Colleen and Marianne

Marker Styles

There are four styles of Copic markers to choose from. Regardless of the style, the quality and ink are the same.

The Secret Code

Understanding the Copic Color System

These markers blend beautifully, but you need to be able to pick colors that work well together to get them to blend easily. That's where the secret code comes in. The numbers and letters on the marker represent the three classifications within the Copic Color System.

Blending Rules

Use the following "rules" to pick colors that naturally work together and blend well.

First, match the color letter(s) — keeping the color family the same.

Then match the color saturation number — keeping the tone the same.

Lastly, pick color brightness numbers within 2 or 3 digits from each other. Example: B21, B24, B26.

Product Compatibility

To get the best results from your Copic markers, it's vital to use the right inks and papers. While we recommend X-Press It Blending Card and Memento Dye Inks — and many of the samples in this book were created using those — it's important to do your own testing for product compatibility as everyone's inking and coloring styles are different. It's often a matter of personal preference.

Testing Inks

Stamp image onto the paper; let dry completely. Scribble over the stamped image with the Colorless Blender. Does the stamped ink bleed or feather? If yes — it's not a compatible ink. If no — then it's a good ink to use with your Copic markers.

Testing Papers

Draw a circle with a pencil or compatible inking pen. Color up to the edges using a lot of ink, saturating your paper. Does the ink feather outside the lines? If yes — the paper may not be compatible. If no — then it's a good paper for your Copic marker use.

Testing Digital Images

Print your images as normal and test the printer ink in the same way you would stamping ink. If your printer ink isn't compatible, you can heat-set the image or make a laser copy before coloring.

For more product information, please visit www.copicmarker.com.


Inking Techniques

There are various ways to add ink to paper. The two most common ways are circling and flicking. Each technique produces a particular appearance, and knowing how to utilize them will add depth and variation to your creations.

Smooth Coloring

Copic makers have the unique ability to lay down smooth, even color without streaks. Using the following steps, practice smooth coloring with a variety of colors and shades until you achieve a smooth image every time.

Step 1: Color in small circles. This will keep the leading edge "wet" and allow the ink to blend with itself, creating a seamless look.

Step 2: Make sure to saturate the entire area so that you eliminate any light or mottled areas.

Step 3: Check the back of your paper to make sure that the ink is saturating though evenly.


This technique is achieved by applying ink in quick, single strokes. The key to this inking technique is to "flick" the marker tip across the paper to create a single stroke that goes from dark to light.

Step 1: Holding the marker loosely, start a downward movement toward the paper.

Step 2: As the marker tip touches the paper, quickly move across the paper, bringing your hand up and away at the end of the stroke. This will apply more ink at the beginning of the stroke and less ink at the end.


Blending Techniques

One of the most exciting aspects of Copic markers is their blending capability. On the following pages are some basic techniques for coloring and blending that range from using a single color to using multiple shades of each color.

One-Color Shading

Many crafters just are just starting to collect Copic markers and don't have full blending groups. That's OK! You can still create subtle shading with just one marker.

Step 1: Lay down a smooth base coat of ink.

Step 2: Let the area dry completely.

Step 3: Go over the area you want shaded with the same color. By adding another layer of the same color over itself, you can create a darker shade of that color.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary.

Tip-to-Tip Transferring

One of the unique qualities of Copic markers is that ink can be transferred from one marker tip to another without contaminating the color or ruining the nibs.

Step 1: Hold the lighter marker horizontally. Hold the darker marker with the tip pointed down Touch the two tips together and hold for a few seconds.

Step 2: Dark ink is transferred to the tip of the lighter marker.

Step 3: Apply ink to your image either by scribbling in small circles or flicking. The darker ink will be applied first. As you continue coloring, the lighter ink will be applied and blend the two colors together.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 as often as necessary

Palette Transferring

This transfer technique uses a lighter marker to pick up darker ink from a palette as with a paintbrush.

Step 1: Scribble darker-color ink onto a nonporous surface. An acrylic stamp block works great for this.

Step 2: Using a lighter-color marker, pick up the darker ink from the palette.

Step 3: Apply ink to your image using the same strokes as the Tip-to-Tip method.


This challenging blending technique blends two different colors together seamlessly.

Step 1: Begin with two markers from different color families.

Step 2: Begin flicking the lighter ink onto your image. Try to get smooth, wide strokes by using the side of the nib.

Step 3: Flick the darker ink onto your image coming from the opposite direction. The inks should overlap in the center.

Step 4: You may not get a smooth blend the first time. If not, repeat steps 2 and 3 to saturate and blend smoothly.

On-Paper Blending

This is the most common blending technique and uses not tw( but three or more shades to create highlights and shading.

Step 1: Pick three markers that form a good blending group — a light, a medium and a dark.

Step 2: Apply a smooth layer of the lightest-color ink to your image.

Step 3: Apply the medium color to the areas you want shadowed.

Step 4: Use the light color to blend along the area where the two colors meet.

Step 5: Apply the dark color to the areas you want shaded darkest.

Step 6: Use the medium color to blend along the area where the dark and the medium colors meet.

Step 7: Lightly blend any remaining lines with the lightest color.


Colorless Blender

The Colorless Blender marker is one you really need in your coloring arsenal. While the blender doesn't actually blend, it can be used for a number of other techniques and effects.

Clarifying the Colorless Blender

What Does the Colorless Blender Do?

As you now know, any lighter-colored marker will move the ink of a darker-colored marker. The Colorless Blender is the lightest of all the markers; it contains no pigment at all and is purely the alcohol solution. Because of this the Colorless Blender will move all other colors. The following compares No Blending, On-Paper Blending and "blending" with the Colorless Blender.

Light, medium and dark shades of green are applied to the circle. At this point, they are not blended.

When you blend using the On-Paper Blending technique, which uses the lighter-colored markers to blend the colors together, you get a nice gradation of color.

And here's the same group of three colors "blended" with the Colorless Blender marker. As you can see, the colors didn't blend at all, they lightened and moved around.

Moving Color With the Colorless Blender

In this sample, the image was colored with a smooth layer of medium green. The Colorless Blender marker was then touched to the surface and held for about I five seconds.

As you can see, there is a light spot where the Colorless Blender touched. This is because the green particles reacted with the Colorless Blender and moved away from it — piling up around the edges.

Colorless Blender Techniques

There are three techniques that use the "movement" properties of the Colorless Blender These three things are what make this marker indispensible!

Fixing Mistakes

Think of the Colorless Blender as your magic eraser. While it doesn't actually erase ink, it can push it back into a colored image. If you color outside the lines, use the Colorless Blender to "push" the ink back toward the colored image.

Remember that the pigment will form a dark ridge in front of the blender. Don't go all the way up to the line with the blender or you will push the ridge into the colored image making it visible on the other side. Stop just before the line and use the stamped image to "hide" the dark ridge. This does take some practice. Some colors will be easier to move than others.

Adding Texture

Touch either the brush or chisel nib of the Colorless Blender to the surface of a colored image. Hold for a few seconds and lift. Notice the shape and size of the lightened area. If you use the Colorless Blender on wet colored images the area will have fuzzy, indistinct edges. If you use it on a dry colored image the edges will be more crisp and distinct.

Lightening Color

If an area on your image gets too dark, you can lighten it a bit with the Colorless Blender. Keep in mind that pigment particles will pile up making a dark ridge if the blender marker is left in one spot or used in a back-and-forth motion. Use a flicking motion with the Colorless Blender to avoid this.


Creative Coloring Projects

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Design by Colleen Schaan


Cardstock: white smooth, light teal Dotted Swiss, black

Quite a Catch stamp set

Black dye ink pad

Markers: BG11, BG72, BG75, YR04, YR07

Black Multiliner

Adhesive foam tape

Paper adhesive

Techniques Used

• On-Paper Blending

• Transfer Blending

Coloring Instructions

1. Stamp fish onto white smooth cardstock.

2. Using On-Paper Blending technique, color fish's body with BG11, BG72 and BG75.

3. Color fins, ears and lips with YR04. Using a Transfer Blending technique, shade with YR07.

Assembly Instructions

Form a 4¼ x 5½-inch top-folded card from white smooth cardstock.

Adhere a 3 7/8 x 5 1/8-inch piece of light teal Dotted Swiss cardstock to black cardstock; trim a small border. Adhere to card front.

Stamp "don't worry be happy" onto a 3 7/8 x 1½-inch piece of white smooth cardstock. Adhere to a 3 7/8 x 1 5/8-inch piece of black cardstock. Adhere to card front as shown.

Cut out fish. Using foam tape, attach fish to card front as shown.

Using Multiliner, draw a dotted border around edges of light teal and sentiment panels.

Sources: White smooth X-Press It Blending Card, markers and Multiliner from Imagination International Inc.; colored cardstock from Bazzill Basics Paper Inc.; stamp set from Gina K. Designs; Memento dye ink pad from Tsukineko LLC.

Apples in a Chintz Bowl

Design by Sharon Harnist


Cardstock: white smooth, blue, apple green

Apples in Chintz Bowl stamp Black dye ink pad

Markers: B21, B23, B26, C-1, E33, YG17, YG21, YG23, YG25

Colorless Blender (0)

4 ¾ inches 5/8-inch-wide apple green ribbon

Die templates: Labels One (#S4-161), Large Labels (#S4-168)

Victoria embossing folder (#37-1916)

Die-cutting and embossing machine

Sanding block

Adhesive foam tape

Paper adhesive

Techniques Used

• On-Paper Blending

• One-Color Shading

Coloring Instructions

1. Stamp apples in bowl onto white smooth cardstock.

2. Using On-Paper Blending technique, color apples with YG21, YG23 and YG25.

3. Color stems with E33.

4. Using One-Color Shading technique, color and shade leaves with YG17.

5. Color base of bowl with B21.

6. Use Colorless Blender to remove color from flowers on bowl.

7. Using On-Paper Blending technique, add shadows with B23 and B26.

8. Remove any excess color from white flowers with Colorless Blender.

9. Add shadows under bowl with C-1. Blend it out to white with Colorless Blender.

Assembly Instructions

Form a 5¼ x 4-inch top-folded card from blue cardstock. Using Victoria embossing folder, emboss front and back of card; lightly sand.

Using 3 3/4 x 2 7/8-inch Large Labels die template, die-cut a label from apple green cardstock. Attach to card front using foam tape.

Trim a V-notch into each end of ribbon; attach to card front as shown.

Using 2 3/8-inch Labels One die template, die-cut a label from colored image panel. Attach to card front using foam tape.

Sources: White smooth X-Press It Blending Card, markers and Colorless Blender from Imagination International Inc.; colored cardstock from Memory Box; stamp from Lockhart Stamp Co.; Memento dye ink pad from Tsukineko LLC; die templates from Spellbinders™ Paper Arts; Cuttlebug embossing folder from Provo Craft.

Joyous Journey

Design by Lori Craig


Cardstock: white smooth, light yellow, dark brown, turquoise

Printed papers: Sweet Summertime Blue Sky, A Walk in the Park Picnic Fun, music sheet

Stamp sets: Up, Up & Away, Joy for the Journey

Ink pads: brown dye, brown pearlescent

Markers: BG72, BG75, E31, Y17, Y19, YG21, YG25, YR02, YR07

Orange button

White twine

Dies: Tattered Florals (#656640), Top Note (#113463)

Die-cutting machine

Adhesive foam tape

Paper adhesive

Techniques Used

• Smooth Coloring

• Transfer Blending

Coloring Instructions

1. Using brown dye ink, stamp balloon onto white smooth cardstock.

2. Using Smooth Coloring technique, color outer segments of balloon with BG72. Using a Transfer Blending technique, shade with BG75.

3. In the same manner as first segment, color next two segments of balloon with Y17; shade with Y19.

4. Color two narrow segments of balloon with YG21; shade with YG25.

5. Color center segment of balloon with YR02; shade with YR07.

Assembly Instructions

Form a 4¼ x 5½-inch top-folded card from light yellow cardstock. Adhere a 3½ x 1-inch piece of Picnic Fun paper and a 3 1/3 x 3 3/4-inch piece of Blue Sky paper to a 3 5/8 x 4 7/8-inch piece of dark brown cardstock, as shown. Using brown pearlescent ink, stamp hot-air balloon onto layered panel as shown. Color basket using E31.

Using brown pearlescent ink, stamp sentiment below balloon.

Using Top Note die, die-cut a 3 5/8 x 3/4-inch strip of turquoise cardstock. Adhere to layered panel as shown.

Wrap twine around layered panel twice; secure ends to back.

Cut out colored balloon. Using foam tape, attach over balloon stamped on layered panel. Attach layered panel to card front using foam tape.

Using Tattered Florals die, die-cut a flower from music sheet paper. Adhere to card front as shown.


Excerpted from Copic Coloring Guide by Colleen Schaan, Marianne Walker, Tanya Fox, Matthew Owen. Copyright © 2011 DRG. Excerpted by permission of DRG.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Colleen Schaan is a regional Copic certification instructor and team member of the fine art education program for the Southeast coast. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Marianne Walker is the product director for Imagination International Inc., where she develops product publications and certification manuals. She teaches drawing and coloring classes at trade shows, stores, and art schools. She lives in Springfield, Oregon.

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Copic Coloring Guide 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
tobyonekinobie More than 1 year ago
This book is by far one of the best books when it comes to learning how to use the Copic markers. Every technique is explained in detail and very easy to understand. I didn't know how to use my Copic markers for anything other than just coloring and this book gave me inspiration for many uses. There are also a number of examples for each technique. Definitely a book you will need if you want to get the best use of your Copic markers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so simplistic that once you have skimmed through it you have obtained all the knowledge you are going to get. The projects are ok but I would certainly not pay full price for this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, the number of techniques was not as big as it could've been, but it was very helpfull to me and did go very indepth to the techniques it mentioned.
vtori More than 1 year ago
The book provides concise information about the Copic coloring system. The directions for applying colors are straight forward. They tell you exactly what Copic colors you need to successfully complete the projects. The color wheel courtesy of .Too is invaluable for choosing correct coloring complements. I work with many different artist papers but have never heard of the paper they recommend which is X-Press. I did think it odd that they did not use Copic paper in any of their projects. Still this book will quickly get you started saving you money and time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago