Copic Q&A with the Pros

Want to know more about how the pros began using Copic markers or what their favorite color groups or go-to techniques are? We asked Copic experts and enthusiasts some of the questions you might be curious about. Read on and enjoy!

How did you get into coloring with Copics?

Colleen Schaan: When I first started stamping, most stamps were solid or bold images that I stamped with colored ink. Then one day I was introduced to line images ... and the love affair began! I was a collector of color, trying out every medium I could get my hands on -- from colored pencils and watercolor crayons to paints, chalks and inks. I stumbled upon Copics while browsing a message board for crafters, and I saw some beautifully colored images. That's all it took! I ran out and got my greedy little hands on some. But it wasn't a happy relationship in the beginning. I didn't really know much about Copics (except that they came in a LOT of gorgeous colors), so I wasn't using them properly and was disappointed in my results. Knowing that there was something I was missing, I started researching and learning everything I could about them. That's when we really started to bond. I ended up getting Copic Certified in 2008 and the rest is, as they say, history.

Marianne Walker: That's a long story. When I was a student at the University of Oregon, I started working for the company before I knew what they did. I was hired as a freelance graphic designer for a small company that was owned by one of the professors in the Art Department there at the U. of O. When I got into the project, I realized that they were selling some amazing markers, so I asked for a few and thought they were pretty cool. The next term I had the president as one of my animation professors, and he had a set of Copics in the classroom. I was supposed to make a claymation that term; instead I made a cut-paper animation because I was having too much fun coloring with the Copics.

What's your favorite thing about working with Copic markers vs. other markers or other ways to add color to your projects?

Colleen: My favorite thing about Copic markers, and one of the things that makes them so special, is their blendability. Because they are solvent based, I can layer and blend colors together to get amazing results that just aren't possible with other coloring media. (Oh, and can you say, "VIBRANT!")

Marianne: I actually hated coloring before I used Copics. Water-based markers streaked and ruined the paper. Watercolors and paints required a brush and cleanup. Colored pencils looked like colored pencils. Chalks and pastels were messy. Computer coloring looked like everyone else who was fed-up with traditional media. Once I found Copic markers, it was a window opening. The colors and blends I saw in my head could finally be translated onto my artwork without the frustration.

What's your go-to Copic marker technique?

Colleen: Well, it changes all the time ... depending on my mood, but lately I have been doing a lot of texturizing with the colorless blender Copic marker. I just love that I can take a colored image and add instant texture and depth just by moving the color around a little bit.

Marianne: Beyond marker blending on paper, I really like dotting with the tip of the brush. I don't know why. I just love the look of lots of little, perfect, many-colored dots.

What's your favorite Copic color group to work with?

Colleen: Ohhhh, I'm a blue girl -- oh, and purple -- so either of those color families. I guess my very favorite blending group is B60/B63/B66/B69 -- a yummy royal purple/blue.

Marianne: BG70's BG70, BG72, BG75, BG78 -- Those are beautiful colors!

What one tip should everyone starting to color with Copic know?

Colleen: Practice, practice, practice! Anyone who has taken a class with me has heard me say it. I can't stress enough how important it is to get your Copic markers out and play with them. The more you use them the more comfortable you will become. You will be surprised at how quickly skills can improve! Oh, and NEVER (and I do mean never) compare yourself to others and wish you could color like so-and-so. That's a slippery slope that leads straight to discontent. So go color, color, color... practice, practice, practice and most importantly, enjoy your colorful journey!

Marianne: Buy light colors to start with, but don't forget the need for contrast! Try not to blend out all your darks when coloring, or you lose contrast and your image goes back to being flat.

Other than card making, what types of crafts have you used Copic markers with?

Colleen: I use the Copic Various Inks (refills) a lot for altering items and working with acrylic and metal pieces. I've done a few scrapbook canvases with the airbrush unit. And lately, I've been creating mixed media canvas collages by combining Copic inks (and markers) with papers and acrylic paints. I love experimenting and getting messy!

Marianne: Fine art, altered art, fabric, ceramic ornaments & wood.