Starter Colors for Copic Markers

If you are just getting started with Copic Markers, there are plenty of options for your first color set. Copics aren’t cheap, so we’d encourage you not to break the bank (at least not at first).

Best Starter Colors for Copic Markers

There can be no prescribed best colors to start your Copic marker journey with. That’s like dictating ‘the best toppings for pizza’ – it’s all down to personal choice. If your favourite color is orange, chances are that’s your best starter color for Copic markers. Although brace yourself, because there are a lot of orange tones available.

The best way to buy Copic Markers

The most affordable way to buy Copic Markers is in bulk – the more pens in the pack, the cheaper per pen it works out.

Copics are available in the following pack sizes:

  • 1 (pick any color you want)
  • 2 (the doodle packs, also featuring multiliners)
  • 5 (Ciao themed packs)
  • 12
  • 36
  • 72

While other variations are available, these are the core sizes. Looking at prices on line today, buying a pack of 72 Copic Sketches works out around 38% cheaper per pen than buying individually.

Buying Closely Matched Starter Colors for Copic Markers

If you are looking to start small before investing more in pens, we would suggest starting with two colors which work well together as you learn what the pens can do.With that in mind, the Copic Doodle Packs represent great starter colors for Copic Markers with minimal cash outlay.

The Doodle Packs come with two pens from closely matched color families, which are also closely matched in number. For example YG41 (Pale Cobalt Green) and G14 (Apple Green) make up the green Doodle Pack. Colors in the same range are easier to blend and layer.

By starting with colors that are easier to work together with, you will understand the allure of Copics much more quickly. For instance, you might choose to layer on a previous, dry layer of ink for stark color work. With two colors opposed to each other, there will be too much information on the page to really understand how the pens are working. You will not be able to see the difference between layering on a wet or dry layer. With two colors close to each other, you are more likely to pick up on the subtleties of working with two different colors.

Blending yellow and orange tones in copic inks
Layering on dry (left) and wet (right) with YR14 and R32

We’re not suggesting you stop there. You will want more colors.

Experimenting with Starter Colors for Copic Markers

However, before you put your hand in your pocket to get your hands on those alluring colors, just play.

It makes sense to experiment before you invest in further colors. Unless you are going to spend big and buy one of the 72+ color Copic Marker sets, chances are you will be growing your collection in smaller numbers. By playing with your two Copic colors, you will get an idea of the direction you want the range to grow in.

Actually, we suggest that two closely matched greys are the best Copic Markers to start with.

Limits drive the imagination, so whether you go monochrome or start with two closely matched colors, you are creating fertile ground for your artwork.

Starting with a Multiliner

The Copic Doodle Pack comes with the added bonus of giving you multiliner to sketch or outline with as well. It’s not your standard black multiliner either, instead it is themed with the other pens in the pack. For instance, in the green Doodle Pack there is a multiliner in olive.

While you could use a pencil your Copic Markers, things are simpler with a fineliner. As it is a bone fide Copic product, you know it will play nicely with the alcohol in the markers. As a result, you will be free from running and smudging the associated tears.

There’s also a glitter pen. So, you know, do what you want with that information. These are also themed to match the color of the pack.

Starting Colors to Grow From

The Copic Doodle Packs are an ideal point to grow from. They don’t cost the earth, you can pick them in your favourite colors and they will give you hands-on experience of the way the the pens work with each other.

The routes to grow your collection from this point are almost endless. You could explore more matching colors. With the green set, you could move up and down the G and YG scales, including different combinations of purity and light to add more nuance to your green masterpieces. As your collection grows, you will need to have a think about how you will organise your Copic Markers to best suit you themes.

Alternatively, you could take your base colors and use color theory to build out different sets: contrasting, complementary, keeping it warm or cool.

Alternatively, you could take a leap from this start with color into skin tones. Armed with your new knowledge of layering and mixing, there are many Copic Marker Skin Tones packs and combinations out there you could jump into.

The Copic Colorless Blender

When you are new to the pens, you won’t necessarily need a Copic Colorless Blender. Any two shades of pen can be used to blend into each other, that’s what makes the pens such a joy to use.

Simply layering different inks on top of each other will create some level of blend (even better if both layers are wet). Working lighter ink into darker ink will yield more subtle blends too. Experiment away, pushing and pulling that ink and seeing what the final result is. If you’ve got the right paper for Copic pens, you can really work the ink into each other and get lovely results.

However there are some specific uses of the Copic Colorless Blender you may want to explore.