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Ideas, Techniques & How-to

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Markers

Refilling

How to know when it’s time to refill.

Test both ends of the marker. The biggest hint that it’s time to refill is when using the chisel end you see streaks. On the brush end you’ll need to refill when the ink has a harder time reaching the tip of the brush. If one end is dry but the other is juicy you may think your marker is fine, but it’s not. It still needs to be refilled.

Over time, if you find it difficult to evenly soak your paper or blend with some colors then you probably need to refill. You’ll have to refill your favorite colors sooner than you think.

Some things to consider before you refill:

  1. Work over a protected surface. A thick paper plate, pie tin, or a stack of old newspapers make a great barrier for spills.
  2. Make sure your refill color matches the marker. This is an easy mistake to make.
  3. Have everything ready before you start, including your clean-up supplies. Keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or hand-sanitizer and some paper towels for clean up.
  4. The Refill cap unscrews. Don’t try to pull it straight off like a marker lid, and whatever you do, don’t squeeze the bottle while unscrewing it. You’re bound to make a mess. Unscrew it over your protected surface.
5.. Refill from the chisel end of the marker.
  5. Give yourself plenty of time to refill. Accidents happen when you get distracted or in a rush.

Amount of Ink to add

Each little mark on the side of a bottle of ink is 1 cc. These numbers will slightly underfill your marker, but it’s better to underfill than overfill.

  • Ciao- add 1 to 1.5 cc’s
  • Sketch- 2 cc’s
  • Copic 2-3 cc’s
  • Wide 3-4 cc’s

Refilling Copic Markers

Download the pdf instructions here.

Sketch, Copic and Ciao - Drip and Dab

This is the most direct method of refilling. Using the dropper built into the various ink bottle simply drip/dab drops of ink onto the chisel nib of your marker. Touch the very tip of the ink bottle to the tip of the marker. To refill a marker it takes about 20-30 drops of ink. Let each drop get sucked in before you add the next drop.

Remove Nib and Fill

This method is much faster than Drip and Dab. With your tweezers pull the chisel tip out from your marker. Take the cap off the other side of the marker (this helps to avoid getting air bubbles and allows the ink to seep in better). Carefully pour in the ink. Don’t squeeze too quickly since it’s easy to mis-judge how much ink you’re adding. When you’re done, put the nib back in and put both caps back on. Let your marker sit for a moment so the ink evenly distributes within the marker.

Refilling Wide Markers

Touch the dropper to the wide nib by resting it in the groove built into the barrel. Gently squeeze to add ink. If you want, you can pull out the wide nib and drip ink down into the gaping barrel instead.

Replacing Nibs

When you are refilling your markers this is also a good time to replace damaged nibs, so keep a supply of replacement tips and a pair of tweezers. Copic tweezers have little gripping teeth to get hold of the nibs better. There are nine styles of Copic interchangeable nibs, from broad to calligraphy, that provide greater freedom of technique in your renderings.

How to Change Marker Nibs

  • Using the tweezers pull the large nib out of the marker.
  • Insert the new nib slowly back into the marker.
  • The ink will wick form the inside out to the end of the nib. This may take a few minutes.

Airbrushing

When airbrushing, you can use either the Sketch or Copic markers in the ABS system. First take of the cap of the marker, each nib type will have a different affect in the system. If working with the chisel nib, have the chisel putting up and push it in until you feel it snap in. The ABS works by spraying air across the exposed tip of the marker. You can hook your system up to either special cans of air or an air compressor. To change colors you pull out the marker and put in a new marker.

Uses

Most commonly it is used for filling in large areas (backgrounds) or coloring 3-d objects. Wigs, fly fishing lures, paper boxes, teddy bears, metal, embellishments, clay are just some of the possibilities of things one can create.

Masking Your Art

If you want a fine line or crisp edges you need to mask your art. For any kind of crisp edge you need to mask your image in some way so the spray goes only where you want it to go.

Different Mask Types

1. Paper.
This can be as simple as holding a torn piece of paper in place with your finger, or cutting out detailed shapes in paper and spraying around them. You’ll want to make sure that your edges are securely held to the paper or else you’ll get the spray creeping under the edge of your artwork. Spray straight down over the paper or aim your spray so your air isn’t aimed up under the edge.

2.

2. Adhesive Papers & tapes
This includes everything from standard masking or painting tape to masking film such as Mask It or low-tack stickers and sticky notes. You can even put down a few sticky-notes to make crisp straight lines without much fuss. Always test the surface you’re sticking to so you don’t ruin your artwork.

3. Masking Liquids
Mask out the areas you plan to airbrush with masking fluids. Masking fluid can be applied with an old, worn-out brush to those areas that are to be protected then allowed to dry. Once the surrounding area is finished being colored, the masking fluid can be removed to once again expose the white of the paper underneath. To remove the mask, rub it gently with a clean dry finger.

4. Masking with Objects
Doilies, die cuts, lace, punches, gravel, and leaves, are all objects one can use to get a pattern. However, you will have the same challenges as plain paper in keeping your edges down to prevent overspray. Some objects, like the metal dies, can be cleaned afterwards with hand sanitizer. Other objects can be sprayed on as many times as you would life. Whatever you mask with be sure it’s something you’re OK with getting dirty.

Blending

Marker Blending on Paper

1. Color evenly, really soaking the paper. Color in circles to keep you edges wet and to avoid streaks.

2. While it is still wet, add your darker color to one side. Lift up at the end of the stroke, so you have more ink on the shadow side and less on the edge where it will be blending. You can do this step after your base color has dried, it is easier however to do it while the base is wet.

3. Go back over the darker color with your first color. Add a lot of ink and really soak it in. This is what hides those rough edges and mixes the two colors together to get a smooth blend. If this doesn’t work for you, try using colors that are closer in value to each other, or use lighter colors to begin with.

 Repeat steps 2 and 3, layering more and more ink until it gets as smooth as you want it. You won’t destroy your paper, don’t worry.

4. Add a third color if you wish, again, using the same technique. Start with your lightest, add your middle color, go back with your lightest to blend those two layers together, then add your darkest, then go back with your middle to blend the dark into the rest of the picture. Finish up by using your lightest color.

5. Use the colorless blender to add a highlight back in. For a stronger highlight, use Opaque White and paint a white spot back in.

Marker to Marker Blending

This works with any two Copic markers. If you want the color area to fade to white, use a blender pen as one of your colors. If you wanted it to fade to yellow, then choose a yellow as your  “brush” color. Always use the lighter color to pick up darker colors, that way you can see how much color you’re picking up.

Use the colorless blender as a paintbrush and pick up some of the color from your other marker, directly onto your  blender pen. Start with small dabs of color until you see how much/how quickly it will fade out when used. Next, choose a picture that you want to color, and touch your marker at the darkest point you want. Then color out towards the lighter side.  If you’re done blending with that color but your tip still looks dirty, just scribble onto some scratch paper until the color comes completely off.

Effects with the Colorless Blender

With the colorless blender, we expect blending, but it really does the following best:

  • Lightens Color
  • Pushes color
  • Fades color to white
  • Great for Special Effects
  • Blends Colors
  • Fade to white by pushing colors
  1. Start with an area that you’ve only colored the edges. Make sure you have good scratch paper under your work for this technique.
  2. Color from the lightest spot, out towards the edges. Don’t stop in the middle or it will give you ugly lines/streaks. Use a lot of blender, so it’s really juicy and is shoving that color around very strongly.
  3. Color almost to the edge, but not over. Remember, your color is getting pushed in front of your blender, so if you color up to the line it will go over. Also note how dark the color is around the edge. This is at least 1 or 2 shades darker than my original color, so try this technique with lighter colors until you get an idea of how it will react. If you need it lighter then let it dry and repeat.
  4. If you want a nice subtle shadow that fades out from your image then try the same thing, only use a lot less blender and a much lighter touch.

Papers

Make sure to always test your paper. These markers work differently on each style of paper.  Some things your want to be aware of are bleeding and feathering of the markers. It is okay if the paper bleeds the ink through the back, you will just want to have a scratch piece of paper behind your work. However, watch out for papers that lead to ink feathering, this is when the ink spreads outward on the paper. We recommend the X-Press It Blending Card as it has a silky smooth surface that blends the copic inks brilliantly.  To see specific paper types refer to the paper section of the product page.

Digital Printouts

Copic Marker inks will not destroy lines printed out from a laser printer or standard photocopier. This is because they are toner-based devices and the toner is fused to the paper so the alcohol ink from the markers will not destroy it.

However, with inkjet printers, each printer uses slightly different inks and you need to test your printouts before you color or you could make a mess. Newer inkjet printers seem to work better than the old; but to be safe you should always test them out. The X-Press It blending card is suitable for both laser/photocopier or inkjet printing.

Multiliner SP

Refills

If ink is not flowing properly from your pen, the ink cartridge should be replaced.

There are two sizes of cartridges: Ink cartridge A refills sizes 0.03, 0.05, and 0.1. Ink cartridge B refills sizes 0.2, 0.25, 0.3, 0.35, 0.5, 0.7, and BS. To put in a new ink cartridge, pull the old cartridge out from the bottom, by using the larger of the two openings on the SP Changer or by simply pulling it out by hand. Next, push your new cartridge, without the lid, up into its place. Download this pdf for a visual explanation.

Replacing Nibs

To replace the nib, use the SP Changer. This product can be used by placing the small opening around the metal indent towards the bottom of the nib and pulling upward. To put your new nib into the multiliner push it into the pen and make sure the wick makes clear contact with the ink reservoir. Download this pdf for a visual explanation.

Avoid frequently pulling the nib in and out, this will cause damage to the wick and result in poor ink flow.

Line Variation

You can achieve the thick/thin line variation when drawing by pushing heavier or lighter. Even though the pen tip is very firm and has no flexibility without breaking, it is still possible to push less or more. The trick to this is have something softer under your paper other than just a firm table surface. Always keep a few sheets of scratch paper under your work, the added depth has a slight give to it so you can push harder without damaging the pen tip. Working in a sketchbook is a great way to get this line variation.

Paper Use and Care

Copic Multiliner inking pens work best on very smooth grained paper. The Copic Multiliner inking pens also work well both with watercolors and on watercolor paper. When working on rough surfaces, caution is recommended while using the finer nib sizes.