Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Copics?

Yesterday's post on Copics provoked this most excellent question from reader bluejeannes:

"What makes Copics so great, so much superior to others? They are very expensive, so I've never bought any."

Well, bluejeannes, I can't answer that question as an expert, but here's what I know from experience.

1. Alcohol markers come in a variety of price points. Sharpies and Bics are the cheapest, but the color range is limited to mostly very bright, strong colors. They also don't blend quite as well as Copics. Copics are, to my knowledge, the most expensive alcohol markers, and they work like dream. There's a middle-ground price-point alcohol marker called Spectrum Noir. I have never tried these, but a lady at Marco's told me she uses those instead of Copics and loves them.

Random strangers at craft stores might not be entirely reliable sources, but it's all I've got to offer.

2. There are LOTS of coloring options that are just as lovely as Copics...for a lot less money. Watercolors and colored pencils, for instance, are not nearly as pricey, and can produce incredible results. They won't look like the Copics, but if an image gets colored, who really cares what medium was used? Will your card recipient even know there were options? Probably not.

3. We should be careful how we spend our precious crafting dollars. Copics are VERY expensive, and even though I've purchased most of mine with coupons and on sale, it's still a sizeable investment. To be honest, if I'd known about the Spectrum Noir pens before I started collecting Copics, I'd probably have chosen them over Copics. Coloring isn't a passion for me, but I do enjoy all the pretty colors.

That said, Copics truly are high-quality markers. They blend beautifully, especially on the Gina K 120# white card stock. They are refillable, and you can replace worn nibs. Even my oldest Copics are still juicy, and the tips are in excellent shape. They last.

For those who are not expert colorers, it's possible to fake results that are good enough for government work, as the saying goes.

For those who commit to mastering them, the results are pure art. Check out Sandy Alnock's videos on YouTube to see an expert at work.

For those who choose to avoid alcohol markers altogether, good on you! After all, I've avoided die cut machines and the money pit of needing every die I see. Good on me! Let's celebrate by buying a set of stamps!

If you're a total noob at alcohol markers, I strongly recommend getting a few Sharpies or Bics first to try your hand at color blending (off-the-shelf Sharpies in a yellow, light orange, and dark orange would work). If it seems like fun, pick out a few shades of your favorite color in Spectrum Noir or Copics and experiment. Decide how fully you want to commit. If you decide to proceed, build your collection as slowly as your budget requires. I've been working on my collection for about five years or so, and it finally feels finished.

So there you have it. For what it's worth. Which might not be much.

Here's another card (somewhat similar to yesterday's layout) using more shades of Copics. Love these cool, bright colors!

I think I got a little carried away with bling, but still. It's a perfect card for a beautiful friend of mine. She's going to love it, overly blinged and all!

Now, this is already a long post, but I want to share something that happened to me today. My guardian angel was working overtime.

A tree came down across the road right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, but couldn't tell if the tree hit the front of my car or if the car hit the was that close. Fortunately, a landscaping company truck and trailer stopped behind me. The guys got out, checked for damage, and told me the tree was lodged under the hadn't damaged the car at all. They needed a chainsaw to get it out from under the car and off the road. Those three men were a GODSEND! They had the road cleared and everything moving in about two minutes. Thank the Lord for Good Samaritans armed with chainsaws!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Concord & 9th Wild Flowers, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K 120# white
accessories: Copics, rhinestones


  1. I'm so glad to hear that you are okay and there was no damage to your car.

    Love your card. That's such a wonderful sentiment. I am still working on the random bling placement. I don't know how you make it look so right.

    To chime in on the Copic debate, I have a "basic" collection as well that I've now had for about 10 years. I use mine enough that I love the fact that I can refill them, which you can't do with the Spectrum Noir. My kids also use them and I love that I can replace a damaged nib when needed. (This rarely happens, since my kids know that they have to be very respectful of Mommy's special markers or they will not be allowed in the magical crafting room - a very coveted play place.) I also use them in replacement of fabric paint markers, when needed, so that cuts down on more buying of other supplies.

    1. Excellent point about the refills. I didn't know that the Spectrum Noir markers don't have a refill option. Over time, that would make a difference in cost.

    2. Spectrum noir alcohol markers are refillable, according to their website:

  2. Beautiful card and your coloring is amazing! I have some SU alcohol markers and need to play with them (they were discontinued due to a leaking problem, I guess. Mine seem fine.)

  3. I'm so glad you are safe after your run in with the tree, and that some angels were there to help you out.

  4. A guardian angel armed with a chain saw....awesome!!!

  5. Lucky you! I am glad that you weren't hurt! How many people meet a guy with a chain saw in the car!!!!!!!

    Your colouring is excellent. I have a few of both kinds and I agree that copics are the best. I am very poor at using them. i haven't taken enough time to practise.

  6. Lovely card Susan! What a miracle the tree didn't land on you! Plus, men to help move the tree and LANDSCAPING peeps on top of that?! That's awesome to see God provide like that~

  7. Susan, thank you for addressing my Copics question. And thanks to the other readers who added comments. You have given me a lot to think about—and do. I intend to follow your suggestions and try out some of the different brands of alcohol markers, including Copic. I think I'll get a few in my favorite colors (which happen to be the same as in your lovely card above), although I'm a little afraid I will like them so much I will go hog wild in buying more.... My coloring skills in all media are very elementary, so I guess I'll have to practice a lot. FWIW, I agree with you about die-cut machines—they are a black hole and I'm staying away.

    And I'm so glad you weren't going any faster, as it sounds like a terrible accident was just a second or two away.

  8. so the colours you used. Yes they are expensive and it does take some practice.
    Glad you are ok after your close call.
    xx Karen

  9. Yes, Copics are good markers but truly they are not for me. (In the U.K. they are mega-expensive. I have found that I would rather do that end I have tried Copics and also bought a rather expensive set of watercolour pencils only to be disenchanted with them. Finally I decided to try Kuretake Clean Colour markers and finally I am content and enjoy colouring with them. Nothing is cheap nowadays but if one gets value for money then it satisfies me. I did buy a basic 24 set from England after I had experimented with just a few. Then I sent for other colours from open stock at a very reasonable price each. Glad to say I am happy with my colouring now.
    I think each one has to find out for themselves what they are happy with, so glad to have come to a conclusion.

  10. I have Spectrum Noir markers. I tried them because they are reasonably priced. There's no way I could afford Copics. The SNs work quite well for me, and they are definitely refillable. As my skills improve, I enjoy coloring more and more. I am no expert and never will be, but I do finally feel free to display my coloring without being embarrassed.

  11. I love my Copic markers. I probably have about 75 as well. I bought the first few sets on ebay to get the flower colors I wanted. Then I found another seller that would let you buy a set quantity; but let you choose your colors from a list. Then I filled in. I bought a few from a local brick and mortar scrapbook store that has since gone out of business. She always had good prices on them and the refills. I have purchased some from Michaels with a coupon. I'm guessing over time that my average cost was about $4 per marker.

    I have about 10 refills of the colors I use the most. (Leafy greens, golden yellow and tan) The refills are sometimes hard to find. I've taken to ordering them from They are "fairly" reasonable and prompt.

    Because I've been adding to my collection for more that 10 years; the cost really hasn't been that bad. I use them, I have card classes with them and the grandkids use them. I am by no means proficient with them; but they work for my purposes.

    I love your little cheat sheet for them Susan. I did that with my ink pads; I really should do that with my Copics.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!