We get a lot of questions about paper, so we've put together this run down of a few of our favorites from our Product Specialist, Brandi York.
What’s the best paper to use with Copic markers?
The short answer to this question is: it depends. Different papers will bring different effects, different ink absorptions, and different challenges. The best thing to do is to test any paper you’re thinking about using. That will give you some concrete data to help you choose between options as well as enough experience with the paper to anticipate any quirks or special qualities.
So, how do you go about testing paper?
We’ve done a lot of paper tests over the years and a simple, effective process has emerged as the most useful method. The first thing to keep in mind is consistency. Test each type of paper the same way so the results can be compared. With this in mind, our Product Specialist, Brandi York, developed the following Four Circle Test. Below we teach you how to apply the test and then give you 5 examples of paper we’ve tested.
The Four Circle Test
Circle 1: Coverage
In Brandi’s examples below, Y21 was laid down as saturated and solid as possible.
Circle 2: Soft Blending
Y26 was added for a subtle blend, then Y21 was used again to soften the blend.
Circle 3: Complex Blending with a Complementary Color
BV25 was added for a contrasting value and to see how smoothly the color could be melded into the Y21 and Y26. Y26 was used to soften the blend.
Circle 4: Color Removal with Colorless Blender
Two passes of 0 were used to see how easily the Copic inks shifted out of the way.
Note: Brandi used markers Y21, Y26 and BV25. You can use other colors. But notice that all these colors have the same saturation number. Also, on your own tests, make sure the markers you use follow similar steps in brightness. Finally, find a complementary color across the color wheel for your third circle.
1. Copic Marker Pad (Alcohol Marker Pad)
Thin, smooth, traditional marker paper, neutral white in tone.
Excellent, solid coverage with minimal spotting. There is significant color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is good but requires a bit of practice and patience. Colorless Blender has little to no effect.
2. Copic Sketchbook
Super smooth, slightly thicker dense paper with a slightly cool tone.
Excellent, solid coverage with very minimal spotting. Minor color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Excellent blending. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is subtle and requires patience, but can be done.
3. Crescent Rendr
Slightly textured but smooth, thicker sketch paper with a cool tone. Truly no-show-through.
Excellent, solid coverage with some spotting from the texture of the paper. Some color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Minimal blending is excellent; extensive blending becomes more challenging (ink can take a while to dry when heavily layered). Colorless Blender has little effect - some removal may be possible with great patience.
4. Pro Art Watercolor Postcard 140 lb
Thick, dense watercolor stock. Slightly textured, and a warm, reddish tone.
Excellent solid coverage with minimal color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Very good blending. Excellent color removal with the Colorless Blender. Note: Watercolor papers do absorb more ink than most other papers, causing the markers to run dry more quickly.
5. X-Press It Blending Card
Medium weight, super smooth dense card. Cool, lavender tone.
Excellent, solid coverage with some spotting from the fibers of the paper. Color shifting is minor when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is possible with patience. Check out the X-Press It Blending Card!
We know there's no one solution to choosing the right paper, but hopefully you can take what you've learned and find the perfect paper for your project!