The Copic Color System is more than a handy way to identify individual marker colors—it’s also a great tool for determining which colors will work well together on any given composition.
Whether you're just adding a little flare to your hand-crafted thank you cards or coloring some commissioned pin-up art, the Copic Color System can give you important insights. Here are four tips for using that string of letters and numbers on your marker’s cap to make color decisions easier.
If you're not familiar with the Copic Color System, we recommend you read Understanding the Copic Marker Color System before moving on.
1. Choose a Color Palette
If you need earthy or muted colors, choose markers that are less saturated. Look at the saturation number––that’s the first number right after the letters on the color code. The higher the saturation number, the more dull or muted the color will be. Colors in the 70s, 80s, or 90s can help you achieve that antique photo look. On the Other hand, if you need vibrant colors for spring flowers for example, choose markers with low saturation numbers, like 0, 10 or 20.
2. Use Brightness Effectively
The brightness number––that’s the last number in the color code––can help you determine how best to use any given color. For highlights, choose a color with a low brightness number, either 0, 1, 2, or 3. For mid-tones, choose a 4, 5, or 6 brightness number. And for shadows, a 7, 8 or 9 brightness number will give you the best results.
3. Find Natural Blending Groups
Natural Blending Groups are colors in the same color family with the same saturation level, like B20-B29. They only differ in brightness, so you can blend them together with confidence they will perfectly coordinate. Have two or three markers within the same blending group on hand for best results.
Finally, there’s no substitute for simply putting brush to paper. Spend some time trying different blending combinations or strokes. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You never know what marvelous creations can arise from even the wildest experimentations. So get to it!