Here's your chance to learn how to get the most from your Copic marker collection! Follow along as we break down the letters and numbers that make up the Copic Color Chart.
What is the Copic Color System?
Far from merely a way to catalogue and inventory this extensive line of colors, the Copic Color System is an invaluable tool for the artists and crafters who use Copic markers.
Perhaps you’re just starting out with Copic and you’ve saved up to buy a small set; a basic understanding of the Copic Color System will help you determine exactly how to spend your money for the projects you have planned. If you already have an extensive collection of markers, the color system can be a helpful tool for evaluating which colors will blend best or for creating the perfect palette for a composition. Read on to find out how the system works.
Every Copic marker has a unique code that, once understood, gives you quite a bit of information about the marker’s qualities. There are four distinct elements to the numbering system starting with the Color Family, followed by the saturation number, and then the brightness number. Underneath this code, you’ll find the color name.
Let’s go into each element of the code in more detail below.
The letter or letters at the beginning of the code indicate the Color Family. R = Red, YR = Yellow-Red, Y = Yellow, YG = Yellow-Green, and so on around the color wheel.
The first number in the code refers to the color’s saturation level. The saturation level indicates the purity of the color.
A low saturation number indicates a higher degree of color saturation––which means more vivid or intense color.
A high saturation number indicates a less saturated color. These colors will appear dull or washed-out in comparison to the colors with low saturation numbers.
The second digit in the code is the brightness number. It indicates the lightness or darkness of the color.
The lower the number, the lighter the ink will be.
The higher the number, the darker the ink will be.
Note: In some cases, a color’s brightness falls below 0. In those cases, the brightness is represented by additional 0s.
This is the name given to the unique combination of hue, saturation and brightness a color represents. From Blue Berry to Garnet, this system can accommodate a dazzling array of colors.
Some colors operate slightly differently in the system, however. Gray, Black and Earth Tone inks all have unique coding variations.
In the Copic Color System, grays only have a Color Family and a Brightness Number. There are four categories of gray color families: Cool (C), Neutral (N), Toner (T), and Warm (W).
Copic has two versions of black ink: Black (100) and Special Black (110).
Earth Tones are achieved by combining colors opposite on the Color Wheel (complementary colors). Therefore, they don’t quite fit within the primary color system––which is why they have their own, unique system.
Get To Know Copic Colors
You might find it helpful to download the Copic Color Chart or the Copic Color Wheel from resources on our website. Just remember that colors may appear slightly different on your monitor than they will on paper. The best way to get to know each color is to download a blank color chart and color it in yourself.