Artist Brandi York answers the commonly asked question, "What pens work well with Copic markers?" Not all inks are created the same. In this post she sets out to test some of the more common pens to see how they hold up to Copic markers.
On each test, I heavily saturated the color (Y08) to try to get as even a tone as I could on Copic Sketchbook Paper.
Copic Multiliner SP 0.2 = Copic proof
The Copic Multiliners are specifically designed to work with Copics on just about any surface, once dry. I always add in "once dry" because different surfaces and papers will have different dry times, depending on the thickness of the paper and even what the humidity is in the air.
Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen XS = NOT Copic proof
Faber-Castell PITT pens don't hold up especially well. On the straight lines test, there is a bit of smearing, particularly where the pen rested longer on the paper at the ends of the line. There's also a slight discoloration to the overall color of the marker from the pen.
On the hatch test, even after four hours of drying, the smeared heavily, discoloring the tip of the marker as well.
Marvy Le Pen = Copic proof
The Marvy Le Pen stood up very well with Copic markers, the lines staying consistent without smearing and the black staying strong.
Marvy Le Pen Permanent = NOT Copic proof
Le Pen Permanent is an alcohol based pen. As a result, on the line test, there was some definite bleeding happening, though it was more of a delayed reaction than an instant smearing.
On the hatch test, it was harder to see the bleed, but on close inspection, the color faded from the darker black of the text. While it's still not smearing, the ink is not holding up to Copics.
Prismacolor Premier 01 = Small, thin lines are Copic proof; heavier lines are not.
On the straight line test, the Prismacolor Premier pen seemed to hold up with no smearing or discoloration.
However, on the hatch test, even after four hours of dry time, the heavier application of ink smeared, discoloring the tip of the marker as well as the paper.
Pentel Artist Slicci 0.25 = NOT Copic proof
At first glance, it appears that the Slicci gel might be Copic proof, but looking more closely at the lines, they have faded and show a bit of bleeding, albeit minor.
With the heavier hatching application, though, they bleed is a bit more apparent, with a bit of darkening and smearing where the ink is heaviest.
Pentel Artist Stylo = Copic proof
The Pentel Stylo holds strong under a heavy application of Copic marker ink, even with the hatching. The lines are not especially heavy, making some areas look as though they've faded, but in fact, it's just the ink coloring the paper beneath.
Sakura Pigma Micron 01 = NOT Copic proof
A definite favorite of many artists, the lighter lines of the Micron holds up to Copics.
However, the heavier application of ink smeared when the Copic was applied.
Sharpie Extra Fine = NOT Copic proof
In both instances of the use of the Sharpie, the pen bled. Sharpies are also alcohol based, so naturally, Copics will reactivate the ink when applied. In both instances, the ink bled and faded; on the hatching, the ink also smeared.
There are many different inking pens out there, and none of the above is to say you cannot use the pens that are not Copic proof in your work. If you do wish to continue using a pen that does not hold up well, use the pen after coloring with Copics, rather than before. You can still use your favorite pen without worrying about bleeding or smearing.