Are Copic Markers Alcohol Based? (2023)

apple are copic markers alcohol based

The quick answer is YES, Copic markers are alcohol-based!  So what’s the big attraction about Copic Alcohol Markers in the first place?

Unique Characteristics

Copics are famous the world over as being excellent alcohol markers.  All alcohol markers are a dye-based colorant mixed in an alcohol solution.  This makes them quick-drying and permanent.  So, no smearing, no long drying times. They are super easy to layer as well.

Copics have unique features that most other alcohol markers only wish for.

  1. Copics are refillable!  So if you find yourself using one particular color the most, you can purchase a refill bottle and refill your pen indefinitely.
  2. Copic nibs come in a variety of shapes and are totally replaceable.  You can buy one pen and replace the nib with several options for ultimate versatility.
  3. Copic inks are very high quality and have a very reliable flow
  4. There are over 358  colors available in the Copic Sketch line, and with individual refill bottles, it is even possible to create your own mixes
  5. The ink formulas will always stay the same recipe, so that you can refill or repurchase pens indefinitely with confidence the colors will match.
  6. The ink is low odor and non-toxic.
  7. They have a logical and unique numbering system so that you can accurately gauge the relative lightness or darkness of each color.
  8. Square barrels won’t roll off the surface of your table.
  9. Ideal for professional illustrators and artists as well as hobbyists.
  10. With the special attachment, they can be used as an airbrush application.
halloween marker illustration are copic markers alcohol based
Alcohol markers are perfect for the bright colors of Halloween

Copic Series

Copic Sketch Basic Set

Comes with the Medium Broad Chisel nib and Super Brush Nib. Available in small sets and individual colors and refils in over 358 colors.

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Copic Classic

Short fine nib and the Chisel nib. The original Copic marker, there are over 214 colors.

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Copic Ciao

The same great quality as the Copic Sketch, but smaller sized and intended as an introductory marker to the Copic line.  It’s a  smaller price point as well!  Round barrel. Available in 180 colors.

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Copic Substitutes

Not everyone is super happy with the high cost of Copic markers.  Thankfully, there are some options that fulfill at least several of Copic’s unique features.  Here’s the best options:

  1. Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers

These great markers are a first choice of many professional illustrators.  The ink lays down with no granulation in a very smooth and flawless finish.  The flexible nib feels like a real paintbrush and makes blending a breeze.  Made in England by a company dedicated to high quality artist products, the Spectrum Noir is a classy and reputable substitute for Copic. Refill bottles are available, as well as multiple nib replacement options.

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2.  Kuretake ZIG Twins

Manufactured by Zig company in Japan, a famous art supply manufacturer since 1902 has a fine reputation.  The pens don’t come with a brush nib, but they do have them available for separate purchase.  They do have refillable inks, but they are somewhat hard to find and the price of the pens is high enough to be comparable to Copic.

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3. Watercolor Brush Pens by GenCrafts

A great option other than alcohol markers are watercolor brush markers!  I love how they blend with just a touch of water and the price is great for a large set!

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4.  Caliart 34 Dual Brush Pens Art Markers

These markers are ink-based and very reasonably priced.  Highly rated by owners, they are a great addition for crafting and adult coloring.

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Important To Know

Coloring Books

It is important to realize that all alcohol markers are going to seep into paper like mad and leak through the backside.  It’s just the nature of alcohol mediums to soak thoroughly and quickly into the paper fibers.   Most coloring books have thin paper, and are doubled-sided with images.  If you are hoping to use Copic Markers or other alcohol markers to color with, then invest in one-sided heavy paper coloring books like these:

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As a safety precaution, it is very helpful to place a few sheets of paper behind your work to absorb any marker ink that seeps through your coloring book paper.

Blank Paper Options

There are some wonderful papers created specifically for alcohol markers that limit or even eliminate the leak-through and facilitate blending.  If you enjoy creating your own artwork from scratch, you’ll need one of these fine papers:

Canson XL Marker Paper

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Bee Paper Company Marker Paper

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All Kinds of Markers

Copic markers aren’t the only kind of markers in the world.  In fact, I cover all the different kinds of markers in my article here.

And for the dish on all the best Alcohol Markers, check out my markers article here. 



Anita HC

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