Why Are Copic Markers So Expensive?

why are copic markers so

Artists and crafters love alcohol markers, and one name stands above all the rest: Copic markers. But, if you’ve ever browsed the selection at your local art store, you might be wondering why are Copic markers so expensive?

What Are Copic Markers?

Made by the Too Corporation in 1987(https://copic.jp/en/about/) for use by artists and designers, the alcohol-based, non-toxic markers were soon adopted by other professionals, like Manga artists, architects and crafters.

But coloring enthusiasts and illustrators looking to add Copic markers to their own marker collection face the sting of the premium markers’ other premium feature, its price tag, which can run to around $93.00 for just a 12 marker set.

How Do Copic Marker Prices Compare to Other Alcohol Marker Brands?

Marker brands offer a range of different sets containing different numbers of markers, and this means that comparing prices between sets can be unclear. If we instead compare the price for single markers, we get a better picture of Copic’s higher cost. 

The brands for this comparison were selected based on their offering brush tips and being, generally, the same kind of marker. 

They are:

  • Copic Sketch Markers
  • Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers
  • Winsor and Newton Promarker Brush
  • Ohuhu Brush Markers
BrandCopicSpectrum NoirWinsor & NewtonOhuhu
Price for a Single Marker*$7.99$3.95$5.29$2.49
*Prices from company retail sites retrieved 01/28/21.

As we can see, Copics are considerably more expensive than even other “premium” brands like Winsor and Newton. When bought in sets, the price per Copic marker comes down, but Copic marker sets are still considerably more expensive than other brands.

So what justifies this higher cost? 

why are copic markers so

Copic Markers: A Blendable and Reliable Color System

Copic’s large 358 color selection (https://copic.too.com/blogs/learn/marker-breakdown-comparison-chart) means there are color options to suit even the most discerning coloring enthusiast. Copic’s ink quality is also often praised for its smoothness and the beautiful way it layers and blends. 

Copic’s color system is one reason the brand is so popular. While the markers produce great, even colors on their own, Copics also have the ability to compliment or contrast one another. This effect is achieved by careful selection using the Copic color system. 

Copic’s color system (https://copic.jp/en/about/color_system/) breaks the markers down into groups to allow the artist to quickly reference which colors will work well together. 

These include:

  • Color Family – For example, Blues (B) or Red-Violets (RV).
  • Blending Group –  A number between 0-9 where 0 is the most saturated version of that color and 9 is the most desaturated. 
  • Intensity Value – A number between 000, 00, and 0-9 where 000 is the lightest available in that color family, and 9 is the darkest color available in that family. 

Putting these numbers together creates a code, such as Hydrangea Blue BV13. This means Hydrangea Blue is from the color family Blue-Violet, the blending group for the color is in the 1 saturation group and the intensity is 3. These codes are found on the markers’ caps. 

When we buy Copic markers, we are buying inks from a specially put together system that gives consistent colors and color schemes. This reliability is important for professional artists and those wanting the most from their markers.

Copic Markers Are Refillable

While Copics carry a high price tag, one of their major advantages is that they can be refilled. Copic refills cost around $6, so are considerably cheaper than a new Copic marker. At 12ml per refill, a Copic Sketch could be refilled around six times. (https://copic.jp/en/product/ink/)

There are relatively few other markers that offer this feature, though Spectrum Noir does. (https://www.spectrumnoir.com/faqs-alcohol-inks). Refills make Copic markers more affordable than their up-front cost might suggest. 

Copic Markers’ Various Replaceable Nibs

One of the most sought after qualities of Copics is their beautiful, springy brush nib or tip. While there are other brands on the market that have brush tips, Copic was one of the first to push the brush nib design with its Copic Sketch Super Brush Nib debuting in 1993. (https://copic.jp/en/about/history/)

Crafters, hobbyists and professional artists and illustrators have praised the brush tip for its ability to produce different line weights and strokes, as well as the superior control it can give for various coloring and blending techniques. 

Copic doesn’t stop there however. Copics’ nibs are replaceable (and switchable), meaning that once the nib begins to lose its shape or starts to fray, it can be swapped out. Again, this adds more value and life to the initial marker investment.

Copic Markers: Expensive But Built to Last

It’s undeniable that Copic markers are expensive. Yet the brand’s fans argue that the cost is worth it because of Copic’s quality, non-toxic, and reliable ink. The ability to refill, clean and maintain the markers adds points in their favor. 

Whether you feel the Copic range is worth the money though really depends on your needs, your budget and whether these advantages outweigh the higher price.

There are some newer brands like Ohuhu that offer brush tips, and some have started to offer ink refills too, such as Art-n-Fly markers(https://www.artnfly.com/products/48-refillable-brush-alcohol-marker-booster-set). If you are just starting out with marker art, these less expensive sets might be a better investment. 

However, for those who know alcohol markers are a creative tool they cannot live without, Copic offers an extensive and reliable color system whose markers are designed to last.

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