You probably came to this page because you bought a new Copic marker set and tried them on copy paper, only to discovered that the ink bleeds through to the surface underneath, right?
Learning how to use Copic markers can already be tricky, so don’t make it harder on yourself by using the wrong type of paper.
In this article I’ll go over our recommended Copic marker papers and how to judge the quality of paper yourself.
Copic Marker Paper Recommendation
1. X-Press It Blending Card
The colorless blender can be used to create crisp and visible results. The markers easily move over the surface, which makes it easy to quickly lay down some ink.
Additionally, you can clearly see darkening with every consecutive layer of ink.
2. Copic Sketchbook
Applying a second and third layer of ink gives a clearly darker tone and the colorless blender can be used to create some interesting effects as well.
3. Borden & Riley Bleedproof for Pens
Blending is easy on this paper and you can achieve clear effects with the colorless blender as well.
However, applying several layers of ink only results in minimal darkening of the color.
4. Strathmore Marker Pad
It offers good blending and smooth ink laydown as well. If you are more experienced with using markers, you should try to adjust your techniques adequately.
Best of all, this paper has an excellent saturation point. Even after applying 10 layers of ink, this paper showed no signs of feathering. This will allow you to go back in and make adjustments and correct mistakes more often.
5. Canson Pro Layout Marker Pad
For you markers you will want to use the smooth side and not the rough bottom. This smooth side will slowly absorb the ink, which will give you extra time to blend it.
On the flip side, it does take a long time to dry as well, so be careful not to accidentally smudge the wet ink.
Types of Marker Paper
There are a variety of different types of paper for markers out there and each of them is designed for a specific function in mind. So it’s not surprising to learn that not every one of them works well with Copic markers. Here is a small list of types to consider and types to avoid.
- Sketchbooks & Drawing Pads: most of these contain very soft papers. It will be difficult to find a good sketchbook for markers since they will normally saturate too fast.
- Bristol: this kind of paper is pretty similar to sketch and drawing paper. However, since Bristol can have a variety of different textures, some of them can for pretty decent Copic marker paper.
- Mixed Media: although this paper is meant to be used with a variety of different media, this normally refers to paints such as acrylics and oil and don’t work very well with markers.
- Marker Paper: admittedly marker paper is generally pretty thin. However, since it is much denser than sketchbook or Bristol paper, they normally fair very well with Copic markers.
- Manga and Illustration Paper: these types of paper are a heavier version of marker paper. Although they work well with Copic markers, they interact with the ink a little different than most papers, so it takes a while to get the hang of it.
- Others: it would be difficult to include every single type of paper. This section includes the less popular options such as Vellums, Yupo and Card.
What to Look for in Good Copic Marker Paper
The right paper for your needs depends on your personal inking and blending style and technique. When learning how to use Copic markers, you might want to keep in mind that certain types of papers require a different handling than other.
Rather than adjusting your style to the paper, we would recommend testing several different kinds of paper from a variety of brands to find the one that suits you best.
Colleen Schaan recommends to periodically retest some papers since you inking and coloring technique might change over time. And with it the paper that best suits you.
That being said, keep the following factors in mind when deciding on choosing the best paper for your Copic markers.
- Weight: the weight of the paper is measured per 500 sheets. Of course, you don’t need to buy 500 sheets at once. However, it is an important measure of how much ink the paper can absorb. Heavier paper can absorb more ink than lighter paper.
- Thickness: the thickness of the paper is a crucial factor to determine if the Copic marker ink will bleed through the page or not. If you are using thin paper, make sure to put some scrap paper underneath.
- Texture: paper can have a rough or smooth texture depending on the way it was processed. Smooth paper slowly absorbs the ink, which makes it easier to blend. Very rough paper quickly absorbs the ink, which will let you work faster without waiting for it to dry.
Experimenting with how to make Copic look like paint. To create this texture I put a thin layer of white acrylic on some @xpressitau blending card and then coloured on top. The acrylic acts as a bit of a barrier to the absorbency of the paper which allows a messy brushstroke… pic.twitter.com/3OIkoYPc1x
— Kat Young (@KAIllustrations) 29 November 2017
How To Find Your Favorite Paper
With the three factors mentioned above, you might think the heaviest and thickest paper would be the best. You will be able to use as much ink as you want without having to worry about it bleeding through. However, it will also require so much ink to do smooth blending that you might end up using way more ink than other paper and end up refilling your Copic markers constantly.
Every type of paper and paper brand can be graded on a curve each individual factor. That is what makes choosing the best paper for Copic markers so difficult.
When trying out your markers on new paper, ask yourself the following questions to judge its performance:
- Is the ink lay down smooth? Most artists prefer very smooth ink laydown. Unfortunately, if your texture is very rough, it can lead to a lot of drag.
- Can you darken the color by layering? Normally shadows or darker areas can be created by applying a second or third layer of the same ink. The degree that the area darkens per layer changes from paper to paper.
- How much ink can the paper hold before it causes feathering? Feathering is when the ink starts to leak outside of the area you applied it to because of saturation. Normally if you use high-quality heavy paper you can apply several layers of ink without having to worry about feathering.
- How well does it allow blending? As mentioned above, depending on the texture of the paper, the ink might be absorbed fast, slow or anything in between. This affects the blending process. Very rough textures absorb the ink so well, you will have to blend very fast. On the other hand, very smooth textured paper might over blend your colors.
- Is it compatible with the colorless blender? If you don’t know what the colorless blender is used for, you might want to read our article on How to use Copic Markers for Beginners first. In short, they can be used to create a variety of special effects. But only if you use compatible paper. Make sure to test your colorless blender every time you switch to a different kind of paper.