You finally decided to buy yourself those nice Copic markers and are eager to try them out.
But within seconds you notice that they bleed through the page and blending colors is more difficult than you imagined.
If this sounds like you, there is a big chance that you are using the wrong paper.
Although Copics are amazing markers, you won’t be able to get good results if you are using the wrong paper
After reading this post, you will know what paper is best for Copics and other alcohol markers.
Why use marker paper?
Copic markers produce some of the most vibrant colors amongst all markers. However, Copic and other alcohol-based markers can be tricky to work with.
If you use them on the wrong paper, the colors will quickly bleed through or start feathering.
Fortunately, with the right paper you won’t have to worry about any of these problems. Good paper for alcohol markers will:
- Prevent bleeding: your marker ink will no longer seep through the paper.
- Allow for smooth lines: the nibs that Copic markers come with are very soft, which means they don’t play well with every type of texture.
- Let you apply multiple layers: you will need paper that lets you apply ink several times. This makes blending or adding shadows much easier.
Best paper for alcohol markers
Now that you understand why using marker paper is so important, let’s take a look at the best paper for Copic markers. Here is the top 5 options that I like to work with the best:
1. X-Press It Blending Card
This is our favorite and some of the best marker paper you will find. It is very easy to blend colors using this paper and it has a high saturation point.
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.
Number of sheets:
2. Copic Sketchbook
If you are looking for sketchbook instead of just individual sheets of paper for your Copic markers, this is a great option.
The tip of the markers glide across the smooth surface and blending is a breeze.
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.
Number of sheets:
3. Strathmore Marker Pad
This might be ideal Copic marker paper for beginners that work slower than average since the ink sits on the surface longer.
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.
Number of sheets:
4. Borden & Riley Bleedproof for Pens
This paper has a similar heaviness to Bristol paper but has a very tightly woven and smooth surface, which gives it a higher saturation level.
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.
Number of sheets:
5. Canson Pro Layout Marker Pad
The first thing you will notice with this paper is that it is very thin. But you don’t need to be afraid that it will bleed since it can handle several layers of ink no problem.
For your 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.
Number of sheets:
What kind of paper to use with Copic markers?
I know that paper always look white and rectangular. But there can actually be a huge difference between types of paper.
Some of them are best used for graphite pencil drawing, some work great for watercolor painting, and some can be used for alcohol based markers.
When it comes to Copic markers, I recommend using one of the following types of paper:
- Marker Paper: if you look at the name it’s probably not much of a surprise, but marker paper works great with Copics. They are thick enough, easy to use and can handle a fair amount of ink.
- Manga and Illustration Paper: this type of paper is a little heavier than marker paper. They absorb the ink a little different from other types of paper, so it takes a while to get used to. But once you get the hang of it, you can definitely use it to make great illustration.
- Bristol: normally Bristol is known as drawing paper because it can handle the graphite very well. If you want to use Bristol paper for art markers, make sure to go with one that is on the thicker side and work on the smooth surface.
- Sketchbooks & Drawing Pads: most of these contain very thin and soft sheets of papers. So most sketchbooks will only be able to handle a single layer of ink at most. So I won’t recommend it for serious pieces. However, since they are very cheap beginners might still consider getting one for practice.
- Cardstock: this type of paper is the thickest on the list so you can apply layers on layers without haven’t to worry about ink bleeding through. However, due to its thickness it is likely to absorb more ink than other types of paper.
Can you use Copic markers on printer paper?
No, using Copic markers on standard printer or copy paper is a bad idea because these types of paper are too thin. This means you will experience a lot of bleeding through and feathering. Moreover, you won’t be able to apply more than one layer which makes blending and shading almost impossible.
You can use copy paper for some doodling and very basic practice, but please use appropriate marker paper for serious projects.
Of course, buying special paper is a little more expensive. But what is the point in buying expensive Copic markers and then using them on bad paper?
Other things to consider before buying Copic marker paper
Besides choosing the right type of paper there are 3 more things you want to look at to guarantee good results: weight, thickness, and texture.
These factors can change considerable even amongst the same type of paper. So it’s important to know what they all mean:
- Paper Weight: the weight of the paper is measured per 500 sheets. It is an important measure of how much ink the paper can absorb. Heavier paper can absorb more ink than lighter paper. The best paper weight for markers is around 100 GSM and up, depending on your personal preferences.
- 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.
Discovering what works best for you
We all have different art styles. That’s what makes you unique as an artist.
That is also why it’s difficult to determine the best paper for Copic markers. Depending on your personal style, you might slightly heavier paper or paper with more tooth.
If you have the budget, I recommend buying several of the options I recommended in my top 5 and see which one you like the best. My favorite might not necessarily be the best for you as well.
When trying out new paper, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the ink lay-down smooth? Most artists prefer very smooth ink lay-down. 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 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 blend? 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.
Don’t have any Copic markers yet?
If you don’t have any art markers yet or if you want to upgrade from your current alcohol-based markers to Copic markers, you can read our article on the best Copic markers to start with.