Copic Markers And Colored Pencils: A Match Made In Heaven

You might consider yourself good at one art medium, or maybe a few mediums separately.

But amazing results can happen, when you decide to do a multi-media drawing, where they can combine two or more different mediums together.

Some mediums can combine to create beautiful and stunning results. It’s worth it to experiment with what’s at your disposal and to try new mediums in your drawings and paintings if just one medium isn’t working out.

Copic markers and colored pencils

Copic markers and colored pencils are one of those unexpected pairs. Copic markers are a high-end brand of drawing marker, and they are effective at laying down a lot of pigment and blending very easily. They are alcohol-based, which means they have a slight odor – but the alcohol makes for easy layering and blending between two different colors.

Copic markers come in a wide array of colors and can be a bit pricey. It’s not necessary to purchase every Copic marker available.

You can read my article on the best Copic markers to start with for more information.

Copics are famous for their ability to lay down skin tones or smooth areas of color. Paired with smooth paper, they provide unparalleled results when it comes to laying down flat colors. But there are times when users need more control over the drawing. Or, there are times when artists may want a more realistic texture that isn’t flat and blemish-free.

This is where colored pencils allow you to add shading and depth to your Copic drawings. Copics are transparent and smooth, while colored pencils are usually opaque and textured. Experiment with different paper types, techniques, and brands of colored pencils in order to find the best combination of Copic markers and colored pencils.

You can find some of my favorite colored pencils here.

Can you use Copic markers on colored pencils?

Yes, you can use Copic markers over pencils. So if you make a quick sketch with graphite pencils, you can easily draw over the lines with your Copic markers.

If you want to combine Copic markers and colored pencils, it is best to normally use the Copic markers first, and add details with your colored pencils afterwards. It’s much easier to fill large areas with your markers than with pencils.

The key to adding details with the pencils is to have a sharp pencil. So make sure to sharpen your pencils before using them!

Techniques for using Copic markers and colored pencils

So let’s take a look at 4 different coloring techniques that you can use to combine your Copic markers with colored pencils.

1. Use Copic markers as a base

The most popular way to create an image with a lot of contrast is to use colored pencils to shade your Copic marker drawings. Once you have an outline for your drawing (be sure to use a pen that won’t bleed when markers are applied), apply a darker colored pencil in the areas that you’d like to shade. This will deepen the values of the drawing in those areas.

You can also apply a lighter colored pencil, such as a pastel color or white, over areas that you’d like to highlight. One tip with this method is to never use the markers over top of colored pencils, as doing so will ruin the tips of your Copic markers.

Note that you don’t want to use colored pencils as the base, since using Copic markers over colored pencils might damage the marker nib.

2. Blend using mineral spirits and a paper stump

Take your colored pencil shading to the next level by adding two new tools to your repertoire: mineral spirits and a paper stump. Mineral spirits is an alcohol solvent solution typically used in oil painting. Paper stumps are tools made of tightly bound paper that help with blending.

Beate Johns from Splitcoast Stampers recommends applying colored pencil over your Copic marker, and then using a paper stump dipped in mineral spirits to blend. The mineral spirits will slightly dissolve the colored pencil, leaving you with a rich and smooth blended finish.

In order to switch colors or blend a different color, you have a few options. Paper stumps are easy to come by, so you can have a large variety of them on hand. Or you can lightly sand your paper stump to remove the colored pencil marks from it.

3. Reach smaller areas

Copic markers are extremely versatile on their own, but they can’t do everything. The tips of the markers, also known as the nibs, come in three varieties: chisel, bullet, and brush nibs. None of these can reach as fine of a point as a sharpened colored pencil.

If you have a drawing with very small areas that need to be colored in, consider using a colored pencil to reach those areas. This will prevent your color from bleeding outside of the lines.

4. Add texture and details

Colored pencils on top of Copic markers allow you to create different marks that add additional texture to your work. Consider using your set of colored pencils on top of the base layer of Copic marker to add fur to various furry creatures, or hair on top of people. Rough objects like rocks and dirt can benefit from the added texture to give them a more natural appearance.

Colored pencils can do this by themselves, but sometimes it’s hard to get even coverage. Adding a layer of Copic markers below the colored pencil layer will make your textures stand out. Of course, you will have to sharpen your pencils correctly to make sure that your tips are sharp enough.


Both Copic markers and colored pencils have their pros and cons. But by combining them, you pretty much get the best from both world!

The Copic markers are great to lay down an initial smooth color and the colored pencils can be used to add details that would be difficult to achieve with markers.

If you are still looking to buy your art supplies, I recommend using these Copic markers and the Prismacolor colored pencils.

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