I love to use art markers.
They are the perfect tool to quickly and easily add some color to your drawings.
Many artists like to use Copic markers because of their high-quality. But they cost a pretty penny as well.
That’s why it’s always worth it to compare different art markers and see which one offers the most value fo the money.
This article will go over the differences between Prismacolor and Copic markers, and which art marker you should buy.
Short summary: I think Copic markers are better overall, but Prismacolor markers are cheaper and offer better value for money.
What are Prismacolor marker?
Prismacolor markers are affordable alcohol-based markers that come in a variety of saturated colors.
You can buy them individually, but it’s more common to buy a big set of markers at once.
Due to their vibrant colors, they can be used in any project for which you really want your colors to pop.
It’s easy to blend colors with them, and they don’t leave obvious streaks of color.
What are Copic markers?
Copic markers are the most well known alcohol markers and pretty much synonymous with high-quality.
Although they were initially made for manga artist, they are not loved by many professionals including designers, illustrators, and artists.
These markers are available in almost any color that you can think of and using them is super easy as well.
Moreover, their ink can be refilled and their nibs can be replaced, which makes them extremely durable.
Similarities between Prismacolor and Copic
Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s see what features both these markers have in common:
Both Copic and Prismacolor markers are using alcohol-based inks.
In general, alcohol-based inks are much better at blending than other inks such as water-based or acrylic-based inks.
This makes them great for artwork in which smooth gradients and subtle details are important.
- Good at blending
- Unlikely to give streaks
- Creates darker shades by layering
Both Copics and Prismacolor markers are dual ended. Which means that you can use them on both ends.
More importantly, both nibs are different. You’re basically getting two for the price of one.
And with more nibs comes more versatility.
I’ll talk a little more about nibs later on.
- More versatility
- One nib can be back-up
Wide color range
Prismacolor art markers are available in 200 colors, while Copics are available in 358 colors.
That is a lot of different colors to choose from!
Even professional artists don’t use that many colors, so as a beginner you definitely don’t have to buy all of them just to get started.
Note: only Copic Sketch markers are available in all 358 colors. Ciao and Classic markers only come in 180 and 214 diferent colors. I’ll explain the different types of Copic markers later.
- Lots of colors to choose from
- Easy to make a good starter set
Differences between Prismacolor and Copic
Now that we know why both markers are great, let’s take a look at the differences between Prismacolor and Copic markers:
The Prismacolor markers are available in 2 varieties that differ in the nibs they come with.
You can choose between markers with a fine tip and brush tip, or markers with a fine tip and a chisel tip.
There are 3 different Copic marker types: Ciao, Sketch, and Classic.
(The Copic wide markers aren’t use for coloring, so I’ll ignore them for now)
The most important differences between these Copic markers is in their size, barrel shape, and color range.
For more information on Copic markers, you can read my article on which Copic markers to buy.
- 2 different types
- Default nibs are different
- 3 different types
- Size, barrel, and colors are different
The Prismacolor markers have a rounded barrel similar to a regular pen that is comfortable to hold.
The Copic Ciao markers have the same rounded shape.
However, the other Classic and Sketch Copic markers have a square and oval barrel.
It takes a while to get used to these barrels.
But on the flip side, they won’t roll of your table.
- Rounded barrel
- Comfortable to hold
- Ciao markers are round
- Sketch markers are oval
- Classic markers are square
- Oval and square markers don’t roll of the table
Prismacolor markers are not refillable. This means you need to buy new markers every time your marker starts to run dry.
Copic markers can be refilled and you can buy the necessary ink from Copic individually.
Refilling your Copic markers is super simple and much cheaper than buying new ones.
- Not refillable
- Need to buy new markers when out of ink
- Refilling is cheaper than buying new markers
Prismacolor markers are not replaceable. So if your nibs are deformed or damaged you will have to buy new markers even though the old ones still have ink left in them.
Copic markers are replaceable when they are damaged.
Moreover, if you are using Copic Classic markers you can choose from 9 different nibs and change them whenever you need to.
In practice, you probably won’t be constantly changing nibs because it takes too long. But if you are really into lettering or calligraphy, this might be important to you.
Note: Copic Sketch and Ciao markers are only compatible with 3 and 2 nibs respectively.
- Nibs can not be removed
- If your nib is damaged, you need to buy a new marker
- Nibs are removable
- Damaged nibs can be replaced
- Classic markers are compatible with 9 different nibs
Prismacolor markers cost around $2.50 ~ $3.00 each, while Copic markers cost roughly $3.50 ~ $4.00.
Of course, the price can change a bit depending on the color and if you buy them in bulk or individually.
- Cheaper per marker
- More expensive per marker
- You can save money by refilling ink and replacing damaged nibs
The most important reason to buy alcohol-based markers is because they are great at blending.
So let’s compare the Prismacolor and Copic markers and see who blends the best.
Below you can find a quick comparison:
On the first row you can see that a very smooth gradient can be achieved from red to orange by using Copic markers.
When using Prismacolor markers, you can see that achieving smooth blending becomes a little more challenging.
Since both markers are alcohol-based, you might be wondering if you can blend them together.
The answer is yes! And it works surprisingly good.
Overall, both Copic markers and Prismacolor markers are good options.
When it comes to blending, Copic seems to do a little better.
And since Copic markers are refillable and the nibs can be replaced, they aren’t much more expensive in the long run.
So if you are serious about your artwork, I would save up some money and go with the Copic markers.
However, if you are buying art markers as a gift or if you are on a small budget the Prismacolor markers become a good option.
How long do Prismacolor markers last?
The main disadvantage of the Prismacolor markers is that they can’t be refilled.
If you frequently have to buy new markers that will drastically increase the cost.
So how long do Prismacolor markers last?
Of course, it will depend on how much you will use them. I have been using them for a while but didn’t run out of any of them.
Some users reported that with regular use they will last you at least a full year.
If you don’t use them as much, they can easily last for several years because the ink doesn’t deteriorate over time.
Do Prismacolor markers bleed?
Prismacolor markers are likely to bleed if you use them on standard printer paper. This is because printer paper is too thin to absorb the ink properly.
Like any other alcohol-based markers, when using Prismacolor markers you want to use thicker paper.
Best paper for Prismacolor markers
To prevent bleeding and to allow for easy blending it’s important to use special marker paper.
Regular printer paper just won’t do the job.
The main thing to keep in mind is the thickness of the paper. Too thin and the markers will bleed through. Too thick and your markers will run out of ink quickly.
Since both Prismacolor and Copic markers use alcohol-based inks they can normally be used on the same type of paper.
For more information, read our article on the best paper for Copic markers.