Paper and Fiber Arts

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Inks To Use With Copic Markers?

Supplies Used For Comparing Different Ink Pads
There is a reason I have so many different types of ink.  They really do serve different purposes in life and this was a good project for me to justify their existence in my craft room. :-)  It all came about because of a question posted on a Facebook group to which I belong.  The query had to do with whether or not SU! ink would work with Copics.

When I first started collecting Copics I read that they did not work with certain inks, SU! was one of them.  But I had never tried it for myself.  When I went through the training for Copic Certification we were given a booklet that has lots of helpful information and some information that was less than definitive!  A lot of the advice was try it and see.  So in that spirit, that is what I set out to do.
Eight Different Black Inks
This is not a scientific study.  It is for my own amusement. I do hope that it will possibly help someone else with knowing whether they want to try certain product combinations.  Even though I am a CTMH consultant and was once a SU! demo, I tried to keep an open mind about the results. And of course, your mileage may vary.

It is recommended that some inks be heat set.  For others, it is important to make sure they have dried on the paper prior to coloring.  Because there is always a difference in juicy-ness of ink pads and the amount of pressure people stamp with, I decided to stamp all of the images and then let them sit overnight. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it was important to me to try to make sure all of the inks were 'treated' the same. I did not heat set any of them, because of this.  But, I knew they would all be dry and ready to color.
One Red Rubber and One Acrylic Stamp For Each Ink On Cryogen White Card Stock
One ink that is recommended frequently for use with Copics is Memento - Tuxedo Black.  It never fails me when I am coloring.  No feathering or bleeding.  Even with those pesky pinks that seem to have a will of their own sometimes.  I do not Love the stamped image though.  Yes, I am picky.  It gives an okay result.  This will probably continue to be my 'go-to' ink of choice for Copics, though.  But there were some surprising (to me) results with some of the other inks...
Tsukineko Black Inks
Pigment inks are not usually recommended for use with Copics. Though, there are some exceptions. I only included one pigment ink in the test and it is not mentioned on Copic's Good or Bad list.  It is called Versafine.  It is made by the same company that makes Memento inks. Incidentally, one of the exceptions to the 'no-pigments' suggestion is also a Tsukineko product, Brilliance Ink. (More was posted here about Brilliance yesterday.)  There is a lot of information available on the internet about the different types of inks, so I will not address that topic today.  But I will say that water-based, washable inks are to be avoided when using Copic markers.  And just because something says it is archival, that does not automatically mean it is a good ink for use with Copics.

There was NO competition for Versafine's stamped image.  It made a crisp, clear, image.  It is perfect. This is a pigment ink that I normally use for watercoloring and for CAS cards.  I love how the detail shows in the image.  However, even though the ink sat overnight, the pink did bleed a little at first.  After the colored images sat for a bit, both the yellow and pink were bleeders.  Use this lovely ink for other types of projects.

Two Black CTMH Inks
Next up is another ink on the to-avoid list, Close To My Heart. The list did not specify which CTMH ink to not use and I believe that is because the Archival ink has only been out for a couple years, so the list may not have been updated to amend that information.

Both inks stamped very well on the Cryogen cardstock.  CTMH markets their ink for use with acrylic stamps, since that is what they manufacture.  Red rubber typically has thicker "walls" in their images so that results in a little more surface area for the ink.  That is why I included both types of stamps here. Even though this isn't scientific, I would like to give each of the inks a fair chance.

Back to the results:  The regular black dye bled a little with the yellow markers and did not bleed with the pinks.  The opposite was true of the archival.  This was becoming exasperating because I wanted a definitive good or bad result!  If I were in a bind, I would use the CTMH Archival ink for coloring with darker colors.  But it would not be my first choice.

Two Black Ranger Inks
Now, this was the one that I was most surprised by... The Ranger Archival ink was really messy when I colored both images.  It stamped nicely, but you can see in the photo above, it did not react well to the Copics.
The Tim Holtz Distress ink stamps thick.  It is an acceptable stamping ink, but not impressive for thinner images.  However, it plays very nicely with Copic markers.  So I would give the TH inks a definite "yes" for use with Copics.
Stampin' Up! Black Ink
The last two inks I tried  had disappointing results. The SU! ink has a purplish hue to it, as you can see above. I had reinked the pad, so it wasn't drying out.  But, more importantly, the Copics smeared and ran. After the image had dried overnight, I was surprised by how much the ink interacted with the Copics.

Which brings me to the other big surprise to me.  The last ink (which is half pictured on the photo above) is the Stewart Memories dye ink.  It is listed as a Good ink on Copic's list.  Neither image stamped very cleanly and worse, the ink was very smeary when I colored them.  

So after all this lengthy explanation, here is a little chart that I made with my recommendations.  I included Copic's recommendations as well.  Though the Brilliance ink was not reviewed on this post, I did include it because it was reviewed yesterday.

Click on the chart to see it larger.

Ink Recommendations For Use With Copic Markers

I hope that you find this information helpful.  It was a good exercise for me to try these inks with my markers.  It gave me some good data that I can refer back to as I continue to figure out which papers, inks, stamps, and Copics combinations I like the best.  There is no right or wrong, just personal preference.

Thank you for stopping by today!


  1. Beverly, thanks so much for posting this! Wouldn't you know that last night I pulled out my new markers (Spectrum Noir, can't afford the copics yet) for the first time, and was not that thrilled with how it made the CTMH ink bleed, so I was going to try some other options today and now I don't have to! I do have to go to the store though..... THANKS!

    1. Miriam, I am so glad you found this to be helpful. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. I do appreciate it! Have fun with your new markers! Beverly