Copic Marker Journal Pages

This weekend I found a new love. Always dangerous for an artist, and so hard to resist temptation. I fell in love with Copic markers. There are several kind, but the ones we used in class at the Creative Quest (in Glendale, AZ)  were Sketch markers–double sided, with a chisel tip at one end and a brush tip at the other. Sketch makers can be refilled and the tips changed. You can even buy empty markers and blend your own inks.

Mountains. Copic marker on Bristol Board © Quinn McDonald, 2010

Sketch markers are alcohol-based, can be blended, layered and used tip to tip, like double-loading a tole paint brush. You touch the tip of the lighter marker to the darker marker, then put down the two colors by touching the lighter marker on paper.

Copic markers give smooth, even color. Layered color take on depth. You can layer the same color on top of each other and get a richer tone of the same color. In the image, the three gray areas on the bottom center are layered with the same color, the inner ring is one layer, the middle ring is two layers, the outer ring is three layers.

You can also layer different colors without ruining the markers and create different colors. In the image, you’ll see a putty color next to the green, right below the black mountain line. Below it is a salmon color. The color below that is a combination of both with a yellow overlay.

Copic markers, like most alcohol markers, will bleed through most journal pages. They don’t work well with watercolor paper as the ink soaks into the paper too fast and can’t be blended. The best papers for Copic markers (good application, won’t bleed through) are

  • Bristol board (I like the smooth, although the vellum finish works well, too)
  • Copic Manga illustration paper–my favorite is Canson Fanboy Comic paper
  • Cooking parchment gives good results–it looks different from both sides.
  • Canson Acrylic (with the shiny linen finish on one side)
  • Canson tracing paper
  • Co-Mo Watercolor (which looks hot pressed because it has a smooth, non-porous finish) works well but does bleed through
  • Vellum–Strathmore and Canson make types I like

To use markers in your journal, create the work, then tip it into your journal or create a page slightly smaller than your journal page and glue it over a page. The richness and the depth of the color is something you will want in your journal. Markers travel well (you’ll want to loosen the caps on long airplane flights) and you can use them anywhere without water. They are also useful in outlining or coloring in letters in your journal. And if they do bleed through, don’t worry. You can either cover the back of the page with gesso, or glue it to the next page.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer, creativity coach and artist. She teaches raw-art journaling to people who can’t draw but would like to keep an art journal.  © Quinn McDonald, 2010 All rights reserved.