The Copic Markers You Need in Your Starter Set

by Michelle Houghton

How many markers do I need in my collection?

I continue to get asked “What EXACTLY do I need to have in my marker stash to color images?”  “Do I really need all 344 colors (and more as the collection grows)?”

Sorry, Copic fans, there is no clear cut answer for this.  But I can share my common sense approach on how to start your collection.


Your collection should start with a base of 36 markers

Why 36?  This number allows you to get one blending set in each color family group with a couple to spare for skin and a gray. Here is the list that I would recommend.  The colors I have chosen are some of the most common you will see in crafting and Copic tutorials and it is the reason they are in the base set of 36.

  • B00, B02, B04 (beautiful sky blues)
  • BG11, BG13, BG18 (mint greens) OR BG72, BG75, BG78 (sea greens)
  • BV00, BV02, BV04 OR BV11, BV13, BV17 (both fairly similar blue violet series)
  • V12, V15, V17 (pretty purples)
  • G21, G24, G28 (nice rich greens)
  • YG11, YG13, YG17 (grass greens)
  • Y11, Y15, Y19 (bright yellows)
  • YR04, YR07, YR09 (oranges)
  • R22, R24, R29 (the must have set of reds)
  • RV63, RV66, RV69 (raspberry pinks–this is a total preference ) OR RV21, RV23, RV25 (if your prefer bubble gum pinks)
  • E33, E35, E37 (this is a great starter set of Earth tones or browns)
  • E25, E27, E29, E00, E02 (the standard for skin tones–but there are TONS of options)
  • N1 (just to have one gray for simple shadows and edging images)

Note: In the starter set above I did not include a Colorless Blender in the set, but I would still consider this to be a must-have, so that is marker number 37.

A few of my favorites

I also have a few favorites beyond these first 36, that that I use FREQUENTLY.  Remember: this is a list of my favorites.  Every artist–yes that means you–will find a few of their own personal favorites.

  • E09 is a color I love to add to red hair and brighten up my browns.
  • YR31 is one I love to use under yellows and yellow reds to warm them up.
  • B0000 and BV0000 are favorites to fade backgrounds to white and fairy wings of course.
  • A few more grays to color black and white objects (one series really is enough for most people)


A look at my personal collection

I currently own about 130 markers. Yikes that is a lot!  And I am quite happy with my set.  It does all that I want it to do and I know I do not need ALL the colors.

In addition to what’s listed above, here is what else I have in my bag:

  • B21, B24, B28 (royal blues)
  • B91, B95, B97, B99 (denim blues)
  • BG (I have both the teens and the 70’s series)
  • BG93, BG96, BG99 (very dark gray blue-green)
  • BV (I have both the 0’s and the teens, but really do not need both)
  • BV23, BV25, BV29 (this is a great set for shadows!)
  • V01, V04, V06, V09 (not a real big fan of this series I like 04 but by itself)
  • V91, V93, V95, V99 (a very light grey purple series except for the 99)
  • G17 (a bright kelly green)
  • YG93, YG95, YG97, YG99 (a great olive series)
  • Y23, Y26, Y28 (love this series for blond hair, but do not use the 28) 
  • Y32, Y35, Y38 (yummy golden yellows)
  • YR14, YR15, YR16, YR18 (very similar to the 0’s but slightly warmer) YR30 (a nice partner to YR31)
  • R000, R01 (another skin tone)
  • R83, R85, R89 (a lovely rich wine series)
  • RV (I have others but honestly the ones that come out of my bag are the 60’s)
  • E (I have the 20’s and the 30’s and use them both regularly)
  • E11, E13, E15 (suntan skin)  
  • E44, E47, E49 (my newest additions a very nice gray brown group)
  • C1,3,5,7,9 (these  greys seem to suit me just fine)

I see you counting and it is not adding up is it?  I did not list them all.  There are a few that I count them in as a part of the whole, but did not list, because I’ve found I simply do not use them.

So there you have it, “Michelle’s Picks”–my personal list of markers.  I hope it can help guide you in your choices.  And if you have questions as always please ask!

Bio-shot-2011-150Michelle Houghton is a wife, mother and artist living in Iowa. Even before she began scrapbooking, she was a lifelong artist, majoring in Fine Arts at the University of Oregon and then teaching high school art for 7 years. Michelle has been scrapbooking for more than 15 years and she enjoys adding her own art, doodles and handmade elements to her pages for a one-of-a-kind look.

Michelle teaches doodling, Copics, handlettering and more at workshops throughout the country. She writes tutorials at Get It Scrapped and is an instructor for Imagination International Inc., the US distributor of Copic products. The best way to learn more about Michelle is at her website,


136 Responses to The Copic Markers You Need in Your Starter Set

  1. colleen September 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    LOVE the info here Michelle! Great starter kit!

    • Michelle September 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

      Thanks Colleen! Means a lot coming from you!

      • Isaiah January 22, 2017 at 10:49 pm #

        Hi im not sure which pack to get. Do the markers you said come in a pack or are individual markers?

        • Sam Cassapi July 21, 2017 at 11:10 am #

          They come in both packs and individuals. I’m most likely going to start with the Copic Ciao 36a pack.

    • Liashea December 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

      Hi I’m new with the copic market I want the set of 72 ,what letter you recommend or maybe diferent set help is so confused for me. I want this for Christmas gifts ?. Thanks

  2. leslie September 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    I went to michaels with a 40% off coupon today, for all their art markers, (and they now have copics!!!) so I was able to get some at a greatly reduced rate!! I went on tonight specifically to see if I could find what you would recommend so the next time I go I could be prepared, and lo-and-behold, this is what popped up. What a timely blessing. I am so glad you did this post today. Now I can print off another coupon and go get the ones I am missing at 40% off! And it is for your entire purchase, not just one item. Here is the link:,default,pg.htm
    Hopefully it will work in your city. Some places require local coupons. And some only let you use one coupon per day. So check before you pay. But I saved a ton of green this way and got a headstart in the basic 36. They don’t have some of the colors you suggest, but they do have quite a few. Now I just have to see where I can get the others. Anyone know of a store where they sell open stock copics AND they take Michaels coupons???

  3. leslie September 8, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    oops! forgot to say: anyone know of a store other than Michaels that sells open stock copics AND takes Michaels coupons??? Joanns takes competitors coupons, but does not sell them. Does AC Moore? Thanks!

    • Michelle September 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      Hi Leslie,

      I am so glad this was helpful! I think JoAnn,s carries them on-line but not sure if you can use the coupons there. There are a couple great on-line shops that do reasonable prices as well and are two good ones. At Oozak make sure to register, prices are cheaper if you do and has no obligation.

    • Peter Simkins January 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

      Hobby Lobby on-site or their website, but you have to pay shipping and/or handling and there’s always the sales tax. Then I discovered, and when their Copic Sketch markers are on sale, they are $1.50 less give-or-take a quarter.
      Anyway, when I took classes at Nossi College of Art in Nashville, TN… I would walk over and pay Hobby Lobby a visit and buy only Copic Markers, even if they cost $600 to $8.00, they were quality and professional markers!

      I’d suggest shopping at Hobby Lobby and/or Michaels on-site before going online and paying for shipping!

    • Mary Lou Nolt January 27, 2017 at 9:48 am #

      Joann’s sales them on line. Should you store Copic markers up right or flat?

    • Rita H. March 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

      Hobby Lobby has them in the stores. There coupons are great. But you would have to ask about competitor coupons.

  4. blue September 23, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I just found your wonderful blog! Trying to pick colours is beyond hard, when online and not IRL!

    I’m looking for a Royal purple combo (not too anything but purple), and hardest is to choose a blue combo. While I love the 90’s for denim, I don’t have much denim to colour, rather a fun big frumpy ladies robe, and love to create a navy for shading of the blues… need to be pretty for clothing, go with pinks in R81,83,85!

    Stuck between.. B32,34,37,39, or 21, 24, 26, 28 or 91,93,95, 97, 99.

    Ordering my first 12 has led to ordering my 36! I need so much help! I can’t wait to colour tho!

    Thanks for your inspiration and great info here!

    • Michelle September 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      hi blue not sure exactly what you mean by “royal purple, anything but purple” but You might like the Blue Violets better. They have more gray in them in general. Or there is the 60-69 series in the Blues that is actually very indigo/purply to me.
      As for blues I think you will be most happy with the 93-99 with what you are describing. They are as close as you can get to navy and are lovely with R81-85. The 20’s are a bright royal blue and although I do not have the 32-39 they look very similar.
      Hope that helps!

  5. Melanie September 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    I am working on my collection and this has come in really handy, since I have signed up for the copic marker classes! Thanks!!

    May ask if you can tell me where you got your bag that you keep your markers in? I have been trying to find the best way to store them, but yet keep them handy & organized.

    • Michelle September 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      I have been asked about the bag a couple times Melanie so maybe I need to write an article about storage :-) The bag or system in the photo is actually 3 pieces. I have 2 Copic Marker Wallets (Copic brand) that each hold 72 markers. These have flaps that Velcro close over the markers and a carrying strap you can take off if you want. Both marker wallets slide perfectly into a Thirty-one bag called the “All in one organizer” it is 12 x 8 x 6.5 and looks like it was made to carry my two Copic wallets. I love that I can slide the wallets in and tuck the top flaps down into the bag like seen in the photo and just flop the whole thing on it’s side at my desk and then carry it around with the Thirty-one bag’s handles to a crop or even just room to room. Let me know if you have more questions :-)

      • Teresa Santiago January 12, 2016 at 11:34 am #

        Michelle I was reading about your storage for the Copic markers and love that idea. How do I find and order the Thirty-one bag? And where can I get a good price for the Copic Marker wallets? Any help will be greatly appreciated. I can be reached at

  6. Heather November 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Great blog post! I’m thinking I’m going to slowly but surely start purchasing Copics. I’ve started using Prismacolors because I could get a set at a reasonable rate with a 50% off coupon but they are limited in the colors they offer. I can always use them in addition to Copics since they are alcohol based and work very similarly. I went on to the Oozak website someone else mentioned here and they have different kinds of Copics. I see the “Original” and the “Sketch” kind that look the most similar. Which ones should I be purchasing and is there a difference in the two? Thanks so much for this great blog post. It’s the best recommendation I’ve seen out there of what opinions are available.

    • Michelle December 5, 2011 at 10:03 am #

      Heather, sorry it took so long to get back to you! I have been away from my normal desk for a weekend :-)
      The Prisma Colors are similar but I would not try mixing them together. They are a different ink even though they are both alcohol based.
      On the Copics the Sketch and Original are the same ink in the exact same colors the difference is the body of the marker. The original is slightly larger, square body, holds more ink and has a wider range of tips or nibs to work with. The sketch is oval in shape, has 3 nib options and tends to be the crafter’s choice as it is slightly less expensive. The Chio is also less, smaller still with a round body but can roll all over your table and fewer colors. I know several people that use Sketch primarily and add a few chio to their collection to save a few more pennies.
      Hope that helps give a shout if you have another question!

      • Peter Simkins January 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

        I need some advice, I’m an Anime and/or Manga artist and my subjects are many, I do perspective, character design, some still life, Anime-realism portraits, I’m not so good with animals wild or domestic, but the number of Copic marker colors I have end up to be around 100 or so, would it be safe to assume I might need ALL 360+ colors in the Copic Sketch marker family?

        • Michelle January 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

          First off GREAT question!
          I am going to say no. Sounds to me like you have a background in art and that being so I would guess somewhere along the line you had a mean teacher who said you only get the primary colors, black, white and brown if it is a good day and you have to mix the rest. (I can say this because that is all I would give my high schoolers :-)) Copics work the same way as many paints in that you can layer them to get a larger variety of colors. I have about 150ish in my set and really do not need them all. It has been fun to collect but I could do more layering and come up with many of the same colors with a much smaller group. That being said you do want a good mix of each color family and range of Earth tones and grays to make that happen. If you have specific questions about colors you are lacking or ones you think you might need please ask I am more than happy to help.

          • Peter Simkins January 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

            I suppose I’d be content having the Copic Sketch markers premixed in all 360+ colors for me, so that I’d have a sense of prestige and completeness!

            I’ve only had one bad art teacher, she only gave us black, white, and the primary colors, but we did not have Copic available in the late 80’s or early 90’s!
            As the late 90’s approached, Copic Sketch markers were more widely known and affordable individually, but the 72-color sets prices got unnaturally higher by $100 dollars now. I’ve been collecting Copic Sketch markers in hopes to have every color at my fingertips.
            I have a graphic-novel story I’m working on, and I’ll need all the colors premixed and ready for me to use, because premixed color markers are easier to have than use up the one’s I have now, it’s just more convenient and easier for me!

            Peter Simkins

  7. Mandee March 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    I just found this website and have found invaluable info. Thanks so much. I have just started collecting and really needed this info. Thanks thanks thanks.!

    • Michelle March 9, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      You are more than welcome Mandee if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

  8. Esther May 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Hi Michelle, thank you so much for this post, it is really helpful..but…I can’t find these ?YR04, YR07, YR09 (oranges)
    or these ?RV63, RV66, RV69 OR RV21, RV23, RV25. Would you recomend similar ones??? Ive tried several shops, where can I find them??
    thank you

    • Michelle May 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      I am surprised that you can’t find them BUT here are some options. YR15, YR16, YR18 are a great set.
      For the RV you could try RV14, RV17, RV19.

      OR if you do not mind ordering on line I would try if you register they have the best prices and have almost everything. If they do not have one they will notify you when it comes in. Make sure to register it gives you better prices and there is no commitment.

      Hope that helps!

      • Esther May 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

        Thanks, it sure helps, I’ll try online.

    • Momcani January 6, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      You can get the RV 63 – 69 in a trio set at Hobby Lobby 40% coupon. Michaels should have the YR colours 40 – 50% coupon

  9. Sarah Gamal May 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    plz , i need your advice ppl , i live in the mid-east and we don’t have any copic markers dealers here , so where exactly do you by them? which country or region i can get it … but need to know from where :D

    • Michelle May 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      Sarah, Your best bet is on-line. Even in the states there are many of us that have better luck going on-line for Copic products. I do not know if or deliver in the mid-east but I would start there, also has a great site. If none of those work googling “where to buy Copic markers” might be your only solution.

      Sorry I am not much help!

  10. Nancy Freeman May 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    This is a terrific list for getting started! I am a Copic Certified teacher and I’m also asked what my recommended started colors are — I see we have very similar tastes! For those going the NEXT step, I recommend adding the 00, 000 and 0000 in some of your basic colors. I never thought I’d use them, but I use them a LOT! They help you blend without removing color and are great for those fade-out effects — especially the blues, purples, yellows and grays. Great job and thanks for sharing! (BTW– do you find that with all of the colors out there, there are still colors that don’t exist? Like BRICK reds? I find that some colors are so similar that I didn’t need both — but that there are some that just don’t exist. And I have over 200…)

    • Michelle May 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Hi Nancy!

      I also use my lighter colors quite a bit.

      And yep on the missing colors for brick reds I love E07, E09. Every once ans awhile though I will find a color I love and can pair with other color series or families but that really does not have a series that blends well together. YR31 was a good example of that for a while. It has 30 now to go with it and YR14 and YR24 and YR27 seem to blend with it nicely.

      Happy coloring Nancy!

  11. Raye July 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Thank you so much for this info. I have wanted to start collecting copic markers but was overwhelmed when I would look at them. Michael’s has them on sale this week,so I’m heading out with your great list. Thanks!

    • Michelle July 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

      Raye, I hope you had good luck. Michaels has a limited selection of markers but you can get a start there and a great way to start is with a sale!!!!

  12. Mia September 11, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    wow! thats aloota colours!! :D I need your advice on which set to get… i was overwhelmed on how much colours that copic has.. I am only a beginner since my main focus was pencil sketching.. but i was getting bored of it and now i want colours!! :D … I’m debating on which set to get the A’s or the B’s?? or are those for paper crafts and stuff?? or the colour ones?? i am confuse.. :S which set did u get as a beginner? please help!

    Thanks Heapsss!! :D

    ps. I’m getting the the set of 36! :)

    • Michelle September 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Mia there is not really a packaged set that has a great starter set. That was why I put this list together. Most people who are beginners are trying to put together 2-3 markers that blend easily together in each of the 12 color families available. So the list you see in this article is the list I put together shopping for individual markers. I know a few people that have gotten GREAT deals on sets and feel like it was worth the investment as a starter group then adding a few more. If you are careful where you shop you can get all the 36 colors I recommended for about the same price as a set usually.
      Please ask if I can help more. I’ll be watching for more questions.

      • Mia September 12, 2012 at 12:22 am #

        Thank you so much for your advice!!! :D

  13. Lena September 12, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    I came upon your webbie this morning and I’m so happy with what I found. I’m new to copics so this was the best advice to help me on my starter kit. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this post!

    • Michelle September 12, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Absolutely! I am so glad it was helpful. If you have any Copic questions never hesitate to ask!

  14. Sharon Shulsky September 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Great blog. I love Copic markers and I am always looking for great information.
    For anyone interested, I found that I could get Copic Sketch Markers for $4.45 a piece if you go to Dick Blick Art supply. They run discount codes specials up to 20% off. The discounts don’t apply to their sets because they are on ‘special’ but if you buy them separately the discount applies. Buying them individually will give you a savings over the sets of at least $30. The discount code changes so even if the discount is only 10%….wait, it eventually will go up to 15% and if you are really patient it will go up to 20%.

    • Michelle September 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Thanks for the info Sharon! Always good to know where to get a great deal!

  15. Michelle September 23, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Hi there, thank you for posting this! I’m a beginner and this is really helpful ^^
    Can I ask something btw? ^^
    Is the copic marker set you showed us is the base of the 36 set?
    I wanna buy one but I’m not sure what kind of set I should choose. D:
    thank you :)

    • Michelle September 24, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      This is not a “set” that you can purchase Michelle. I veer away from the sets because they do not do the blending groups of 2-3 markers they are more random groupings of popular colors. The above listed set are all individually purchased. If you look for sales or are willing to shop on-line you can get the price down to the “set” price even when buying them individually. hope that helps. Give a shout if you have any more questions.

  16. Amanda Nicholas September 26, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Michelle,

    Is it possible to use copic markers on photos? My gut feeling is no, but just wondering from someone who knows :)

    Thanks in advance, and big thank you for the list of starters and the great starting out tutorials!

    • Michelle September 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Absolutely! In fact I am as we speak putting an entire class together about what else to do with your markers and inks :-) It will be released in January 2013 over at Creative Passion ( If you want to play with it now start in corners to see how it will look and make extra copies! Print some in black and white too ;-)

  17. Julie Hendrickson October 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Hi, So glad to see your post on Pinterest. I am a certified teacher and people ask me all the time what to get. I will pin your post. I am from Fairmont Mn and see you are from Iowa. I don’t have many people in my group who have copics. Wonder if you are close enough for a play date!!

    • Michelle November 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

      OK I am sure I replied to this post but now I am not seeing it! Julie I am thrilled that this has been useful to you! I would LOVE a play date, you can contact me through my blog if you want. I am at

  18. Mary November 3, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    May you check out my work in here using copic markers? I am so hugging you, virtually though. >:D< Thank you so much. Your tutorials meant a lot to me.

    • Michelle November 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      I checked your art out and you did wonderfully! i left a note there so make sure to take a peek! and hugs in return, I am a serious hugger!

      • Mary November 9, 2012 at 9:18 am #

        Already did and I took a peek at your website! All of your copic creations are beyond wonderful! Seriously >:D<

        Thank you so much!

  19. Terry Peters December 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    I have just gotten addicted to Copic markers and found a great source… eBay!!! I am finding Copics for around $3.00 – $4.00 each! And most that you find are brand new. I am just getting started with them after taking a workshop at the most recent Scrapbook Expo in my city, and I am having so much fun! The info about basic colors and those in your own collection are a great source of information. I’ve also found several great videos on YouTube that are of all skill levels. I love the pens and can’t wait to get good at this blending art!

    • Michelle December 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

      Glad you are having good luck on e-bay. I have heard mixed reviews shopping for Copic there. They are SO much fun I would agree! Let me know if you have any specific things I can help with.

  20. vasundhara joy mukherjee December 30, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    i live in the UAE, and i am 13 and i dont know where to start in scrapbooking. do u think you can give a head start??
    regardz and thanx for the really great trip
    and wishing u a belated merry x-mas and an advance happy new year.:D :)

  21. vasundhara joy mukherjee December 30, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    i am sorry imeant tip
    my bad

    • Michelle January 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Vasundhara are you interested in Copic Marker coloring? Or scrapbooking? I just want to make sure you get directed in the right direction! Either way I can help!

      • vasundhara January 3, 2013 at 12:39 am #

        i am interested in scrapbooking and i am new to it
        thanx for replying and helpin me out
        happy scrappin

        • Michelle January 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

          Vasundhara, I would make sure to try Debbies free classes. She has one right now called From Photos to Scrapbook Page in 5 Easy Steps. Debbie is amazing and you will learn a ton. Better yet the lessons will come to you on line! Check it out on th ehome page!

  22. vasundhara January 3, 2013 at 12:36 am #

    i am interested in scrapbooking and i am new to it.
    thanx for replying and helpin me out
    happy scrappin

  23. Carol January 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks for all your information. I have the 36 markers you suggested for beginners. I have the Memento ink pad to use. I need advise on what paper that is best. I have noticed that there is a lot of bleed through with the card stock I am testing-I don’t want to use up all my ink so soon. I am near stores Achievers, Joanns, and Michaels and was hoping that I would not have to order online, but will if need be. Thank you for your help.

    • vasundhara January 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      i was came across some videos and thought this might help.
      use neenah stamping paper from simon says stamp.
      hope that helps.

      happy sketching

    • Michelle January 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

      If you have those you could try Bazzill’s smoothies it is just their really smooth white cardstock. My personal favorite I can only get on-line right now but it is X-Press It Blending Card. It is pricier but I heart it! hope that helps :-)

  24. Nicole April 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    I just started my Copic collection and this list has been so helpful. Thanks! I purchased a lot of the colours you recommended and they blend so nicely. I basically followed the groupings you gave almost exactly.

    For those looking for Canadian sources, Pendeavours has free shipping and a great selection. artsuppliesdirect dot ca also has free shipping.

    • Michelle April 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Yeah! So glad it has been helpful and THANKS for the info for Canadian shoppers! Always great to share shopping information!

  25. Jessica April 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Thank you for your suggestion.
    I really like to draw and would like to to improve my colouring abilities using copic markers.
    Any recommendation for purchasing copic markers to Singapore?

    • Kathy Poh August 20, 2013 at 2:50 am #

      Maple Treehouse carries Copics and they’re on sale now! :)

  26. Kathy Poh August 20, 2013 at 2:48 am #

    Just a quick share…
    I bump into a YouTube on colouring with Copics and instantly got hooked. The more i view the videos the more i got hooked!
    I live in Penang, Malaysia and it seems that I can’t find any stores that carry Copics unless I travel to KL. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I am very blessed that you came up with this list as I was having trouble deciding what colours to start. I bought my first set of Copics online (Maple Treehouse) with the list you come up with and I finally got them TODAY! Yay!!
    It’s the beginning of a whole new journey! So very excited!

    • Michelle August 22, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      Kathy I am so glad this was helpful! I hope you have a blast with your new markers and i will definitely check out Maple Treehouse, I had not heard of that shop! Thanks!

  27. Katrianna August 26, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    This is such a great post! I have to ask the marker in your bag between rv23 and rv29 is what?

    • Michelle August 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      I am glad this was helpful! It is RV25 hard to see I know! They probably should have printed that one in white :-)

  28. Schwpz September 11, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Thank you for this great guide! It has been very helpful :)
    It’s a nightmare trying to figure out copic combos online, as there aren’t any local stores where I live where I can try various combinations properly @___@;
    I have a B12 and B14 and find the difference between the two a bit too sharp; Can you recommend any copics that would make the two blend more nicely?
    Thanks again and keep up the good work! :D

    • Michelle September 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      I do not have these exact colors, and there is not a B13 to go between, but I would try using a color underneath them. You could use your colorless blender or a lighter blue from any series like B02, color in the entire area with the colorless or light blue then go in and use your B12 and B14 on top. On occation having that base underneath can help the colors blend together. It works kind of like a primer allowing colors to blend more smoothly.


  29. Nur February 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    Thanks for the help:) Are the 36 markers you chose for beginners in a particular set?
    Thanks for your lovely help.

    • Michelle February 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      Nur, they are not in a set together. I purchased these individually, mostly with coupons and on sale.
      Since I wrote this article Copic has come out with set of 3 markers that are great blending sets. Picking one group from each color family would also be a great option for a starter set.
      Hope that helps!

  30. Maria Irene March 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Thank you so much for this article. I really appreciate. I’m thinking to add at my color collection the copic markers but I really have some difficult to choose the right set.
    Your article help me enough. Thank you. Irene

  31. Juhi Saxena June 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    Hey..Michelle, i’m in love with copic markers…but i can’t afford it it’s very costly…I thought if u can buy me these ..i love to draw ..and I .want to pursue fashion designing for that i need these markers. please help me out…… i really need these markers love your post. <3

  32. Nancy C June 29, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Hi Michelle, Just Googled to see the best way to start a Copic collection and found your site. Thanks for the great information. I have been scrap booking for a while but just getting into stamping and want to learn to color with the alcohol markers. Almost started to purchase Spectrum Noir, but I decided I wanted the Copic. I think Dick Blick has good prices based on my internet search. Your list will help me so much – thanks again.

    • Michelle June 29, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

      Nancy I am so glad it was helpful! Another spot to find good prices on Copics is If you sign up to be a “member” there is no fee and only about 5-6 e-mails a year and you get a discount on all the prices! Thanks for commenting and feel free to come back with questions!

  33. Starlynn August 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Thank you Michelle! Found your post when I bought my first set of Copics and I keep coming back when I’m ready to buy more. This time I wrote down the list in hopes I don’t loose it. When Jo-Ann’s has a sale on their Copics and free or cheap shipping I take advantage and build my collection.Thanks again!

  34. Courtney November 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    I see that you use the copic “wallets” to organize your markers, but what size bag do you have those in? I have 2 wallets and would love to “combine” them in something like this!

    Thank you for your list! I used it to start my collection!

    • Michelle November 7, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Thanks Courtney!

      The bag is a 31 Bag. The style is the “Keep It Caddy” the demotions are 13″ x 8″ x 6.5″

      It fits 2 72 count Copic wallets perfectly!

  35. Ethan Bryant January 12, 2015 at 1:08 am #

    Hello Michelle, I’m an avid artist from Melbourne, Australia, and I’ve recently discovered Copic markers (in my years of drawing, I’ve used Derwent Artist pencils), and I have decided I want to try to get into markers for drawing. For the Christmas that just passed, I got a 12-pack of Copic Sketch Markers from my parents, the Brights pack I’m pretty sure it’s called (it doesn’t say on the packaging). I had asked for just any ‘Copic Markers’ and I didn’t really think about it or research much about them, but after I got the pack and I tested them out, I was a little disappointed with myself for not researching them first and asking for a specific pack that was actually useful for the blending purpose. After reading around, and watching some videos, I discovered that I was correct and it is pointless to get a 12-pack if you’re planning on blending, and creating detailed pictures. So while looking for extra markers to buy that would blend with the ones I already have, I found this blog-post of yours and found it very useful. I have just one thing to ask; Where you show the picture of the 36 markers for beginners, you also list the 36 markers. But that’s the thing, the list of markers you have (excluding the second options on some) is more than 36, its around 40 I think, even though the picture has 36 markers in them. I was just wondering if you listed too many accidentally, or it was deliberate. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but what is the actual/correct list of markers for beginner Copic users because I am seriously contemplating buying this list and I just want to be sure, and not buy any that I have no use for since they are so pricey. Thank you very much for your time :)

    • Michelle January 17, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

      Ethan great question. I have 40 markers listed 3 from each of the 10 color families, 8 from the Earth tones family 2 blending sets and 2 markers that are great for simple pale skin tones, a single light gray C1 or N1 for shadows, lastly there is the colorless blender. You are right and this is a total of 40! Not sure what I was thinking there.

      Most people adjust to suit what they will be drawing specifically. Some will not purchase the RV family because they know they just will not use these markers. Others want more of a complete gray scale and no yellows.

      If you would like more help you are more than welcome to send a specific question about colors to me just let me know what you are wanting to focus on with Copics and I will try to help you narrow your list down! We can even look at the colors you did get and focus your list around those colors so your shopping list is a little shorter!

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the question! I think you will LOVE Copics and it is well worth the investment.

      • Ethan Bryant January 31, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

        Thank you for the reply! And okay, that does clear it up a bit, knowing that I wasn’t just seeing things and there actually is 40 markers :) I have also thought about basing the markers around the colors I already have so I might think about that a bit more and I’ll have to get back to you on that via email. And one more small question, do you think it would be a bad idea to get both options from the BGs, BVs, and RVs you listed? Are the two different options from each similar, or different? I’m just wondering because I would like to start off with a wide variety of colours. I’m very much up for idea and challenge of getting and using some Copic Sketch Markers, so, again, thank you very much for this useful post! Very grateful :)

        • Michelle February 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

          Ethan, The BG’s are very different and worth having both. The BV’s are not that different if you want a second set I would get BV20, 23, and 25 these are GREAT for shadows! I hardly use the RV group but my current favorite set is RV63, 66, 69. This is a beautiful set. Look forward to hearing from you!

          • Ethan February 7, 2015 at 6:09 am #

            Okay thank you for settling that for me, I’ll definitely put that into contemplation!
            By the way, I really like these natural blending groups, it’s so smart and I wish Copic would made a 36 or 72 set full of natural blending groups, it would be so much more useful for beginners like me to start blending unlike the silly 72 A, B, C, D and E sets with not many colors alike for blending. I know they sell groups of 3 markers of blending groups, but if they made 36 or 72 sets of blending groups, it would be so much smarter.
            So anyway, after I sent you my first reply, I started looking around at prices for the markers and all up for about 40 markers, give or take a few, its about 330 Australian dollars which is a lot compared to some 72 sets which sell for 285 Australian dollars which is so much more worth it. So I was wondering if you knew any good sites where you could make your own set of Copic markers and choose which markers were in it and then buy that set you customized. If you don’t know any sites, I’m thinking of just buying the 72 B-set because I think you can agree that 72 markers for $285 is such a great deal compared to 36 markers for $330. That means for the 72 set, the markers would be around $4 each and for the 36 set, each marker would go for about $8 each. That’s such a good deal for the 72 set then! If that does happen, I’m really sorry for bothering you this whole time about the markers, but if I do eventually get that 72 set and I end up really liking the markers, I would definitely come back to this blogpost for buying individual markers. But yeah, do you know any sites to make-your-own Copic marker set, if not, thank you for helping me over the last month Michelle :)

          • Ethan February 7, 2015 at 6:15 am #

            Oh, and the by the way, you may be thinking “why doesn’t he just go on Oozak or Dick Blick where they have REALLYYY good prices?” Well, they don’t ship to Australia so all I have is eBay, Amazon, and some Australian art stores that are REALLYYY expensive :) Just wanted to clear that up.

          • Ethan February 15, 2015 at 5:30 am #

            Well that was stupid, I’ve decided I will be buying my own customized set, getting a 72-set doesn’t seem very useful when you can’t get many blending groups but with a customized set, you can choose any colors you want, sorry I wasted your time with my last two replies haha. I’m still finalizing my list of what ones I want. There’ll be around 40-50 I think. I’ll send you the list when i finish it in an email. I’m really excited! Thanks Michelle :D

  36. BV January 21, 2015 at 4:40 am #

    Very useful info, thank you Michelle! I have been wondering about BV23-29 series, namely if it is worth getting in addition to BV0s (that I already have and use a lot) or would you say I get the same effect by layering my BV0s with cool grays?

    • Michelle Houghton January 21, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      Glad the article was helpful. As I have practiced coloring and used more advanced images I find my self reaching for my BV 20,23 and 25 more and more. They really add depth to shadows in skin tones and pretty much everywhere else. That being said if you are confident layering your colors layering the Cool grays and BV 0’s will also work I wouldn’t go any higher then your BV04 though. Good luck! Love to see your work if you would like to share!

      • BV January 22, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

        Yes I do enjoy layering my colors. I’ve been drawing with Copics for a while now and I still find colors I didn’t even know I had, just by layering and trying new combinations. Like how to make beautiful ash rose color of a pink color that I hated and never used. :0
        But yes, BV probably is my most used color family, so I believe I will give BV2s a try! Thanks!

  37. Michelle February 17, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    Ethan, It is no problem at all. I always figure any questions asked might be the same ones others want answered as well. I am glad you have made some decisions and look forward to see what you end up with in your Copic collection!

  38. Sree March 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    Okay so I’m getting my first 36 markers from Amazon and they said it would arrive at 4/1/2015 (specific, wow). I kinda feel like I regret getting only 36 and feel like I should have gotten more. Is that wrong? Also, how long did it take you to get all those? Cause I’m really interested in drawing anime and some other things and I would like as much art supplies as possible (btw, when it comes to drawing, I’m not patient, so like do you have tips to like build up some patience?). One last thing is that, is normal copy paper “okay” for drawing with copics? Because while I was watching copic vids on Youtube, they said it will bleed through and mess things up… So is that true? Is copy paper that bad for copics?

    • Michelle March 26, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

      36 is a good start, and if you love them you will want more :-) How quickly you gather your collection depends on your ability to pay for them. It took me about 4-5 years to collect the set you see here. I used coupons, sales and rarely bought at full price, unless I really needed a color or group to complete a project.
      On paper, copy paper is NOT going to work for Anime or any other stamp/image coloring. It bleeds through, but it also will bleed outward, you will have little to no control. you will want to work on a smooth cardstock, there are several out there that will work, all having a slightly different tooth and density changing how the Copics blend and bleed. They vary in cost and availability as well. Feel free to keep asking questions as you have them!
      btw: no hints on patience :-) good luck with that!

  39. Lucy April 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    I was planning to buy some Copic Markers to get a different look with my art, and I was thinking i’d buy the 36-Piece Sketch Markers Set, 25th Anniversary pack. This looked like a great thing to have (keep in mind I am an amateur), until I checked your list of colors. Although I know that just because many of the colors that you recommended were missing from the set, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a bad purchase. I don’t feel like it is necessary for me to have a lot of Copics considering that they are expensive, but I do want to buy a set that will fill my needs, particularly in the anime and manga category, if that makes any difference. So what i’m wondering is if I should buy this set, buy separate sets for separate color families, or just find a completely different set. Thank you all so so much!

    • Michelle April 17, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

      The list is one I put together for most crafters that are primarily coloring stamps. And it was a good group for me. The anniversary set if you can find one is a good set and a lot of people like it because of the different nibs that come on the markers. (They are sold out at most locations and there will not be any more so very few are left) It really boils down to what will work for you and what you are going to do with them. There are some GREAT Anime tutorials and resources over at the Copic site that might help as well.

  40. Martha October 31, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Hi… I retired 3 years ago and am just finding out that I actually have some artistic ability! I’ve been doing a little zentangle and now doodling.. I love drawing fantasy characters like little monsters, animals, cartoons, etc… I bought my first 7 Copics the other day, and made my first “official” drawing/coloring as a name plate for my grandson’s door. It came out fantastic! I’m wondering about how the Copics blend… I’ve experienced other markers pick up the underlying colors that they blend with.. is this not the case with Copics? I’ve been afraid to touch other colors with them, thinking I might ruin the markers. Thanks for any advice!

    • Michelle December 13, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

      Martha, on occasion a lighter color will pick up a small amount of a darker color BUT as you are working and blending it will come right back off. Copic are made to be layered and blended just like you would with paint! I have a couple tutorials on some of those beginning blending techniques with images to practice on right here at Get It Scrapped so check those out! :-)

  41. Roger December 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Hello Michelle,
    I was wondering if you would still recommend those colors now? Im trying to buy some Copics as a starter pack and Im confused as to where to start. Im a new paper crafter and cant spend so much money on markers. So I would appreciate any feedback. Maybe the 36 paper crafting set or 36 regular set.

  42. Bird February 15, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    Hi i stumbled apon here wondering what copics are best to start out with when you list the markers did you get the copics loose or did you buy them in a set if so what set

    • Michelle February 21, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

      Bird, I purchased these individually. The sets do not have the 3 blending marker groups that I wanted to start with. (The light, mid-tone and shadow in each color family) So I pieced my set together, that also allowed me to use a lot of coupons over time :-)

  43. Alyssa R March 20, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been looking to start a set of copic markers but had no idea where to begin as there are HUNDREDS of colors. This helped SO much. I’ll take your recommendation for the 36 to start and then round of my collection with some of your other choices from your most regularly used colors. I’m very excited to use them.

  44. Kelly March 30, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this. I ended up going to a shop and picking all the colors in your set of 36 colors (which are acually 40 copics). Total som of € 227. Im not sure i really love seeing all those videos of people using copics and the effect. But im not really an artist. Just someone who just started to draw on my tablet and a little bit on paper. But im so in love with the effect. I have some coloring books and i would reallty like to develop myself in the drawing technics. But its stil alot of money. Do you have any tips for me to give me that little push so i wont regret it?

  45. Leo Ansonti April 13, 2016 at 12:27 am #

    Hi Michelle,
    Thank you so much for the guide! I am a teenager in need of good art supplies, and decided to spend my birthday money upon copic markers. I have about $110, and am interested in fantasy manga- although i am not that good, and improving! I was thinking about getting a starter kit and then supplementing, but I’m not sure what the most cost-effective option would be. I think i’ll mainly be drawing people, as I am not an official manga artist (yet) so background shouldn’t need to be spectacular. However, I enjoy drawing pictures with shades of black and grey (my favorite “colors”). So far, my drawing interests are:
    real person -> drawing

    I am not sure what colors would be best, because I would love to be able to blend and have 3 color sets, but also have every color category i need.
    I also did some research, so the names of some of the colors mentioned are below.
    Thank you,
    Leo Ansonti
    • E33 (sand), E35 (chamois), E37 (sepia) (this is a great starter set of Earth tones or browns)
    • E25, E27, E29, E00 (skin white), E02 (the standard for skin tones–but there are TONS of options) [ has good skin colors]
    • N1 (gray) (just to have one gray for simple shadows and edging images)
    • B00 (frost blue), B02 (robin’s egg blue), B04 (blueberry) (beautiful sky blues)
    • BG72, BG75, BG78 (sea greens)
    • BV11 (soft violet), BV13 (hydrangea blue), BV17 (deep reddish blue) (both fairly similar blue violet series)
    • V12 (pale lilac), V15 (mallow), V17 (amethyst) (pretty purples)
    • G21 (lime green), G24 (willow), G29 (pine tree green) (nice rich greens)
    • YG11 (mignonette), YG13 (chartreuse), YG17 (grass green) (grass greens)
    • Y11 (pale yellow), Y15 (cadmium yellow), Y19 (Napoli yellow) (bright yellows)
    • YR04 (ch____ orange), YR07 (cadmium orange), YR09 (Chinese orange) (oranges)
    • R22 (light prawn), R24 (prawn), R29 (lipstick red) (the must have set of reds)

  46. Rita June 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Okay, I’ve been scrapbooking for many years and I’m just now hearing about Copic markers. I’m very excited to learn more about them. Can someone tell me how they’re different from other markers? And are they used to color directly onto pictures? Any information for someone who knows nothing about Copics would be much appreciated!

    • Michelle August 12, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

      Rita if you go through the tutorials here you will get a lot of that information. They can write on photos, but the color is not opaque so just a different look. You can also check on my blog for more information I teach for Imagination International Inc. the Us distributor of Copic.

  47. jk art August 17, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    Hey, the awesome 36 copic markers u suggested were awesome but there are a total of 39 :( sorry it’s confusing for me not sure

    • jk art August 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

      Which set of colours should I remove to get a total of 36?

  48. Rachel Kentish August 31, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    Just found this whilst searching for advice on copics-I love the brush tip. I can probably only afford between 5 and 10. I already have cool greys (0,1,3,5,7 I think) and a black. If I could only get 5 or 10 what would you recommend ? (I am eclectic in my style but I am learning to draw whimsical faces on ATC’s which I’d like to use them for-often with brightly coloured hair -like purple)

    • Michelle Houghton January 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

      Rachel if you are still looking for help let me know. I would encourage you to get a good set of skin tones maybe 3-5 of those and pick one or two colors of hair and get 3-4 of each of those in natural blending groups to start. I will check back to see if yo need more help!

  49. Karen-Anne October 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Can you tell me what kind of bag it is that you are storing your copics in? I love that it seems to have sections dividing the colour groups.

    • Michelle Houghton January 4, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

      Karen-Anne, This is a 31 bag that is sadly not made any more the dimensions are 7 x 8 x 12″ and inside are two Copic 72 marker wallets.

  50. Danna Tran October 26, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    Hi, my parents got me a Copic Ciao 24 set for my birthday last year. I’m looking forward to updating my Copic collection, and buying a new set. Which set would you recommend?

    • Michelle Houghton January 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

      Danna sorry for the delay, if I can still help let me know. It really depends on what you already have and what types of art yo are doing. You can post here and I will check back or you can contact me through my blog and I will give you some help

  51. Walter November 27, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    Great advices. If my daughter will see your copic bag will faint….

  52. Richard November 27, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    So I counted everything in your list – I’m confused. The number of markers is way over 130 as you listed some strange sets (e.g. “20’s” or “30’s”). Can you specify which markers you buy from these? And also what do you mean by those numbers? Is it like a color and then all ten in the range?

    • Richard November 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      Hmmm never mind I counted the starting sets added to your personal collection…oops. But still, I’d like a confirmation – when you say “20’s” or something like that do you mean ALL those colors, all 10? (example: 60’s of RV: RV60 RV61 RV62 RV63 RV64 RV65 RV66 RV67 RV68 RV69?)

      • Michelle Houghton January 4, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

        Sorry for the slow reply Richard. When I say 20’s it is yes all the colors in that series, but there may not be 10. Like in the V 20’s there are only V20, V22, V25 and V28 so it is a group of 4 markers in the V “20’s”
        If you look at the numbering system there are 3 parts. Each has a letter, this is the “color family” so Y+yellow or G=green. then they all have a first number, this is the “saturation”. So a B0 (zero) is highly saturated or really bright. A B9 is very Desaturated so a lot of gray has been added. Then you have a second number (or in some cases a run of zeros) this number is the “value”or the light vs. dark of the marker. so a B00 is very saturated and very light where a B09 is still very saturated but very dark, then a B91 is very desaturated or grayed, but is still light where a B99 is both desaturated and very dark. Clear as mud :-) let me know if I can help further. I will check back for questions!

        • Richard February 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

          Hmm I think I understand. Thank you! I’ll post back if I have other questions regarding expanding my collection.

  53. Cindy T December 18, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    Hi! Is that a 31 bag you have your markers in? If so, which one is it?

    • Michelle Houghton January 4, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

      Cindy T, sadly they do not make it any more! It was one of there standard bags for years and now they do not carry it! The dimensions are about L12″ x W7″ x H8″ I love it and it fits 2 – 72marker wallets perfectly!

  54. Precious April 10, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Were can I shop the marker Michelle?

    • Terrie Crawford April 28, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

      If you watch the Michael’s coupons, sometimes you can get a 40% off your entire online purchase. While they don’t carry the entire collection in the stores, they DO online. PLUS all the reinkers! I just got 11 markers for $4.79 each! Shipping was free.
      Another online site is They sell for $5.24 each regular price. You can also get free shipping if your order reaches a certain amount. Happy coloring!

  55. Sooi_dog March 15, 2018 at 8:12 pm #

    I have 15 copics now – mainly pink and rose tones as well as blue and green ones -, all of sketch type. honestly?, I’d luv to buy just 5 more copics. their quality is soooo amazing! some ppl tell meh buy Prismacolors but they don’t exist on my country, so I have copics and sometimes (very rarely, tho) I do digital art.
    With love,
    an amateur artist.

  56. star March 16, 2018 at 8:09 pm #

    hello, thanks for the info. I have some copics and realized i want a full range of hues. So, I got the zig brush waterbased markers and do love them but am finding i also need alcohol markers. I was about to buy the set of Spectrum Noirs for the reason i mentioned above as they are in my price range and just saw that some people claimed the colors change on the paper after some time! Do you show the hues of your 36 set? Or can you offer me any advise. thank you and blessings.;)

  57. Mia August 18, 2018 at 8:50 am #

    I have been wanting to purchase some copic markers as I currently have none. However I noticed that there are different types of them – copic sketch, copic classic and copic ciao. Which of these blend the best? I like to make cards so I am thinking about ones that would be good blenders for flowers, leaves or whatever…. the basic 36 colors mentioned in your post don’t specify. But love love love the post – so informative.


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