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Copic Paper Test

Brandi York | May 8, 2017

We get questions about paper a lot, so we've put together this run down from our Product Specialist, Brandi York. Enjoy!


One of the most common questions I head is, "What is the best paper for Copics?"

My answer is always, "That depends on what you're doing."  Different papers will bring different effects, different ink absorptions, different challenges. So far as this artist is concerned, there is no absolute right or wrong answer here - only the paper that best suits what you're trying to do.

Copic paper test

This extensive paper test is not designed to tell you whether a paper is good or bad.  Every paper has its strength and weaknesses. Some blend better, while others have better color removal. Use the following information to make a judgement for yourself as to which paper will work best for the work you do. Test and practice on every paper you wish to use before committing to a full piece of work, just to learn each paper's idiosyncrasies, including how much the same color will shift when layered over itself.

Also note that this test does not include every paper available. I used what I had on hand or what I could easily acquire for this test. There are some papers I want to add, but I am also open to suggestions. If a paper you love or are interested in trying is not listed here, please leave us a comment or send us an email asking for that paper to be tested!

Each paper was tested in the same manor, with the same colors, in a 1 inch circle:

  • Circle 1 - Y21 was laid down as saturated and solid as possible.  
  • Circle 2 - Y26 was then added for a subtle blend, then Y21 was used again to soften the blend.  
  • Circle 3 - BV25 was added for a contrasting value and to see how smoothly the color could be melded into the Y21 and Y26. Y26 was used to soften out the blend.
  • Circle 4 - Two passes of 0 were used to see how easily the Copic inks shifted out of the way.

Papers are listed alphabetically by brand:

Bee Paper - Aquabee Manga 110 lb.

A middle-weight stock with a slightly warm (almost pinkish) tone. Fairly smooth with just slightest texture.

Great, solid coverage and minimal spotting from the fibers of the paper. Colors blend very well without too much shifting of of color when the same color is laid over itself. Color removal with the Colorless Blender will take some work and patience.

Copic paper test aquabee

 

Canson - Bristol 100 lb.

Heavier stock with a warm tone. Fairly smooth with a little texture.

Good, solid coverage with some minor spotting from the fibers of the paper. Colors blend reasonably - excellent two-color blending, though it has a bit of difficulty with extensive blending. Minor color shifting when a color is layered over itself. Color removal with the Colorless Blender will take some work and patience.

Copic paper test Canson

Canson - Illustration 150 lb.

A heavy stock with a slightly warm tone. Smooth but a bit textured.

Good, solid coverage with some spotting from the fibers of the paper. Some shifting of color when a color is layered over itself. Excellent blending. Reasonable color removal with the Colorless Blender; will not take too much work to alter colors.

Copic Paper Test Canson

Canson - Marker Paper

Traditional thin marker paper with a slightly cool tone. Slightly textured.

Great, solid coverage with very little spotting (the spotting becomes more apparent when darker colors are applied). Blending is good with some practice, but cannot be heavily layered without the ink lifting off. Fairly significant color shifting when the same color is laid over itself (note how much darker each circle gets from using Y21 for blending). Color removal with the Colorless Blender will be very difficult if at all possible.

Copic Paper Test Canson

Canson - Pro Layout Marker

Super smooth, thin marker paper with a slightly cool tone.

Excellent coverage with some spotting with use of darker colors. Blending is tricky but reasonably achievable with patience. Color shifting is significant when color is laid over itself. Color removal with the Colorless Blender will be very difficult if at all possible.

Copic Paper Test Canson

Canvas

Traditional gessoed canvas, heavily textured weave and slightly warm yellow tone.

Poor coverage, as the gesso of the canvas tends to repel the color more than anything. The texture also makes a solid fill difficult. Blending is difficult at best, between lack of absorption and the texture of the canvas. Color removes reasonably well with the Colorless Blender.

Copic Paper Test Canvas

Copic - Marker Pad (Alcohol Marker Pad)

Thin, smooth, traditional marker paper, neutral white in tone.

Excellent, solid coverage with minimal spotting. There is significant color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is good but requires a bit of practice and patience. Colorless Blender has little to no effect.

Copic Paper Test Marker Pad

Copic - Sketchbook

Super smooth, slightly thicker dense paper with a slightly cool tone.

Excellent, solid coverage with very minimal spotting. Minor color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Excellent blending. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is subtle and requires patience, but can be done.

Copic Sketchbook Paper Test

Crescent - Rendr

Slightly textured but smooth, thicker sketch paper with a cool tone. Truly no-show-through.

Excellent, solid coverage with some spotting from the texture of the paper. Some color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Minimal blending is excellent; extensive blending becomes more challenging (ink can take a while to dry when heavily layered). Colorless Blender has little effect - some removal may be possible with great patience.

Copic Paper Test Crescent

Denril - Vellum

Super smooth, frosted surface. Excellent, even transparency.

First pass of color is good, but coverage grows streaky as more ink is added. Quick passes of color for blends is good, extensive blending is not. However, it does create an interesting effect. Color removal is excellent with the Colorless Blender.

Copic Paper Test Denril

Fabriano - Drawing 94 lb. (White Ecological Artist Paper)

Heavier paper, textured with just the slightest warm tint.

Excellent, solid coverage. Minimal color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Good blending, though be careful not to oversaturate the paper while blending. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is possible with patience.

Copic Paper Test Fabriano

Laser Copier Paper 24 lb.

Straight laser copier paper, smooth surface with a slightly cool tint.

Excellent coverage, with minimal spotting. Some color shifting from when layering the same color over itself. Good blending for simple colors. Wet into wet blending better for more drastic shifts of color blending. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is good but requires patience.

Copic Paper Test Laser Copier

Manga Illustration Paper - Natural White

Slightly heavier weight, super smooth and a warm tone.

Excellent coverage with some spotting. Color shifting is minimal when the same color is layered over itself. Excellent blending. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is minimal; will take some patience to make any drastic changes.

Copic Paper Test Manga

Manga Illustration Paper - Pure White

Thinner than its Natural White counterpart. Semi-transparent, very slightly textured and a neutral white in tone.

Coverage is not shaky, especially with subsequent layerings. Significant color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is splotchy at best, although makes for an interesting effect if smooth blends are not required. Excellent color removal with the Colorless Blender, although some fibers of the paper seem to stain.

Copic Paper Test Manga

PM Pad

Thin and slightly textured. Just a touch cool in tone.

Excellent solid coverage. Color shifting is significant when layering the same color over itself. Blending is best with similar colors, though wet into wet techniques can be employed for good blending of other colors. Colorless Blender has very little effect once the ink is dry.

Copic Paper Test PM Pad

Pro Art Watercolor Postcard 140 lb.

Thick, dense watercolor stock. Slightly textured, and a warm, reddish tone.

Excellent solid coverage with minimal color shifting when the same color is layered over itself. Very good blending. Excellent color removal with the Colorless Blender. Note: Watercolor papers do absorb more ink than most other papers, causing the markers to run dry more quickly.

Copic Paper Test Pro Art

Recollections 100lb. Cardstock

Thick cardstock that's slightly textured. Slightly cool in tone.

Good solid coverage with minimal spotting from the fibers of the paper. Color shifting is minimal when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is good, as is color removal with the Colorless Blender.

Copic Paper Test Recollections

Recollections Pearl Cardstock

A thinner stock with a shimmery surface that's slightly warm in tone.

Coverage is a bit speckled, likely from the shimmer of the paper repelling the ink. Color shifting is minor when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent, though it seems darker colors are a bit more muted. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is okay, though it does seem to remove some of the shimmer from the surface as well.

Copic Paper Test Recollections Pearl Cardstock

Stonehenge 250gsm Drawing Paper

A smooth, vellum finish cardstock with a slightly warm, yellow-ish tint.

Excellent color coverage with minimal spotting from the fibers of the paper. Color shifting is minimal when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is good though takes a bit more ink as it is a thicker paper. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is difficult but possible with some patience.

Copic Paper Test Stonehenge

Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper

Medium weight sketch paper with a fine texture. Slightly warm yellow in tone.

Excellent coverage with minor spotting as darker colors are applied. Some shifting of color when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent, bit prone to bleeding beyond lines when the paper is heavily saturated. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is weak but can be done with some patience.

Copic Paper Test Srathmore

Strathmore Marker

Thin marker paper with a super smooth surface. Slight cool in tone.

Excellent, solid coverage with some spotting from the fibers of the paper. Color shifting is significant when the same color is layered over itself. Minimal blending is good; extensive blending is poor. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is all but impossible.

Copic Paper Test Strathmore

Strathmore Mixed Media 140lb.

Heavy, thick stock that is super smooth. Warm and slightly yellow in tone.

Excellent, solid coverage though a bit of molting from multiple layers of color. Color shifting is very minimal when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is good, though careful of oversaturating and causing rings. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is good but again, careful of oversaturating and creating rings.

Copic Paper Test Strathmore

Strathmore Smooth Bristol

Medium weight and smooth with a very slight texture. Slightly warm white in tone.

Excellent, solid coverage with minor spotting as darker colors are applied. Color shifting is minor when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is difficult and requires patience.

Copic Paper Test Strathmore

Strathmore Watercolor 140lb.

Thick watercolor surface with a traditional cold press texture. Slightly warm, yellow-ish tone.

Excellent coverage with minimal spotting, but the texture of the paper very much shows through. Color shifting is minor when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is difficult, as the paper is thick and has absorbed a lot of ink, but it can be done with patience. Note: Long term use of the markers on cold press watercolor paper can wear down the tips.

Copic Paper Test Strathmore

Strathmore Windpower Drawing 80lb.

Medium weight sketch paper with a slight texture. Neutral warm in tone.

Excellent solid coverage with some spotting from the fibers of the paper. Color shifting is minimal when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is very good, though watch for oversaturation. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is difficult but possible with patience.

Copic Paper Test Strathmore

Tracing Paper

A very thin, transparent surface with a slight texture.

Covered is streaky but reasonable for single color. Color becomes splotchier as more colors are applied. Color shifting is significant as the same color is layered over itself. Blending is difficult as the markers remove the underlying color. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is excellent.

Copic Paper Test Tracing Paper

Winsor and Newton Watercolor 140lb.

Heavy, slightly textured watercolor paper. Slightly warm yellow in tone.

Excellent, solid coverage with minimal spotting as darker colors are applied. Color shifting is minor when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is difficult but possible. Note: Watercolor papers do absorb more ink than most other papers, causing the markers to run dry more quickly.

Copic Paper Test Watercolors

X-Press It Blending Card

Medium weight, super smooth dense card. Cool, lavender tone.

Excellent, solid coverage with some spotting from the fibers of the paper. Color shifting is minor when the same color is layered over itself. Blending is excellent. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is possible with patience. Check out the X-Press It Blending Card!

Copic Paper Test Blending Card

Yupo

Super smooth, polypropylene surface. Bright, warm yellow-ish in tone.

Coverage is streaky, particularly as more ink is added, although it creates an interesting effect at the edges of each stroke. Colors blend into each other on the surface, causing blends to be washy and streaked. Color removal with the Colorless Blender is excellent. Note: This paper is completely non-absorbent, making using the tips of the markers a challenge. However, painting with Various Inks creates some very interesting watercolor effects.

Copic Paper Test Yupo

We know that's a lot of information to take in, but hopefully you find it useful! Check out the Copic Pinterest Page for more useful tips and tutorials!

Topics: Illustration, Copic

Brandi York
Brandi York on May 8, 2017

Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was a young girl who grew up down the street from Disneyland. From 1992, and her first viewing of Beauty and the Beast, she began her long road as a portraiture artist and the life of a geek. More than 20 years and thousands of portraits later, Brandi's work has become a strange collection of fine art landscapes and florals, with the occasional en plein air piece, mixed with the geekier side of pop culture.