Welcome! Before I get started on this LONG post, I just want to mention that I will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, next weekend, June 3-4 for Copic Workshops. Hope to see some of you there!
Yesterday I tackled the subject of how I chose Copic markers when I started collecting them. To be clear, there really isn't a wrong way--just different ways. When I shared color theory basics yesterday, I knew that I would probably cause some eyes to glaze over. Today I thought I'd hit an even simpler idea, as well as offering some of my most used marker combos.
If color wheels aren't your idea of fun, how about rainbows and unicorns? (Oops--I said no unicorns, right?) Most of you probably learned the order of the colors in the rainbow with the acronym ROY G. BIV. (If not, you've learned something new today! )
- R (red), O (orange), Y (yellow)
- G (green)
- B (blue), I (indigo), and V (violet)
We aren't going to worry about additive versus subtractive color today--just the basics. Since the rainbow contains the full visible light spectrum, it would make sense that you could also have a full spectrum of Copic markers by collecting markers in rainbow color families, right? So if you pick your favorite Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo (blue-violet in Copic-ese), and Violet families, you should have a pretty good start on your Copic marker collection. Of course, I'd probably sneak in a Yellow-Green family and a Red-Violet family as well. . . but then I love having plenty of color choices!
Before I share any lists of markers that I would choose to begin a workable collection, I want to reiterate that color choices are personal; you and I would likely have different preferences in color just as in music or food. For that reason, I really don't like to give out color lists! But I know that people really do like to see lists. Sigh. . . With no further procrastination, here are some of my favorite SIMPLE marker combos. With some of the families, I will list "-OR-" choices and tell you what distinguishes them in my thinking or what I especially like about it or use it for, in case that helps. (In other words, you STILL have to make choices!)
Keep in mind that between photographing color swatches and posting them here, they won't be super color accurate. I did white-balance each swatch, but you really should try a marker or at least compare my swatch to the ones on the official Imagination International Inc. website before choosing, okay? Also, please note that each color swatch is BELOW its description.
Edited to add: I have added a .pdf chart of the information in this post for those of you who would like to print it out for reference. Download Simple Copic Color Combinations _ Debbie Olson_05272016
- BV00/BV02/BV04/BV08: (If you tend to overblend, you may want to go with BV000 in place of BV00, and BV01 in place of BV02) The BV00's are intense blue-violets with a great range of value.
- BV11/BV13/BV17: If you prefer a little more violet and a little less blue, you might like the BV10's family better.
- BV20, BV23, BV25: I sometimes use the BV20's for shadows; they are similar to a cool gray with blue-violet undertones. However, I slightly prefer the V20/V22/V25/V29 family for shadows, especially for shadows on skin tones.
- V12/V15/V17: The V10's are a little less intense than the V00's, but they blend beautifully. If you need a darker value than the V17, you can always add on the V09, which is a deep, lovely violet.
- V20/V22/V25/V29: I've mentioned this in the previous section, but I slightly prefer the V20's to the BV20's for shadow tones, especially on skin.
- V91/V93/V95/V99: The V90's remind me of raisin tones. They are very muted though; so while useful, they probably wouldn't be on my absolute must-have short list if I were limited in the number of Copic colors that I could choose.
- RV21/RV23/RV25/RV29: I love my RV20's--intense, happy pinks and red-violets!
- RV10/RV52/RV55/RV66: Yes, I know that this isn't a proper color family. But sometimes you need a marker that is lighter in value than RV52, and sometimes you need a marker darker in value than an RV55. These are absolutely luscious red-violets, cooler and more violet than the RV20's.
- R30/R32/R35/R37/R39: If you want to work harder at blending, or perhaps use some palette blending, you might be able to get by with just the R30/R35/R39. But it's a challenge. The R30's are slightly cooler in temperature than the R20's, in my opinion. There's nothing wrong with the R20's--I just like my R30's slightly better!
- RV32/RV34/R56/R59: Yes, I know that I mixed Red-Violets and Reds here, but it works--try it!
- R81/R83/R85/R89: The R80's are similar to the sequence just above where I mixed some lighter RV's with the R50's. Both are cooler reds, leaning toward mauve/cranberry/victorian red. Neither of the these is really a true red. You need a true red? Then I'd go for the R20's or R30's instead.
- YR02/YR04/YR07/YR09/E09 (if you need a darker value than the YR09): The YR00's are a peach-to-deep-orange family. Surely you need ONE orange family in your collection! (See the last bullet point in this section for an alternate orange family.)
- YR30/YR31/YR21/YR24/YR27: This mixture of yellow-red families ranges from a sheer, barely-there buttercream yellow to a deep yellow ochre--yummy! The YR30 is very light in value, so you might get by with starting your sequence with a YR31. You could also leave off the YR27 if you don't need a deep yellow ochre bordering on raw sienna. However, adding that YR27 gives you a great value range.
- YR61/YR82/YR65/YR68/E08: No typo there. I mix these up a bit. This is a second possibility of a range of peachy tones to orange and even rust tones. This combination is slightly less intense than the YR00's that are listed on the first line, and you can probably choose one or the other.
- Y11/Y15/Y18/Y38: Yes, that Y38 looks odd at the end of the Y10's sequence, but it works to complete a range of lemon-to-sunny, intense yellows.
- YG01/YG03/YG05/YG17: Intense yellow-greens. And, yes, I really do like YG17 better than YG07/YG09 at the end of this sequence. The YG17 is a little yellower, and it's what I usually pick up to finish this sequence.
- YG21/YG23/YG25/YG17: All things being equal, I'll more often pick up the YG20's family than the YG00's. I still finish the YG20's with that YG17 though. It's a great color!
- YG61/YG63/YG67: This is a slightly cooler yellow-green, similar to the G40's below. (You can probably get by with one or the other if you're just starting your collection.)
- YG93/YG95/YG99: Army green, anyone? This is a really muted yellow-green family. I don't use it on a weekly basis, but when I need it, I'm glad it's there!
- G00/G02/G05/G07: This is a pale, mint-green to vibrant kelly green family. I love the G00, and G02 for antique glass jars. I don't use the darker value colors quite as much.
- G40/G43/G46/G29: One of my most used green combos these days. As I mentioned in the Yellow-Greens section above, it is somewhat similar to the YG60's, but more intense and with more contrast, as long as you add that G29 to the end for a truly dark value.
- Disclaimer: choosing between blue-greens for me is almost like choosing a favorite child--it just shouldn't be done! I'm going to list several favorite sequences and tell what I like about each one. Then YOU can choose what seems more useful to you.
- BG000/BG02/BG05/BG07: Clear, highly saturated Blue-Greens. Think rainwater to a teal blue, and you'll be close.
- BG11/BG13/BG15/BG18: This family is quite a bit greener than the BG00's. Think pale aqua to a teal green.
- BG10/BG45/BG49: No, that BG10 isn't a typo. I needed something light that would work with the lovely BG40's! BG45 and BG49 are perfect blue-greens--not too green, not too blue--kind of like Baby Bear's oatmeal, chair, and bed in The Three Bears. . .
- B00/BG53/BG57: Another lovely blue-green family. Yes, I did use a B00 (blue) in with the BG50's, but I needed a pale base color, and the BG50's are bluer rather than greener. (If you need a darker value than BG57, throw a BG49 at the end of this combo.)
- BG70/BG72/BG75/BG78: Muted, cooler, sage-y blue-greens--like a stormy sky all the way to dark ocean depths. . .
- BG90/BG93/BG96/BG99: Muted, neutral-leaning and more green than blue.
- B21/B23/B28: baby-boy-blue all the way to royal blue. These are intense!
- B60/B63/B66/B69: This blue family leans toward purple to me--very different from the other two blue families that I most often use.
- B90/B93/B95/B97/B99: Muted, like my husband's work jeans.
Any discussion on Earth tones and Grays are going to have to wait until another day. (I colored swatches half the day and still didn't get to the earth tones and grays!) I'm hoping that this will be helpful to those of you who have asked questions about starting your Copic Marker collection. I've normally tried to avoid that question because I knew that it could take forever to explain, and that color truly IS a personal choice anyway. But at least you can see how I've made choices. Again, this is primarily for people who are beginning a Copic collection. If you already have an extensive collection, or if you are feeling more adventurous with color theory, maybe I will have a chance to create a post for you another day.
I will try to answer questions if you have them--leave it in the comments section. :-)
Part 1 of Choosing Copic Markers is HERE.
Thanks for visiting,