What Is the Copic Airbrush System? You Need to Know

It is not an overstatement to say that Copic markers are one of the world’s most popular alcohol-based marker brands. Whether for beginners or professionals, it has been a name of trust from 1987.

However, in 1995, Copic introduced the Airbrush System (ABS). But what exactly is Copic Airbrush System, and how does it work?

Well, Copic Airbrush System is a new color system from Copic. The brand has introduced it to meet the needs of professionals and beginners. It’s an innovative tool to create airbrushed effects with Copic markers.

If you are still new to this tool and don’t know its uses, this article is a must-read for you. So, without wasting any time, let’s move forward and learn all the details about Copic Airbrush System!

What is “Copic Airbrush” Actually?

Copic Airbrush System

Copic Airbrush System is an innovative color system that copes with airbrushing. It’s actually an innovative tool to create an additional dimension to the artwork. It’ll help you to create gradients and halftones effect.

It was designed for covering large areas and perfect blending capabilities. If you want to use your Copic pens a little more, you can go for an airbrush system.

In this style, you’ll need less ink for covering large areas comparing to using standard markers. The reason is that here the ink only sits on top of the paper and doesn’t absorb into the paper like using regular marker strokes. So, you can easily cover more areas with less ink.

The key difference between standard Copics and Copic Airbrush System lies in its ink type and flow properties. It allows a smoother application when used by hand-held devices like spray guns.

But to get proper control over the system, you need lots of practice. Only then you can use it to create light or heavily saturated backgrounds. Honestly speaking, once you get control over it, you’ll want to airbrush everything!

Copic airbrush comes with an ergonomic design that allows easy handling while painting on various surfaces like wood or plastic boards, fabrics such as cotton, linen, or canvas, glasswares, metal panels for automotive decoration, etc.

Different Types of Air Brush System

In terms of the airbrush system, Copic has introduced three types of it – ABS2, ABS1N, and ABS3. So, here I’m going to explain all of these three kits in detail and recommend which one you should go for.

ABS2Air Grip & D60 Air Can5-8 Minutes$$
ABS1NAir Grip, 180 Air Can, Air Adaptor, Hose & Foam Holder30-40 Minutes$$
ABS3Air Grip & Air AdaptorUnlimited Air with Compressor$$$


Among all the three types, this kit set is the less complicated one. This kit comes with Air Grip and D60 Air Can. The air of the can lasts up to 5-7 minutes from my personal experience. Though, there is a controversy that the D60 air can last up to 8-10 minutes.

Well, whether it’s 5 minutes or 8 minutes, any of the time is not good enough if you compare it with the cost. But you can replace the air can by costing around $15. It’s just like you use refills for Copic marker.

So, I basically recommend this kit for the artists that just use minor airbrush effects on their artwork.


It’s the intermediate kit. It comes with an Air Grip, 180 Air Can, Air Adaptor, Hose, and Foam Holder. It provides service about six to seven times more than the ABS2 kit. It means that the air can last up to 30-40 minutes of airbrushing.

Like the ABS2 kit, you will also get a replacement air can for around $20. So, I can say that this is the kit for airbrush beginners for practicing.


This airbrush kit is for professional artists who frequently create spray patterns or gradient effects on their artwork. It has come up with an Air Grip and an Air Adaptor. The best thing about this kit is that it goes with a compressor.

Once you get the compressor and the hose, air is free for you. It means you can use unlimited air for free. That’s why it’s my favorite and recommended for professionals. But it may cost you more than the kits mentioned above. [source]

How Does Copic Airbrush System (ABS) Work?

It’s actually an exciting way to use Copic Sketch and Classic markers with the airbrush system. When you get a Copic airbrush system kit, you’ll find an air grip with it. The air grip mostly looks like a spray gun.

The upside of the gun remains empty, on which you have to set a marker, whether it’s a Copic Classic or Sketch. There is a nib in front of the gun, which is actually an air hole. It stays just under the marker nib.

When you press the trigger, air blows with the help of the air can, and the color of ink starts to flow like spray. So, just press the trigger and create the effect you want.

However, pressing the trigger is a sensitive issue here. The reason is, your spattered pattern will depend on it entirely. Most importantly, this system increases the lifespan of your Copics as it covers more areas with less ink.

How Do You Use Copic Airbrush?

Using a Copic airbrush is easier than tying your shoelace! After getting an airbrush kit in your hands, you have to screw all the parts together to make it work.

First of all, set the air adaptor properly with the air grip. While twisting the can for setting, don’t over tight it. Then take the hose and set it with the air can. The twisting suggestion is also same here. Over tightening may cause leakage.

Next, take the marker and set it with the air grip. Pick the color that you want to spray over the paper. You can either choose the Copic Original or Sketch marker.

Now set it on top of the air grip properly so that there remains no chance of getting it detached. Place your hand on top of the marker to ensure no leakage from any side of Copic markers when you press the trigger.

Finally, hold the air grip over a spare piece of paper and press the trigger to check its efficiency. If you see that the gun is spraying in the way you want, now you can use it over your actual project. It’s best for creating smooth color gradients.

Here are some tips for you to use the airbrush –

  • Hold the gun at an angle for better coverage of sprayed pattern.
  • Twist both ends of the hose gently for setting tightness before opening all valves by pressing them down towards ground level (don’t forget).
  • The main thing here is to control the trigger. How well you can control it, the more beautiful effect you can create.

See how easy it is to use! Now, you can use it just knowing these airbrush basics. It’s not that difficult as people think. Here, I’ve also embedded a video for better understanding.


Q: How much does a Copic Airbrush cost?

The first thing is that it depends on where you are purchasing the kit. And then, there are multiple types of kits, as I’ve mentioned earlier, and their price is also different from each other.

Generally, the Copic ABS1N Airbrushing System Kit is around $200 though it’s not available that much nowadays. For Copic Airbrush System ABS 2 Starter Set, it costs you around $35. And finally, the Copic Airbrush System ABS-3 Kit will cost you around $60. You can see the latest price here.

However, a single air grip for airbrushing will cost you around $25, a 180 air can is around $23, a D60 air can is around $15, and a Foam holder is around $8.

So, depending on the budget and need, you can go for any device, though I always suggest people go for the ABS-3 kit.

Q: How can I minimize mess when using the ABS?

While using ABS, the first thing is to test the spray over a spare piece of paper. There may remain some coarse particles inside the color. So, when you test it, all of them will go away.

Please don’t hold the gun vertically and just start spraying. The proper way to spray is by tilting the air grip slightly. Some people also make a mistake by laying down the air can flat with the surface while spraying. You shouldn’t do it at all.

Another thing to check that there is enough ink remains in the installed Copic marker or not. If you get a lighter color than the cap while spraying, you may need to refill it. Checking the angle of the marker nib is also essential.

Sometimes, the marker nib also becomes dry due to the ink. So, check it earlier and change the nib if needed. Be careful about the air inside the can. If required, replace the air can also.

If you can keep all these things in mind before airbrushing your creative art project, you can get a smooth experience with less or no mess at all.

Q: What size compressor do I need for airbrushing?

The size is actually the outer look of the compressor, which is not an important factor while airbrushing. The thing you should look after is the power of the compressor. And it is basically measured in horsepower (HP).

From my experience, I can say that most of the good brand’s air compressor has power between 1/2 HP – 1/12 HP. So, if you are a serious and frequent sprayer, you should go for at least 1/6 HP air compressor.

It’ll help you to do your work smoothly. To remind you, more HP means the size of the air compressor will be bigger and louder. [2]

Q: How much psi do you need for airbrushing?

PSI means Pressure Per Square Inch. It’s actually the measurement of air pressure while doing airbrushing.

For beginners, I generally recommend starting roughly at 10 psi. It should be enough for light illustrations and fingernail arts. But if it’s not the thing you wanted, then slowly pressure up.

Professional artists like me generally use 18 psi while airbrushing as I’ve got more control over it. Sometimes, if you use it for other applications, like t-shirt designing, you may need to use a higher pressure of up to 60-65 psi.

Yes! You can apply it to many materials such as card stocks, canvas boards, wood panels, and more with a bit of practice. [3]

Final Thoughts

It’s not an easy task to find out all the details about Copic Airbrush System in one place. But I’m glad that you are reading this blog post and got all the information about it.

In a nutshell, Copic Airbrush System is amazing for those who want a little more control over their creative art projects with less mess. And now you know how much Copic airbrush cost or what size compressor you need for airbrushing.

So, start practicing your own airbrushing project from today and become a spray freak like me!

Information source: copic.jp

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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