“Copic markers” are the heartthrob of artists, but they come with a hefty price tag. Since Copics are expensive, an important question to ask is, “How long do Copic markers last before refilling?”
In general, Copics can last as long as 12- 18 months of continuous use. But it all depends on how often you use them and what type of paper you’re using. It also depends on how many areas you are covering and the ink holding capacity of the bottle.
So, follow this article. Here, I will answer all these questions in-depth by looking at these factors mentioned that could affect how long your Copics will last and what you should do when it’s time for a refill.
Do Copic Markers Easily Dry Out or Not?
Copic markers don’t dry out that faster or slower like cheap alcohol-based markers. But it is guaranteed that Copic marker won’t dry out if you maintain it carefully without being used.
The rule of thumb is to keep the lid on when you are not using it. It doesn’t simply run out if you store it properly. The leading cause of drying out alcohol-based ink is evaporation.
So, try not to expose it to direct sunlight and keep it open in the air for a long time. Less exposure to air and direct sunlight means less evaporation.
You should keep them at room temperature or below. It may help lengthen the life span compared to higher temperatures such as those found near windows during summertime, where heat waves would be present inside buildings.
Copic markers only dry out when left open in light for a long time or are used for too long without being refilled. Copic’s are designed with refillable cartridges that make them last much longer than other brands, even for 25 years.
But eventually, each color will need replacing to maintain optimum performance. If you still don’t know how to refill Copics, you can check this out.
But the important point is that these markers come with a high-quality airtight lid. It saves the ink from drying out even if you don’t use them for long. In case if your markers get dried out, then no worry, as you can fix Copics easily. For this, you may sometimes need to replace the nib.
How Long Do Copic Markers Last (The Answer)
It all starts from how you store your Copics and take care of them carefully. If they’re stored correctly or not, they can make a huge difference in how long they will last with quality and quantity.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, how long do Copic ink will last depends on some factors. It’s the lifetime of ink that you get inside the bottle when you purchase.
That means, here I’m going to explain the factors behind how long do Copic markers last before refilling for the first time.
Frequency of Usage
Without any doubt, using Copic markers is excellent, and it’s also popular among artists. But how long you can use it before refilling depends mainly on how frequently you use a Copic.
Sometimes a new marker can go for a few weeks only or sometimes even for years. Whether you are a beginner or professional artist, it mostly depends on the frequency of usage.
Beginner artists don’t use Copic pen every day. They only use it for unique art projects. Some are also using Copic as their hobby.
On the other hand, if you are among the artists like professionals who sketch or make drawings frequently using Copic, you may run out of ink after a few weeks. But don’t be alarmed as you can again use it only by making a refill purchase.
Again cost-conscious people also don’t want to make it empty so early. That’s why they don’t use it so often and can use it for years without buying refills. If you also think about your wallet much, then you can go for the Copic marker alternatives.
However, coming to the point, I’m again saying that how long one can use the ink will depend on the user. And it’s actually true for all types of alcohol-based markers. But among all the markers, Copic will definitely provide service for a long time.
Types of Surfaces
Another factor to consider is on which surface you are using Copic. There are so many surfaces you can use it. But I assume that you are using it on paper for drawing purposes.
Well, in that case, there are also so many varieties of papers. If you use Copic on soft, absorbent paper, then it will suck more ink. But if you use it on tightly woven hard paper, you won’t need to spend that much ink. Hard papers don’t absorb ink like soft papers.
However, if you think of drawing on canvas using Copic, you must purchase a refill very soon. Canvases are made of different types of fabrics. And fabrics absorb the Copic ink very quickly and more in quantity.
So, if you plan to use your new set for a bit more without refilling, you shouldn’t go for canvas drawing with it. In terms of using Copic for drawing and sketching purposes on paper, I would always recommend using papers made for Copic markers.
Color Covering Area
We all know that the color covering area is a key factor in how long do Copic markers last. For example, if you use black Copics to draw an image of a person with dark hair and skin tone, you’ll find yourself running out of black quickly.
So this means that if your art pieces only require one type of color, for the most part, it’s evident that you’ll run out of that color ink quickly.
In the same way, if you use Copic for covering a large area like you do while using water-based markers, you’ll run out of inks within a week or a few.
The color choice is also an essential factor: lighter colors like yellow, green, and pink tend to run out quicker than darker tones such as blue and brown. The reason is one may need to use those colors very often.
You may know that Copic is the best one among all the markers available in the market. In that sense, you may think that the coverage it will provide is unbeatable.
But in terms of color coverage, if you want to compare any brand with Copic, Prismacolor is the name. The main difference between Prismacolor and Copic markers, Prismacolor will provide more area coverage.
From my experience, I can say that Copic Sketch provides coverage of about five pages (8.5×11) with proper saturation (using both of the tips – chisel and brush).
On the other hand, Prismacolor provides five and a half pages of coverage on the exact size of paper (using both nibs). Here, I’ve used the printer papers for doing my experiment.
Ink Holding Capacity
By the heading, I’m trying to say that how long you can use Copic ink depends on the ink holding capacity of the cartridge. It means that all the Copics don’t have the same amount of ink.
If I start from the beginning, Copic has four different types – Classic, Sketch, Ciao, and Copic Wide. And the main point of mentioning this is that all of them don’t hold the same quantity of alcohol ink.
Among the four types, Copic Wide markers hold the maximum amount of ink – 3.57ml. Then a question may arise that, among the Copic Sketch and Copic Classic, which one has more ink?
There is a controversy that Copic Sketch holds more ink. But the truth is, the ink cartridge of Copic Classic is bigger than Sketch, holding a volume of 2.50ml ink. And the Copic Sketch markers have a medium volume of ink – 2.08ml.
Lastly, among all the markers, Copic Ciao holds the least number of ink – 1.66ml. That’s why it is the cheapest one and is recommended for beginners.
So, you may think that Copic Wide will be the best one by going through all the ink cartridge volume. It holds more ink and will not get empty so quickly among all the collections. But it is not best for drawing or making sketches due to its wide tip.
Among all of them, Copic Sketch and Copic Classic are recommended for doing professional artwork. These markers also provide service for a more extended period due to having a handsome volume of alcohol-based ink.
How to Know that Copic Marker Ink is Running Out
It’s no doubt that Copic is the best among all the professional-level art markers. So, it’s needless to say how often artists use it. And here, I’m trying to say that how long you can use Copic ink depends on the ink holding capacity of the cartridge. It means that all the Copics don’t have the same amount of ink.
- A change in color hue (deep blue turning green, or an orange becoming yellowish-brown).
- Noticeable changes in saturation (e.g., colors become less vibrant).
- The tip is drying up and not being able to create even strokes on paper.
- The nib may look streaky.
You’ll know your Copic has run its course when it starts skipping across sketchbook pages or leaves behind streaks instead of a solid color line. It means that pigment, over time, breaks down and dries out the marker.
You can identify these signs by reviewing each pen every week with this checklist in mind, so you don’t forget any hints during use!
It’s always best to do it before refilling and never wait until after. There might be noticeable problems already taking place, such as fading or lack of pigment coverage. And if you notice any of these signs earlier, think that it’s time for refills.
Q: How often do you need to refill Copic markers?
The answer is, how often Copics need to refill depends completely on what the artist is using it for. If you use it frequently, then you may need it to fill it very often.
Again, Copic markers are not just for coloring. For example, suppose an artist only uses their Copic markers as sketching tools and never blend them during their work process. In that case, they will last much longer compared to someone who does mixing frequently. They also won’t need to refill often.
Q: How do you revive Copic markers with alcohol?
It’s pretty easier to revive Copic markers with alcohol as it holds alcohol-based ink. The process is as follows:
- Place a few drops of alcohol on the marker tip and allow it to soak in for 10-15 seconds.
- Remove any excess liquid with a tissue or cloth napkin by rubbing firmly (rubbing will remove most of the remaining ink).
- Leave until dry completely. Then try using them again if they haven’t dried out all together yet.
But this process is not recommended for every type. So, you can follow the complete guideline on our website.
Q: How much does it cost to refill Copic markers?
Buying a refill is cheaper than purchasing a new marker. The reason is, buying it once, you will get free refillings 5-10 times. It also doesn’t cost you that much.
The old Various Ink pack was sold for around $9, holding 25ml ink. And the new package is about $6, containing 12ml of ink. However, it may seem costly compared to the old one, but it worth the money.
Q: Do Copic markers dry out without use?
Copic markers are the best coloring tool, according to professional artists. There are many reasons behind this.
And one of the most important reasons is that it doesn’t run out of inks like other alcohol markers even if you don’t use it for a long time. But you must need to store it properly.
For example – you have to keep the nib covered when you are not using it. You shouldn’t expose it to the sunlight and open air for a longer period. Only then you can keep it safe.
Q: How many refills can I get from one bottle?
It completely depends on the marker type as there are four different collections of Copic markers the brand offers. Again, it also depends on the ink volume of the refill pack.
I assume that you are using a 12ml ink pack. Then without overfilling, you can refill Classic 4-5 times, Sketch 5-6 times, Ciao 7-8 times, and Wide 3-4 times for free.
But if you don’t think about the cost much and buy a 25ml Various Ink Pack, it will provide service twice the numbers mentioned above.
Copic markers are amazing. And they last for a long time as well if you use and store them properly.
So, coming to this point, you may have got your answers with some exciting tips. From now on, hopefully, you’ll be able to use your Copic markers set for a bit longer without being refilled.