Copic Nibs Benefits:
Prolong the life of your Copic tools and add creative techniques to your Copic tools kit by utilizing custom Copic nibs combinations.
Taking Care of your Copic Nibs
Surfaces and Materials to Avoid:
A good rule of thumb is… If it is a material that smears when it gets wet, stay away – just don’t do it expecting your copic nibs to survive the sacrifice for your creative juices telling you to do it anyways. Better Copic tools to use in this case is the Copic Airbrush System. You can use it to apply the color, instead of making direct contact using the copic nibs.
White Out or Opaque White:
Avoid direct contact with your Copic nibs. Coloring over white-out, even when dry, is usually not a good idea. If you decide to do it anyways, just know that it will damage your copic nibs leaving a white spot on the tip of your marker.
Bits of un-fired clay will clog the pores, leaving the copic nibs discolored. Plaster may cause the same effect and should also be avoided. Clay coated papers should be tested, as some will work with your copic nibs and others will not. Ceramic paint-it-yourself ornaments are usually fine. Sculpey, after it is baked, also works well. Glazed ceramics are generally okay with Copic nibs, although the ink may build up on their slick surfaces.
Most of the time, this is a bad idea and not good for your Copic nibs. Quick work or single strokes are generally fine, but trying to color over most acrylics will clog or discolor the Copic nibs. If acrylics are used over original work, some dark marker colors may bleed through the layers of acrylic paint, so always test before adding acrylic to a finished piece.
Always use chalks or oil pastels after coloring with any of your Copic tools, never before.
Solvents or Oils:
Avoid coloring on top of solvents or oils. Many are okay to use over a Copic marker drawing, but be sure to check the package to see if they contain alcohol, ethanol or something similar.
Avoiding Nib Discoloration:
Copic markers are frequently used with watercolors, pastels, colored pencil or acrylics. Keep in mind though, these other mediums should be used AFTER the Copic marker work has been done. Any other inks that are not given enough time to dry (but usually are compatible with Copics) will discolor the Copic nibs. Your pale and lightest colored Copic markers will show the most damage and discoloration.
If you color over a thick pencil line with your Copic Marker, quickly scribble the Copic nibs onto some scratch paper to remove the pencil residue from the Copic nibs. Follow this same rule for colored pencils. Even though ink flow out of the Copic nibs will most of the time not be affected, the Copic nibs will become discolored.
Watercolors paint is so thin that it usually won't cause any issues, but your Copic nibs may become stained from it. If you are using watercolors paints, be sure to use them before your Copic markers and allow the paint to dry thoroughly to prevent damage to your Copic nibs.
Colored Pencils/Watercolor Pencils:
Use these only AFTER any Copic tools work is done, as they will discolor Copic nibs even more than a graphite pencil will. If any accidentally gets on your Copic nibs, QUICKLY scribble onto scratch paper for the best chance of removing the stain on the Copic nibs.
Wet Pen Inks:
Even if an image is drawn with the Copic Marker compatible inking pen, if the piece is not completely dry there is a risk of staining your Copic nibs. Please make sure all ink is completely dry before using your next set of Copic tools. Rushing can result in damaged Copic nibs, especially on non-porous papers like vellum, trace or mylar.
Avoiding Broken Nibs:
Firm Copic nibs, like the Fine or Chisel, are made from fibers that are molded together. Under NORMAL usage conditions these Copic nibs hold up extremely well and do not need to be changed when the markers are refilled. That being said, these Copic tools are not indestructible. If the artist technique is aggressive or draws on rough surfaces like stone, block-walls, stucco, wood, cardboard or scratchy fabrics like hats and shoes… even the firm Copic nibs will begin to fray.
Super Brush Copic nibs are made from two specially joined pieces of felt. These Copic nibs are flexible and do not fray or break, even when applying pressure. However, they can break off completely if used incorrectly. If a Super Brush Copic nib must be pulled on, be sure to use official Copic tools like the Copic Tweezers, as the gripping teeth are specifically designed to avoid damaging all of the brush style Copic nibs.
Brush Copic nibs are more likely to get damaged if the Copic marker is running out of ink and the user applies more pressure in an effort to try and get the last bit of juice from their marker or pen. Respect your Copic tools by accepting reality and refill promptly once a marker shows signs of going dry. Your Copics will thank you for it by providing many days of happiness.