For those of you interested in the Kansas City, MO certification sessions on Oct. 9 or 10th, or the Charleston, SC class on Oct. 1st, I will be sending out applications this week. Please e-mail me to get on my mailing list, firstname.lastname@example.org . Applications will be accepted starting on the 20th of August, NO EARLY APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED! I know you want in, but to be fair everyone gets an equal opportunity to enroll. Remember, you must be a teacher, store owner, or designer to attend.
Yesterday I went over the negatives of using pencil FIRST, then coloring with Copics. In general it doesn't work very well. The line gets blurred, the pencil gets into your marker tip, and the pencil muddies up your color.
Q. So how should we use pencils with Copic markers?
A. Use them after you put a base color with the markers.
Colored Pencils and Copic markers
A lot more people have colored pencils than Copics. Many people who start using Copic markers are moving from colored pencils into markers so it's natural to use what you're comfortable with together with a new medium. Colored pencils have some weaknesses that markers fill in, and markers have some weaknesses that the colored pencils compensate for as well.
Every day thousands of people use Copic markers with colored pencils, but they're using them after they put a base color of marker.
For many people the reason they use pencils with markers falls into one of these categories:
1. More comfortable blending colored pencils than markers. A lot of beginners have more experience blending colored pencils, so they find it easier to get smooth blends with pencil before they learn to blend or have enough colors to blend with markers.
2. Paper type isn't as important. If you're just doing a quick base coat of marker then adding colored pencil over the top your paper type doesn't have to be too fancy. If you're working on marker papers or on coated papers then this is a great way to go. Copic makes a special paper, the PM pads. These are Pastel/marker papers that are very thin, coated so they don't bleed, but they have a bit of roughness to them so you can use pastels or colored pencils with your marker renderings.
3. Pencils add texture. People who use colored pencil don't like the fact that colored pencils are using just the top layer of paper fibers and give an uneven blend, or you can see the white of the paper underneath. By using a smooth layer of Copic marker first the white of the paper is filled in, now you can layer on the colored pencil and add texture to the smooth marker.
4. If you only have a few Copics, pencils give you a larger color range. Since you're using the markers as a base layer you can layer on lots of colored pencil colors and it will feel like you have more marker colors than you really do.
5. With pencils you can put light over dark. In many marker-rendering classes at art schools, a tool that goes right with the markers is a white colored pencil. You can add highlights back in with a colored pencil where using opaque white would be too harsh.
6. It's easier to get fine, crisp lines with colored pencils. If you have a tiny, thin line you need to draw the pencil works great because it's not seeping into the paper fibers and pencil comes in so many colors. You'd have to use a fine inking pen to get crisp lines otherwise, and inking pens don't come in as many colors as do pencils.
As you can see, there are many benefits of using pencils with markers, just remember to use the pencils after you're done with your marker layers. Colored pencils are waxy, and the wax is worse than just plain graphite when it comes to clogging and discoloring your marker tips. Just to be thorough, I tested putting colored pencil down first then going over it with an old blender marker. Good thing I used an old tip because it really ruined it. No matter how quickly I scribbled to clean off my tip it was stained badly. Sure, it blended a little bit, smoothed a little bit, but it wasn't worth ruining a good marker tip over.
I don't use colored pencils as often as I should, since it's annoying to keep a good sharp point and that's another tool I'd have to carry around. However, they do give a nice texture, as you can see from this final drawing I did of my tape dispenser. I didn't need as many colors, since much of the shading I did with pencils (I used the blender only on the transparent tape area). It has a matte finish, not shiny or smooth, so the colored pencils help accent the roughness. If I wanted it smooth, I would have colored it entirely with Copics. Also, the highlights from using the white pencil are much softer than if I were using Opaque White.