Tombow vs Copic Markers

Markers; they are amazing and vibrant. But they can also be very expensive. So before you buy some you might want to know which markers are best for you!

Today we are going to look at Tombows vs Copics and which are best for what purpose.

Everyone has heard of the Copic marker, of course. But the Tombow are also very interesting to me.

I bought a few colours of both and have tested them out for you. Here is what I thought about them both;

Tombow or copic markers? Which are the best to buy?

Copic markers tips

Copic markers

On the Pictures, you can see the Copic marker Ciao which is one of four versions of the Copic marker. The ciao series contains the same ink (alcohol based) as the Sketch but is available in fewer colours and contains less ink. 

However, the round shape instead of the oval shape of the sketch makes is easier for a beginner (like me) to use.  For a more detailed explanation about the different lines of markers; Copic markers

All Copics are refillable! So while they are expensive you do get to use one pen more times!

Copics are alcohol based markers which makes them more likely to bleed through paper. The Ciao and Sketch markers both have a brush tip on one side a chisel tip on the other. The Copics also have a blender which helps you correct mistakes, lighten areas and create certain effects.

 

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Tombow Duo Tips

The black markers are the Tombows which are water based. These colours are just as vibrant as the Copic. You  can mix them and use the ink to make watercolour paintings. More detailed info; Tombow

Overall the brush on the Tombow is slightly longer. On the other end is a small round tip which is much more useful I find then the chisel tip on the Copics I think.

Overall the Tombow markers do claim to be mixable but this is quite hard. The tips, however, do not get dirty from going over other colours. While Copics claim the same it does sometimes happen to mix on the brush itself. Creating details is also a lot easier because of the fine tips.

When used as watercolours the Tombow colours are very rich.

Tombow vs Copic

I generally think that if you want to layer and have a more even colour effect Copics are the way to go. (But a cheaper alcohol based marker is also great to try it out first.) Tombows, however, are much easier for brush lettering and you can get great watercolour effects with them. I have seen people create great work with both so it depends on what you are looking for.

If you want to colour even areas without stripes the Copic markers are much easier. Since these are alcohol based the colour evens out when it dries. This does mean that you need some thicker paper or bleed proof paper so that the colours don’t move.

Thicker paper is for better for both water and alcohol based markers. It simply allows for more ink on the paper. Unfortunately, you can’t layer a lot with waterbased markers because it destroys the paper. That is also why it is so hard to mix them.

Want to know more about getting started with markers? Click here for the top 3 things you need to know before getting started. 


Personally, I’m very looking forward to buying more of these of both kinds. I really like them and I think it gives a whole new array of options for my work!

Let me know if you have any favourite marker kinds! Or if there are any other kinds of markers you want to be reviewed or compared.

Read more artist content;

The 3 marker challenge; how to get the most out of your expensive art supplies

Getting started with digital art!

How to start a successful artist blog

6 Responses to “Tombow vs Copic Markers

  • Thanks for the comparison, Sophie. I have worked with both marker brands extensively in the past. When I first started using the Tombow it was the only professional brand available. They are still my favourite marker. I have the Copic brand in a more limited colour range. I bought these for better blending but in the end I found that the Tombow gave me what I needed and I have since returned to the Tombow as my # 1 choice.

    • artsbysofie
      2 years ago

      That is so interesting! Since Copic is such a hype now I never really saw work made with Tombows. Personally, I do really like them but I couldn’t find them at my local stores but those do sell Copics so those won out for me. (I could buy them online but shipping is so expensive sometimes.)

  • Hi,
    I am from oz, I recently discovered copies after using tombows. I like the colour range, however they bled through my pages and I felt very disappointed! I’ll be going back to tombows!!

    • artsbysofie
      2 years ago

      I am sorry to hear that. Copics are indeed not the best to use in sketchbooks and such. If you want to use Copics it is better to use separate sheets of thick smooth paper. But of course, Tombows are great as well!
      I wish you the best of luck.

      ~ Sofie

    • Copics work very well and bleed thru less on marker paper. I use them for professional illustration. Put a layer of architectural trash paper underneath so that as you layer colors the buildup doesnt bleed too much. Either way, you will find leas bleed and bettee performance with marker paper. Caio!

      • artsbysofie
        10 months ago

        This is great advice indeed! Especially about putting the paper underneath! ~Sofie

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