Whether you’re a beginner or a professional looking into using art markers, then It’s likely that you know or at least heard of Prismacolor and Copic markers. These markers are famous for their bright and consistent colors making them the most trusted by artists. But, these are also some of the priciest due to manufacturing and design costs. That’s why it’s important to find out what you need before going out to buy a set of markers.
The Copic Sketch markers and Prismacolor Premier markers have very similar overall performance. Both are a line of dual-tipped markers, and both bring similar color performance. One is unexpectedly pricier than the other. Let’s get to the bottom of this and figure out what’s the best marker set for you.
|Copic Sketch||Prismacolor Premier|
|Available Colors||36 in Basic Set (358 max.)||48 in current set (200 max.)|
|Tips||Super Brush tip and Medium Broad Chisel tip are the standard options. The bullet tip is available as tip replacement.||Fine bullet tip and Chisel tip are the standards. The brush tip and fine bullet tip markers are available.|
|Inks||Alcohol-based ink, you can also mix your own colors||Artist-grade alcohol-based ink, non-refillable|
|Replaceability||Replaceable tips, refillable inks||Non-replaceable tip, non-refillable inks|
|Cost||Pricier upfront, but saves more in the long run||Cheaper upfront (inks and tips are irreplaceable)|
|Design||Oblong body profile, more comfortable grip||Round body profile, traditional grip|
|Best For||Shading and sketching||Blending and precise details|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Let’s cut the chase and talk about the performance right away. There are several aspects we’ll take a look at with each marker, and these are the tips, inks, and handling performance.
The Copic sketch’s standard tips are the super brush tip and the medium broad chisel nib, and if you want to, you can swap either nibs for a bullet nib, which is sold separately. The Super Brush nib on Copics has a reputation for being one of the best brush nibs in the market in terms of versatility and feel.
These tips are very predictable, it can draw very thin lines without losing too much control and it can leave thick strokes without the tip getting dry. The chisel nib is pretty straightforward, it’s fairly sturdy but it’s not scratchy at all. The bullet tip is by far the least versatile of these nibs, it’s optional but you can get them if you need them. If you prefer more customizable tips, you can take a look at the Copic Classic markers. The last bit to mention is all the Copic tips are a bit easier to fray and damage compared to Prismacolor’s tips (more to that in a bit).
The ink across all Copic markers is the same alcohol-based inks. Now, I can’t say that marker inks are lightfast at all, but Copic inks can hold their colors the best among most markers. These inks are also the least to darken while they dry making the colors a bit more accurate. Blending and mixing different layers and colors are also doable with Copic’s inks by using it with a colorless blender. And you can also mix your colors by mixing inks on empty refill nozzles. Last but not least, I think the handling performance on Copics is perfect, it’s not scratchy and not too slippery. I think most artists will find controlling Copics a bit easier than other markers.
Like the Copic Sketch, these have a dual tip configuration, but these markers don’t have interchangeable tips so you need to be a bit careful when choosing Prismacolor marker kits. Most Prismacolor markers have a fine bullet tip and a chisel tip as standard. Although, you can also find Prismacolor marker sets that come with a brush tip instead of a chisel tip and the same fine point tip on the other end. All Prismacolor tips are a bit durable compared to Copic’s tips since it would be a foolish move to make expensive markers that have irreplaceable and weak tips. The downside of this is that the tips tend to be less smooth when compared to Copics.
The inks on this marker are great, it’s fast-drying, leaves bright and solid colors. The ink also helped to smoothen out the dual tip’s handling. And the best thing is that the ink is very easy to blend and smoothen out, especially between layers. But the thing is, you also won’t be able to refill the ink once it runs out, and the only option you’ll have is to purchase a brand new marker again, luckily for Prismacolor marker owners, you can buy these individually. Overall, I think Prismacolor Premier markers are perfect for very detailed artworks, outlining, and sketching. If you plan to use this as your primary coloring tool then I would recommend for you to get the one with the brush tip for a more even shading.
The design is one of the most important aspects of making your experience with a marker even better. With this, we’ll compare the marker’s designs with their packaging, visual features, and most importantly comfortability.
Most Copic Sketch markers will come packaged in a sturdy transparent plastic case, which you can use throughout your markers’ lifetime. This case also has a plastic grid included keeping the markers neat. The case also stores the markers vertically which might be a bit vulnerable to inconsistencies since the bottom tip might get oversaturated and the opposite for the other tip. That’s just a gripe but it’s worth a mention if you’re looking for a tool to last you for a long time. Organizing the markers is also easy since there’s a color code on the caps, and the codes will tell you the color family, saturation, and brightness.
Now, the body of the Copic Sketch is part of why the Copic Sketch is more famous than the Copic Classic. This is because the Copic Sketch has an oblong profile, which is more comfortable to hold, and it might also give you a bit more control than what the rectangular Copic Classic would give you. And when compared to a round body shape like on the Prismacolor Premier markers, the oblong body shape would still win in the comfort department.
All Prismacolor Premier marker kits come packaged in a cardboard box, small kits such as the 24 color set comes with a zippered canvas bag, and larger kits like the 48 color set don’t come with a bag.
Instead, you’ll get a plastic rack to store your markers in which you can safely store and organize your markers horizontally which we recommend to help your markers last longer, especially with the irreplaceable ink and nib in these Prismacolor markers.
Like the Copic markers, the Prismacolor ones also have a unique color code system, and unlike the Copic coding system, this doesn’t tell a lot about the color, it only describes the color through a number. Now, these Prismacolor markers have a normal round body profile, so you can get used to this right away. The interesting feature I found on this marker is the notch on the caps which prevents the marker from rolling away. But, at the end of the day, it’s nothing to write home about.
Number of colors
A marker’s ink is not typically meant for mixing and blending. That’s why marker kits can come with up to hundreds of colors, this is also one of the main reasons for higher kit prices. With this, we’ll compare the total of available colors with each marker brand, and the color sets you can buy.
The Copic Sketch has 358 total available colors, and this is also one of the best reasons why the Copic Sketch is more popular than the Copic Classic and Ciao. If you want to complete the Copic Sketch collection, you’ll have to get five 72 color sets. Each set is tagged as A, B, C, D, and E to prevent you from getting the same kit twice.
Besides that, you can also get Copic Sketch markers in color theme packs. Some of the sets are Cool Grey 12 pack, Basic Colors 12 pack, Manga Set 24 pack, and 36 Color set. If you’re a bit more focused on a specific genre, you can challenge yourself with the six color packs that you can get in Portrait, Earth, Floral, Pastels, Primaries, and Sea & Sky. And lastly, you can get as few as three color sets and individual sets.
The Prismacolor Premier Markers are available in 200 colors, and while that might be fewer than Copic’s. I think you might have a bit more choices with how much color to get as you can pick these up as a set of 6, set of 12, set of 24, set of 48, set of 72, set of 120, set of 156, and you can also get the whole 200 color collection in one purchase.
On the 24 and 48 color sets, you can also choose if you’d like to get them with a carrying case or not. Other than that you can also get the 24 Portrait pack. And there are also 12 grey packs which are the Neutrals, Cool, Warm, and French (which are reddish greys).
Finally, let’s talk price. Now, the price isn’t as straightforward as you might usually think. We’ll include the price per piece, long-term value, and if the price is worth it.
The Copic Sketch is undeniably the more expensive marker to buy, you can get an individual Copic Sketch marker for around $6-$8. But you can get the Copic Sketch with a price per piece of $5.20 if you get larger sets, but by that time you’ll be looking at hundreds of dollars worth of markers. Yes, the Copic Sketch may seem expensive, but I think it’s cheaper than the Prismacolor. That’s because the Copic Sketch markers can last for up to decades since you can change the tips and inks after a few years of use.
The Prismacolor Premier markers are a bit more affordable than the Copics at around $3-$5 if you buy these individually. I think it’s a bit more economical to buy large packs of these markers like the 72-200 color sets since you can get as low as $1.50 per piece. Although, if you’re getting the large packs, I would shortlist the Copics since Copics can last up to four times more than the Prismacolor Premier markers.
Which Is the one for you?
Let’s say you’re all set to get your first kit of Copic or Prismacolor markers, and you might like them both, which is the one you should get?
I think you should get the Copic Sketch markers if you’re looking for a kit that would last you significantly longer than other marker kits. You should also get Copic markers if you’re still exploring your art style since you can customize these markers very easily, change the tips for different ones, and refill the inks with your color mix. Overall, this might be for you if you’re a beginner looking to explore or a professional looking for reliability and versatility.
On the other hand, I think you should get the Prismacolor Premier markers if you’re looking for something a bit more focused for more fine detailing and smoother blending. This might also be great for you if you’re an experienced artist but a beginner on alcohol-based markers. Although you might be spending more on these markers in the long run since if the ink goes out, there’s nothing more you can do.
There you have it, a detailed comparison between the Prismacolor Premier and Copic Sketch markers. We hoped this helped you make a decision or at least inform you of what’s out there. And if you’re about to get your next kit, make sure to assess your needs, art style, and preferred feel for markers. If you’re new to markers, a trick is to try different individual markers and get a feel for what they bring for you. And lastly, no matter what marker or medium you’re using, always remember to have fun working on art!