Copic marker pens are the gold standard when it comes to alcohol markers.
They are bright, vibrant, and smooth. The inks can be layered and drawn over without bleeding or damaging the paper beneath. This allows you to build up depth and layers in your work.
If you are using such fantastic quality markers, you need to put time and effort into finding the right paper. Using the wrong paper will not give your pens the best base to work on. You will waste time and ink trying to get a decent bit of work on rubbish paper.
To help you get the best possible results out of your Copic markers, we’ve pulled together 5 of the best papers available. These papers are designed to work well with alcohol markers and provide the right mix of blending capabilities and absorbency.
We’ve also created a buyer’s guide which will help you understand why and how some papers are better than others. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make the best choice for you once reading the buyer’s guide.
OUR TOP PICK
Ohuhu is another brand of alcohol markers so it’s safe to assume that they know what artists need from marker paper.
This sketchbook is beautifully bound with hardcovers. These give you a brilliant, stable surface to sketch and draw on away from your desk.
The paper is 200gsm with an ultra-smooth finish on both sides. This allows you to draw on both sides of the paper which means that even though the book only has 78 sheets, you have 156 pages to work on.
Customers absolutely rave about the quality of the paper. It takes so well to dry media of all sorts including Copic and other alcohol-based markers.
The smooth finish allows you to blend your colors seamlessly while the thickness of the paper limits bleeding.
The paper allows your markers to display their true colors. You don’t lose any of the lighter or darker shades as you sometimes do with cheap paper.
The paper is acid-free so your work should preserve really well. If you want to hang or display your work, the paper is perforated so you can easily remove it from the book. The acid proof paper will mean that sunlight shouldn’t bleach the paper or your colors when on display.
If you are doing a lot of heavy blending you may see a bit of bleeding. Placing some cardstock between the page should stop it from ruining the next page.
The thickness of the paper does also make the book quite heavy to carry around but it’s not unmanageable.
- Beautifully bound sketchpad.
- 200gsm paper.
- Ultra-smooth surface on both sides of the sheet.
- 78 sheets.
- Perforated paper for easy removal.
- Acid-free paper.
- Some bleeding when doing heavy blending.
- Quite heavy to carry.
- Doesn’t open flat.
Canson’s XL range includes a number of great marker pads. This Bristol pad is perfect for your finished masterpieces.
At 250gsm, this paper is thick. Each sheet provides a stable surface for you to work on and has the thickness and sturdiness of cardstock.
The best thing about this pad is the price. It is perfect for beginners who don’t want to splash out on really expensive paper. It has the quality needed for commissions and displaying your artwork without a massive price tag.
There are several sizes and binding options available. If you prefer a flip pad you can have a flip pad. More of a spiral-bound lover? They’ve got you covered.
The surface is beautifully smooth allowing you to create smooth blends and vibrant designs. Despite being thick, the paper doesn’t soak up too much of your ink. This is probably due to the smooth surface which lets the ink settle on top initially.
If you go for the flip pad style, you might find that the binding glue cracks and pages begin to fall out. This is the major issue with flip pads and is sort of expected. This isn’t so much of an issue if you intend to remove and hang your drawings.
With only 25 sheets, you will need to be a bit precious about what you use this pad for. As it’s Bristol paper, this pad would be best used for final pieces rather than as a practice pad.
- 250gsm Bristol paper.
- Smooth surface.
- No bleeding.
- Sturdy like cardstock.
- Doesn’t use too much ink.
- Only 25 pages.
Glue binding is slightly fragile.
This is a pack of paper rather than a pad. The loose sheets are 250 gsm which makes it as close to cardstock as possible for paper. It is perfect for commissions and finished pieces.
That being said, the paper can be used in printers if you want to print a template or coloring page. This is makes it a great substitute for layout paper.
The surface is smooth as glass and does not rip or pile when wet with ink. This makes it amazing for heavy blending. The ink doesn’t pool on the surface as the paper has a high surface saturation.
The high surface saturation means it won’t suck your Copics dry. Ultimately this will save you having to replace your pens. Saving money on replacing your pens will be great news when you see the price of the paper itself.
This is by far the most expensive product on our list. It is superb quality and highly rated by beginners and professionals. So the cost is somewhat justified. You also get 125 sheets which is more than any other pad on this list.
- 250gsm paper.
- Smooth high saturation surface.
- 125 sheets.
- Can be used in printers.
- Does not pile.
- Acid free.
- Loose sheets.
This is a much thinner paper from Canson. It is ideal for use as a practice pad or as layout paper when tracing templates. This is because the paper is semi translucent.
The 70gsm feels thin but it does not bleed through. Customers have used this paper with Copic markers, caligraphy pens and brush markers. They found that even when blending the paper holds the color really well.
At the front of this pad is a bleed page. You can tear this out and place it between sheets when doing some heavy blending. This will be an extra protection against bleeding and will save the next page.
As expected in thinner paper, there is a small amount of feathering when you are blending. Taking things slow and building your color bit by bit can combat this. You do need to be careful that you don’t wet the paper with ink too much as this can degrade the paper.
The 100 sheets are very much appreciated. Due to the thinness of the paper, you can’t use both sides of the sheet. That isn’t really an issue with so many sheets.
The paper is smooth so your markers will glide nicely over it. It will also help preserve the tip of the marker. Rough paper can cause too much friction on the tips and can make them uneven.
Overall, this is a great practice pad. It has plenty of sheets, it’s great for tracing and it stands up to the ink fairly well.
- 100 sheets.
- Semi translucent for tracing.
- No bleeding.
- Smooth surface.
- Doesn’t guzzle ink.
- Ink will pool on the surface.
- Not good for finished or display work.
This is a cheap and cheerful product that performs well beyond it’s price.
It is thin paper but it does resist bleeding really well. It’s not fully bleed proof but it does resit bleeding. Heavy blending and over use of pens on a certain place will cause some bleeding.
The paper is thin but not semi-translucent so you doesn’t work well as layout paper. If you perfer a thinner sheet then you’ll get on well with this pad.
It’s not ideal for finished pieces or display work on account of how thin it is. The light will shine through the paper and the quality is just not there.
Again, for the price the quality is good enough but it’s not great for professionals. For beginners it’s more than good enough. You’ll be able to practice on this paper as you improve your skills.
- Low cost.
- Acid free.
- Smooth surface.
- Bleed resistant.
- 50 sheets.
- Lower quality than other papers.
Paper for Copic Marker Pens Buying Guide
The major issue with using cheap paper is that your markers will probably bleed through the paper. This is because they just don’t have the thickness or absorbency they need.
Thin, cheap paper can also lead to your ink drying too quickly. This will stop you from being able to blend the colors. Seeing as this is one of the major advantages of alcohol markers, cheap paper can really defeat the point of spending all that cash on Copic markers.
Let’s take a look at some of the qualities and features you’re going to want to look out for when selecting your paper.
Paper quality and thickness is listed as a gsm number. Gsm stands for grams per square meter. Essentially, it is a measure of how much paper there is over a square meter. The higher the number the thicker the paper.
Paper isn’t actually the ideal surface for Copic markers. You are much better off using light cardstock. This will stand up better to the ink and give you a more reliable surface for blending.
Pads with gsm over 200 gsm are often listed as cardstock and will be really good for finished art. You could consider using a thinner paper as a practice pad.
Marker pads come in a variety of sizes just like normal sketchbooks. You’ll need to select a size based on the finished size of your artwork.
If you want a more portable marker pad, consider looking for an A5 or A6 pad. These will be great for on the go sketching and coloring.
If you work at a desk, then larger pads are not going to be an inconvenience. You could look for A4 or A3 pads for bigger pieces of work.
If you are creating an oversized piece, you will probably need to buy sheets of paper individually. This can be done online or in a craft shop.
One of the things you should check for is whether the paper is bleed proof. Copic markers put a fair amount of ink on the paper. You don’t want to ruin pages underneath with bleeding paper.
Another thing to look for is acid-free paper. Over time, acids in the wood pulp used to make the paper can degrade the integrity of the paper. When exposed to light, this degradation increases exponentially.
Buy using acid-free paper your work will remain in top condition for longer. This is important if the work is going to be displayed or sold for display.
Number of Sheets
Generally, the thicker the paper the fewer sheets in the pack. This is for cost reasons and functionality. If you have 100 sheets of cardstock in a pad it is going to be heavy and unwieldy. 100 sheets of 7gsm paper are much lighter.
You will want to balance the number of pages against the cost and quality. If you like using thick cardstock for finished pieces, you could have a pad of thinner paper for practice as these are cheaper and have more sheets. Then, you can keep your thicker pad for final work.
The average number of sheets in a pad of marker paper tends to be around 50. If you don’t have bleed proof paper you will want to put something between the sheets to avoid wasting the limited number of sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bristol paper good for Copic markers?
Bristol paper is also called Bristol board. It is a type of thick paper made from glued together sheets to create a multiple-ply sheet.
Named for the city in the south-west of England where it was first created, Bristol paper is sold in a wide variety of sizes.
Bristol paper is much thicker than normal paper but can be bought as a pad as well as individual sheets. Oversized Bristol paper can be bought from craft shops for larger commissions.
Smooth Bristol paper is great for use with Copic markers. It is as smooth as glass and allows for blending.
Velour Bristol paper works better with pencil, pastels, and crayons. This is because it has a rougher surface which helps friction-based implements leave their mark on the paper.
The same rules apply for Bristol paper as for other papers. You want to look for bleed proof paper of an appropriate size and thickness.
Why is marker paper so thin?
Marker paper comes in a range of thicknesses. Thinner papers tend to be better for practicing while the thicker paper is suitable for finished pieces.
70-90 gsm tends to be considered thin marker paper while 100-250gsm is considered thick.
Some thinner marker papers are called layout paper. Layout paper is used for placing over a sketch or template. You can then use markers to add color and shading without the need for thick lines.
Layout paper is often used by illustrators, storyboard artists, and comic book artists because it allows them to use templates.
This thinner layout paper is great for a practice pad but if you want to display your work you’ll want to go for something more substantial.
What is the difference between alcohol markers and water-based markers?
The difference is in the names. Alcohol-based markers suspend the color dyes in alcohol or a similar solvent. Water-based markers, on the other hand, suspend the dye in water.
Alcohol markers are not water-soluble which means they are pretty much permanent. To remove alcohol markers you will need to use a solvent. Water-based markers can be removed with water.
Alcohol markers generally perform better and are preferred by professional artists. They work on almost every surface and are archival standard.
The biggest draw of alcohol markers is the fact that they can be blended. This is different from just overlapping color. When you blend alcohol markers you use a blending pen or solvent to create new colors. This means that you actually need fewer colors than if you were using water-based markers.
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What’s your favourite paper for copic marker pens? We’d love to hear from you... Please leave your comments below.
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