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Tuesday Tips and Tricks: The Paper Makes the Difference

Hello there, iCopic peeps! Samantha here with another Tuesday Tips and Tricks.

Today's tip is "The Paper Makes the Difference".

What do I mean by that, you ask? I mean, when coloring with Copics, you have to the right kind of paper that works FOR YOU. There are sooooo many papers out there that you can use for Copics, and what is right for one Copic artist may not be the paper that is right for you.

So my advice to you is, test out those papers! Find a paper that you like to color on. And not all papers are created equally as far as our Copics are concerned. Some paper just blend BETTER.

To put these tips into action, I tested out NINE different papers with my Copics. Below are my personal reviews of these nine papers.

Here is the guide to how I tested out each paper:

BLENDER:For the inside of the large heart, I wanted to test out how easily I could do colorless blender techniques. On some of the sample you will notice that the color came outside the lines near the striped parts.

SHADING:For the edge of the large heart, I did shading using three different BG's, I wanted to see how well the paper would lend itself to blending.

STREAKING: For the inside of the small heart, I wanted to see if the paper lended itself to any streaking over larger areas.

RUNNING: For the edge of the small heart, I wanted to see if the ink would run outside the lines once the paper was oversaturated.
SATURATION: Then I did one, two, and three streaks of color to see how much it would take for the paper to become saturated with color.

GRADATION: And lastly, I added one single feathered stroke to see how much variation I could get with just one marker.

 Here are my thoughts on each paper:
(This is Canson artist quality marker paper. I walked into an artist supply store and asked for marker paper and this is what they recommended, it is the type of paper that fashion designers and such use, it is a thin paper that you can see through and it is good for tracing. It looks very similar to a vellum paper. I got a sketchpad of it for about $15.)
Blender: The blender techniques were very subtle.
Shading: Easy to shade
Streaking:  No streaking
Running: No running, but a little bit of a bubbling sort of look when the paper is overly saturated.
Saturation: Medium level saturated, would be good for someone who isn't too heavy handed, but isn't too light handed also.
Gradation: Not much gradation shown with just one color
Sami's Thoughts: I actually really like this paper! It is super thin so when using it, I have had to put another layer of white paper behind the image or else whatever is behind it will show through. I really love how it blends and the ink doesn't tend to run.

(This is PaperTrey Ink's Stampers Select white cardstock, it is really thick and really white)
Blender: Blender techniques show up really well.
Shading: Great with shading
Streaking: not much, if any, streaking
Running: no running
Saturation: Not easily saturated, it would take a lot to saturate this paper
Gradation: LOTS of gradation.
Sami's Thoughts: I LOVE this paper. This is my second favorite paper for Copics at this point. I love that you can get a lot of gradation in a single stroke. Being a heavy handed colorer, it is very important for me to have a paper that will not run when oversaturated. The downside to that is that it takes a LOT of ink to use this paper, it may suck up your ink much faster than other papers out there.

(Paper specifically designed for Copic users, it is bright white, and kind of smooth to the touch)
Blender: blender techniques showed up reasonably well.
Shading: Excellent for shading
Streaking: Not streaky
Running: NO running, but once the paper is fully saturated, I noticed that you can see flecks of the paper fibers. It is subtle but noticeable.
Saturation: pretty easily saturated
Gradation: nice gradation
Sami's Thoughts: This is my #1 absolute favorite paper out there right now. It is just blends so flawlessly and as a heavy handed colorer, it is important that it doesn't run when overly saturated. I can get great shading and gradation. I think this paper is amazing!

(This is paper I purchased in the artist section of my local crafts store. It is designed for watercolor painting and acrylic painting)
Blender: The ink was easily taken off with the colorless blender
Shading: very intensive to achieve nice shading
Streaking: VERY streaky, it is like the ink sits on top of the paper, which sounds good for painters, not so good for marker lovers.
Running: no running
Saturation: very easily saturated
Gradation: almost none
Sami's Thoughts: This is not a good paper for markers!

(This is a sparkly, slightly off-white paper, smooth to the touch)
Blender: blender techniques are on the subtle side, but still visible
Shading: shading is easily achieved and looked great
Streaking: no streaking
Running: there was slight running
Saturation: very easily saturated
Gradation: could get a little gradation
Sami's Thoughts: I love that this paper is sparkly and off-white because sometimes you just don't want BRIGHT white paper. BUT as a heavy handed colorer, it is very easy for me to have the ink run outside the lines of my image. I have to be extra extra careful with this paper. If you are a light handed colorer, then you will probably love this paper. It isn't my absolute favorite, but I do like to use it from time to time.
(This is labeled as "Drawing" paper and on the cover of the sketch pad it says for any dry media, pen, and ink, it is a slightly textured and slightly off white paper.
Blender: blender techniques are VERY visible, and the ink ended up running out of the sides where I was creating the stripes
Shading: easy to shade and shading came out nicely
Streaking: no streaking
Running: teeny tiny bit of running
Saturation: mid-range on the saturation
Gradation: there was some gradation with the single marker stroke.
Sami's Thoughts: This paper actually really surprised me at how good it worked with Copics. I was really impressed by it. I think it is a good paper if you are looking for something slightly textured or slightly off-white.

(This is just from a ream of white cardstock I got to run in the printer from Staples, it is white but not as white as the Xpress IT or PaperTrey Ink papers, and pretty thick)
Blender: Blender techniques very visible
Shading: Easily achieved
Streaking: no streaking
Running: no running
Saturation: mid-range saturation
Gradation: some gradation seen
Sami's Thoughts: This paper actually did surprisingly well. I think that it blended pretty well and wasn't too easily saturated. It is just the slightest bit off white so I don't like it nearly as much as the Xpress IT or Papertrey Ink papers.

(This is a sample of Neenah brand paper for Copics, I am not sure of the exact name of the paper because it was just a sample that I got when I was taking a Copic class.)
Blender: easy to see blender techniques, at the edges, the blender made the ink run.
Shading: easy to shade
Streaking: no streaking
Running: LOTS of running
Saturation: easily saturated
Gradation: very little gradation
Sami's Thoughts: I wasn't impressed with this paper. I am heavy handed and this paper was just not for me. If you use a very light touch, then this might be the paper for you. I did get some nice blending, but I saturated the paper so quickly!

(This is actually Stampin' UP's brand of watercolor paper. It is a cream color, very textured, and very very thick)
Blender: blender techniques visible but on the subtle side
Shading: Shading was achieved but a little more intensive
Streaking: no streaking
Running: tiny bit of running
Saturation: mid-range on saturation
Gradation: some gradation visible
Sami's Thoughts: The main thing I noticed with using this paper is that the ink colors appeared darker than with all the other papers, which could come in handy sometimes, maybe. It was much harder to blend with this paper, but I did end up with nice blending. The paper seems to be in the middle of the saturation so it would be good for someone who isn't too heavy or too light handed.

What is YOUR favorite paper to use for Copics?

Scrapmaster's Paradise


Wow, this is very useful information. Thanks! :o)

I've only tried a few different papers but Xpress It is definitely my favorite! I always wonder though if there's anything better that I just don't know about so I love it when people do all the test work for me :)

Thanks for the tip. I usually use Georgia Pacific for my regular stamps and then to print my digi's off I use Nennah. But I know what you mean about being a heavy handed colorer.


I've tried a few different papers so far, but my favorite is the Cryogen Irridescent... I love the sparkle it gives to the Copic colors and it blends nicely for me. This paper post is very helpful, so thanks! :)

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