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Submitted on
June 15, 2005
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Prismacolor vs Copic by hydestock Prismacolor vs Copic by hydestock
NEW VS: Technical Pen vs Quill Pen: [link]

Lately I've heard a lot of people asking about which type of marker to get. Now it's all up to you but I thought I'd post this comparison to help you out. I've used both and while I use Prismacolor for most of my concept art renders (sorry, I don't post those...they're too big to scan and whatnot...) I find that I like Copic quite a bit more. So without further ado, I'll give you the pros and cons of each:

--322 colors
--Liquid ink flow (both points get the same amount of ink)
--square so they don't roll over and off your desk
--replaceable nibs
--refillable (each refill costs five dollars but has five refills so technically once you buy one marker you can just keep refilling it for a dollar each time!!)
--Better selection of skin tones
--comes in three different sizes (regular, sketch, and wide)
--cap shows the exact color, colored part DOES NOT COME OFF!!
--The clear blender comes in a liter bottle for 10 dollars that gives you about 30 refills. That's the equive of 60 bucks worth of clear blenders by Prisma.

--Hard to find (they're japanese and an import)
--EXPENSIVE! They're 5 dollars each, same for the refill.

--175 colors (more are on the way, go to [link] to vote for the new colors)
--Easier to find since most art stores carry them and many art schools have struck a deal with the company to offer a discount
--Round so they're comfortable to hold a few in your hand at a time
--Cheaper: 3 dollars a marker (AiP sells them to students for 2.30 so it's not too bad...)

--capillary ink feed (the big end gets all the ink and the small end dries out pretty much the first time you use it!)
--Not as many colors
--Bad color selection for brown and skin tones
--NOT refillable
--The nibs break and get worn down pretty easily and when they do you're screwed, you have to buy another marker.
--Labels have nothing to do with the color inside it, half the time they're either darker or lighter
--End stickers fall off so you can't tell what it is until you get it out onto the table
--Smellier than Copic
--The black marker is based on brown and doesn't look good with the grey set; it also blends brown and just looks very strange with all the other colors. I have no clue why that is! If you spray it with fixative it will bleed brown so never use it for mixed media or inking. That's what sharpies are for.

Personally I like Copic a lot more than prizma but I haven't found a way to get them in Pittsburgh; I usually pick up a few with refills when I'm in Rodchester MI or order them online. Our school carries Prisma and we get a discount so I usually buy their markers even if they're my second choice. if you get Prisma markers I'd buy a couple sharpies instead of using their black. Also the clear blender for Copic comes in a liter bottle for 10 dollars that gives you about 30 refills. That's the equive. of 60 bucks worth of clear blenders by Prisma to put it in perspective.

So here's the math:
copic = 5 dollars each
refill =5 dollars each. one marker and matching refile that's technically 6 markers for 10 dollars
TO CLEAR THIS UP: one refill fills up a marker from 5 to six times depending on how it depleted it was at the time. So your five dollar refill is ONE DOLLAR per refill. THUSLY: if you buy one regular marker and one refill that's 10 bucks which gives you the worth of six to seven markers. Note that this is all one color. You'll have six markers OF THE SAME COLOR for 10 bucks with refills, NOT SIX MARKERS OF DIFFERENT COLORS!

Prisma =3 dollars each
Refill doesn't exist but you can get a tiny bit more juice out of them by dipping them in nail polish remover if you're desperate. An injector from a copic set can be used to put a little bit of clear blender in there if its a pale color but by that point it's time to just get a new marker.

therefore...6 markers at 3 dollars each = 18 dollars

10$ of japanese goodness with 322 colors vs 18 with 175 for the same amount of markers (6)? You do the math. Note that we're talking about actual worth in ink, not physical markers here.

Hope this helped you out!

EDIT: Copic now as a bottle of clear blender for sale that lets you refill your clear blender markers a good 20 times out of one 10 dollar bottle. It you were to buy 20 clear blenders of Prizma you'd have spent at least 60 bucks.
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My-Anne Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Copics are more as expensive in my country. They are 5,65 in Euro's! So that's 7 Dollars (6.99 to be precise)
midnightangel576 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
why not both?
eldog123 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014
Thanks for this review! It was really helpful. 
bageladventurers Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really biased and stupid, I'm sorry. It seems like you're getting paid to say this, and none of it is true.
xxTchan Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
copic is better
rodypodydody Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Student Digital Artist
For refilling prismacolors, how many times can you refill them before they start running out of pigment?
Rustyscout Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm a Prismacolor user, but I like how Copic markers appear more, a lot more sharper and better for details for my taste.
Ashirogi28 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Yeah, Prismacolor is a lot cheaper but I like Copic more. Are there refills for Prismacolor?
PhantomLeather Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014
Friends Have told me to invest in Copic, for the longrun.
Thank you, very informative...
Maxito5019 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You actually can refill the primacolor marker carrier. You cannot refill the pigment (pretty sure thats the part thats most expensive, so it wouldn't do any good to buy them individually.) But all you have to do is take off the tip and refill the marker with rubbing alcohol. Here is a tutorial;…

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