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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.
Add a Comment:
Billipy Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2015  Student General Artist
Just to retort the author's point of Prismacolors being "smellier than Copic"..... well, let's just say I wouldn't recommend Copics to those who are sensitive to chemical smells. I actively use Prismacolors, in large part due to the strong smell of alcohol in Copics.

The darker colours of Prismacolor markers smell pretty bad, but boy do Copics stink. I feel slightly uncomfortable when I use my dark Prismacolors, but when I use a dark Copic marker, I need to have a fan blowing right next to me in order to not have a coughing fit. I find that lighter Copic markers actually smell nice, but it feels toxic in my lungs when it's a darker colour (Ultramarine is an example), and my body forces me to cough to try and clean it out. The pigment of Copics actually does smell nicer, but the alcoholic scent in them is so much worse.

Also... I'd look further than just this review if you're deciding whether or not you want to use Prismacolors or Copics, as this is a) from 2005, and b) the author was obviously very biased at the time of writing. Better yet, why not order a couple gray Prismacolors ($3.50 each) and a couple gray Copic Ciao markers ($3.80 each) and see which you like for yourself?
KatrueYumeNikki Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
hey so i want copics and they sell it really cheap at merriartist, is that website safe?
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;…

Mr-skylineR34 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014
this is so awesome man thanks for sharing it^^
Ayndel Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just found that on their website they have a trial offer where you pay $4 total, no extra and they send you 2 of their markers to try:…      I totally would have done this if I had known about it, but I'm happy with what I got. I really wanted good skin colors.
Ayndel Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I want to recommend you all try Spectrum Noir alcohol markers. I was using Prismacolor before these. I just got a pack of skin colors earlier this week and I am in love. They are cheap and refillable, it worked out to less than $2 a pen on Amazon. I feel the quality is better than my Prismas -- a couple are already drying out after less than a year old and Prismas aren't refillable. 

The company is now selling replacement brush nibs for the 'next generation' sets that are out now (round pens versus square).... and no, I swear I have no connection to the company whatsoever... I'm just stoked with the quality and the way low price! ^_^ Maybe the OP can review a set of them in contrast with Copic and Prismacolor and see what he thinks. 
Gulliver63 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013
::chuckles:: Neat. I used to think that I was going to phase out all of my Prismacolors for Copics, but it hasn't happened. There are just some Prismacolor markers that can't be beat; I use several for my Simpsons stuff, like Poppy Red for Lisa's dress and Marge's shoes and necklace. Prismacolor Avocado is the perfect color for Marge's dress, as for Kif Kroker's skin in Futurama. To this day I still have a big basket of both...
Pluto-Uto Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
  Prisma colors and Copic markers are the same thing though...
Prismas are cheaper now almost being $4 dollars for each. Where Copics are $8 for each.
The  colors have broadened.
I use both and they're fine.
Destinneena Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I should just give you my prisma markers. tried using them, hate them. Never had the chance to use copics, but I find pencils and watercolors are my preference.
LynxBriar Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
I like using the prism as for bolder colors, but I like copics better
LynxBriar Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
You can order copics of amazon

Pure-Dragon97 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Student General Artist
Also the copics feel smoother and more natural on paper. I love my Copics and would not trade them for Prismas if someone paid me a million dollars.
ThatArtisticNerd Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2013
I would. I would just re-buy the Copics with the million dollars, and then save the rest of it :)
Pure-Dragon97 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2013  Student General Artist
Heh, I guess that's always a good point. x3
ChaosAttraker Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Student General Artist
If you haven't used rt markers before, Prisma's better - it's a waste if you get the expensive, professional Copics before you know how to use them correctly! By the time you learn how to bled and where to use what color, they run out and you're left disappointed... If you want to get a set of art markers but haven't used them before, although the pretty Copics seem tempting, it's better to get Prisma.
Shuyin-Matsunai Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
copic markers were ii live cost 10 to buy one and the refills cost the same and prisma are 6
they can be so expensive but i really like my copic im happy cause i have 130 now and i have 200 or more prisma though i dont really use them anymore since i got copics lol
yakkofreak0227 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013
I like both. Both have nice colors and a good variety
Redwolfrose Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
where I am copics are 8$ each(give or take a dollar) I buy the 6 pack(sketches) reg 40$ but hobby lobby has a coupon so i get them for 25.76$! Also you forgot that crappy thing when you go over a line it gets darker, for shading good, for coloring a picture in BAD! and the smell oh god the smell of prisma's! DX Copics win!
DJ-Artz101 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
COPICS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GlitterPanda93 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well where I live, Copics are around 8 dollars each...Really expensive but if you use the coupon, they will be around only 4 or 2 dollars depending on what coupon you use.

Yes, the Prismas smell terrible. And they don't have many skin tones :/
I actually like the smell of Copics.
And, coloring with Copics is much easier for me.

They always sell Copics on Amazon. Usually I get mine at Michaels. COPICS ARE THE GOOD WAY TO GO IF YOU DO MANGA
GlitterPanda93 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I highly prefer copics I don't know why.
cvuy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student General Artist
I prefer prismacolor because I think they look a lot better on paper. The copics are sometimes spotty and the lines overlap and the copics are just overpriced!
RarefiedCoyote8 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
well prismacolors came out with brush ended markers which are just as good as copics and are a lot cheaper on amazon. I highly recommend them :)
LynxBriar Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013
Yes, but the colors re a little to bold and they don't blend as well....:/
mangagirl050 Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
COPICS are pretty easy to find online. The smell of Prismas makes me nauseous.
BRAINARD--DESIGN Featured By Owner May 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Micheals craft store has copics. Also thanks for the review
Shondrea Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is there a Hobby Lobby nearby? I'm also pretty sure you canbuy them online through Blick
Ellathemangartist Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Where I live in Glasgow, there's a shop that sells ciao copics for 2.50 instead of the base price of 3.90!
ExtremeYaoiFanatic Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm pretty sure that, if you have an A.C. Moore (formerly Ben Franklin Crafts), you can find Copics. The one by where I live has a bin of them. So does Michael's, but not as good of a selection. A.C. Moore has at least thirty colours, sold individually, and Michael's has four packs with five markers each (a greyscale pack, a skintone pack, a "basic colours" pack, and I believe a "bright colours" pack).
PonNeko Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
copics, if you live in Jaksel you can but copics at Pondok Indah Mall Gramedia complete for anyone who want to be a manga artist~ :iconkonataplz:
Nikiptc18 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student General Artist
I'm personally just concerned about how they turn out on the drawing~ They really both look the same on paper. And since I need to be cheap, Prismacolor wins for me :icontearplz:
mangagirl050 Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
But in the long run, you're going to end up spending more. True, a big set of Prismas will be cheaper for now, but you should look into picking up a copic here and there whenever you can.
Nikiptc18 Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Student General Artist
I will, thanks! ^^
MiddyLPS Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
I love copics!
Yomamasofat123 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
both rule and both r perfect for anime! i want thse but i use bics for now.... bics do work too for cheap markers but they arent THE BOMB! u can check out this account for my drawings with bics colored in
aquadragon1818 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Prismacolor wins
shirowolf Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
i saw copic markers at michaels. i havent checked joanns yet.
tobitguren Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I don't have enough for copics markers and lately prisma has just been getting on my nerves. -.- So I've just been using Promarkers. There not refillable but they're cheaper than both of them, last longer than prisma (on both sides), and the points are more finer.
LiamLockheart Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Some of this info is wrong.

Like; Prismas actually are refillable with an alcohol. Here's a tutorial from youtube: [link] Incase you don't feel like watching (you should watch before you try, though. It's "isapropyl 91%" alcohol, and refilling them is cheap and pretty easy.
They make the markers different now, I guess? Because the little end doesn't actually dry faster than the big end, as far as i've seen.
TheOtherWay Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i prefer copics, dont know, its juz SOMETING about them thts better?! (maybe the brush tip?)
Pandepon Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
Copics pay themselves off if you use them for commissions. I have no buyers remorse for all $100+ mine. As for refills I buy them as I need them. I know this post is old, so I will add that Hobby Lobby, Dick Blick, Michaels, and Joann all now sell copics. Copics full retain value are actually $7.99 a marker but there are many websites who get them on sale for $4.25 for the sketch type.
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