In Copics, the last number on the marker cap indicates the value of the ink color. Copic has computer measured the strength of that color and they’ve told you where it rates on their value scale.
That last number is consistent across all the color families and it sets up a relationship between colors that you might think are completely unrelated. A Y38 is the same value as a BG78 because they both rate an 8 on the value scale. R17 measures the same value as E77 even though they’re from completely different color families.
Value is important because capturing accurate values are one key to realism. In order to make something look rounded and three dimensional, you don’t just need shade, you need shade that’s deep enough and potent enough to simulate depth. If you skimp on the values, your shaded areas aren’t strong enough, and that flattens out your coloring.
And as I said before, blending robs your project of value.
Because we blend with our middle and lighter Copic markers.
In Copics, a low last number indicates a higher level of colorless blender in the ink. Colorless blender destroys value. E33 has far more colorless blender in it than E37. So when I hit that E37 with a low value brown marker to blend it out, I’m moving some of that level 7 color around to make the entire area feel lighter and less potent. The more you blend, the more that E37 starts to look like E36 or E35.
You may have used a dark marker but it no longer carries the original value after you complete the blending process. Once you’ve blended it, it’s no longer as dark as it once was. You have removed some of its value.
This is a serious problem for a lot of intermediate level colorers who tend to be obsessed with blending. They’ll blend and reblend their areas, chasing the thrill of a perfect blend…
...and then they wonder why all their projects look flat.
Blending kills value.