Can you survive with just 42 markers?

For those of us with large collections, we scoff at 42.

"Forty two is such a small collection. Hardly worth a carrying case..." says the smug person with a large and drool-worthy collection.

But 42 markers is a big investment for beginners!

Beginners want to know which colors to start with. When you're pinching the pennies hard, every marker purchase counts.

Copic offers several sets and they're a pretty good sampling of the best colors Copic has to offer. But no kit can include everything important and frankly, when I was starting out, none of the kits had everything I wanted.

And so the number one question to instructors and bloggers is usually "what colors should I buy first?"

Many of us have a list of recommendations, but it always comes with large disclaimers:

These are the markers I use most... but you probably color different images than I do... so just use my selections as a guide to markers you maybe kind'a might want to buy... but don't really listen to me because for everything I recommend, I'll offer two reasons why not... Warning: Some ocular bleeding may occur. If you experience night sweats, suicidal thoughts, or are considering a face tattoo, please consult your physician immediately.

Yeah, that doesn't sound terribly convincing.

And here's the kicker: No two experts recommend the same colors.

It's a big decision to invest large amounts of money in markers. Who has the best advice? 

I've developed a beginner list

Based upon:

  • eight years of marker curriculum development, my classes include a large percentage of beginners

  • decades of illustration and fine art experience

  • Marker Indication classes were a required part of my BFA program- yes, they used to teach marker technique in art school!

But I'm not asking you to simply trust my recommendations.

Let's face it, you don't know me and who's to say that I'm not completely full of malarkey...

So I spent a year testing my list...

The Great Marker Challenge was my way of seeing how many images I could color without adding extra markers to the kit.

It started out as a six month test, but then I kept going.

It turned out to be such a success that I now use this list as the required supply list for my local Copic Club classes. We've been using this list for three and a half years now!

A small collection is not fatal!

You can Copic on a small budget. You don't need to own every marker. In fact, you can live for quite some time with a minimal collection.

Expand gradually as your budget allows, but there's no need to write off Copic until you win the lottery.

You can do this!

PLEASE NOTE: This is a suggested marker list for beginners building a marker collection. It is not a buying guide for my online classes.


great marker challenge projects

Projects using just my magic 42: