Prisma Markers vs Copics: Expert Comparison Guide

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Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Dee

When it comes to choosing the right markers for your artwork, two brands are often pitted against each other: Prismacolor and Copic. As an artist, you may find yourself wondering which of these popular alcohol-based markers is the better choice for your creative needs.

In this article, we will discuss each brand’s key features, pros, and cons to help you make an informed decision.


Prismacolor, founded in 1983, is a well-known art supplies brand that offers a wide range of products, including professional pencils, illustration markers, and pastels.

On the other hand, Copic emerged a bit later but has also gained a strong reputation among artists for its high-quality art pens and markers. Both brands boast rich colors and smooth ink flow, making them a trusted choice for artists of all levels.

As you continue reading, we will delve deeper into the specifics of each brand’s inks, nibs, and other qualities to help you determine which marker is better suited for your artwork. By understanding the differences between these two brands, you will be better equipped to make the right choice for your artistic endeavors.

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

Prisma Markers vs Copics Overview

Features and Variations

When it comes to Prisma markers and Copic markers, you’ll notice a few key differences between them. Both marker brands use alcohol-based inks, known for their rich colors and smooth ink flow. However, Copic markers tend to have a broader range of styles, such as the Classic, Sketch, and Ciao series. On the other hand, Prisma markers primarily come in two styles: Premier and Brush Fine Art.

Color Selection and Quality


As an artist, you’ll appreciate the wide range of colors available in both Prisma and Copic markers. While Prismacolor offers over 200 vibrant and consistent colors, Copic markers boast an impressive selection of more than 350 colors. In terms of color quality, both brands are highly regarded by artists for their smooth application, silky ink flow and lasting pigments.

Prisma MarkersCopic Markers
Number of ColorsOver 200Over 350
Color QualityHighHigh

Nib Options and Styles

copic markers innovative design

A major factor in choosing between Prismacolor and Copic markers is the variety of nib options and styles each brand offers. Prisma markers typically come with either a fine tip or a brush tip, which provide versatility for detailing and broader strokes. Copic markers, on the other hand, have replaceable nibs and offer various styles like chisel, brush, and fine tips, giving you more control over your art and increased customization.

In the end, your choice between Prismacolor and Copic markers will depend on your artistic preferences and needs. Consider whether the pens are double ended markers, what the various styles are, the colors, and the nib options offered by each brand as you make your decision.

Price and Affordability

Cost Differences

When comparing Prismacolor and Copic markers, it’s important to consider the cost differences between the two brands. Generally, Prismacolor markers are more affordable than Copic markers. Although both brands produce high-quality products, Copics tend to be more expensive, mainly due to their reputation and the variety of colors they offer.

Available Sets


Both Prismacolor and Copic markers come in various sets, providing options for artists with different budgets. The largest set of Prismacolor Premier markers includes 156 different shades and tints. Smaller sets are also available, ranging from sets of 6 to 72 markers.

On the other hand, Copic markers offer an extensive range of colors: 358 bright colors for their Copic Sketch line, 180 for Copic Ciao, and 214 for Copic Classic. With this variety, there’s a set to accommodate any artist’s needs and budget constraints.

Expensive vs Cheaper Options

While Copic markers tend to be pricier overall, both brands offer higher-end and more budget-friendly products. For instance, Prismacolor markers’ affordability doesn’t compromise their quality, making them an excellent option for artists who want both high performance and value for money.

On the other hand, if you can stretch your budget, Copic markers provide superior versatility, especially with their super brush nib, which is known for an unmatched feel and performance.

Ultimately, you should consider your budget and artistic needs when deciding between Prismacolor and Copic markers. Regardless of your choice, both brands offer a collection of markers with varying prices, sets, and quality, ensuring that you can find the perfect fit for your creative endeavors.

Refillable and Replaceable Components

When it comes to art markers, having refillable and replaceable components can save you time and money. In this section, we’ll cover the refillable ink systems and replaceable nibs and tips of both Prisma markers and Copics.

Refillable Ink Systems

With Prisma markers, unfortunately, there is no official refillable ink system available. Once the ink runs out, you’ll need to purchase a new marker. However, some artists have found ways to manually refill them, but the process can be messy and time-consuming.

On the other hand, Copic markers are known for their refillable ink system. You can easily purchase ink refills for all available colors. This allows you to save money in the long run, as you only need to replace the ink rather than purchasing an entirely new marker.

Replaceable Nibs and Tips

When it comes to replacing nibs and tips, both brands offer options for you.

For Prisma markers, you can find replacement nibs online or at art supply stores. However, the variety of available nib styles and sizes may be limited compared to Copic markers.

Copic markers excel in this area. They offer a wide range of replaceable nibs and tips to suit your artistic preferences. Additionally, Copic’s replaceable nibs and tips are easy to find and can be purchased online or at your local art supply store.

In conclusion, while Prisma and Copic markers have their unique features and benefits, when it comes to refillable ink systems and replaceable nibs and tips, They are the more versatile and cost-effective choice.

what are alcohol markers

Performance Comparison

Blending and Shading Techniques

When it comes to blending and shading techniques, both Prismacolor and Copic markers stand out. With Prismacolor’s alcohol-based ink, you can effortlessly blend different colors together for smooth transitions and a seamless finish. Copic markers, on the other hand, are known for their impressive blending and shading capabilities, allowing you to create depth and dimension easily.

To achieve the best results, experiment with different techniques:

  • Layer your colors: Apply light layers of color, gradually building up the intensity.
  • Use a colorless blender: With either Prismacolor or Copic markers, you can use a colorless blender to mix colors, create gradients, or even lighten areas for subtle highlights.

Vibrancy and Saturation

If you’re looking for markers that pack a punch in color vibrancy and saturation, Prismacolor and Copic won’t disappoint. Prismacolor markers provide rich, vibrant colors that are highly pigmented for brilliant results, while Copic markers are also noted for their impressive color range and vivid hues. Copic Sketch, for instance, offers 358 bright colors to choose from, whereas Prismacolor Premier marker sets are available in various sizes, with the largest boasting 156 different shades and tints.

When considering vibrancy and saturation, here are some tips:

  • Test on your chosen surface: Colors may appear differently on various types of paper or surfaces, so always test before committing to a piece.
  • Keep track of the colors you’re using: Organize your markers and note the color names or numbers for easier future reference.

Comfort and Ease of Use

As an artist, the comfort and ease of using markers play a crucial role in your creative process. Both Prismacolor and Copic markers cater to these needs by offering dual-tipped designs, providing you with the flexibility to work on various styles and techniques without constantly switching between different tools.

When assessing comfort and ease of use, take into account the following factors:

  • Barrel design: Both Prismacolor and Copic markers have ergonomic barrel designs to help reduce hand fatigue during long periods of usage.
  • Nib styles and sizes: Consider the different nib styles and sizes offered by each brand to choose what best suits your artistic preferences.

Remember, it’s essential to choose the right tools for your artwork, but it’s equally important to hone your skills and experiment with various techniques. Find what works best for you and your artistic style, and enjoy the creative process with your Prismacolor and Copic markers.

Prismacolor Premier Markers

Additional Considerations

Odor and Toxicity Issues

When it comes to odor, both Prismacolor and Copic markers have a slight scent due to their alcohol-based ink. However, this smell is not overpowering, and many artists find it tolerable. What’s more important is that both brands’ markers are non-toxic, making them safe for you to use, even for extended periods.

Durability and Lifespan

As an artist, you want your markers to be durable and long-lasting. Copic markers are known for their high-quality construction, and their nibs are replaceable. This means you can easily extend the lifespan of your Copic markers by replacing worn-out nibs. Prismacolor markers, on the other hand, do not offer replaceable nibs. However, they are still quite durable and will last a long time if you take proper care of them. Both brands offer rich pigmentation and smooth ink flow, contributing to the longevity of the markers.

Availability and Purchasing Options

You’ll be happy to know that both Prismacolor and Copic markers are widely available from various sources. You can find them at local art supply stores or even on Amazon. When it comes to variety, Copic offers an impressive range of colors and sets, including the popular Copic Sketch, Copic Classic, and Copic Ciao lines.

Prismacolor also has a great selection, with their flagship Premier line offering a wide array of colors to suit your artistic needs. By comparing the two options, you can determine which brand offers the right markers for your specific needs and preferences.



In comparing Prismacolor and Copic markers, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences as an artist. Prismacolor markers are more affordable and offer a wide range of saturated colors, making them a popular choice for those on a budget or looking for great value for money.

Copic markers, on the other hand, are known for their high-quality performance and smooth blending capabilities. They are available in an even wider range of colors, including the 358-color Copic Sketch line, and are often the go-to tool for professional artists.

As you weigh your options, think about the factors that matter most to you, such as ink type, color quality, blending capabilities, nib styles, barrel design, and lifespan. Keep in mind that while Copic markers typically have a higher initial cost, they offer long-term benefits such as refillable ink and replaceable nibs.

Ultimately, you should choose the brand that best aligns with your individual artistic goals and budget. By doing so, you can confidently create beautiful and vibrant artwork with the knowledge that you’ve made the right choice for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which markers are more durable?

Copic markers are known for their durability and quality build. They have a reputation for lasting a long time and withstand regular use with minimal wear and tear. On the other hand, Prismacolor markers also have a good build quality, but some users have reported issues with the marker tips wearing down over time with extensive use.

Which brand offers more colors?

Copic markers offer a wider range of colors compared to Prismacolor markers. The Copic Sketch line has 358 colors, Copic Ciao has 180 colors, and Copic Classic offers 214 colors. As for Prismacolor markers, the largest set contains 156 markers, with other sets available in 6s, 12s, 24s, 32s, and 72s. You can choose the right color family for your needs from both brands.

Which markers blend better?

Both Prismacolor and Copic markers are alcohol-based markers that blend well, but Copic markers are known for their superior blending capabilities due to the unique brush nibs and consistent ink flow. This allows for smoother transitions between colors and more control during the blending process. Prismacolor markers also blend nicely but may require a bit more practice to achieve seamless blending.

What’s the price difference?

Copic markers are generally more expensive than Prismacolor markers. This is due to their high-quality components, reputation, and durability. However, Prismacolor markers offer an affordable alternative for artists who are looking for good quality markers without the high price tag. So, depending on your budget, you may prefer to choose one over the other.

Are refills available for both?

Yes, refills are available for both Prismacolor and Copic markers. Copic markers are more popular for their refillable feature, allowing you to purchase ink refills and replace nibs on markers when needed. This makes them more sustainable and cost-effective in the long term. Prismacolor markers also have some refill options, but they are not as widely available as those for Copic markers.

Which is better for beginners?

Copic markers can be intimidating for beginners due to their price and higher learning curve, while Prismacolor markers are more accessible and user-friendly for those just starting. If you are a beginner, you might want to start with Prismacolor markers to familiarize yourself with alcohol-based markers before investing in the more expensive Copics. However, if you are confident in your skills and determined to learn, then Copics can also be a great option for you.


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