Here's something I learned in my Copic certification class, taught by Sally Lynn MacDonald, the other day. You don't have to know this. I knew some of it before my class - and I did okay in my ignorance - but I'm hoping I'll do even better now that I possess this knowledge, and I thought you'd like to share in the thrill of learning.
First, just a little clarification of terms (not presented at my class, but good stuff, all the same)!
Color refers to the wavelength composition of light.
is a gradation of color referring to its degree of darkness.
indicates a modification of a basic color.
Hue is the quality of a color that makes it possible to call it bluish green, etc. (the color of a color); shade is a color variation having to do with the value of a hue (lightness or darkness), and tint is a pale variation of a color.
I borrowed this picture from copicmarker.com for illustrative purposes.
Each Copic marker has an identifying number that begins with a letter: E, C, N, T, W, Y, YR, R, RV, V, BV, B, BG, G. (I suspect all y'all have mastered what the letter means at the front end of a Copic marker number, but let's be thorough.) These letters are referring to color families or hues:
Now, if I understood my teacher correctly, the first digit
stands for the saturation of color - this refers to the vibrancy of the color. The most vibrant is 0. The closer you get to 9, the more dull (gray) the color is.
The last digit is referring to the shade of the color - how light or dark it is within that family of colors.
For highlights, select colors that end in 0, 1, 2, or 3. For mid-tones , choose those colors ending in 4, 5, or 6. For shadows, choose colors with a last number of 7, 8, or 9. It's advisable to keep a 2- or 3-digit difference between these last digits; otherwise the contrast will be too minimal to be effective.
Although working with three colors is the general rule, the more colors you use, the smoother will be your blending.
CAVEAT: As with all rules there are exceptions. There are a few Copics that are orphans - they just don't fall easily into a trio; G40, for instance, is a bit of a loner (probably was beaten too much as a child).
PERFECT COLOR MATCHING ACROSS FAMILIES
If you're looking for a perfect match from one color family to another, just trade out the letter but leave the number the same. If you want the perfect date for R02, B02 is your boy. Unless she's not into blues and would prefer a green - then it's G02. Perhaps she's got a weakness for bad boys - RV02 is every pastel mother's nightmare! And if Miss R02 doesn't care for boys... well, she's got Alternatives. (Luckily for all of us, special legislation is not required for any of these hook-ups.)
ODDS & ENDS
Cool Grays are bluish ("cool"). Neutral Grays are without tone, warm or cool. Toner Grays are slightly warmer, (more brown than neutrals). Warm Grays have more brown, so they're the warmest of all the grays.
Sally Lynn said that W2 is perfect for giving something an antique feel - she often uses it to bring down stickers that would otherwise be too bright.
N6 or N7 is what you should use when you want to deepen a darker color.
Black 100 is a true, deep blue black. Special Black 110 is a slightly neutral gray black.
The "Quad Zeros" (G0000, R0000, etc) are available for every color family. They are the ultimate blender for their respective families as they are composed of a splash of that family's most vibrant color added to a great deal of blender solution. (In case you were wondering as to their purpose.) So they may look like a bunch of washed out wallflowers pining away with the chaperons, but passion lurks beneath those flat chests!
(Don't even ask me how I managed to stumble onto mating ritual metaphors for this post. We all know I'm bats....)
Download a Copic color wheel that shows each of the 334 colors.
Download a Copic Marker Hand Color Chart you fill in yourself for inventorying and color reference.