The Great Markers Debate: Prismacolor vs Copic Markers


Since you’ve landed here, chances are you, like us and many fellow artists, are looking for answers to the long-standing debate.

Which marker wins the ultimate battle, Prismacolor or Copic?

You can go around and ask, but you’ll probably find different answers. Some artists have expressed great confidence in one of them and refuse to use the other.

So which marker should you be using?

The truth is if you try both markers yourself, you’ll find that to each his own. That’s why we’re here! After analyzing and evaluating both markers, we’re here to give you a full picture on Prismacolor and Copic markers so you can decide for yourself which is best for you.

Prismacolor Vs. Copic Markers: Comparable Features

Both Prismacolor and Copic markers are high-quality colors that can be used interchangeably for art projects. Let’s start off by going through the main similarities between both markers.

Prismacolor and Copic Markers Are Both Alcohol-Based

Alcohol-based markers, as opposed to water-based markers, are well-known for providing smoother color effects. Generally speaking, alcohol-based markers perform better than water-based markers and show no stroke lines when used.

For many, alcohol-based markers are synonymous with Copic markers although Copic markers are just a brand among many others who manufacture alcohol-based colors, just like Prismacolor.

Alcohol-based markers are great for illustration work and graphics. Because both Prismacolor and Copic markers can be blended to give you more color options, you’ll need less of them if you use them strategically when compared to water-based markers.

Prismacolor and Copic Markers Are Both Dual Ended

Copic markers come with dual-ended tips meaning you can enjoy two pens in one, except for the Wide Copic marker. Prismacolor Premier markers are available in four options of which three are dual-ended and only one option comes with one tip.

Each brand has different tips which we will be discussing later on.

Prismacolor and Copic Markers Are Available In Many Colors

You can find Prismacolor and Copic markers in a wide range of colors. Copic markers are available in 358 different shades while Prismacolor markers are available in 200 tones.

Prismacolor Vs. Copic Markers: A World Of Difference

Now to the main differences between both brands. After reading this section, you should be able to have an idea on which marker to use for each project.

Prismacolor Markers

These markers bring about really saturated, vibrant, and rich colors. The flow of ink of these markers is very consistent and they don’t leak. You can buy the markers individually or as a set according to your needs.

Available Variations

Prismacolor alcohol-based markers are available in four different variations:

Premier Gray Marker Sets

Premier Gray Marker Sets is a set of 12 markers of all shades of gray you can think of. You can choose between Fine and Brush tips or Fine and Wide tips.

Premier Illustration markers

Premier Chisel/Fine Art Markers are available in 200 amazing colors and feature two tip sizes. The Chisel tip is ideal for broad lines while the Fine tip is used for more precise lines.

Premier Chisel/Fine Art markers
Premier Brush/Fine Art markers.

Premier Brush/Fine Art Markers are available in 196 different colors with a Brush and a Fine tip. The Brush tip found on one end is perfect for flexible strokes. 

Barrel Shape

Premier Gray Sets, Premier Chisel/Fine Art, and Premier Brush/Fine Art markers have large and rounded barrels making them easy and comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

The Premier Illustration markers, on the other hand, are much thinner so they’re perfect for precise sketching. They’re also rounded so they’re convenient to use. 


Prismacolor markers aren’t refillable. So once you run out of ink, you’ll need to purchase another marker.

Price And Availability

Prismacolor markers are considered a more budget-friendly option than other alcohol-based markers making them a great option for beginner artists.

Prismacolor doesn’t sell their markers directly but you can easily find them in many stores or you can buy them online.

Prismacolor Limitations

As mentioned earlier, Prismacolor markers are not refillable. Also, the nibs tend to get worn out a little and can’t be replaced. This means you’ll have to buy a new marker once you run out of ink or ruin the nib.

Prismacolor markers also do have an odor to them. The main drawback, however, of the Prismacolor marker is that you can sometimes see overlap lines.

Copic Markers

Copic markers are artist-quality markers that have been used for quite a long time. Copic markers are lifetime markers that are great for different styles of illustration, design, and crafts.

They’re available in many lively colors and easily glide on paper.

Available Variations

Copic markers are available in four variations


Classic markers are the original Copic markers where it all started. You’ll find classic markers with a whopping 214 shades. This marker comes with a Standard Broad tip and a Standard Fine tip. 

The fantastic thing about this marker is that you can experiment with nine different nibs by Copic that are compatible with it. This allows you to use the marker for different applications.


The Sketch markers are available in the widest range of colors and come with a Medium Broad and Super Brush tip. The Super Brush tip is flexible and makes blending colors a breeze.

You can also fit a Medium Round nib but you’ll have to buy it separately. These markers are usually used for fashion design sketches, manga, anime, landscape, and calligraphy and are available in all 358 colors.


Ciao markers are your basic starter markers. They’re of great quality and come with two nibs, Super Brush and Medium Broad nibs. Medium Broad nibs work well for thick strokes. Because they’re the cheapest of all four variations, you can try them out first to see if you like Copic markers.

Ciao markers are available in 180 colors only but you can always mix and match for other tints. They also come with a child-safe cap.


Wide markers are the number one choice in the Copic collection for coloring large areas consistently with the large Chisel tip. Each marker comes with a Broad Calligraphy nib and an 18 mm nib. 

Although Wide markers aren’t enough on their own, they’re still a valuable addition and do come in handy for quick and even coloring.

Barrel Shape

Each marker is designed differently for maximum comfort when using for a specific purpose.

The Classic marker comes with a square barrel and is fairly large. The square barrel prevents the markers from rolling over. 

The Sketch marker comes with an oval barrel so it doesn’t roll on your working top. Whether your hands are small or large, this marker feels comfortable.

The Ciao marker is the smallest marker of the Copic family, making it a great option for those with small hands and for little artists. Its rounded shape makes it comfortable to use but it does roll over on the surface.

The Wide marker is flat and ovular. The unusual shape of this marker may make holding it a little weird but if you grip the marker between your thumb and index finger, you shouldn’t have any problems with it. 


Copic markers are durable because you can always refill them when you run out of ink. You can refill the Classic markers nine times from the ink container.

The Sketch marker can be refilled 12 times and the Ciao marker can be refilled 15 times. With the Wide marker, you can get seven refills from the ink bottle.

You can also purchase extra nibs if you spoil the one that comes with the marker

Price And Availability

Copic markers are a little pricey when compared to Prismacolor markers. They’re available through the Copic website, online, and other various stores.

Copic Limitations

Copic markers are expensive and a little harder to find than Prismacolor.

In A Nutshell

Although Copic markers are more popular when it comes to alcohol based-markers, we can’t say they’re better or more superior than Prismacolor markers.

If we are talking about price point, then we have to concede that yes,  Copic markers are more expensive. But there good reasons for this, we’ve explored the reasons in this article

At the end of the day, it really comes to how you intend on using the marker.

Each marker has its highlights and drawbacks that make them uniquely suitable for a distinct type of art.

Both Prismacolor and Copic markers yield vibrant and rich colors. Copic is available in more shades than the Prismacolor but it’s more difficult to find.

Prismacolor markers are larger with larger tips when compared to Copic markers. Copic markers have less odor than Prismacolor markers and don’t show overlapping lines.

The main advantage of Copic markers over Prismacolor is that you can refill them and you purchase extra nibs for different drawing styles or when the nib is worn out.

If you’re starting out, since both markers can be sold individually, we suggest that you go ahead and buy a few colors of each marker first to try them out yourself.

Why limit yourself to one? You may even end up using both Prismacolor and Copic markers, utilizing each differently.

About the Author

Lena is an artist, she enjoys arts, cooking, scrolling through social media, writing and spending time with her 2 boys - not necessarily in that order. While not busy on her art and writing - she can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes.

Bradley Noah June 7, 2021

I assumed so since the fine tip is so fine compared to the Copics brush tip. I’m not sure what of long-winded debate from someone who can’t make decisions. When comparing markers vs. colored pencils, each medium has its strengths, and it’s weaknesses.

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