The Copic Colour System 

View Copic’s Colour Wheel on their website

Before you start creating Copic Marker Art you need to understand the Copic Colour System, which is defined by a series of letters and numbers.

Colour Families

The letter(s) on your marker represents the colour family it falls into. They are also accompanied with an official Copic colour name written underneath the lettering/numbering system.

There are currently 16 Copic Marker colour families that can be grouped into four categories: Chromatic Colours, Fluorescent Colours, Grey Tones and Achromatic Colours.

Chromatic Colours and Fluorescent Colours

Copic’s 11 Chromatic Colour Families, as well as their Flurosescent Colour Range.

Copic’s Chromatic Colours are in essence the same colour breakup you’d see on a regular colour wheel:

  1. R – Red
  2. B – Blue
  3. Y – Yellow
  4. G – Green
  5. V – Violet (Purple)
  6. YR – Yellow-Red (Orange)
  7. BG – Blue-Green (Teal/Turquoise)
  8. YG – yellow-green family
  9. BV – Blue-Violet
  10. RV – Red-Violet (Pink)
  11. E – Earth Tones (Brown)

Copic also has a range of 8 fluorescent colours, making up their own individual category.

Gray Tones and Achromatic Colours

Copic’s Four Grey Tones, and Achromatic Colour Selection.
Gray Tones

Although Copic’s Grey Tones are each listed as a “colour family”, they are trully achromatic in colour. Each gray tone creates its own feel, and brings its own unique atmosphere to an artwork.

  1. N – Neutral Gray
  2. C – Cool Gray
  3. W – Warm Gray
  4. T – Toner Gray
Achromatic Colours

Achromatic Colours are represented by number only.

  1. 1 – Black Copic Markers are defined by 1 (i.e.: 100, and 110 for special -rich- black)
  2. 0 – Colourless Blender Markers are coded with a single 0. This is due to the fact that they contain alcohol-based fluid with no pigment.

Colour Saturation (Blending Group)

Following the letter(s) is the first number. The first digit represents the level of saturation of your Copic Marker. This number (generally) ranges between 0 -9, with 0 being the purest form of colour and 9 being most desaturated (with the highest level of gray). 

Colour Value (Intensity Value)

The last digit(s) on your Copic Marker represent a marker’s colour intensity (aka how bright that colour is). These numbers are split between 12 levels (000, 00 and 0-9).

Markers that fall closer to the 0 range are lighter in value, and become darker the closer they shift toward 9.

Markers that are 000 and 00 in nature are often more transparent as they have a higher concentration of colourless blender alcohol-based fluid.

Copic Marker Skin Tone Numbers

Anime Skin

Mini Ren in Faerie Land Artwork Thumbnail

I use these colours for my Min-Ren Drawings. I rarely ever change the skin colour markers for my Mini-Ren artwork.

E0000: Floral White

Base Colour

E00: Cotton Pearl


E02: Fruit Pink

Medium Blending

E11: Barley Beige


E33: Sand

Minor Shadows

R20: Blush

Cheeks & Mouth

Realistic Coloured Skin

It’s hard to pinpoint exact colours for rendering realistic skin. However, for illustrations such as my Daenaerys artwork which would be lit in a brightly cast day, I tend to use the following markers:

E50: Egg Shell


R00: Pinkish White

Blush, Nose & around Eyes

R11: Pale Cherry Pink

Blush and Lips

R20: Blush

Blush and Lips

YR000: –

General Shading and Forehead

BG000: Pale Aqua

Shadow/Lower Face

RV00: Water Lily

Light Shadow

BV00: —


E33: Sand

Darker Skin Areas (i.e.: Eyelid Creases)

Learn How to Use Copic Markers Like a Pro

Don’t know the difference between Copic Marker types? Check out Part One of my Copic series: Copic Sketch VS Ciao VS Classic: Which Markers Should You Use? and find out which marker you should choose based on your art style and creative profession.

If you’d like to discover how to use Copic Markers more effectively, check out my Learn How to Colour Online Art Course

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