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Prismacolor vs Copic Markers: Which is a Better Choice?

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

prismacolor vs copic markers

Prismacolor and Copic are two of the popular alcohol-based markers among artists of all levels. No wonder there has been a debate on the quality and capabilities of these marker brands. Did you also ever wonder which brand is better than the other?

Since these markers are known for their exceptional quality, many artists compare their similarities and differences to determine which brand is worth the penny. Luckily, we have everything covered.

In this comprehensive Prismacolor vs Copic markers comparison guide, we will get down to the nitty-gritty of these brands, unraveling their significant features and overall performance.

A Quick Overview

Features Prismacolor Markers Copic Markers
Ink Type Alcohol-based Alcohol-based
Variations Premier Dual-ended Art markers (Fine and Brush), Premier Dual-ended Art markers (Fine and Chisel), and Premier Illustration markers Classic, Sketch, and Ciao; All dual-ended; Designed for different skill level
Color Quality and Vibrancy Opaque and seamless when blended well Streak-free and vibrant
Blending Capabilities Blends better with a blender; the colors should be laid down fast to prevent streaks Seamless; highly blendable
Nib Styles and Sizes Chisel, fine, and brush nibs Chisel, fine, brush, and bullet nibs
Color Selection Up to 156 colors Up to 358 colors
Barrel Design and Comfort Large round barrels Square, round, and oval-shaped barrels
Refills and Nib Replacements Not refillable and no nib replacements available Refillable and have replaceable nibs
Lifespan Can last up to 2 years Can last for decades
Price Affordable Expensive

Prismacolor Markers and Copic Markers

1. Prismacolor Markers


Prismacolor markers are alcohol-based markers known for their rich and opaque colors and consistent ink flow.

Although their markers are not refillable, Prismacolor stands out for its lightfast and bleed-resistant ink quality that renders satisfying results.

A collection of fine markers comes in different variations, such as Premier Dual-ended Art markers (Fine and Brush), Premier Dual-ended Art markers (Fine and Chisel), and Premier Illustration markers. All of these are available in an affordable price range.

2. Copic Markers


Copic markers are alcohol-based markers renowned for their professional quality performance and innovative refillable design that can last long.

Thanks to their consistent ink and color quality, these alcohol markers render vibrant and highly blendable colors. They also offer an extensive selection of colors in different Copic marker set variations.

Copic curated marker types cater to different individual needs, with Copic Sketch markers as the most popular among their variations. Classic or Copic Original and Ciao have also been beginners’ favorites.

Although Copic is expensive, the exceptional quality and performance of Copic markers compensate for its higher price point.

Breakdown of Features


We will dig deeper into this Prismacolor and Copic marker comparison review and explore everything beyond their barrels.

1. Ink Type

Are Copic and Prismacolor markers alcohol-based? Yes, they both are. These popular marker brands use alcohol-based ink that dries fast and delivers consistent flow. Their premium quality alcohol ink produces rich and vibrant pigments that do not fade quickly over time.

2. Color Quality and Vibrancy

Sifting through the review of Copic markers vs Prismacolor and their colors, both brands provide vibrant hues. Whether you go for soft tones or deep colors, the layers remain opaque and seamless.

Several Reddit and online reviews prefer Prismacolor over Copics in terms of even saturation and smooth ink flow. Perhaps, due to the fact that Copics present more exquisite and artist quality illustrations based on advanced coloring techniques.

For that matter, the results may still vary but both Prismacolor and Copic render superb color quality for various coloring demands.

3. Blending Capabilities

Contrary to water-based ink, Copic and Prismacolor use alcohol ink to create stunning color effects, layers, and blends with little to no streaks. The highly blendable ink paves the way for more creative hues and custom color combinations.

On the other hand, Prismacolor markers have juicy ink that blends colors nicely. Sometimes they need a blender to mix the colors well.

Moreover, since they have smaller nibs, it is important to lay down the colors quickly to keep the ink from drying out. Otherwise, it will cause streaks or uneven layers.

4. Nib Styles and Sizes

Copic and Prismacolor markers are both dual-tipped.

Various Copic and Prismacolor marker tutorials reveal the differences in strokes, shading, color depths, and consistency. Besides the ink, it all goes down to the nib style and size that define their blending capabilities.

When looking at Copic and Prismacolor markers drawing examples, Copic markers produce smoother color blends and fully saturated shading because of their larger and more flexible brush nibs.

Aside from that, you can always go back and forth to get the blending going with the brush tip. Prismacolor brush markers are smaller, which is why the chisel tip works better for blending. Using the marker in circular motions creates smooth layering.

5. Color Selection and Organization

Copic offers an extensive range of 358 colors, which is by far the largest color collection in the world of art markers. Copic highlights its Copic Color System, a unique and systematic color arrangement, representing every color’s characteristics.

For an intuitive color selection, every marker is labeled with a specific code that includes digits, color names, and letters.

In contrast, Prismacolor markers do not have specific color names but only number codes. However, they provide a great color selection of up to 156 hues.

6. Barrel Design and Comfort

The barrel designs vary depending on the marker type. Copic markers have round (Ciao), oval (Sketch), and square (Classic) barrel shapes. Each delivers a different level of comfort, with round and oval barrels the most comfortable to use and the square barrel shape the least.

Many artists use Prismacolor markers and find their large round barrels comfortable to hold. Meanwhile, Premium Illustration markers also have round barrel shapes but are smaller and slimmer, making them suitable for intricate and detailed applications.

Prismacolor markers have sticker labels that may fall off over time, contrary to Copic markers with engraved labels.

7. Refills and Nib Replacements

Copic markers are refillable. There is no need to worry about empty ink barrels because you can always find the exact color for swift refills. The nibs are also replaceable should they wear out in the long run.

Are Prismacolor markers refillable? Unfortunately, they are not. Their nibs are not replaceable as well.

8. Odor

Both Prismacolor and Copic markers are non-toxic. However, if you are sensitive to odor, Prismacolor is slightly stronger than Copics.

9. Variations

When looking into the Copic vs Prismacolor comparison of variations, both brands offer marker types that cater to different individuals and skill levels.

Copic markers primarily come into three types: Classic, Sketch, and Ciao.

Classic is for large and broad applications while Sketch is the best-selling Copic that offers the largest color selection. They have flexible nib designs for various strokes and line widths.

Ciao has the lowest ink level but the same quality as the Sketch markers. It is also the most affordable and excellent option for amateur artists.

Prismacolor markers offer Premier Dual-ended Art markers (Fine and Brush) for crisp details and full coverage, Premier Dual-ended Art markers (Fine and Chisel) for intricate layering and sharp details, and Premier Illustration markers for defined details and fine lines.

10. Lifespan

Copic markers are not disposable like most markers. They are refillable and have a durable quality that can stand for years or even decades.

Unfortunately, Prismacolor markers are not refillable but they can last up to 2 years. It can last longer or shorter, depending on certain factors such as how often or how you use them and storage practice.

11. Price

Prismacolor markers are much cheaper than Copics.

Prismacolor Markers

Vibrant and streak-free colors Not refillable
Blendable alcohol ink Nibs are not replaceable
Different variations for different coloring needs Blends well with a blender sometimes
Non-toxic Slightly strong odor
Excellent color range  
Flexible nib designs  
Large round barrels for optimum comfort  

Copic Markers

Vibrant and streak-free colors Expensive
Highly blendable alcohol ink Square-shaped barrels are not comfortable to use
Refillable and can last for years  
Non-toxic and low odor  
Extensive color range  
Replaceable nibs  
Different variations available for every skill or level  

Frequently Asked Questions


What markers are better than Copics?

It is hard to tell which markers are better than Copics as every individual has particular needs and preferences. Much more so when most markers do not last as long as Copics.

However, there are brands like Ohuhu, Prismacolor, and Arteza that are considered the best alternatives to Copics. They can offer great quality markers at a much cheaper and more reasonable price range than Copic markers.

Why are Prismacolor markers so expensive?

Some users consider Prismacolor markers expensive, albeit more affordable than Copic. Needless to say, these markers provide professional quality performance, vibrant hues, and versatile ink that make them worth every penny.

What makes Copic markers so special?

Because Copic markers can offer lifetime quality. Besides their streak-free and highly blendable ink and stunning color spectrum, Copic markers are refillable and have replaceable nibs.


As we unraveled the Prismacolor vs Copic Markers ultimate comparison, we learned a detailed layout of their distinct features that make them worthy competitors to one another.

Prismacolor markers are decent-quality markers that can provide vibrant hues, beautiful color blends, and flexible marker options for various applications. Plus, they are more affordable.

Copic markers, despite being expensive, have innovative refillable design and replaceable nibs. They do not fail to impress with ink quality and blending capabilities.

Overall, whichever marker you choose, you can showcase your creativity and skills.

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