Saturday, April 12, 2008

Best Ink for Copics

There is a lot of buzz out there about what is the best stamping ink to use with Copic Markers. I decided to conduct a little "experiment" to see how different inks work when coloured with Copics. I conducted this test with five commonly used black inks that I have in my collection.

I stamped the same image with each ink and allowed the image to air dry for five minutes. I did not heat set any of the inks. The inks are Stampin' Up Basic Black, Palette Noir, Adirondak Pitch Black, Brilliance Graphite Black and Versafine Onyx Black (amazing how many ways you can name black...). These are different types of inks (two dye, two pigment and 1 hybrid).

Stampin' Up! Basic Black is a dye ink. A lot of you probably have this in your ink collection and although I suspected it wouldn't hold up well to the Copics it performed surprisingly well. I ran over the black lines a few times and couldn't get them to run. The ink here is a little faded but that's most likely because my ink pad needs a re-inking. The image was clean and crisp and there was no running or blurring as a result of the Copics.

Next I tried Palette Noir - a staple in my ink collection. Palette inks are hybrid inks and they stamp well on almost any surface (particularly when heat set). I've even used them to stamp on fabric. This also stood up quite well to the Copics with only a slight blurring of the lines where the ink passed over them.

Adirondak (dye ink) has been suggested as a good pairing for Copics by a number of stampers and this test did nothing to dispute that suggestion. The ink held up very well and I could not get the lines to blur or run with repeated passes of the marker. The lines are crisp and clean.

Brilliance (pigment ink) has always been my perferred ink when colouring with Copics. It stands up well to the markers and has a dark, crisp, clear line when stamping. I had no problem running my Copic over the lines multiple times and the stamped image remained crisp.

Versafine (Pigment Ink) was my least favourite ink for use with Copics. On the first pass of the marker the lines became blurry and soft. In some heavily inked areas the ink ran when the Copic coloured over it. Despite that, if you are a die hard Versafine user the ink is satisfactory for use with Copic Markers. The image is still relatively sharp.

So what did this proove? Well, nothing much except that you can probably use your favourite ink pad (dye, pigment or hybrid) when colouring with Copics and get satisfactory results most of time without heat setting your ink. The exception to this of course is StazOn ink which being alcohol based does not stand up to Copics.

Of course, there are many other factors that will effect how your final image will look when coloured with Copics. Very detailed stamps with lots of close together lines may run more as the marker runs over them. The quality of your paper also has an enormous impact. Always opt for a heavy weight (110 lb), smooth cardstock when using these markers. Art supply stores sell specialty paper especially designed for use with these types of markers. Stampers Select from Paper Trey Ink is also a very good choice.

If you are really concerned about your ink running or blurring when colouring with the markers, try heat embossing the ink with a clear embossing powder.


stampin_melissa said...

Thanks for the comparison! It really is nice to know that I can use what I have and not run out and buy something just because someone said, "it is the only ink I use." (My luck is that I would forget why I originally bought it and it would just sit there!) :D

Heather said...

Fantastic comparison. It was very interesting to see how the inks stood up to Coptics so up close and personal.

luvs2cre8 said...

Good comparison Lisa, did you try them with the blender pen? The blender pen may give you different results, that's what I've found anyway!!

Lisa Thibault said...

You are so right about the blender pen giving different results. I'm going to try that "experiment" next and see what I get. I find that lighter colours tend to pick up more of the black stamping ink as well.