There are a couple methods for refilling Copic markers. Each way has it's pros and cons. Please read Part 1 for tips on getting ready to refill, then you can read through these methods and find the technique that works best for you. You can download the refilling guide from the Copic website as well.
Refilling Copic Markers without the Booster Needle
These methods work for Copic, Sketch, or Ciao markers. In each instance you'll be refilling from the chisel nib on the marker. Don't remove the brush or fine nib unless you need to replace them.
Q. How much ink should I add to a dry marker?
A. Ciao- add 1 to 1.5 cc's ink Sketch- 2 cc's Copic 2-3 cc's Wide 3-4 cc's Each little mark on the side of a bottle of ink is 1 cc. These numbers will slightly underfill your marker, but it's better to underfill than overfill.
Drip and dab
This is the most direct method of refilling. Using the dropper built into the various ink bottle simply drip/dab drops of ink onto the chisel nib of your marker. To re-charge a marker it takes about 20-30 drops of ink (your drop size and my drop size are different, so the best judge is still how many cc's you've added). Let each drop get sucked in before you add the next drop.
I usually touch the very tip of the ink bottle to the tip of the marker, though some people hold it just a fraction apart (even closer than the photo). With practice you'll find the way that works best for you.
As you are doing this, try not to squeeze the bottle much, since it's really easy to drip ink. Also, if you have a drop waiting on the tip of the dropper don't tilt your bottle back upright without getting rid of that drop or else it will dribble down the side of the ink bottle (ask me how I know).
Pro- Simple. Just drip ink onto the nib, let it soak in and you're good to go.
Con- Slow. it takes a few minutes to completely refill a marker. Also, if you aren't paying attention this is a quick way to make a mess.
Remove Nib and Fill
This is much faster than drip & dab. With your tweezers pull the chisel tip out from your marker. Carefully set your tip onto something that won't get ruined or soak through while you are refilling. Be sure to check where the ink level is in your bottle before you start filling so you don't overfill.
Take the cap off the other side of the marker (this helps to avoid getting air bubbles and allows the ink to seep in better). Carefully pour in the ink. Don't squeeze too quickly since it's easy to mis-judge how much ink you're adding. When you're done, put the nib back in and put both caps back on. Let your marker sit for a moment so the ink evenly distributes within the marker.
German Refilling Method
We have a new Product Rendering Design DVD that just came in (I'll post a review sometime soon). It's made by our German counterpart and is translated into English, German, and Japanese. They suggest refilling by taking out the nib as I've described, but they take it a step further. With both nibs off and while working over a plate refill until a drop comes out the bottom, then quickly replace the nib and caps and let the marker sit. Be careful! The first time I tried it this way to make sure a black marker was super juicy I splashed a drop of ink on a new pair of light brown pants. What a mess! Those markers were full though.
Pro- Faster than dripping & dabbing
Con- Potentially messy if you aren't careful, especially the German method.
Refilling Wide Markers
I think I've mentioned this before, but Wide markers are super-easy to refill. Touch the dropper to the wide nib by resting it in the groove built into the barrel. Gently squeeze to add ink. If you really want, you could pull out the wide nib and drip ink down into the gaping barrel, but there is no need to do that.
Pro- it's easy
Con- I can't think of any.
In the next post I'll discuss refilling with the booster needle, as well as troubleshooting if you overfill, clean up, and other questions that are associated with refilling markers. If you have any questions about refilling, go ahead and post them here, then I'll address those as well. Have a great weekend!