Monday, May 7, 2012

Copics and Acrylic Paint

Marker and Paint
I had a few questions come up this week, and I figured a quick blog post should answer those questions.

With the growing popularity of mixed media, people love using their markers on many different surfaces and with many different mediums. Invariably, people ask me about using their Copic Markers with Acrylic paint. I really don't recommend it, and let me show you why.

Here is the test sheet that I made. I am working on Canson Canvas Paper. I used Golden Paints, Gesso and Titanium White. I made marker swatches both under the paint and over dried paint.

First, I put R59 on the paper and let it dry for a while, to make sure it was not wet at all. I then applied a nice thick coat of Gesso and White paint. I brushed back and forth a couple times.

You can see that the red bled and was picked up and pulled around.

Then I let the paint dry all morning. I took the same marker and colored over the dry paint. The single layer of marker over the paint was fine. It did not mess up my tip, but the color also streaked on the surface of the paint.

Next, I took the red and colored over a spot of paint. I colored many layers in one spot, coloring back and forth. This re-activated the paint, and it got thick and gummy. The paint then clogged my marker nib.

Acrylic paint gets into the pores and now my nib will not allow the color to flow very well. This nib will need to be replaced before I use it on projects again, or else it will streak and possibly leave a bit of acrylic residue that will affect any other markers I use with it.

Now, Reds are the most intense dye, and I wanted to make sure that I was not just getting a result of the dye. So, I took a streak of black, let it dry, then put a single thick smudge of white paint over it. I did not brush back and forth at all. When I first applied the paint, it was pure white and pristine. After sitting for a few minutes, this is what soaked through.

The acrylic paint re-activated the dye and pulled it through the thick layers of paint.

So, if you are wanting to use Copics with Acrylic, be extra careful! Know that the dye will bleed through, and if you color directly onto dry paint you might clog your nibs. Be careful with multiliners over paint as well, as those nibs also run the risk of being clogged from the paint.

Good luck with your work!


Debbie Olson said...

Thanks, Marianne--that was helpful. I know that we always tell people not to use Copic markers over anything that is opaque when wet, but I kept hearing rumors of people using them successfully over acrylic washes, and I was really wondering about that. Much appreciated!

Carole of Brum said...

thanks for that, Marianne, it was useful to see the results of using copics and acrylic paint together. I never felt inclined to try it myself, and now I definitely won't. CoB

PS it has taken me ages to leave a comment for you because the word verification is so hard to read and I kept typing the wrong characters.

Gea said...

Thanks, very helpful!

Jan Castle said...

Good to know Marianne!!!! TFS!
What about using Copics and colored Prismacolor?
Paper Hugs,

marianne walker said...

Similar concerns. Prismacolor are a waxy pencil and the markers will break down the binder that holds the color together, which then clogs the marker pores.

Traceyr said...

Thanks you for the warnings and for saving me ruining my markers.


Kaspar said...

Copics and Acrylic Paint. Marker and Paint I had a few questions come up this week, and I figured a quick blog post should answer those ...

Becca said...

Hello - You make some good points - but I must disagree to a certain extent. I haven't used Copic markers, but I do use Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Markers. I contacted Faber-Castell describing my method of working with Pitt pens in conjunction with acrylics, and asked them if my way of working was sound as far as not affecting the permanency of either medium. Pitt pens, by the way, are rated for permanency using the Blue Wool Scale, which is used by museums. I only use those Pitt pens that have three stars - indicating the highest permanency. Some of the Pitt pens use more fugitive pigments. I also asked Faber-Castell if there was any wax or shellac in their pens. They replied that only pigment (India ink) and water are used in their pens. I have several ways of working with these pens - sometimes I mix acrylics right into them right after applying them to the canvas. Other times, I let them dry and apply acrylics over them. It just depends upon what effects I'm wanting to create. The pens are wonderful when I want to apply a transparent layer of color over a passage I've painted in acrylics. It is true that you have to be careful about working over and over a passage with the pens. You can indeed reactivate the paint layer and make a mess. You should let it dry thoroughly if you plan to go over a passage more than once. The best way is to work quickly and not go over and over an area. It is also true that you can clog the tips with paint. However, this is easily remedied by dipping the point of the pen in water and washing it - you may even want to run it under a faucet. In the same way you would not leave a brush out to dry while using it with acrylics, you should not leave the marker laying out with acrylic on it. I'm always wetting the tip and wiping it off with paper towel while in the process of using it. I know nothing about Copic pens, but I've sure enjoyed using the Pitt pens with acrylics. Btw, when a Pitt pen is all out of ink, I've used it as a brush, dipping it into (fluid) acrylics. Again, treat it like a brush and keep it wet at all times. It's too bad I can't post an example of a painting I did showing you how you can successfully combine these two mediums.