How Long Do Copic Markers Last? – Copic Markers Lifespan

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how long do copic markers last

You probably know Copic markers if you are a professional artist or visual art enthusiast. They are pretty expensive, but their top-tier quality outweighs all the cost.

Suppose you plan to budget your cost and allot time to refill your Copic markers. Consequently, knowing how long do Copic markers last is vital.

Well, Copic markers can last up to 12 to 18 months. However, it still depends on different factors, like how often you use them.

How Long Do Copic Markers Last

The estimate is a year and a half if we talk about how long Copic marker refills last with constant use. Considering different factors will also help you assess the most reliable estimate.

However, since Copic markers have refillable inks and replaceable nibs, they can remain functional up to 25 years with proper use and storage.

These factors include the frequency of use, type of drawing surface, area of the illustration, color selection, and size of the ink cartridge.

Do Copic Markers Easily Dry Out or Not?


Worry not, because Copic markers do not dry out easily if you store them properly. Now the question is how to keep these coloring pens so they won’t quickly run dry.

Similar to a whiteboard marker, Copic are also alcohol markers. As alcohol evaporates faster than water, forgetting to put the cap back on after coloring with Copic markers leads to these pens drying faster than they should.

Therefore, properly storing Copic markers means placing their caps back on after use. Ensuring that you keep them in a cool and dry place away from UV lights is essential to preserve their quality so that you can use them for a long time.

As a high-quality product, Copic markers also have airtight lids that ensure the ink will remain at its best quality even if unopened for a very long time.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Copic Markers

Knowing about the factors affecting the lifespan of your Copic markers set might help you maximize their full potential!

1. Frequency of Use


A general rule of thumb is that the more you consume a product, the more it deteriorates. The same principle applies to Copic markers. The more you use them, the shorter their life span becomes.

Professional designers who rely on Copic markers to illustrate their creative ideas daily may attest to this incident. In contrast, hobbyists who only draw when inspiration strikes will notice a longer lifespan in their Copic markers.

2. Type of Drawing Surface

Copic markers, or markers in general, are used primarily on papers. Likewise, different qualities of papers may influence how long Copic ink refills will last.

Thin and soft papers absorb ink more than thick or tight-weaved pages. In a similar vein, because fabric soaks up water very quickly, drawing on canvas will deplete the ink at a faster rate.

Thus, Copic markers on a canvas or fabric will also use more ink.

3. The Size of the Illustration

Different artists prefer various styles and mediums. Others opt for small drawings, while some prefer medium-sized or even gigantic illustrations.

The bigger the area, an artist will need more ink to finish the artwork. It also means your Copic markers dry out faster, thus needing to refill more often.

With that in mind, creating smaller illustrations will likely prolong your Copic markers’ effectiveness.

4. Color Selection


As an illustrator, you cannot deny that there are colors that you prefer among others, just like how a musician fancies certain chords.

For example, your artistic style may be more on depicting gloomy scenarios. Therefore, you will probably use dull colors more frequently than vibrant ones. This will make you go through the dark shades more quickly.

Generally speaking, light-colored markers such as yellow, gray, and pink tend to dry out faster since they are common base or background colors.

The Capacity of the Ink Cartridge

As you have also observed, Copic markers vary in ink capacity depending on the type of marker. The higher the ink capacity, the longer the lifespan, or vice versa.

  • Copic Sketch – 1.8ml
  • Copic Ciao – 1.4ml
  • Copic Classic – 2.5ml
  • Copic Wide – 3.5ml

Hence, with its twofold capacity, Copic Wide will most likely last longer than its Copic Sketch counterpart.

Signs to Refill Your Copic Markers

Whenever you notice some of the signs below, it’s time to get your Copic markers refilled.

  • The marker produces lighter color than usual – For example, instead of bringing out a rich black, it appears pale gray on white paper.
  • There’s a squeaking sound when you’re shading – This happens when the nibs are dry. Less moisture leads to more friction, which in turn causes the squeaking sound.
  • The nibs leave streaks – The nibs may also appear light in color or white, which indicates you need to refill your Copic markers as soon as possible.
  • Dry tip – If no ink comes out regardless of how hard you run the pen on the paper, a refill is necessary. However, you may want to make sure it’s not the nib’s fault first by placing it in rubbing alcohol.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions


Who benefits the most from Copic markers?

Professionals, such as art directors, landscape gardeners, fashion designers, architects, and graphic designers, benefit the most from Copic markers. They use Copic markers for short-term projects instead of ones typically displayed in houses or museums.

Copic markers are intended to exhibit the ideas of these creative individuals in the short run. As the colors from these pens will fade over time, it’s next to impossible to sell artworks drawn with Copic markers.

How often do you need to refill Copic markers?

There is no specific time frame since it depends on how often you use your Copic markers. The general rule is that the more frequently you use these markers, you will need to refill them often.

As most Copic markers can last for around 1.5 year, it can be a good benchmark for you to rely on. That said, if you notice any signs of the ink running out, refill the cartridge immediately.

How can you revive a dried up Copic marker?

The easiest remedy to revive Copic markers is dripping enough rubbing alcohol onto the marker nibs. Then, let it sit with the tips pointing down for about 10 minutes.

You can also shake the marker afterward to encourage ink flow. Repeat the process until it works.

If all else fails, using Copic ink refills or replacing the nib is your final resort to fix dried out Copic markers.

How much does it cost to refill Copic markers?

The average cost of Copic Ink or Various Copic ink refills is $5.39 for 12ml of ink. You can use a refill cartridge for about three to six refills, depending on the type of marker.

What are Copic marker cheap alternatives?

If you are short on budget, purchasing affordable but quality markers at Michaels art supply or other stores is practical.

Prismacolor markers are close to the vibrant colors that Copic markers offer. Moreover, Ohuhu markers also provide a variety of color choices that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Water-based Crayola markers, on the other hand, favor beginners who are not yet used to the quick-drying nature of Copic markers. As a result, you’ll have more time to blend colors.

Read more: Copic vs Ohuhu – Which brand should you choose?


Determining how long do Copic markers last will give you an idea of when you’ll need to purchase Copic ink refills.

We also presented different factors that affect the lifespan of Copic markers to help you come out with a reliable estimate.

We hope that you learned a lot from this post. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have more questions or suggestions. Have a nice day!

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