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Troubleshooting Clean-Up Questions

Q: How do you clean marker ink (from tables, fabric, hands)?

Use a little colorless blender, rubbing alcohol, or hand-sanitizer.

Q: How do you clean dirty markers or airbrush?

If you have ink on the body of your marker, inside the caps or around your ABS Airgrip you can clean them by using waterless hand cleaner and a paper towel. Keeping the inside of your caps clean helps keep the ink from spreading everywhere else.

Q: Dirty/discolored Nibs?

If you go over another Copic color and it gets on your nib, it won’t harm the nib in any way. If you are coloring over something else (paint, colored pencils, stamp ink) and it gets on your nib, quickly clean the nib by scribbling on scratch paper or a tissue. If you have dirty nibs you should replace them, although the marker will still give you a clear ink flow.

Q: My pen line is bleeding when I color over it with Copic markers

If you are using a Copic inking pen then you should check your paper and make sure that the ink line is completely dry before coloring, or be extra careful when working on glossy paper or coated papers (like special marker papers).

If you are not using Copic inking pens, check that the pen you are using is pigment, not oil-based, and is waterproof. Again, let the ink line dry completely before coloring over it. Try to avoid going over large black areas with your markers- even pens that usually work might bleed.

If it still bleeds, photocopy your line work before coloring it.

Q: I left the cap off my marker, what do I do now?

If the cap’s only been off for a day or two, then put the cap back on and let it sit for a few days. Most of the time the marker re-charges.

If the cap has been left off for a week or so you may need to replace the nib (the dye will have dried and clogged the marker fibers). You can try soaking the nibs in blender or rubbing alcohol overnight to clean out the pores. If this doesn’t work, then replace the nib and let it sit for a while, you may need to refill the marker if the nibs don’t have ink after sitting for an hour.

Q: My marker doesn’t work.

It’s either out of ink or the cap has been left off (see previous question). Try refilling it.

Q: My inking pen doesn’t work.

If the cap has been on then check that the tip isn’t broken or split. If the cap has been left off, then you’ll need to replace the tip if it’s a multiliner SP or replace the whole pen if it’s a regular multiliner.

If the pen was dropped hard, or shaken and it is leaking then you’ll need to replace the ink and possibly the tip on a Multiliner SP. You’ll have to replace the whole pen if you have a regular multiliner.

Q: My marker seems to dry up quickly.

You might want to use different paper. Softer papers, like watercolor paper or newsprint will suck your marker dry faster. Fabrics also suck a lot of ink out of your markers. You’ll just have to refill more often if you prefer these surfaces.

Q: My marker “blobbed” on my artwork.

Usually this is caused by an overfilled marker (see I overfilled my marker) or one that a pressure problem, like from flying. (see Can I fly with my Markers?)

It is really hard to clean up blobbed ink from a piece of paper. The colorless blender might get the spot to lighten a little bit. Don’t use white-out to hide the mistake, unless it’s an area that will stay white. You cannot color over white-out with Copic Markers.

Q: My marker bleeds through the paper.

This is normal. Copic markers will bleed through the back of most papers, except glossy or coated marker papers. Avoid soft papers, like newsprint or regular copier paper, since these papers will also bleed out the sides of your line work. Always work over scratch paper.

Q: My artwork looks streaky.

If you have a new marker, then you should slow down when you color and color in circles to avoid leaving streaks and lines. If your marker is older, then it might need to be refilled. Also check your paper- thicker papers like watercolor paper sometimes take longer to absorb the ink, so you need to slow down to get even coverage.