Copic Color System
Colors of Copic markers are organized in a unique “Copic Color System” so that you can select colors intuitively. Once you understand the system you will quickly be able to figure out what the color qualities of a marker are just by reading the number on a cap.
The letter represents which color family the marker belongs to: E is for earth, C for cool gray, B for blue, RV for red-violet and so on. All the color families (except E) follow the same basic rule.
The color family “E” represents earthy/brownish colors. The Earth colors were separated as specific group to select the colors intuitively.
Chromatic colors are split into 10 levels (0 – 9).
Achromatic colors are classified based on the absence or presence of color. The color family “0” is colorless and we call it “Colorless Blender”, based on the function of ink.
Copic makes 46 different shades of gray, in four color families, although gray is actually an achromatic color.
Each color of gray brings its own tone and feel to a picture.
Blending Group (aka Saturation Number)
Color family is split into 10 levels of Blending Group (0 – 9).
The first digit in color number represents the saturation level of each color. Saturated colors are on the outside of the Color Wheel above. This is the first number in a color.
More vibrant colors tend to be fall in the 0s, 10s or 20s. As you move closer to the middle of the wheel, colors became de-saturated and closer to gray. Even changing this first digit by a few numbers makes a huge saturation difference.
Earth color family is a cluster of various (less-vibrant, brownish) red and yellow-red colors. The Earth color group is a cluster of Blending Group 4-9 (brownish colors) from the color family R-Y.
There is the sequence of saturation between Blending Group 0-3. The Blending Group 4-9 are composed of a combination of “Wine”, “Olive” and “Cobalt”. In other words, these colors are the part of Blending Group 4-9 in each color family.
Intensity Value (aka Brightness Number)
The last digit on any color shows how bright or light that color is. Intensity Value is split into 12 levels (000, 00, 0 – 9).
When the number of last digit is small, the color becomes brighter. Raising the last digit a few numbers makes the colors much darker.
In regards to Y and YG, the intensity and saturation of these colors are originally higher than others, and the criterion value of hue is different. Therefore the colors from these color families are lighter although the number of intensity value is same.
In addition to traditional color names, many colors are newly-named according to the changes of the times, and expansion of range of human activities (e.g. “Abyss Green” and “Stratospheric Blue”).