Friday, July 5, 2013

Copic Certification Classes: My Experience

Last weekend I had the wonderful experience of being able to attend both the Standard & Intermediate Copic certification classes! Before going a lot of my crafty friends told me to let them know what I thought when I got home, so instead of repeating myself to everyone, I thought I would put all of my thoughts in a blog post, to benefit not only my crafty friends, but anyone else wondering about what the class is like and if it's worth the moo-lah. ;) 

Photo from the Copic website

The first thing you should know is that there are two certification classes - Standard & Intermediate. You HAVE to take the Standard if you want to take the Intermediate, which can be tough for a lot of the experienced colorers who know a lot of the basics already. I've only been coloring for a few months, so I wouldn't say the Standard class was boring by any means, but, a lot of the info covered was the very basics of coloring that I personally had researched when I first got my markers. I'm a visual person, so even though I had read about the techniques before, it was nice to see all the techniques done in person. Which reminds me.. I should mention our instructor!

The instructor of both of the certification classes I attended was the wonderful Debbie Olson. Her blog, Thinking Inking, shows off her amazing coloring skills! She was SO sweet and helpful, as well as a great instructor!

So I'm sure you're wondering what was covered in both days of the classes. Before I highlight what we actually covered (I think a lot of it depends on the size of the class and what kinds of questions get asked - we went off topic a few times) I'm going to direct you to the PDF schedules for each of the classes found on the Copic website:

Standard Class - HERE
Intermediate Class - HERE

We did cover most of the things on each of these schedules, but like I said, the order of the topics covered depends on the instructor, and the questions asked.

Standard Class Coverage:
  • The Copic marker color system, and what each of the letters/numbers represents
  • The differences between the types of Copics (Sketch, Ciao, etc.)
  • How to refill markers
  • How to test your markers and papers
  • Using the Colorless Blender
  • Four basic blending techniques
  • Adding texture to images using different fabrics
  • Overview of the airbrush system

We did a bit of coloring this day, but definitely did more in the Intermediate class. The coloring we did in the Standard class was mostly just coloring parts of images or small images in order to practice the different blending techniques. 

What I Liked:
  • Learning how to refill markers! Since I've only been coloring a few months, this is something I haven't had to do yet, and it was nice being shown how to do it in person.
  • Being shown the four blending techniques in person, and having the ability to be "critiqued" and ask questions if needed.
  • Practicing adding texture. It's really easy!
  • Being able to try the airbrush system. They provided us with some paper flowers to airbrush, and it was definitely fun to try! While I'm not 100% sure I want to invest in an airbrush system, I think if I had the extra money laying around, I'd buy one and go to town airbrushing my own embellishments. :) 
Here are the goodies you get with this class. Now, all of these things are listed on the Copic website, so I'm not giving away any secrets or anything. :) The only thing I'm not showing you all of are the images that you receive to color, since that'll take the fun out of it!

You receive a 5" x 7" art portfolio, and in this picture here you can see the pockets we colored and added texture too, a flower we colored using blending outside of the color family, and an airbrushed flower. You also receive a manual to go along with the presentation, a 0.3 Multiliner, a glitter pen, informational packets, and of course, your certificate. 

You even get three markers! This is a close-up of those pictured above, you get a Colorless Blender, T0, and T2. 

And now for day two... the Intermediate class! This was a LONG day, but it was still really fun. I could see why the Standard is required for the Intermediate, because you take what you learn in the Standard class and apply it to the concepts in the Intermediate class.

Intermediate Class Coverage:
  • Shading and shadowing - there's a difference!
  • Working with light sources. 
  • Coloring red - one of the trickier colors!
  • Coloring large spaces. 
  • Coloring trees.
  • Coloring hair and skin.
  • Putting it all together and coloring a full lilac image. 
Lots of coloring this day! Again it was mostly coloring parts of images to practice the techniques, but when extra time allowed you could finish coloring. Not to mention you got to take everything home with you, so you could always go back and finish later.

What I Liked:
  • The extensive amount of coverage on shading and shadowing. Both techniques take practice, and the class really did a good job of making shading and shadowing not seem so intimidating. It's all about choosing the right colors!
  • Practicing working with light sources. This part was EXTREMELY helpful for me. They give you transparency grids that you can use to help direct where your light source is coming from, and where the shadows should be on your image.
  • Coloring red! I thought I was the only one who had a tough time with red, but it turns out, it's naturally one of the harder colors to blend. You get a fun Santa image to practice coloring. :)
We did briefly touch on hair and skin and got to do a couple of samples, but I wish we got to spend a little more time on these two topics. I think part of the reason why we didn't is because my class had lots of questions and that put us behind schedule a bit, so that's not to say the class you take won't have more hair and skin coverage. :)

And the goodies from this class (again, all of this is listed on the Copic website, it's not confidential information)

You receive a 72-marker storage case, another 5"x 7" art portfolio, Opaque white (which is sort of like a paint, and similar to using a white gel pen), Double Sided Tape, a manual to go along with the presentation, a Intermediate Copic Certified pin, and of course, your certificate. 

So... is it worth the money? I would say yes. When you think about it, the cost of the products you receive comes out to about half the cost of the class, which is part of the reason why it's on the expensive side ($120 for the Standard Class and $200 for the Intermediate Class). The techniques you learn are extremely valuable, and I loved seeing them done hands-on, versus through a step-by-step tutorial or YouTube video. 

If taking the classes is something you can't afford just yet, I recommend taking a look at these Copic Coloring Guide Books put together by the Copic instructors who teach the certification classes. These books contain a lot of the info covered in class, so if you're looking for an overview of what is taught in the classes and aren't too keen on actually being "certified," these would be a helpful place to start. Try seeing if your local library has them or if they can get them for you before you purchase them to see if the techniques covered are ones you'd like to keep handy, that's what I did. :) 

Phew - that was a long post! Thanks for bearing with me. :) If there's something I didn't cover or something else you have a question on, feel free to to leave a comment or shoot me an email

Have a great weekend!


  1. Great write-up on the classes, Ashley!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing Ashley..... keeping my fingers crossed that they offer the classes in Vancouver soon, I would take days off work to go these classes..... =)

  3. I've been waiting on this post and I read it with great interest.Thanks for all of your information, pics and sharing with us.

  4. You did a great job explaining the classes.

  5. Now I'm even more excited for the Intermediate class I'm signed up for in August (Minnesota class). I took the basic class 2 years ago and had a comparable experience. I'd hoped for more coloring, but understand the importance of learning the techniques and methods behind everything first. I had Debbie and Lori for that class and loved meeting the ladies. Debbie is on the schedule for August and I know it will be a good time!

  6. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up and give us feedback! It's awesome!!!
    Have a great day!

  7. Awesome info Ashley. Thanks for the post!


  8. This is a really really great post! Thank you for sharing your experience, and all the info regarding your classes. It sounds like you had a lot of fun, and you learned a lot.

  9. Thanks for sharing, Ashley! Loved all the info! Now I can't wait until August!

  10. Thanks Ash I'm glad I decided to take the class coming up. I can't wait.

  11. Thanks for all the info! I've always wanted to try copic markers but they just aren't in my budget right now...but it's nice to know what kind of information is out there for when I decide to invest!


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