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Copic Markers: Using Glossy Card & Colouring Photos

Copic on Gloss

Today I am using Copic Markers to add hints of colour to printed photos.  Sounds easy enough doesn't it!  Though it sounds easy, using Copic Markers on glossy photo paper isn't quite as simple as colouring on uncoated paper, there are quite a few factors in play that can affect your results.  Not to worry - in the following post I will show you several techniques and go over a few important tips for colouring with Copic Markers on glossy photo paper.



When colouring on glossy card, your markers will produce results similar to colouring on plastic or acetate.  Your colours will not blend like they do on paper, colours will be paler than on paper, there WILL be streaks and colouring over the top may make your area darker - or depending on the marker - may remove some of the colour.  You will need to have a play and make some test marks with your Copic Markers before colouring your final project.

I've tried a few different ways of colouring on glossy card, looking for a technique that produces the best results.


Blending Circles - a beginner colouring technique where you colour in small overlapping circles for a smooth result.   The results were not as smooth as on regular card or paper - but not too bad!

Copic glossy test circles

Scrubbing - a beginner technique where you colour by rubbing the marker back and forth without lifting the tip.   Again - the results were not as smooth as on uncoated paper - but not bad!

Copic glossy test circles

 Dotting - a technique to create texture and depth, often used for clothing or foliage.  Once again no real blending, but the results are better than expected.

Copic glossy test dotting

Stripes - where you draw a line from one side of the image to the other, lifting your pen for each line.  This created quite distinct lines.

Copic glossy test dotting

 Feather Blending - a technique used to blend two colours from different colour families, again while not as smooth as on paper - This produced quite pleasing results.

Copic glossy test feathering

Layering - while layering colours on uncoated paper will blend the colours, on glossy card one layer completely covered the other - there was no noticeable blending.

Copic glossy test feathering

Tip to Tip Blending - when you apply colour from a darker marker on the tip of your paler colour before colouring - produces a two tone effect.  Worked quite well on the glossy card, not suitable for blending but great as a special effect.

Copic glossy test feathering

Colorless Blender - this square was coloured and then colorless blender dripped on top - as you can see on the glossy card the blender has no noticeable effect.  MASSIVE FAIL!

Copic glossy test feathering

Please Note: the best results were achieved when I coloured small areas, coloured quickly and kept my marker in contact with the paper (ie: don't stop colouring and come back, don't lift your marker off the paper).  Your results will also vary depending on the glossy card you use.



  1. Your Paper Makes a Difference

    The first consideration even before you print your photo is your photo paper and your printer!  
    Not all photo paper is created in the same way and while all glossy photo paper is glossy, each has a different coating to achieve the gloss.  The first thing you will need to do is test your paper.  To test the paper, begin colouring a small circle on one corner of the paper.  If you are able to colour the circle with no visible damage to the paper then it is likely to be Copic safe.  If you begin colouring and start to see the coating lifting, moving, peeling or becoming tacky then you should stop - clean your marker and consider your paper unsuitable for use with Copic Markers.
    I have tried several glossy card and paper types with Copic Markers, the one with the best results so far by a mile has been the X-Press It Gloss Inkjet Photo Paper.

  2. Your Printer Makes a Difference

    If you have a laser printer your ink is Copic safe, as a laser printer uses heat to bond the ink to the paper - print and colour away!
    If you have an Ink Jet printer you will need to test your ink to see if it is Copic safe, Kathy explains how to do this with stamping inks here, the process is the same to test your printer ink - the only difference is, you will need to print your image rather than stamp it.

  3. Colour Carefully

    When using glossy papers you will need to colour very carefully as your Colorless Blender will not remove colour the same way it does on normal (uncoated) paper.  If you make a mistake or colour outside a line - then it's permanent, you may even need to start again from scratch.
    You will also not be able to blend colours as you would on normal paper - stick to small areas and a single colour if possible for the best results.  Pale colours are also easier to use and more forgiving than bright or dark colours.


This photo has been coloured using the circle blending technique, the scrubbing technique and the dotting technique.  The colours are bright and crisp and while not overly blended, still quite effective!  The Copic marker colours used to colour the image are Y04, Y06, Y26, RV55 & RV66

  Copic Colouring on Gloss-1 copy


If you'd like to see how I used this on a project, then look here!