Hey guys. I thought a few posts on caring and maintaining art materials might be useful. With many supplies being on the expensive side, these are more investments than use-and-toss items. And, if you're going to invest in something, you may as well keep it in prime working order so you can get the most out of it, right? Right.
So here's the first post, cleaning your Copic markers.
Unlike the markers themselves, the materials used to clean them are pretty inexpensive.
Basically, you need something soft to wipe the casing and inner caps off with - such as cotton balls, Q-Tips, makeup removal pads, stuff like that. Next, you need something that will break down the ink so you can remove it. Copic marker ink is alcohol based, so rubbing alcohol works well. (While you can use the Copic Clear Blender refill for this, it's much more expensive.) All that remains is a cloth to wipe the excess cleaner off and a number of gunky markers. Oh, and a piece of paper or cloth to work on. Things can get a little messy.
So, why clean markers at all? Well, you see this gunk around the nib and cap?
That's dried ink. This ink can build up in your cap, making it a little difficult to open and close a marker. Small flakes of dried ink can also fall onto your drawing or get on your hands. No big deal. The ink is dry, right? Wrong. The ink can still smear and stain once it's in contact with wet ink. And the last thing you want is an odd smear of color or even a fingerprint on your work.
So, let's get that off.
Simply wet your cotton ball with your cleaning solution and wipe the outside of the case wherever you see any dried ink. Then, rub the case down with the clean cloth. Outer case is done.
Now, the nib area. Gently wipe around the case where it connects to the nib, being careful not to wipe the nib itself. Don't worry, you won't damage the nib. You just want to avoid getting lint on it if you can. You may have to rub a bit here, since this is where a lot of ink accumulates. Again, wipe down with the clean cloth to remove any extra cleaner.
Now, the inner cap. Take your moist cotton ball and twist it into a cylinder. Pop one end into the cap and twist it around. Pull it out and pop a corner of your cloth into the cap, twisting it around as well. There you go, a clean cap.
As I said earlier, things can get a little messy. So, be sure to have some paper or cloth under your work area. Better yet, avoid doing this on your dinning room table if you can. As with all traditional art, don't work where you're worried about staining something. Try to work where you can make a bit of a mess with little regret.
Now, you shouldn't need to do this often. Just keep an eye on your markers and if you see some getting a little messy or have a hard time getting the caps back on, you may want to break out the cleaning materials and give them a rub down. These markers are designed to last for years. Take care of them and they will.
"I'm high maintenance, but I'm worth it."
-- Lara Logan