While one blogger nailed the answer with, "It depends on what you will be coloring," I decided that I'd share where I started, what colors I started with and why. I plan on mastering this Copic thing and sharing the journey with all of you. If anyone has Copic resources they'd be willing to share, PULEEZE email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. So here we go!
I started with specific color families and a budget of $150. After pricing at Oozak.com (free shipping with $50+ order), Dick Blick's, CarpeDiem.com and Joann's, I finally decided on CarpeDiem.com. Honestly, I have a 50% off coupon for Joann.com that actually worked on the Copic Sketch 36 Basic pack (that was on sale which is why I'm so surprised) bringing the price down to $90 +/- which would have meant that each marker was just over $2.50 each (tax and shipping not included), but the pack WAS basic and all the colors were preselected and not necessarily coordinating. Which is why I went to CarpeDiem.com. Now, I just placed the order so I can't yet say how fast or slow shipping is, but I CAN tell you that I purposefully sent "rapid fire" questions to Carpe Diem's customer service and all three of my emails this afternoon were answered within about an hour. None of the responses were particularly friendly, but none of them were rude either. I would say they were direct. I had read that the customer service was not stellar with very s-l-o-w communication, but I actually found the opposite to be true, so I'm hoping that the opposite will be true regarding the shipping and I will get my order quickly. We'll see. The shipping was free for me because I ordered over $100 in open stock Copic Sketch markers. Actually I ordered 33 markers and my total came to $132.10 (final price). So I can honestly say that so far I'm impressed. Super quick communication and great pricing... while it's no "50% off", it IS the cheapest price I've found on open stock (U-pick) Copic Sketch markers without a special coupon or discount code. Here was my order:
0- colorless Blender: this is a MUST HAVE to lighten/remove Copic marks, C0- This is the only "cool" gray marker I ordered, BV000, BV01, BV08, E00, E09, E11, E21, E27, E33, E35, E39, E50, E51, N1, N3, N9, R14, R20, R24, R27, R29, R30, RV34, V17, Y13,Y38, YG63, YR21, G09, G21, and G24.
You'll notice that a majority of the colors I chose begin with the letter "E". Those are Earth tones that range from muted skin tones to reds and browns. I concentrated much of my order to this color family for this reason. The "E's" definitely give you more bang for your buck. I did not include any blues in this initial order. My only reasoning is that SOMETHING had to get cut with the small budget I had and the R's and E's, I knew, were going to be a priority on this first order simply because of the versatility. Now, if I trusted my blending ability, I would have nixed the BV's and V's (purples or violets and blue violets) and went ahead and gotten the blue colors understanding that blue and red mixed makes purple. But since I've never worked with alcohol based markers... I just don't trust my blending ability until I've worked with them and have a project that I NEED those purples for, so purple won. I rounded off my order with some neutral grays, some greens and some yellows. The only colors that got pulled completely was the blue color family. My second order will make up for that... I've already started to put that order together. I will be including quite a few blues along with more "cool" grays and a couple "warm" grays. Hopefully my piggy bank fills back up quickly. I'm anxious to figure this out and share with all of you! :)
*** Copic Sketch and Copic Ciao markers have the same nibs at each end. The body styles are different, the Sketch holds more ink and also has more colors to choose from. The final difference, and the reason I chose Sketch over Ciao, is the Sketch markers can be used in the Copic air gun which is on my wish list. For the average scrapper, the Ciao is all they will ever need and have a smaller price tag. I hope this info helps others who may be interested in this Copic adventure.