They’ve Changed! Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers Review

Hi friends! I had been asked to review Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers a few times since they came out a couple of years ago. I was hesitant because I have noticed with Spectrum Noir products they tend to come out with a product, get feedback from customers and then improve it on the next version. I basically didn’t want to get their test run LOL! Especially since all of the Spectrum Noir markers are a refillable product if I am going to have it for years and years I want the best version. My instincts were right on these markers because they just released an improved version of the marker with higher quality brush nibs. I heard the older version’s nibs were the kind that frayed and wore out easily but I am happy to report that’s no longer the case. Watch the video to learn more about these markers and read the full review below for additional info.

The new spectrum Noir Illustrator markers feature flexible (foam-rubber like) fray resistant nibs and are available open stock and in sets of 6, 12 and 36 currently. They are part of the Spectrum Noir coloring system and match your other SN markers and can be refilled with the SN refill inks making them a totally reusable marker. If you have the older style Illustrator markers (or even the classics) you can use the new replacement nibs in them if they wear out. The nibs will be available soon and ll 216 colors are ink is now available on the Crafter’s Companion website. BTW Blick has the refill ink on the old glass bottle packaging at a lower price if you wanted to stock up!

As with any marker I recommend swatching them on the paper you typically use so you know what color to expect. Crafter’s Companion offers free color charts you can print and color yourself here. *Or if you want the swatch stamps I use you can find them here.

Pros:

  • Price- $4 individual or $2-$3 each if bought in sets
  • Smooth ink in vibrant colors
  • Sets are arranged in thoughtful color groupings
  • Refillable, reinkers available here.
  • Easy to blend
  • The flexible brush end gives wide to fine strokes and the bullet tip is ultra-fine for tiny details.

Cons:

  • There may still be old stock out there so be sure you are getting the new version. I asked my contact at Crafter’s Companion how to tell new from old stock and she said this: The Illustrators have a darker font on the pen itself, the new is a grey the old is a beige. Old nibs can be swapped out for the new ones tho so if you have the old version no need to upgrade, just replace the nibs as needed.
  • The color chip at the end is inlaid so it is hard to tell what color is what if the markers are laying on your table. I would want to make a swatch to wrap around the barrel of have them standing in a cup as I worked. It’s a small annoyance and doesn’t affect the performance of the marker but it would keep me from grabbing these over others.

Bottom line…

I like the Spectrum Noir coloring system. I like how you can refill markers and if you were a stamper or a coloring book hobbyist starting from scratch this would be a nice option as you could build your stash as needed and refill your markers when they go dry instead of tossing them. The bullet tip is very small so I see that being the biggest plus to stampers or coloring book artists who want an alcohol marker to make fine lines. If you already have the classic Spectrum Noir markers or the old illustrators I wouldn’t necessarily recommend upgrading them unless you love the look of the new version because the rep I talked to said you can use the new nibs in the old bodies so the only reason to upgrade to the new style would be purely cosmetic. Crafter’s Companion has been around for quite a while and they have invested heavily in coloring tools so I trust they they will be around for a long time to support their materials which is huge. What do you think? Have you used these markers? Let us know what you think in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

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Inktober Week 3 Progress -Sketchbook Sunday

Hi friends! Here we are at day 20 of Inktober 2019. I have enjoyed the additional drawing practice each day but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle some days! Here is today’s drawing for the prompt “tread” and my personal theme of drawing hands.

The real-time tutorial for this painting will be available in Critique Club tomorrow, you can find it in the classroom by tomorrow night. Critique club is a membership group for people who want to grow their artistic abilities. You can upload 2 original paintings you are working on for a custom critique for me per month and you have access to the all of the longer, more advanced real time tutorials in the group plus two new tutorials every month. You can learn more about Critique Club here. In the meantime you can enjoy the time-lapse of today’s artwork now!

Supplies:(affiliate links used)

Here are the other Inktober drawings I completed this week. I actually was able to finish up a couple of sketchbooks I had been working on for a while, that feels great! I post my drawing daily to my Instagram account if you want to follow along. You can see my projects form week 1 here, and week 2 here on my blog.

Day 14 “Overgrown” 2 of my alcohol markers ran out during this drawing! I was able to custom mix refill ink from alcohol inks and blending solution to get me through the project.

Day 15 “Legend” I though about reading a creepy book and then turning around and seeing a creepy monster peeking over your shoulder LOL!
Day 16 “Wild” I was thinking of people wildly parting at a rock concert. Honestly, it was really hard to fit the daily prompts with my hand theme but I really like how this drawing turned out.
Day 17 “Ornament” This is pretty obvious but I liked how it turned out. I used inktense pencils on this one.
Day 18 “Misfit” This was hard to fit in my theme of hands but I kept thinking of the punk rock band the Misfits and so I drew rock-star hands spelling the word “Misfits” in American Sign Langue and then added music imagery including their iconic guitar and a pic with the Misfits logo on it. I’m not sure it many people got this one:)
Day 19 “Sling” This was a lot of fun although I spilled acrylic paint on it halfway through. The original sketch was sloppy and inaccurate so spilling the opaque tan ink on the page was a blessing as it wiped out a lot of my drawing so I could start over. This is a bartender slinging drinks, a Singapore Sling to be exact LOL!

Want to learn to draw better?

Save 50% on my class Learn to Draw with Lindsay with coupon code: INKTOBER through 10/31/19 or by clicking this discount link. *Offer good on full price class regular price $79, after coupon $39.50, use coupon code on the checkout page if the discount doesn’t show up automatically.

Thanks for joining me on my Inktober journey, til next time happy creating!

Little Stamps can make Big Flowers!

Want to make a big impact with your tiny peg stamps? Today I’ll show you how! Any flower peg stamps can be used for these techniques so raid your stash. Otherwise I’ll link the stamps (and options) I used below. This technique has many options for creating multi blossom flowers, trees and plants so brainstorm other ways to use this idea!

Watch the video to see how easy it is!

This video is sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry! Use coupon code: LINDSAY and receive 15% off your retail order of $10 or more of peg stamps, peg stamp sets, and unmounted stamps! Coupon expires a week from this video publication. Continue to receive great deals by becoming a PegStamp VIP here. As a PegStamp VIP you’ll get a weekly deal via email plus links to fabulous tutorials by me, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter and other designers.

Supplies:

Directions:

  1. Cut a sheet of heavy Kraft cardstock to 7”x10” and fold in half to make card. Save scraps to stamp on sentiment later. Cut 4.25”x5.5” white panel for stamping.
  2. Draw stem and flower shapes lightly with pencil on white cardstock.
  3. Fill in drawn shapes with lots of stamped flowers. Stamp a couple of times each time you ink up so you will get a variety of tones in the flower.
  4. Stamp leaves around flowers.
  5. Draw in stems and ink background if desired.
  6. Stamp and emboss Happy Birthday sentiment, trim and assemble card.

Have a look at your small flower stamps and make some big ones! Happy crafting!

Falling Leaves in Watercolor

Hi friends! Today’s video was inspired by two things: A photo I took when painting outdoors last week and a Critique Club member’s request (Thanks Elizabeth!) that I paint falling leaves.

Here is the photo I took:

And I am glad I got that photo when I did because we had a Nor’easter last night into today and I reckon all of the leaves are probably on the ground now! Luckily it was warm and we just got lots of wind and rain because I can’t deal with snow this early! We also lost power and internet so I am now catching up with the days work. Let’s go to the video!

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

Want to learn how to paint landscapes better? Try my Watercolor Landscape Workshop and save 50% now through 10/31/19 with coupon code: fallcolor (or by clicking this discount link)
*coupon good on the full course purchase, not on payment plan.

Happy painting!

You have time to make these cards before you need them!

Hi friends! Today we are making some fun alcohol marker colored cards. You can adapt the technique for any theme card you want but I am getting a start on my Christmas Cards.

This tutorial is sponsored by Top Flight Stamps! SAVE 10% off your next order with coupon code: thefrugalcrafter10 *USA orders of $50+ ship free!

Supplies (Affiliate links may be used)

If you plan on any time consuming coloring on your holiday cards try and pick away at it early so you can spend your time enjoying the holidays and not stressing over your cards. Happy crafting!

Sketchbook Sunday-Inktober Day 13 “Ash” and this weeks Inktober drawings!

Hi friends! I am still chugging along drawing hands for inktober. Today’s prompt is “Ash” and what came to mind was a hand holding a cigarette with ash forming at the end.

You can follow my daily Inktober progress on my Instagram page. if you like:) I have kept up with it so far posting a new drawing each day. I’ll share the rest of this weeks drawings at the end of the blog post. You can see how I created this in today’ video:

All of the supplies were from the Smart Art October 2019 subscription box.
You can purchase this box or subscribe to receive a surprise box every month. They also have art bundles to get you started in a specific art media. Smart Art ships to many countries too!

Do you want to learn to draw better?

Check out my class Learn to Draw with Lindsay and save 50% through 10/31/19 with coupon code INKTOBER or by clicking this special discount link. This is one of my most popular classes and I have helped hundreds of students realize their dream of being able to draw what they see without gimmicks or gadgets. Don’t have time for a class now? Don’t worry, you have lifetime access so you can take it whenever it is convenient and you can return to the lessons anytime you need a refresher! Drawing will help you in what ever art you like to do because drawing skills are the foundation your artsy house is built on.

Don’t wait, this offer is only good on the full class through 10/31/19 with coupon code INKTOBER or through this discount link.

Here is a look at my Inktober sketches from the past week. You can see week one’s attempts on last weeks Sketchbook Sunday Post. I can see an improvement from this week to last. I really love challenging myself and working out the problems in each drawing. I am getting a bit faster at drawing hands too which only comes with practice.

Inktober day 6, prompt was “Husky” and I decided to draw a hand attached to a person. It is a bit cartoony but nevertheless I like how it came out.
Day 7 “Enchanted” and I thought a magic apple would do the trick!
Day 8 “frail” This was one of the first times I have used alcohol markers on toned paper and I love how it turned out. I used Stathmore toned tan mixed media paper, alcohol marker and Prismacolor Colored pencils.
Day 9 “Swing” I thought of swing music and a trumpet for this day’s prompt. I used toned grey mixed media paper, pencils and markers too.
Day 10 “Pattern” I think this might be my favorite inktober drawing I have ever done. After drawing the hand holding the measuring tape and stamped sewing pattern stamps all over the image in clear ink and rubbed chalk o the background. I was a bit scared to do this because I didn’t want to ruin it but it turned out good!
Day 11 “Snow” I was back to the toned grey paper to give this a cold feeling and I think it turned out pretty well. I really like my cuffs. I did the falling sow with a white paint pen and dabbed some of the flakes with my fingers to blur them and add depth.

Day 12 “Dragon” keeping with the inktober prompts and the theme of hands was really hard with this one but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I used Strathmore marker paper and applied 2 layers of back marker to the background to get a matte black look. I wanted a dramatic shadow on the hands here and probably should have pushed the shading more but I ran out of time and didn’t want to miss a day.

And today’s prompt is in the video! With the exception of today’s project I have used Art-n-Fly Markers, Prismacolor Pencils and a white gel pen on various papers and sketchbooks. I have been surprised at how differently markers behave on different papers. It is really important to give yourself time to adapt when you change up your materials. I think the more you get used to a paper the better your art will look. This is really important to stress if you are a beginner or on a budget. Don’t think you need to go out and buy something new, you might just need to adapt to using what you have and explore all that it can do! Are you doing Inktober this year? I think challenging yourself to do something every day is a wonderful way to get in the habit of making art and see your growth over time. I hope you give it a try!

House Mouse Halloween Card and Popular Markers are Back! {Ohuhu Brush Marker Review}

Hi friends! Last spring I got a chance to try out the new Ohuhu Brush markers. I posted a review on YouTube as soon as they were released but they sold out in a couple of hours so I decided to wait to post the review to my blog until they came back in stock. Today they are back in stock and available in the original 48 color pack and a new 72 color pack. The 72 color pack has all of the colors from the 48 set and both sets contain a colorless blender (in addition to the 48 or 72 colored markers) so don’t buy them both unless you want doubles. I tried out the new markers and they are just as good as the ones I got in the spring and I will post the full review below but first I have a new card for you!

Watch the video to see how I colored the image and how I tint embellishments to match my coloring!

Supplies: (Affiliate links used)

Ohuhu Brush Marker Review

Ohuhu has made a huge splash on the marker scene by coming out with really affordable marker sets over the past couple of years. The ink is smooth, the nibs resilient and the customer service is excellent! So when rumors that they were working on a brush tip version started to surface the art community got really excited. I had the privilege to get a set a couple of months prior to their release and I have been using them a lot. You have probably seen sneak peeks in some of my cardmaking videos, Today I am going to give you the lowdown on these markers!

Details

  • Available in 48 and 72 color packs with an additional colorless blender per pack. The 72 color set contains the original 48 colors plus an additional 24.
  • Brush and chisel tip
  • Nice carrying bag
I took a quick photo of my swatches for both sets, the 72 set contains more grays and pastel shades.

Pros:

  • Price Under $1 per marker with the 48 color set at .73 per marker ($34.99 set) and the 72 set at .97 per marker ($69.99 set)
  • Nice well rounded color selection
  • Brush tip is juicy and great for blending and laying in lots of ink
  • Reversible brush tip, if it gets worn flip it around to double the nib life.
  • Smooth ink laydown, not patchy
  • Works well with the classic Ohuhu markers
  • I recommend this for coloring and blending for stampers and artists (not brush lettering as the nib is a bit stiff)

Cons:

  • The color numbering system is not the same as the classic chisel/bullet Ohuhu markers
  • The material the brush tip is made of is the “felty” materials instead of the “foam-spongy” feeling materials and in my experience the felty material frays eventually especially if you let it go dry or press on the nib too hard. *but the brush nib is reversible so you can flip it around if it frays.
  • Nib is not very flexible and I fear damaging it if I tried flexing it. I would not recommend this for brush lettering.
  • Also with these types of tips (not on these Ohuhu markers because I have not had them very long) I have had desalinization where the salts from the ink leech up through the brush tip and make the marker look gross. To remedy that I add alcohol on the tip to dissolve the ink and salt back into the marker. Edited to add I have been using the 48 set for 7 months and have not had that happen.

Bottom Line:
These are a great budget brush tip marker if you get them for $1 a piece or less. The brush nibs are not going to last as well as a Copic but you can pull out the reversible nib and insert it in the other way around for a longer life. The nibs will definitely last as long as the ink in the marker. I have been using them 2 months and have not had any issues but I recommend keeping them capped when not in use and not storing them in hot dry areas (like on a shelf near a heater) because of drying. I have had markers with tips like these stored in my basement work area with no problem but the ones I keep in my office on a bookshelf 4 feet from a baseboard radiator have dried and frayed. I think storing the markers in a plastic Rubbermaid tote would help with this issue too. These markers are a lot of fun and easy to use. The quality isn’t up there with Copic or other foam-rubber-like tip marker but neither is the price and if you are looking for an affordable brush tip marker you can’t beat it!

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