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!

15 thoughts on “They’ve Changed! Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers Review

  1. Love that you can replace the nibs with the new nibs. Also they seem to blend really well – I got some artists loft alcohol markers and they don’t blend well for me, or maybe I’m doing it wrong…

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    1. alcohol markers have a steep learning curve so I’d say practice. Certain colors like reds, purples, and dark blues are tricky to blend so you need very similar colors whereas you can blend further apart color in other hues.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this. I have the full Spectrum Noir collection and now will just replace the nibs on the fine tip side. After using the Artist Loft with brush tips I am a bit in love with them.

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  3. I purchased some of the illustrator markers at Tuesday morning in the summer. I do like them, but it was frustrating that the colors were not the same as the ones in my regular SN sets. I decided to stick with the regular SN’s for now. Interesting how they have come out with new ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I noticed some of the tritone markers were a bit off from the regular SN range too but they did just revamp the ink so makbe that had some production issues.

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  4. Hi! I am testing the waters with these markets and really like them. However, the Sketching 12 pack is out of stock throughout Crafters Companion. It worries me that they are not going to continue producing this marker. Just want to know before I invest too much into the collection. Have you heard any news about this?

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    1. I think they have a 36 pack and it might be wise to check HSN.com (the home shopping channel) because they might have deals, I think they launch their products there. The recently rebranded the inks so there was a shortage of refills but I think they are back up and running. I don’t work for them so I can’t say anything for sure but it seems like they are going to support this product in the future.

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  5. Hi Leslie, I just watched your video and have decided to go with the new SN Illustrator instead of the expensive Copic’s.
    I currently own the Classic SN markers and have not been happy with them. I purchased a set of the illustrators and love them. I am having a problem figuring out how to purchase all 216 colors by purchasing in sets. I have found duplicates across the sets, plus I only see 4 – 12 marker sets and 8 – 6 marker sets. Will I have to purchase them individually to get all the colors?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure, I don’t know if you can get them all in sets. I’d suggest buying the single colors you need most, you might find you won’t use all the colors.

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  6. I have bought the 36 set last week, and I’ve done 1 complete piece with them. but when starting on the next piece, they are already very very dry. Is there really no more ink in them, or is the brush nib getting clogged up? I did use marker paper, so i’s not that the paper was sucking out too much of the ink. If they really go empty that fast, then they are very expensive. I searched the internet, and can’t find something about this apart from 1 reviewer that noticed this too, and they are the new ones. I wonder how the Ohuhus compare with the Illustrators? As I’ve seen that they just came out with a 168 set including lots of soft colours. If I can be sure they are better and last longer, I would like to buy them, as I can’t afford the cost of copics because I don’t colour that much with alcohol markers. I hope someone can enlighten me.

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    1. Hi Dieter,
      I noticed my new SN illustrator markers were feeling dry with not a lot of use too. I thought it might be me being impatient as it is a softer tip than other markers and ink dosn’t flow as quick but hearing another remark the same thing I am suspicious. I am also used to working with ohuhu and they are almost overfilled with ink, lost of flow, I love it! The ohuhu nibs are quite firm so if you do get them I’d save the SN makers for the nibs as you may want to swap them out of you prefer the softer nib. I prefer a firmer nib but objectively I will say the new SN nibs are a higher quality (foam rubber vs compressed fiber) but the ohuhu nibs are reversible so you can flip them around if they start to fray. I think they are worth the money but I will link you to my review as well as my ultimate marker comparison video so you can see how they rank with other markers. I did look up that set and it looks like they combined the pastel set and the 120 set, that’s a good deal. You really can’t go wrong but I sill will link the videos for you to get more info if you want.

      Ohuhu brush marker review: https://youtu.be/JMgfJ2KZIvk *My original markers are still working great, no fraying or desalination on the nibs.
      Ohuhu pastel brush marker review: https://youtu.be/oq_-JnJvwMk
      Ultimate marker showdown: https://youtu.be/P6yGIBfdBT4

      One other thing, I would reach out to spectrum noir and tell them about the markers. They might be able to replace your set. Maybe you got a bad batch. It’s worth asking anyway because a marker should last more than one normal-sized picture. Good luck:)

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