Are these new markers worth it?

Hi friends! Today I have a review of the new Spectrum Noir Tri-Blend alcohol based markers.

There are 24 colors in the range currently. I asked my contact at Spectrum Noir if they planned to expand the range and they said that they didn’t have plans to expand but they have an auto-ship program on Home Shopping Network (where they debut many of their products) so they may add new colors that way. I guess seeing how many people sign up for an auto ship can let them know if there is interest in creating more colors. I checked on the Crafter’s Companion website (they are the parent company) and they are selling the 24 marker set for $119.95 or 3 marker packs for $14.95. These are the same colors but arranged differently. The markers are available at Simon Says Stamp individually for $4.99 or in the set of 24 for $119.99 and they ship worldwide.

I had a mixed bag of emotions when reviewing these markers. At first I was over the moon! The brush tips are the high quality flexible kind (not the fragile kind you normally find on inexpensive markers) and then I found out the price was $5 each (which is cheap considering just 3 high quality replacement nibs for my copics is $7) and being familiar with the old bullet tip Triblends I thought these would be a sure winner. What went wrong? For some reason they changed some of the colors making large jumps between tones. I think they did this to get an overall larger color range but by doing that you lose a lot of the blending ability. There is no perfect marker for everyone and I’d give these 7 out of 10 stars. You can see the range of markers and their blending below.

I am missing the color Jade Green from this swatch as I don’t have it. You can see the individual colors in each marker in stripes below the rectangle. For best results when blending with alcohol markers you want shades that are fairly close to one another. If they are too far extreme you will get hard lines and streaks.

As with any supply they have benefits and drawbacks, lets explore!

Pros:

  • *Price (3 colors in one family for $5)
  • Convenience (fewer markers to carry)
  • Fits in the Spectrum Noir color collection so if you have other SN markers they will work well together and if you have refill inks you could revive them (although they are not marketed as refillable)
  • High-quality brush nibs, very similar to Copic
  • Caps are easy to remove for arthritic hands (Be careful replacing them do you don’t damage the tip on the edges.)
  • Despite the length of the markers they are very comfortable to hold (they are one of the larger markers around tho)

Cons:

  • There are some pretty big jumps between colors making for difficult blends especially with the blues pinks and purples, alternately there were a couple of markers with tones too close together
  • Some of the colors don’t seem to match the original Spectrum Noir Markers exactly
  • Since you essentially have 3 markers in one barrel there is not a lot of room for ink so these markers are likely to run out sooner than traditional markers.
This is another blend test I did with the markers. I really struggled to create a seamless blend.

Bottom Line: The brush nibs on these are perfect, they are so much fun to color with that it’s a shame that some of the color choices in a marker are too far apart to create a smooth blend. I think they were probably trying to get more variety in a limited amount of markers but I worry that beginners might get frustrated and think it is their fault the blends are not smooth. I wish they used the color pics from the original first 24 tri-blends because those tones blended beautifully and it really would be effortless if they were in the brush form. That said for coloring the images I showed they worked very well. Smaller areas will be fairly easy to blend and since these are marketed to stampers it will probably be fine as they are working in smaller areas. I think the ink would run out too fast for marker artists rendering full page artwork. I recommend trying a few colors that don’t have big jumps in color number (zoom in on the package photo and look at the end of the marker with the color codes, chose ones where the colors are only a step or 2 away from the next color) and see what you think. Also, I think some of the purples and greens are “samey” so you probably don’t need all the colors for a decent variety.

What do you think? Are you going to try these? Do you think i missed the mark in my review? Let me know in the comments and til next time happy crafting!

4 Responses

  1. Liked your review. They won’t make it into my art room at this time. Your swatches proved why. I’ll keep my ohuhu.
    BTW did you get the new Etchr 24pan watercolor palette? Packaging was the bomb (plastic bag, fab pressboard case with magnetic opening, microfiber cloth wrapped). Unboxing & swatching now on their provided cold pressed sketchbook paper, 100%cotton/vegan friendly swatch sheet.

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  2. Thanks for reviewing these markers. I have been looking at them at their online shop in the UK. I also will give these a miss. I have some markers (quite a lot really) and it seems that they will not suit my purpose. You have saved me a lot of money. I am retired and have a limited budget. Would love to be able to afford Copics…. One can only dream..

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  3. Since I already have most of the Copic markers and a lot of the refills, I’ll stick with them. Can buy a lot of new nibs for $119.

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