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.


  • 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.


  • 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!

Easy to Use Markers for Stampers who Like to Blend!

Hi friends!  This week I had the chance to try out the new Tri-Blend markers from Crafter’s Companion. They are the newest markers in the Spectrum Noir family.


They feature Hexagon non-roll barrels and bullet tips. Each marker contains 3 smaller markers so you have a light, medium and dark version of the color to make blending simple and easy. You can see my review in the video below.

You can find the markers at Simon Says Stamp for $5 each and they ship worldwide. *Affiliate link


  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • refill inks available
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Blends well
  • Takes little space to store
  • Great for travel
  • Caps hold tight but are easy to remove
  • Nonroll barrel
  • Fine bullet nibs perfect for stampers or coloring book enthusiasts.


  • The markers have a small inkpad inside them so they will run out of ink much quicker than other markers, especially the light tones which you will use a lot. (note, refill inks available at about $5-$7 but it would refill these minis dozens of times, also the refill ink is not sold many places so you might have to hunt for it.)
  • Upon further invstigation, not all colors are a perfect match for the Spectrum Noir inks but they are in the middle of a rebranding so hopefully, they are addressing that. This is only an issue if you are reinking them.
  • With only the bullet nibs it will limit the size of the artwork you can make.

Bottom line, I really enjoyed using these, they were probably the easiest markers for creating blends in small stamped images. I recommend them for rubber stampers who are new to alcohol markers or who love markers and want a travel set. Two thumbs up from me! I hope you found this helpful and til next time happy crafting!

More Markers? Arteza Everblend Marker Review

Hi friends! Arteza sent me these markers to review about 2 months ago and I have finally used them enough to do a proper review.  As always my reviews are not sponsored but they did send me this product for free.  Arteza has been making quite a splash on the art supply scene over the past 3 years because they have been pumping out the products and their prices are excellent. Usually, the quality is really good for the price and even the supplies I am not 100% thrilled with (watercolors) are well worth what they are priced at.


The markers come in 60 colors in an attractive and sturdy carrying case. I did confirm that they are going to be offering refill inks and replacement nibs soon and that they will be out with a brush tip alcohol marker in a few months (good to know if you want to wait a bit.) I also heard, but have not got confirmation, that they will be coming out with a grey scale and neutral set soon which would be nice because as you can see from my swatch below that the set is lacking in those areas. *Note, I took a photo of my swatch outside in the shade and tried to correct it in my computer but my purples, blues, and greys look too blue and samey where they are more distinct in real life. Refer to the swatch under this one for more accurate results or refer to my swatch in the video.


I omitted the letter A from each number due to space. Below are the swatched from the Arteza website, I think their scan is better than my photo and you can clearly see the color numbers. I think the top swatch is one layer and the bottom is 2 layers.


Here are some coupon codes you can try on these products: MOTHER20 (20% off mothers day promotion, it might only work on bundles, I’m not sure, I just found it in my email but it is worth a try!) OR FRUGAL1 for 10% off if the other doesn’t work on the marker set. Those coupons are only good on the Arteza Website. Here is an affiliate link to the marker set with carrying case I am reviewing today, also there is a 144 empty marker case for these markers here.  The other empty marker cases they sell are for the skinny markers and regular pencils. You can also find this marker set on Amazon where right now there is a 20% off coupon available and the sets is a couple bucks cheaper!

Video Review:

Product details: 60 dual-tipped alcohol markers featuring a broad chisel tip and a bullet tip. The barrels are white glossy triangular plastic and they come in a high-quality carrying case that will hold 72 markers total (12 empty slots) Price typically ranges $63-$70 before coupons.


  • Good selection of bright and pastel colors
  • Low Price (compared to brand name art markers, see bottom line)
  • Carrying case
  • Smooth ink
  • Replacement markers available (in a 4 pack on one color)
  • Replacement inks and nibs are coming soon!
  • Colors blend well
  • Color chips in end are pretty accurate but I recommend swatching


  • Numbering system makes little sense
  • Poor selection of greys and neutrals

Bottom Line: This is a great set for travel because you have a nice variety of colors to get you by in a pinch and the case has room for other accessories you would want. I think you would want more neutrals (if you like to draw and color people or animals) and greys to round out the set eventually which rumor has it will be released shortly. I found these easy to hold, quiet to color with (non-squeaky) and they blend well. They cost more than other budget markers such as Ohuhu,  Biayno or Arrtx  that run about 50 cents a marker vs $1 per marker for Arteza for about the same quality but the Arteza carrying case is much nicer so I think that is what you are paying extra for. All in all I do recommend these markers, you just need to determine if the case is worth the extra. That said an empty 144 case can be purchased for $37 before coupons (see coupons above) As with any alcohol pens you can mix and match between brands to create the set that meets your needs. The other thing to consider is that Arteza says they are releasing brush alcohol markers soon so you might want to wait for those if you are interested. I don’t know what those will cost as brush tip markers are generally more expensive but it might be worth the wait. I hope the release a skin-tone brush tip pack because that would be a wonderful addition to this range. I hope this helps you make a good decision on whether or not these markers are for you and til next time happy crafting!

Don’t be Confused by Color! Try These Tips Instead!

Hi friends! Today I am going to share ways to make coloring with alcohol markers so much easier no matter what brand or mix of brands you have!


I will be demonstrating my technique with my 120 color Ohuhu alcohol marker set. They are probably the most affordable brand of alcohol markers on the market so you do not need expensive pens for this to work. I reviewed the Ohuhu Markers in the past and was very impressed with them, especially when they swatched over to the new style, you can see a comparison here if you want more information. In today’s video, I am going to share a grouping technique that will work with any brand of alcohol marker tho.  The first 13 minutes of this video shows my swatch guide method. The remainder of the video is a coloring demo.

Supplies & Resources (affiliate links used)

Here’s what to do (as explained in the video)
1. Swatch out all of your markers noting the brand and color number on your swatch.


2. Sort your markers in groups by their color and undertones. For instance, you would have pinks, pinkish reds, neutral reads, coral/orange reds, warm (orange) yellows, cool (green-leaning) yellows, yellow-greens, teals, blues, purples, cool grays, warm grays, neutrals etc.

*Sort them as specifically as you like. If you are new to coloring with alcohol markers keep groups smaller (less than 6 colors) but no more than 12. *If you have more than 12 break them into two groups that are more specific. Secure each group with a rubber band.

3. Swatch the colors on a strip of cardstock. *Always swatch on the paper you normally use for markers.

4. Punch a circle in the center of each swatch. *You can peek through the circle to help choose colors for projects or when shopping for new markers.

***Bring this swatch with you when you shop to avoid buying duplicate color and to make sure you are purchasing colors that will work with what you have. Update your swatch when you get new markers.


Coloring tips:

  • Choose a light, medium and dark version of a color for blending. I like to work dark to light but if your paper doesn’t blend well prime an area with the lightest color first and then work dark to light.
  • If you have limited colors or you are not happy with your marker colors you can enhance with darker or lighter colored pencils.
  • A white pen is handy for bright highlights and shine.

One more thing!

The Ohuhu markers I mention above are a great value at about 50 cents a marker but I know many of you are looking for brush tip markers because they are softer and make blending large areas easier and I just saw that Consumer Crafts has their Studio 71 alcohol markers that feature a brush tip on one end and chisel on the other on sale this week! I have a review of that brand with swatched and blending recipes here if interested.


Prices on the Studio 71 brush tip alcohol marker sets are good through April 1st while supplies last. You really can’t beat it for $1 per marker or less! I have the 48 pack and it is really comprehensive.

NEW Ohuhu Markers: Do I Still Recommend Them?

Hi Friends! Today I am comparing the new Ohuhu 100 alcohol marker set vs. the old 80 Ohuhu set I reviewed last year. You can see that review here. They recently came out with a 100 marker set and changed the style of the pens. We will look at what has changed and what is the same in today’s video review.

By the way the cute swatch and color wheel stamps can be purchased at Waffle Flower  or Simon Says Stamp.

I was impressed with both Ohuhu marker sets as they colored smoothly, blended well and came in at about 50 cents a marker. They both also came in a reusable fabric storage case. Both sets blend well with the other alcohol markers I have. Neither sets contain a clear blending marker but you can use any alcohol based colorless blender with them.

What’s improved:

  • More Colors
  • Caps are easier to remove
  • Color index included in case so you can see what you should have (no random or duplicate colors as I have had others complain about in the past. If you get a duplicate or dried marker or if one is missing they will send you a free replacement) and this index is better than cap color but you should still swatch them.
  • The fluorescent colors that were water based (?!?) in the old sets are now alcohol mashed so they will blend with the other colors.

What’s the same:

  • Price: 50 cents a marker or less depending on the size set you buy, the bigger the set the cheaper the marker.
  • Chisel and bullet tips
  • Smooth blending ink for streak free coloring.
  • Reusable cloth case.
  • Bullet tip has grey index band
  • Plastic color chip on each end
  • Same color numbering system, most colors are an exact match for the previous Ohuhu markers.
  • Colors match the numbers (minus the letter code, just look at the numbers) on the Concept markers from Jerry’s Artarama so you can get replacement or additional markers open stock and avoid duplicates.

What is worse with the new markers:

  • The colors on the marker caps all seem a couple of shades lighter than the ink color, the old caps were more accurate.
  • The removed some of the ultra pastel shades (the colors in the 130s and 140s in the original set) in the new coloring system.
  • No name is printed on the caps, only the color number so it can be hard to see what color you have if there are numbers that can read differently upside down (ie 6 and 9s) but usually you can work it out looking at the cap and swatch.

Bottom line: Yes, I still think the Ohuhu markers are a great buy.  You really can’t beat 50 cents a marker! Having such a comprehensive set of 100 in a carrying case for under $50 is a blessing to people who want to use alcohol pens but don’t want to spend the $300+ that Copic original or Copic sketch markers would cost. I always get asked if they can be refilled, they don’t market that feature but you can pull out the chisel nib and drip in refill ink or paling denatured alcohol from the home improvement store to revive them (use alcohol if you left a cap off and the marker died out but has lots of ink or if you have used up the marker and want to make a lighter shade, use ink in a matching shade to reink it.) You can find a matching in by Copic, Blick Studio or Spectrum Noir to reink it or play mad scientist and use a basic set of alcohol inks and denatured alcohol to custom mix inks as needed. A 50 cent marker isn’t too precious to experiment with!

I know the fact that these markers don’t have a brush tip is a deal breaker for most. I get it, brush tip markers are so much easier to blend with. So I have been asked if I think the Copic or Spectrum Noir brush tips will fit these markers. I would give a cautious “probably” to that question however because good brush nibs cost $2 each you will be wiping away the savings of this set, I’d recommend Blick Studio Markers which run $2-$3 each (Plus they now have refill inks) or the set of 48 studio 71 markers which are around $50 or $2 each open stock. The tips on the Blick are foam like Copics and the tips on the Studio 71 are felt and I wouldn’t refill these because I think the brush tip will only last as long as the marker but still a good buy.  You can see a review of the Studio 71 markers here and the Blick Studio Markers here.

Although blending with a brush tip is easier they are a relatively new development in alcohol markers, you can get the same results with a chisel and bullet tip, it is more about what you are used to and the time you put in to learning a new media and far as coloring media goes alcohol markers has one of the steepest learning curves. If you already have alcohol pens and you are frustrated with them don’t run out and buy more thinking a more expensive marker will make the difference. You have to put the time in. I am working on a beginner coloring tutorial today to hopefully help you if you can’t seem to get the hang of alcohol markers and you can use any kind you have.

I think the ohuhu markers are a great set for someone wanting to get into alcohol markers at a low price or a great travel set for someone who doesn’t want to drag out their more expensive marker collection. There is a great selection of colors and nothing you don’t need. They get a “thumbs up” from me! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Review: Stampin Blends Markers

Hi friends! Today I have a very much requested review for Stampin Blends markers from Stampin’ Up! After posting this on YouTube last night several demonstrators let me know that they are only taking orders through Friday the 23rd (tomorrow) as they are almost sold out so they need to replenish their stock before they sell more. I wanted to put that info out there incase you were waiting on the review to order and you wanted to buy before sale-a-bration was over. I believe they will have them available to order again in a couple of months. Also I miss-spoke in the video, the markers are $4.50 each and not $4. Watch the video to see them in action.


  • 27 colors total (a light and dark shade of the following colors: Bermuda Bay, Calypso Coral, Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake, Daffodil Delight, Night of Navy, Old Olive, Pink Pirouette, Pool Party, Pumpkin Pie, Rick Razzelberry and Smoky Slate as well as 3 single colors: Bronze, Ivory and a clear color lifter marker)
  • Price: $4.50 per marker, no discounts for buying in a set
  • Each marker features a brush nib and a bullet nib and printing on the barrel tells you which is which.
  • These markers are available exclusively through your local Stampin Up demonstrator or from their website. This link will take you to my demo Wendy’s website.


  • The colors, as the name suggests, blend beautifully, mainly because the colors are picked out and designed to blend with each other. If you have never colored with alcohol markers before this will take out the guesswork and lessen the learning curve. Here is a demo of me using them.
  • This set has a great range of colors with nothing superfluous, It could use a deep violet however if you glaze over rich razzleberry with the light Night of Navy I think it will do. I like how they picked a limited palette with plenty of color options to get you started.
  • Since all of the markers are available individually you can replace a color as you use it up or build your collection a couple of markers at a time (and it is the same price per marker whether you buy in a set or singles.)
  • Colors are easy to erase with the color lifter (and I am glad they called the clear marker a color lifter instead of the typical “clear blender” as it describes more accurately what this pen does)
  • If you have CSS (Complete Set Syndrome-trust me it’s a thing LOL!) you only have 27 markers to collect as opposed to hundreds in other marker lines.


  • The nib is a felt/fiber type nib and not foam like copics so it is less springy and flexible.
  • You can’t refill the marker or replace the nib.
  • The caps might be a bit tough to snap on and off but they do stay on securely!

Bottom line: I think these markers are priced fairly for the quality. If you are just getting started and you want to take the guesswork out of coloring these are sure to please or if you are an avid user of SU! products these will match.


If you would like to learn more you can ask your Stampin Up Demonstrator for more info or visit my friend Wendy’s website and she’ll be happy to help you.Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Blick Studio Brush Marker Review & Flash Sale!

Hi friends! First up I want to let you know that classes are on sale for $14.99 now at Craftsy! That is 50% off or more! Now is the time to stock upon classes for holiday cooking, crafting and gift making or maybe start your christmas shopping and buy classes as a gift! You get lifetime access to any Craftsy class you buy so why wait, enroll is something fun for you today! Use coupon code SAVEOCTOBER15 to get your discount!


Details: Receive any Craftsy Class for $14.99 or less with coupon SAVEOCTOBER15
Limit to one use per customer. Prices are in USD. Excludes The Great Courses.
Cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts. Expires October 26, 2016 at 11:59 PM MST.  By purchasing Craftsy classes through my special affiliate link helps support the free tutorials on my blog & YouTube channel, thank you for your support! 😀

Now on to this weeks product review! I had a lot of people ask for a review of the Blick Studio Brush markers since they came out. They look a lot like Copics but how do they perform? Let’s see in today’s tutorial!


First let me say that there are so many quality markers on the market right now and the ink in them is very similar and I find them to all work well together. I love many brands of markers and I have many brands in my art room and this review is not to diminish any other brands. I have many Copic markers to and they are superb quality but the price tag is prohibitive to many crafters. I have to say in my honest opinion the Blick studio markers are just as good as Copic markers and I do believe that you can refill with Copic ink and replace the nibs with the Copic nibs but that activity is not endorsed by either brand so do so at your own risk, I figure since the Blick markers are “disposable” if you try to refill the ir replace the nib you are not out much since you would have thrown it out anyway.

Disclaimer: These opinions are my own and are not endorsed by any of the brands I am reviewing. I purchased this set for $139 (Regular $199 but I used a coupon) and I have not been paid to post this review.

Blick studio brush marker PROS:

  • Price per marker: $1.50-$3 (buying in sets with a coupon brings them down to $1.50, individually they are $3 with no coupon)
  • Quality-as good as Copic IMHO
  • Blends well on cardstock or marker paper
  • Easy to remove caps
  • Available open stock (individually) or in money-saving sets of 6, 12, 24, 48 and 96 (all 95 colors plus the clear blender)


  • Only 96 colors (vs Copic with 358 colors)
  • Slightly more odor than Copic (I reckon that the Blick marker uses denatured alcohol and Copic uses ethanol with are basically the same except the denatured alcohol is ethanol with additives in it to keep folks from drinking it)
  • No refills available (*but you should be able to refill them with Copic ink if you can figure out the matching colors-same goes for nibs)

Tip, look for a coupon before you buy, CDPS will take 25% off your order of $99 or more and free shipping. Sometimes the Blick site has a better coupon (I got 30% off from the Blick site when I ordered and then I saw 35% off a few days later! Watch it like a hawk:)
Here is a link to the markers I bought, I am not affiliated with Blick but if you order you can always tell them Lindsay The Frugal Crafter sent you:)

Bottom line: These are great markers and a much more affordable way to build a brush marker collection similar to Copic. You can always get the basics here and get more unique Copic colors to add to your collection. Actually I recommend using lots of different brands to see what you like.

About the Stamp, unfortunately the set I used appears to be discontinued I did find this set also by Stampendous that is very similar and also has a beautiful bird to color: (Hallmark scrapbook Affiliate link) (Simon Says Stamp Affiliate link)


I hope this was helpful! I know I like to look at reviews before I purchase a product and maybe it can helps someone else too! Have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Cheap Marker Review!

Hi friends! Today we are going to take a look at a line of inexpensive markers I picked up on sale at ACmoore (3/$5) a few weeks ago.


You can see them in action in today’s video!

The stamp set I am using is a free Sale-A-Bration stamp set from Stampin up! If you want to order this or anything else from SU and you don’t have a Demo please contact my friend Wendy Cranford.
Price $3.99 regular retail but they were on sale 3/$5 when I bought them (often the 12 pack goes on sale for $19.99 and the singles for 2/$5, I think they go on sale often or maybe they are on sale a lot because they are brand new)

The nibs are similar in quality as prismacolor, chisel and bullet nibs.

Not many colors in range (about 50)

Some of the color indexes on lid do not match the ink color accurately. (not a huge deal if you make a swatch, it is just tough to choose colors when buying going from the display)

Bottom Line:
I like them, they are similar quality to Prismacolors that are $5.50 (actually I think the nibs are identical) but they have fewer colors than Prismas or Promarkers. I have a lot of other alcohol markers so I will use them with what I already have for a good selection. I think they are a good buy for someone who wants to get into markers and not spend a lot (if you get them on sale) just make sure to make a color chart so you can be sure you select the correct color ink. That Is a good idea for any markers.

I have been a slacker on the blog this week, I have a side project that has been consuming most of my time and the kids are off on winter break but I hope to be back posting daily now! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!