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
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.
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!
Highly pigmented with soft rich creamy leads
No duplication between sets
Color releases instantly when touched with a wet brush, no scrubbing the paper move the pigment.
***Superior Lightfast 50-100 years (I just checked according to manufacturer! Yay!)
I don’t have any….
Bottom line: I totally recommend these pencils, they are as bright as any of the other brands I own. If you are on the fence and want to try one set I recommend the Primary set and see how you like them then you can build your collection depending on what you like to color. For the price you can’t beat these pencils! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!
Today I have a limited supply project and a giveaway! You can win the stamps by ArtNeko I used to make this card:
I considered editing down this video to make it about 5 minutes. I thought who needs a 17 minute long video on making such a simple card. I watched the video looking for spots to chop but every bit I though of chopping contained a tip that someone might find useful so if it feels too long feel free to skip ahead or watch it is double speed (click the gear at the bottom to speed it up) I figure it is better to leave the extras in for those who want them.
Note about the Bow Making Tool, I was having some technical issues on my shophandmade store where I sold the Bow Making Jigs my hubby made, if you would like to order one you can send me an email at email@example.com and put “bow making jig order” in the subject line and I can send you a PayPal invoice. The Jigs are $20 plus shipping ($6 US Priority Mail, $16 international first class) and handcrafted from beautiful, durable hardwood.
I hope you found the tutorial on blending and all the random tips useful! If you want to win the stamps I used simply leave a comment below, I will draw a winner at random in one week (3/31/15) and this giveaway is open to everyone on the planet! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!
Hi Friends! Have you heard the buzz about the new Spectrum Aqua watercolor markers yet? Well, I had not until about 2 weeks ago when several viewers asked me what I thought about them and if I would do a review or demo with them. I was curious. I didn’t really NEED new markers but when the nice folks at Hallmark Scrapbook (who stock the markers at a 30% off retail discount) asked me if they could send me some I said “sure!” all for the sake of science you know:)
They sent me the full range of 48 colors and a storage rack. The markers are sold in 12 color collections based on what you like to color (nature, floral, essential and primary) and there are no duplicates within the packs so you can collect one set at a time to see if you like them or as your budget allows. That is one thing I really like about all of the Spectrum products, you can collect as you go without buying duplicates. Today I will show you a few rubber stamping techniques with the markers. Feel free to follow along with whatever watercolor markers you have at home because these techniques will work with any watercolor type markers. These markers will also work well with your current collection so if you want to try them you can chose a set of colors that us different from what you have because they will play nice. I hope you find this video helpful!
I got a few questions from viewers:
Are the markers refillable? Hmm, I did not see anywhere on the Spectrum Aqua website where it said you could refill these BUT none of the other watercolor markers are “refillable” and I refill them with reinkers or liquid watercolors. I wonder if the new Spectrum Liquid Watercolors are the same colors and if the Spectrum Noir (alcohol marker) replacement nibs are compatible? I’ll try to find out!
How light fast are they? Again, I looked for this info on the Spectrum Aqua site but did not see that info so I suspect they are not but then again, most markers aren’t unless you are buying an $8 a piece watercolor marker.
Are they comparable to the Tim Holtz Distress Markers? Actually, I prefer the Spectrum Aqua, I have a few of the TH sets and singles bought at different locations and I have had problems with a couple of them from different vendors being dry or leaking (and that was without my hardscrabble reinking techniques LOL!) Now, Ranger is great at replacing faulty products, don’t get me wrong, but I think the Spectrum Aquas are higher quality and more consistent.
I love watercolor markers and I rate these up there with my favorites (Tombow and Memento) but you can’t beat the price and quality of the Spectrums. The fine tip is much like the tip on the Memento and the brush end is similar to a Pitt Big Brush pen but the ink in the Spectrum Aqua is watercolor, not India ink, you can go over it with water after it is dry and soften the lines. I am also a big fan of using what you have and I am glad you can use these with the watercolor markers you have. Bottom line, if you have watercolor makers you love keep using them, if you want to add to your collection these are great and if you are just starting out this is a very great set to start with. I was not paid to write this review but I was given the markers for free to share the review with you. If you have any questions just ask in the comments section and I am happy to help. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!
Howdy friends! If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I would do a tutorial on Spectrum Noir Pencils I’d a millionaire, well, maybe not but at least a hundredaire! It was enough to make me spring for these pencils when they went on sale for $16 a set of 24 at Consumer Crafts two weeks ago. And because I am a sucker for free shipping I got all 5 sets and a new WeRMemory Keepers album because the Project Life one I previously ordered in a moment of temporary insanity was not cutting the mustard. Anyway, here is a card I colored with the new Spectrum Noirs, it took all of 15 minutes to color.
I have a bit of a colored pencil addiction, I love trying out new pencils! Since I have a few of the most popular brands I thought I’d compare them to the new Spectrum Noir pencils and see how they preformed, see my findings in today’s video:
Now, here is where I retract things I said that are wrong. Please refer to the below chart. Koh-i-Noor pencils are available open stock. I have only seen the woodless sets of 12 and 24 so maybe they have another grade of pencils that I am not aware of and maybe there are more colors. Leave a comment if you know. There was a bit of controversy over the Spectrum Noir pencils being oil based. They preformed most like the Polychromos (the lead in the SNs was thinner and they were a bit less creamy and opaque) but I’d wager they were oil based if I had to guess but there may in fact be an oil/wax blend going on…oh heavens, does anyone care? I do not because they do what they were interned to do extremely well. They layer and blend well. They are translucent enough so I can clearly see my black stamped lines when coloring yet they are opaque enough to stand up on kraft cardstock, a very hip trend might I add. I would not use them on darker cardstocks but on mid-light they preformed very well. Here you can see some swatches and also the retail price for a set of 24 pencils across the brands reviewed (but you can always find them online for much less.)
That said, the Spectrum Noir pencils would not be my first choice to create a painting with. I prefer the creamier properties of Prismacolor or Polychromos pencils. The Derwent Coloursoft pencils are nothing to sneeze at either but I have been using Prismacolor pencils since I was 5 and loyalties like that are hard to break. Now that brings me to another bit of controversy, Prismacolor pencils are now made in Mexico and their quality has declined (you can check out the Prismacolor vs. Polychromos review by Lachri Fine Art if you want to know more) and it is really too bad because Prismacolor was my favorite. All but 3 white pencils in my Prismacolor box are stamped USA and the ones stamped Mexico had off-center lead. I have not sharpened them yet so hopefully they are adequate, I find the white Prismas to me the most achy-breaky ones in the bunch. I had an imperfect stamped image on my table (the one I demonstrated in the video) and decided to color 4 of the flowers with 4 brands of pencils so you could see a side by side comparison. I think the Spectrum Noir pencils do what they are intended for. Coloring stamped images, I find I can color quickly with them and layer easily without losing the definition of my stamping. If you do not want to see your stamped lines then you can use lighter ink.
Bottom Line, these are fun. If your goal is to easily color stamped images on white to mid value colored paper these pencils are ideal and a bargain. If you are a colored pencil artist I think you would prefer a pencil with more opaque and creamy lead But since they layer really well and cost less than half of Polychromos pencils you might want to give them a whirl and maybe pick up a few light-colored prismas. Honestly the Polychromos are not terribly opaque either so you might want a wax-based white with those as well. I would be impossible for me to test all of the great pencils on the market (I’m a hundredaire remember…) but these are the most accessible to me and hopefully you. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’d love to know what your favorite brand of colored pencils are. I have had several requests to compare watercolor pencils too so you can let me know if you are interested in that as well. Thanks for taking the time to read through this long post and til next time happy crafting!
PS Quick tip! When making a card make the envelope first then use the scrap of leftover paper to embellish your card. Another tip, dig out the old-school deco-scissors and circle punches to cut a cool wavy border on the card. Using a two-tone cardstock like Doublemates makes the look really pop! Happy crafting!
Hi friends! I hope you had a good weekend. We were busy but it was fun, we spent the 4th with friends at their camp and yesterday we had a family cookout down the road. Today was beautiful weather-wise and we hung out at home, played outside and made silly putty with glue and borax. Gotta love science! I went down to my studio tonight to get a jump start on a couple framing jobs I had just got in and my daughters soon joined me and they decided to stamp out some house mouse stamps to color. I got a new pack of Mr. Sketchy markers (Yes, they still smell wonderful!) and they just had to use them! It was so funny, the first time each girl used the markers the first thing they did was color out a swatch chart and write the name of the smell under the color. My studio now smells like a fruit salad LOL! That reminds me that coloring is a great way to relax after a busy week. Today I’m going to show you how I colored the Lemonade Stand image from Impression Obsession using alcohol markers:
I was hoping to make the card on the video too but dang, this image took 20 minutes to color and I swear it only felt like 5 minutes. I hope you find the tips, tricks and techniques I share in this video is worth 20 minutes of your time.
Sometimes I will stamp out a bunch of images and keep them in a baggie with my markers and take them upstairs so I can color while I watch TV or visit with the family. It is still fun to color, no matter what your age, don’t you agree? Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!
Hello friends! I was in the mood to play with markers the other day and I remembered some cute stamps that came in an old issue of Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine, I actually bought the magazine because of these cute stamps!
Some of the images I colored with alcohol markers and some I did with water based markers. With all of the hoopla over Copics and other alcohol based markers (Promarker, TRIA, Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir etc.) I thought I’d do a tutorial on blending them. It an be confusing what to buy, then, when we get them home we forgot how we were told to use them. Well, this tutorial is for you, especially if you don’t have many markers. I’m going to show you a technique called priming that will help you blend colors that are not too close together. All you need is a clear alcohol based blending marker and some permanent markers (Bic Mark-its and Sharpies are an affordable option and they will work with the expensive art markers too!) Well, enough talking, let’s get coloring:
OK, so maybe you never invested in alcohol markers because you already invested in water-based/watercolor markers ( Tombow, LePlume, Whispers, Memento, Stampin’ Up and Distress are all examples of water-based markers) hey, I don’t blame you, they are super versatile, each one can be used like a mini ink pad, but they are great for coloring as well. Today I will show you how to blend them on regular cardstock using a water-based blender pen which is basically a clear marker filled with a water/glycerin mix. You can use a damp round paint brush (damped with water and glycerin if you don’t have a blender pen. Another benefit to watercolor markers is that the color usually will not bleed through cardstock.
The benefit to watercolor markers is that you need fewer colors and it is quicker. The benefit of alcohol markers is that you can fuss with the image as long as you like. Whatever your preference you can get a similar effect from either type of marker. Can you tell what ones were done with alcohol markers and what ones were done in watercolor markers?
OK, you’re keen eyes probably can but I think they look super and it will be handy to have all of these tags on hand for upcoming birthdays! Here is a tip, the next time you color a bunch of images grab a pad of paper and make a bunch of tags. I used to just color them and stuff them in a drawer but since I always need gift tags and grabbed my large shipping tags, tulle and leftover tissue paper flowers from Papermart and a pad of Fancy Pants paper (my 6″x6″ bin of paper was overflowing so I wanted to use some up!) and made some tags. I made faux brads/card candy by punching circles out of some of the scraps and doming them with a ball end stylus and hot gluing them to the tags. I had only itsy bitsy shards of paper left over after this and a batch of new tags for my trouble. Not bad:D I hope this helped you get more use out of your markers. If you have any questions leave a comment and til next time happy crafting!
Hello friends. I often admire fussy, tedious, time consuming crafts but I know that I would not enjoy them. I really wanted to get the look of parchment craft (an elaborate embossing and paper piercing technique on vellum also known as pergamano) so I improvised a quick fix:
I later learned that if you emboss 2 sheets of cheap vellum at once it won’t crack. Also if you have the same Spectrum Noir markers that I do and find that some have dried out (before you even used them) you can make them juicy again with this quick tip:
That trick will work with any alcohol based marker. Many people asked if it will work with rubbing alcohol and the answer is maybe, I have not tried it so if you do leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!