A couple of weeks ago, I decided to give in to the alcohol markers that I had seen at AC Moore every week. Each week when I had a 50% off coupon I would pick up a pack and then find something else that I thought I wanted more. I think overall I was scared to start making the investment.
But, that one week, the Spectrun Noir markers were about 50% off and then there was an additional 15% off. That made them about $7 a pack and a little over $1 a marker. Much better than the $5 a marker for Copics. I think what pushed me over the edge was watching YouTube video demonstrations and seeing what you can accomplish. Now I am not the best shader by any means – I was in talented art in middle school, but somehow I just never seemed to get the hang of where the light source was coming from and where the object would be darker or lighter. I am sure that it comes naturally for most artists – I guess I lack that artist gene! HAHA.
I bought six or seven packs of the markers. What is nice about these compared to Copics, besides the price!, is that they come in color sets. With Copics, they sell them individually as well as in sets. However, their sets are more along the lines of pastels or brights, which means to blend colors in the same color family, you need multiple sets. In Spectrum Noir markers, they come in blendable, ready to use family colors. That makes it easier for people like me when you are going to pick colors to blend with.
There are two ends to the pen – a chisel tip for coloring in larger areas and a brush tip for the fine detail work. The company who makes them, Crafter’s Companion, has made it easy to identify which end is which at a quick glance by marking the brush tip end with a grey band. Some YouTube videos I’ve watched have said that people have had issues with pulling the chiseled end off when pulling the cap off, but I haven’t had this issue. Hopefully CC realized this and fixed the issue.
Like the Copics, the Spectrun Noir markers are also refillable. I haven’t been on the website to see how much they are, but in the videos I’ve watched, other crafters said that it wasn’t too high of a price. I like that because I don’t want to have to wait for another great sale to get another set of markers!
From watching some of the YouTube Videos, I did learn that the colors aren’t always true to the color caps. They use a number and letter system to identify the colors and also offer a color chart online that you can download and color swatches so you can see at a glance what colors you want to use. Really overall, not a big issue for me and was easily remedied when I saw the chart.
The second thing is the ink and paper you use. Since these are alcohol based markers, they will soak through thinner (and sometimes thicker paper), depending on how much blending you want to do. Any alcohol pens or markers will bleed so stay away from coloring up to the line. (I’ll talk more about this in another post when I show the card I made). Use a good ink and let it really dry. Not 20 minutes – either overnight or hit it with the heat gun. I usually stamp my images for a project the night before and give them a good 12-24 hrs to dry before I start coloring on them. A heat gun will work to set the ink though if you need to color in the image quicker.
The last negative I see is that the caps aren’t the best. Sometimes they can be difficult to get off and you really have to make sure that they click back into place so they don’t dry out. I am constantly worrying about this because I read that alcohol markers dry out faster the regular ones. Just make sure that you press firmly on the cap and it clicks and you should be ok!
Overall, I really like the markers. I’ve never used Copic markers so I only have what other people have said or what I have seen of them to compare then to the Spectrun Noir. This really isn’t a comparison – I just wanted to share a good alternative to Copics if you don’t have the $5 a pen to spend. It seems like a good entry into the alcohol based marker game, especially for the price. I am new to all this shading and blending, so I thought that for a little over a $1 a marker I could get behind that investment. AC Moore only offers 12 sets of markers; however there are many more that Crafter’s Companion made available. For me, it’s a good start and I am enjoying figuring out how to shade and blend.
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment or any questions.