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Spectrum Noir Pens: The Basics

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Complete collection of Spectrum Noir pens in my craft room

Complete collection of Spectrum Noir pens in my craft room

Why Spectrum Noir?

When I started creating cards and scrapbook pages, I wanted to do some special artwork that would say more about my crafting skills. I started to need to invest in better pens in order to go farther with my crafting. Though I liked the copic markers, they seemed a little high in price and a bit out of my budget range. Then I found the Spectrum Noir pens and I fell in love with the choices, options and techniques.

The Spectrum Noir Marker system is great for scrapbooking, card making and paper crafts. What first appealed to me was that these markers are very easily blendable, even for beginners. They are also acid free which was important to my scrapbooking projects.

Beyond that, I started creating images and greeting cards that were so much fun with these markers

But they work equally well on metals. There are many jewelry artists using these amazing pens on metals

Comparison Of The Spectrum Noir Markers And Pens

Marker NameNumber of Colors AvailableType Of InkTypes Of Nibs AvailableRefillable

Alcohol Markers

216

Alcohol Based

Broad Chisel and Fine Bullet with replacement nibs available

Yes

Classiques

216

Alcohol based

Broad Chisel and fine bullet with replacement nibs available

Yes

Tri -Blend

144

Alcohol Based

Fine Bullet

No

Graphics

216

 

 

No

Illustrator

216

Alcohol Based

Flexible Brush And Super Fine with replacement nibs

Yes

Sparkle

18

Water Based

Nylon Brush

No

Mettalic

18

Water Based

 

No

Aqua

48

Water Based

Soft Brush And Fine Tip

No

 

 

 

 

 

Spectrum Noir Marker Basics

There is a lot to consider when you are making an investment in alcohol markers. The first consideration is price. I have looked at a lot of serious pen systems and found some of them way above my budget . I wanted to invest in good pens that I could add to over time. This system was right for me, because I could buy basic color sets that had varying tones in different colors. The pens come in color tones, so you can start out with one set and add on as time goes buy. Lots of times you can find them on sale or bundled at sale prices.

The next was the issue of durability and use. What I really liked about this system was that the pens were refillable and the nibs were refillable. This was a strong point for me so that I only had to buy the pens once and could refill them with a bottle of ink that lasted for quite a while.

Another thing that attracted me to this system was the numbering system. Each pen is clearly marked on each side what the color is. When I am doing a project this is especially handy.

Each pen has two sides. The broad side is for large area coloring and the chisel side is for detail work. The caps of these pens fit on very tight, making the ink inside last for quite a while. There is also a brush nib that you can purchase.

The whole set has 168 colors. But here is what I really liked. The basic Each package contains pre-matched color tone families with three pens in warm tones and three pens in cool tones, allowing for several blending possibilities. There are no duplicate pens across the six-marker sets This makes it very affordable to build your system gradually. Which is exactly what I did over time. There are no pen duplication in any set.

Besides the color sets in greens, pale hues, pinks, purples, red ,turquoises, warm greys and yellows, there are also sets of 24 that round out the spectrum of colors. They are called brights, lights, darks and pastels. They add more depth and color choices to the basic colors. With the entire system now in my hands, I have so many options in my coloring for all my paper crafts.

Spectrum Noir Marker Tutorials

Spectrum Noir Color Chart

Spectrum Noir Basics have a complete color palette

Spectrum Noir Basics have a complete color palette

Color tones of the system are built to blend together

Color tones of the system are built to blend together

Spectrum Noir Color Charts And Downloadables

Spectrum Noir Refills

These refills are easy to use. They have droppers that make it easy to refill your markers

These refills are easy to use. They have droppers that make it easy to refill your markers

More About Spectrum Noir Ink Refills

The main question most folks have is how many refills can you get from each refill bottle. The answer is about 8-15 refills. You only need one to two drops to fill a dry pen.

Each bottle has 30 ml of ink and are sold individually.

The refill bottle has an easy to use eye dropper. Makes your refilling task less messy.

You can also use the eyedropper to do mixed media projects by dropping ink on paper.

Water Coloring With Refills

You can actually use these refills. to do water color images. You only need one drop per color, so you are not going to be using a lot of product in the process.

Supplies

  • Water color paper or heavy cardstock ( at least 110)
  • Spectrum Noir refills
  • Water color brushes
  • Plastic palette with lid
  • Water resistant ink like Stazon
  • Stamps
  • Heat tool (optional)
  • Glass or container with clean water
  1. Stamp your image with water resistant ink
  2. Allow to dry or use a heat tool to dry the image
  3. Put one drop of refill ink in each well of your palette
  4. Fill the base of your water color brush with clean water
  5. Color the image using the ink and add drops of water as necessary.
  6. Allow the image to dry

Tips

  • If you are going to leave in the ink in the wells, create a chart of which colors are in each wells

Water Coloring With Alcohol Ink Refills

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More Ways To Use Refill Inks

Organizing Your Spectrum Noir Pens

Spectrum Noir Pens Are Refillable And Reusable - How To Refill A Spectrum Noir Pen

What I love about Spectrum Noir Pens is that they are refillable and reusable. Once you make the initial investment, the pens will last you a very long time. When they become dry, you simply refill them with a refill. Each refill bottle come with a pipette that makes refilling them easy and clean. The nobs on both ends are also replaceable. I am into crafting with a responsibility to the environment, so I am all into anything that keeps down the amount of trash that I create

The Nibs Are Replaceable Too

Not only can I replace the ink in my pens, but I can replace the nibs if and when they wear down. I simply use a tweezer to pull the old nib out. Then I gently replace the nib, making sure it is securely in place

The nibs come in various amounts in a package. They come in a brush nib as well as the square barrel nib. There is also a chisel nib.

Replacement Nibs For Spectrum Noir Pens

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Spectrum Noir TriBlend Markers

Tri color pens are exactly what they sound like. There are actually three ink chambers. Each one delivers it's own color through a fine tipped bullet nib, one for each color in the marker.

The nice thing about the Tri-Blend markers is that there are 144 colors in only 48 pens. This means that you have less to store. Since you have three gradient colors in each pen, you will spend less time finding the right colors to blend.

They are sold in packages of 24. They are not refillable, but you can purchase the pens as individuals.

The barrel of the pen is loner than the standard marker. There are three colors to every marker. The color of the ink is shown on the barrel as a band.

Every pen (marker) has a gradation of three colors. The colors are numbered from light to dark. With the three colors together, there is less guessing on which color to use. They do blend very well together.

There are indications on the marker to state what the colors are by number. There is also an indication if the color is light, mid or dark.

The fact of having the three colors in one marker makes this system unique. Less of a storage area will be needed. They will also be more portable.

Each marker is non toxic, fast drying and acid free. They blend seamlessly and colors can be mixed or layered over each other.

They can be purchased as a single pen or as a bundle of colors.

Technically, they are refillable, but it is not recommended. The reason behind that is the fact that the nib opening is so small. So far, I have not seen or found any refillable nibs for these markers.

Detail On The Tri Blend Markers

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Blending With Spectrum Noir Pens

Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers

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Illustrator Marker Colors

Illustrator markers have a fine selection of colors to chose

Illustrator markers have a fine selection of colors to chose

Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers

These markers have the same quality alcohol inks with a dual tipped nib. They are considered more for illustrating and fine drawing. The nibs are finer and more precise with a seamless coloring. They feature a super fine nib as well as a soft brush nib.

While they have about 25% more ink that the other markers, they are not refillable. There are 216 colors in this range.

They are sold as singles or in sets

More About Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers

Spectrum Noir Graphic Markers

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Spectrum Noir Graphic Markers

These markers are more for professional application or for very serious artists. They can be used to create bold tones and a lot of depth.They feature a broad nib and a fine chisel nib. They are meant to be used with the illustrator markers.

There are 216 colors in this range. They can also be purchased as single markers or in packages of 6 and 12.

Click here to see a tutorial on how to use the graphic markers

Spectrum Noir Graphic Pen Demo

You Need Smooth Card Stock If You Are Using Alcohol Pens

Classique Markers

These markers feature translucent alcohol dye ink. They have a very vivid color which provides a very smooth seamless coloring.

They have a different new Japanese bib as well as a chisel nib

There are 216 colors in this collection. Re-inkers are also available,

Spectrum Noir Metallic Markers

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Metallic Markers

These markers add a smooth metallic finish to all of your projects. These are water based markers, that provide a fade-free metallic look, especially on dark colors.

These use a water based ink with special metallic pigment.The dual tips have a fine point and a brush tip.

They have dual tips in an 18 color range, They are sold in packages of 6.

Metallic Marker Technique

Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pens

THis chart shows the amazing colors of the Spectrum Noir Glitter Pens

THis chart shows the amazing colors of the Spectrum Noir Glitter Pens

Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pens

This line is probably one of my favorites. They are a single tip marker with micro pigment and fine glitter. There are several different sets of groups to the sparkle pens.

According to the official Spectrum Noir website they are being sold in groups of three. I note that on some locations here in the states, I do see them sold as sets of three, 6, or even 12. The average set of three, depending on where you purchase them, can fluctuate. So what you want to do is determine which colors you want or which sets you would like. Then type in best prices for (whatever you are interested in) Remember as you are pricing any markers figure in the cost of any shipping or handling.

Set of 3

Each set is more reasonably priced. These sets are good if you just want to try them out, or are just interested in specific colors.

Vintage Tea has a Biscuit( beige), Teacup( a medium blue and Macaroon (a pink raspberry color)

Perfect Pastels has Moonstone( a light baby blue), Cosmos( a light purple) and Rose Quartz ( a medium pink)

Summertime has Blue Topaz (a medium-deep blue), Red Solar (a medium red), and Emerald Green

Falling Leaves has Smoked Quartz (a deep brown), Harvest Moon (a medium orange), and Olive Jade (a more olive green)

Shades of Spring has a Pink Champagne, Moonlight (a medium gold color), and Soft Jade ( a deeper baby blue)

Glitz and Glamour has Aquamarine, Amethyst, and Pink Garnet (a raspberry color)

Vintage Beach is Sand Dune ( a sand color) Ocean Wave (a rich blue ocean color) and Sea Breeze ( a soft light blue)

Vintage Home features Hearthside (a brick red), Peacock, and Boudoir ( a rich purple)

Vintage Bloom has Sage, Peony, and Fig ( lighter and darker purples)

Winter Warmers offers Red Berry, Holly Leaf, and Starry Sky (a deep blue)

Metallic Colors include Black, Spun Gold, and Sterling


Set of 6

Each set has 6 colors in them as sold on some websites that I have seen in the USA. The average cost of these sets is around $32, which makes each marker a little over $5 per marker. However, I would tell you that they do last a considerable amount of time.

Coastal Cottage has several blues and peach, white, brown, and a raspberry color

Autumn And Winter has brown, a blue, an orange, a red and two greens

Vintage Tones have two purples (a lighter and a darker), a taupe, a light brown, a lighter red (more towards raspberry), and a light blue

Nature Trail has a light grey, a light purple, two greens, a raspberry, and a yellow

Spring And Summer has a beige, a yellow, a taupe, a green, a red, and a blue

Floral Garden has beige, a light brown, a medium red, a purple, a raspberry, and a light pink.

Glitz and Glamour are three pens in blue, purple, and raspberry

Vibrant Florals offer Golden Yellow, Electric Pink, Ultra Violet, Fiery Red, Supernova & Yellow Cosmos

Neon Lights has Neon Yellow, Neon Violet, Neon Pink, Neon Blue, Neon Green & Neon Orange

Cool Elements has Moonlit Silver, Carbon, Jade Aqua, Cool Blue, Midnight Frost & Frozen Lake

There are 18 colors plus a clear glitter topcoat.

Spectrum Noir Aqua Markers

I love water color markers, but many of the kind of markers out there have tips that are difficult to color small fine details. The Aqua markers have water based inks, but offer two tips.

There is a soft brush tip for larger areas and a fine tip for smaller and more detailed areas.

They are non-toxic, acid free and odor free. That means that they work well on everything from greeting cards, scrapbooks and fine art.

Spectrum Noir Aqua Markers

They have just about every color that you need in this color range

They have just about every color that you need in this color range

More Aqua Marker Ideas

More Alcohol Marker Tips

Here are some of my favorite Alcohol Marker Tips:

  • Use a porous paper underneath the smooth paper that your image is on.
  • Always put something down to protect your work surface. Alcohol markers will bleed through your paper. If you do not use the porous paper underneath, the colors may not absorb well.
  • Most people work from light to dark colors. Because you can always add more tones, but cannot take dark away, this thought will probably work well for you too.
  • Make sure that the area that you are trying to blend is still wet so that the colors blend with less seams or lines in them.

Coloring Tips

  • Do not worry about light source. If you use the right combination of lights and darks, your image will be fine
  • Lay out the pens that you are planning to color with ahead of time. That way you will have everything you need at hands reach.
  • Always check the color of the ink either by the color at the end of the pen or the pen number. There is nothing worse than to be in the middle of your project and spoiling it with the wrong color.
  • Fix any mistakes with your colorless blender. This is especially useful if you go out of the lines. It can also be used to correct any wrong color you have used. it will absorb the color.
  • Ink often spreads, so make sure that you allow layers to dry between applications.
  • Make a coloring cheat sheet to store with your stamps if you are pleased with the colors and the effects you have used on your projects

Using Spectrum Noir Markers In Coloring Books

With the fact that alcohol markers sometimes tend to bleed, the question that remains is can they be used in coloring books?

The answer might be a yes and a no too.

If you decide to try alcohol markers to do coloring pages, the first thing to know is that you almost have to have a feather light touch. If you push the nib too hard or if you leave the pen on the paper too long, the ink will spread into places that you will not want it to go.

You want to color close to the black lines or outlines, but not up against them. After some practice, you will realize that you can get some nice effects.

When you are in tight corners, you will want to do quick, light dabs of ink with a brush marker tip. Remember, a little bit of ink goes a long way.

Use the brush tip rather than a chisel or bullet tip. The brush tip tends to cause less piling than the other tips.

Another option to use Spectrum Noir markers with your coloring pages involves your computer. You can scan and print the coloring page on your home computer. That way you can use good card stock or marker paper. That way, you have virtually eliminated the bleeding issue all together.

If for some reason the black outline bleeds a bit, just touch it up with a black marker.

Experiment and have fun ! That is what crafting is about. Exploring the possibilities.

Spectrum Noir Accreditation Program - Become A Colorist to A Certified Instructor

One of the things that sold me on this color system is the fact that there is unlimited support for using this coloring system. One of my favorite programs, that I am currently working on is the colorist program. The program is available world wide. It is a program series of videos, tutorials and downloads that take you step by step to get you off a great start in using these pens. You start off with basic coloring skills and advance through techniques. When your skills are perfected, you can take a coloring test and achieve a certificate. As you are working through the system, you are becoming the artist that you want to be. You start as a colorist and can advance to a certified teacher. Every step of the way you are learning new techniques and the cost to you is nothing. Where would you get those kind of classes without being charged?

Some Conversions For Spectrum Noir Markers

If you need to convert colors from Copics to Spectrum Noir markers here are a few suggestions

If you need to convert colors from Copics to Spectrum Noir markers here are a few suggestions

Spectrum Noir Resources - Free Downloads, Tutorials And More

One of the things that I looked at when deciding on what system to go with, went way beyond the purchase of a system. I needed and still do to learn how to use the pens to get the most out of my investment. That's where this system shines. There are so many resources available to use for free, that you cam spend hours downloading and using them all. From the very start, you have all the resources you need to take your projects beyond what you personally thought possible. Here are some of my favorites

More Uses For Spectrum Noir Pens

When you spend money on a set of pens, you want to be able to get the most use for your investment. Besides coloring, here are the other things you can do with your markers

  • Color My Pearls and Buttons -Think about those times when you want a specific color gem or button and you don't have it. I simply color one with my alcohol marker and I can customize what I have for what I needColor
  • Chipboard Pieces- I customize my chipboard pieces by coloring them with my Spectrum Noir Pens
  • Custom Color Ribbon- You can custom color any ribbon with the wide side of your markers
  • Color Brads and Eyelets- Color custom embellishments for every project
  • Color Flower Embellishments- Color the tips of flowers to add depth and dimension
  • Color Tint Photos-Add color to black and white photos

Spectrum Noir Free Resources

Use Reinkers To Make Embossing Powder Colors

More Paper Craft Resources

  • A Paper Craft Workshop
    Resources, ideas, information and projects to help you learn, create and share your paper craft passions

© 2013 Linda F Correa

Tell Us About Your Spectrum Noir Experience

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on October 27, 2019:

I have been using these pens for years. I love them because the ink can be refilled and there are replaceable pen nibs, The colors are vibrant. Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate your comment.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on October 26, 2019:

Before this hub I had never even heard of these pens before. I'll put my wife on to them, she loves crafty things like this.

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