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Spectrum Noir Pens: The Basics

Updated on July 7, 2020
linfcor profile image

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

Spectrum Noir Tip

Always make sure that the lid on your pen is replaced tightly. These are alcohol pens and will eventually dry out if the lid is left open.

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.

Color tones of the system are built to blend together
Color tones of the system are built to blend together

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 Refills

The main question most folks have is how many refills can you get from each refill bottle. The answer is about 7-8 refills.

If you are going to color a stamped image with Spectrum Noir pens, always use Momento ink to stamp your image. Otherwise, the image will run when the alcohol ink is applied

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

One Tip For Refilling Your Pens

The sponge inside takes a few moments to absorb the ink, so leave your marker in a horizontal position for at least 10-15 minutes if possible.

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

Crafter's Companion Brush Pkg. of 3 Replacement Nibs, White
Crafter's Companion Brush Pkg. of 3 Replacement Nibs, White
These are the newest generation nibs that can be used with any Spectrum Noir marker. These brush bibs give you more options over the nibs that come with your pens. You can do brush letters and some other art work in your art journals and on greeting cards. Price is right and I have found them to be very useful

Always store your Spectrum Noir Pens on their sides rather than upright. The ink will stay fluid better and your pens will be always wet

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.

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.

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.

Blending With Spectrum Noir Pens

Always place a piece of scrap cardstock under the projects that you are coloring with alcohol markers so that they don't bleed onto your work surface

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

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.

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

You Need Smooth Card Stock If You Are Using Alcohol Pens

Crafter's Companion Spectrum Noir Ultra Smooth Premium Cardstock, 8.5 by 11-Inch, White, 50-Pack
Crafter's Companion Spectrum Noir Ultra Smooth Premium Cardstock, 8.5 by 11-Inch, White, 50-Pack
This paper is perfect for alcohol markers. It is heavy enough to use in all your paper crafts. It is made to prevent bleeding of any alcohol markers. Using smooth paper with no tooth to it, will also help your nibs to last longer. You will get much better results with this paper over standard card stock. A necessity for all paper crafters

More 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

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?

Consider Determining Your Light Source

When shading always determine where your perceived light source is. Shadow the darker area away from your determined light source to achieve an even blend

If you blend colors, Make sure to get the excess color off your marker. Just color the ink away on a scrap piece of paper until you cannot see the blended color any more

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

Blender pens can be used to make corrections when you go outside the lines. Dab the blender pen and let dry. Redo as necessary, but let dry in between corrections

Use Reinkers To Make Embossing Powder Colors

© 2013 Linda F Correa

Tell Us About Your Spectrum Noir Experience

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    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      8 months ago from Spring Hill Florida

      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.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      8 months ago from The High Seas

      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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