Spectrum Noir Artliners
Spectrum Noir Artliners
Crafters Companion and Spectrum Noir have really been on fire as of recently. First they delivered some excellent new alcohol markers in the Illustrator and Graphic range, then came the awesome range of brush pens and fineliners which I am reviewing here, the Spectrum Noir Artliners. They haven't stop there, with additional sets to the ColourBlend and AquaBlend and a new water based set of makers. As of yet, I have not seen or tested the water based markers or the new sets to the AquaBlend and ColourBlend line, however, I hope to also bring you guys some reviews on these new lines soon.
However, this is all about the new Artliners and what a fantastic range it is. When I spoke to Spectrum Noir about the range, they alluded to the fact that this range has been developed with lettering in mind, crafters, who when making new cards and signs can use this range for calligraphy etc. Of course this is not the only group they have been designed for, I myself love to draw Anime and Manga characters as well as fan art, using both markers and colored pencil. With both these style of art, line work is very important and can add so much dimension and depth to an illustration just by a varying line width. With that, Spectrum Noir and Crafters Companion have pushed the boat out and given their customers quite a treat.
I think Spectrum Noir have really put a lot of thought into this range, which is so typical of the company, making sure they give their customers easy choices in manageable sets.
The first set is the Brush Pen set, this set comprises of eight pens, all with brush nibs and all different colors. The colors they have included in the set are Light Blue, Dark Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange, Red, Purple and Pink. The actual nib, although a brush nib, it is not a brush in the true sense of the word, there does not appear to be individual bristles bound together to complete a brush. There is flexibility to the nib, but there is also just enough stiffness to allow for accurate detail. It is a strange composition over all, never the less, does a fantastic job, allowing for both varying widths of line work and fine detail.
Changing things up a bit, is the Sepia and Grey set, this set comprises of six pens total, three Sepia and three Grey. The three Sepia pens are a 0.05mm nib, an incredibly fine nib, a 03mm nib, which we have just spoke about and then a Sepia Brush Pen. The three Grey pens are exactly the same, but again, Spectrum Noir have given an excellent variation of nib sizes in the sets. The Sepia is a beautifully rich color and the Grey they have chosen is not too light making it hardly noticeable and not so dark as to mistake it for Black.
The Final set is my favourite and is an all Black selection of nibs, which is my favourite considering one of the styles of art I love, fan art and Manga, which both involve intricate line work. The set comprises of a 0.05mm, 01mm, 03mm, 05mm, 08mm and finally a Brush nib. The selection is perfect and the ink is high quality.
There isn't really a lot of testing that can be done with this style of art product, one of the most common problems surrounding fineliners is the nibs breaking. Normally this is a issue that if cheap materials have been used, will manifest itself throughout time and use, obviously the cheaper the materials, the less time will be required for the damage to occur. I personally have had the Spectrum Noir Artliners for few months now and have used them, especially the Black, Sepia and Grey on fan art and Manga art. As of yet I have not experienced any issues whatsoever. the nibs have remained in tact and the ink has flowed well throughout work.
Another issue that surrounds this style of pen is smearing. The whole idea behind this style of pen, at least in the capacity I use them, is that once you have completed the line work, you move onto the coloring and shading. If you use a light color to start coloring with and you go over line work, the last thing in the world you want is for that black ink to smear, turning your yellow into black smears. This has never happened to me using the Spectrum Noir Artliners.
Also the same goes for erasing, once a drawing has been sketched in pencil, the line work can begin, picking out sketching line work you want to use. Once this process is complete, you erase the pencil work leaving crisp inking. If the ink is bad quality ink, again it will smear, turning otherwise steady handed, solid inking, into wavy smear marks, very unattractive and unprofessional. Again, this was most certainly not my experience, I found Spectrum Noirs Artliners to pass these, very few, but incredibly important tests with flying colors, pun intended.
Spectrum Noir and Crafters Companion are always and have always been very conscious of affordability. I could be speaking out of turn here, but I think that might be because the lady who started the company, Sara Davies comes from my neck of the woods, here in the North East of England, a relatively under privileged area of the country. I obviously don't know Sara Davies personally, however, from what I do know, regardless of her wonderful success with Crafters Companion and Spectrum Noir, she has never forgotten her roots and is always mindful of ensuring the under privileged also have access to wonderful art supplies. Just one of the reasons I love this company so much and have so much respect for a lady I have never ever met.
For both the sets of 6 Spectrum Noir Artliners they cost approximately £12 each here in the UK and for the two eight sets, the brush pens and the 03mm fineliner colored pens they will cost approximately £16
In the US for both the 6 pack Spectrum Noir Artliners, you will pay approximately $19 and for the two 8 Packs of 03mm and Brush Pens, you will pay approximately $25, which I think is a good price considering the quality and what you are getting.
Unfortunately I could only get prices for the 8 pack in Euros and that was €20, please bear in mind the prices I have listed above are at the time of writing this article, things may have changed by the time you read this.
I love fineliners and brush pens, I am always looking for good pens, with quality nibs and quality ink that is not going to smear or fade when erasing pencil lines. The Spectrum noir Artliners tick all the boxes and to make the nut even sweeter, the price for the packs is perfect.
If you are a crafter, card maker, adult coloring book enthusiast, manga artist, fan art artist or just love fineliners, the Spectrum Noir Artliners should be on your list. Check out my YouTube video review of the Artliners and wait for the end of the video to see a speed drawing of a very simple Mandala I completed using the full range of pens in all sets, just to demonstrate the color vibrancy and line widths.