Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers
Spectrum Noir Illustrator Marker
In the year or so that I have been passionate about art and coloured pencils in particular, I have always known the name Spectrum Noir, especially living here in the North East of England, as the lady who founded the company is from here. Never the less, for some reason, I mainly associated the pencils and markers with Crafters and the amazing work they do. I don't know why, but I always felt that this meant, Spectrum Noir products could not be used in conventional drawing, which I know sounds silly. Not only does it sound silly, but I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried. I have deprived myself of Spectrum Noir products all this time and it most certainly has been my loss.
This review is of Spectrum Noir's latest Marker Pens to hit the market, the Illustrators. The Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers are by no means the first line of marker pens to hit the shelves under the Spectrum Noir banner, Spectrum Noir have had quite a successful line when it comes to marker pens, what with their beautiful and versatile Aqua Markers. However; I personally think the Illustrators are going to go stratospheric when artists get their hands on them.
Spectrum Noir Illustrator Range
Before I give you a run down on how these beautiful markers perform, lets take a look at the range. It is also worth noting at this point that the Spectrum Noir Illustrator Markers are available now to buy, but only from the Crafters Companion web site, they will soon be available in all the usual places but I must warn you to act fast, if you plan of trying these makers out as I predict them to fly off the shelves once artists realise their potential and their amazing price bracket.
The Spectrum Noir Illustrators, as with most Spectrum Noir products, come in manageable sized sets. Spectrum Noir have always been about making their high quality products available to everyone and they understand the financial strain their customers are under and so, they do their best to help. The first of the sets come in packs of six, the packs are Basics, Earth, Essentials, Hues, Neutrals, Portrait, Tints and Tones. Then there are four 12 packs, starting with Figure, Landscape, Seascape and Sketching.
When I first got my hands on these markers and started using them, despite the fantastic reputation Spectrum Noir have for high quality art products at reasonable prices, I really thought that the Illustrators were about to be the exception to the rule... how wrong I was. The six packs are priced at £12.99 and the 12 packs are a fantastic £24.99. That works out approximately a crazy £2.10 per marker and for the quality you get with these markers, I fail to see how Spectrum Noir can be making a profit. The pricing and quality of the Illustrator Markers make them an absolute must in any artists studio.
I was fortunate enough to have been allowed the opportunity to use and review these remarkable pens a few weeks prior to their release. When I first started to use them, I knew immediately that Spectrum Noir were on to a winner with the Illustrators.
Illustrator Markers Features
With so many other markers, such as Copic, Winsor & Newton and others, artists very rarely use the chisel nib and have requested them to be done away with or alternatives issued with fine nib or bullet nib. Well, your prayers have been answered and Spectrum Noir have delivered on this wish. On one end of the marker is a brush type nib, although it is not technically a brush, it's softness puts it in this category and at the other end is the much awaited bullet or fine nib. This allows the artist to with the same pen, colour, blend and get fine detail, making the drawing process so much more enjoyable.
Although so many artists have asked for this new nib to be included, it is also true that many artists actually used the chisel nib and love it, so once again, Spectrum Noir has come to the rescue and rather than simply just doing away with the chisel nib, they will be launching another marker next year to run along side the Illustrator and it will have the chisel nib. It is clear someone at Spectrum is listening to their customers, which is always a bonus.
Along the hexagonal barrel is the wording "Illustrator by Spectrum Noir" along with icon's depicting which end of the pen holds the fine nib and which end holds the brush nib. But to make things even easier for the artists, both marker pen lids are colour coded with the corresponding colour of the pen, along with the name of the colour and the code. Spectrum Noir have announced that the Illustrator pens will be sold in open stock which I know is a big plus for many artists.
The ink flow of the markers from the brush nib is just perfect, there is no streaking and only a constant flow of ink, making the blending process such an easy process. As you can see in this illustration I completed of Marvels, The Hulk, the blending is seamless and the colours are gorgeous.
I have really had to dig deep to find a flaw in the pens and even then, it is not all of the pens and this problem applies for every marker and pencil brand I have used. With some of the pens, the colour painted on the lid, does not exactly match the actual ink from the pen. Like I say, not all pens have this problem, but it is a wide spread issue with all brands. For me personally, it is not an issue. Every time I get a new set of markers or pencils or even watercolour paints, I make a colour swatch on the paper I use when making my art. If I draw on Crafters Companion Neenah Classic Crest Card, then I create a colour swatch using the same paper. So when I gather the colours I am going to need for a particular project, I look only at my colour swatch.
In conclusion, I really love the Spectrum Noir Illustrator Marker Pens and although people will raise an eyebrow or two at this next statement, I sincerely feel that these markers will give Copics serious competition. When artists get the chance to try these beautiful markers, they will be hooked immediately and Spectrum Noir have made it so easy to purchase a small set and get started.
It is worth mentioning that the Illustrators work well with Copic's, so if you have a large set of Copic's, you can still purchase packs of the illustrators and mix them together without any issues. Another important factor to mention is that coloured pencil, both oil and wax, work well with the Illustrator markers, I have used Prismacolor, Faber Castell, Derwent Coloursoft, Spectrum Noir's own ColourBlend, Lyra and Koh-I-Noor, all working well, helping to give depth and shadow etc to any project you complete with the markers.