Slightly Disappointing - Spectrum Noir Illustrator Review

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Review of: Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers

Price

Good pricing compared to other brands

Coloring

Difficult to quickly color because of the limited ink flow

Grip

It feels a bit bulky when drawing

Streakiness

Not streaky when drawing slowly

What I like

  • Hexagonal shape making them unable to roll
  • Really fine bullet nib
  • Refillable with Spectrum Noir Alcohol Reinkers

What I don't like

  • Cap colors don't match ink color
  • Limited ink flow
  • Not great to hold

Summary: These are great markers if you're starting out with drawing with alcohol markers. There are lots of colors to choose from. You can draw very detailed with both the bullet nib and the brush nib. However coloring larger areas can be a bit tricky as the markers feel kinda dry all the time. That's why I would say these markers are best for smaller drawings or drawing with lots of details.

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Drawing has been a hobby of me for more than 6 years now and alcohol markers play a big roll in most of my drawings. I had heard of these Spectrum Noir markers before. It was actually in a YouTube video of Jazza.

Since then I wanted to try them because I wanted to know if they were better than the Promarkers I use mostly. So here's my experience with the Spectrum Noir markers.

My experience with the Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers

The design

The markers have a hexagonal shape which looks very cool, but it isn't the best to hold. It makes the marker feel very big and bulky. I also haven't found a comfortable way to hold it. I've tried to hold in in every possible way, but there is always an edge pressing into my finger.

The whole casing of the Illustrator markers is light grey. It might look good, but the ink stains very easily on these parts.

The ink stains the nib holder of the brush.

The cap colors

One thing I find really useful of most markers is that the cap colors represent the color of the ink. That isn't the case with these markers. I bought 6 markers, but 1 of those 6 markers had a very different ink color compared to to color of the cap.

Ink colors compared to the color of the caps. Black blue looks very different.

I would have loved to try them first. In the store where I bought them they did have a piece of paper to test them on. But there was one problem: the markers were individually wrapped in plastic. So I couldn't test them.

The packaging

The plastic they were wrapped in was a pain to open and get of the marker. It was very strong and there wasn't a space where you could easily cut it without damaging the marker. But I did manage to get it of eventually.

One benefit of them being individually wrapped is that you know they are new and are full of ink. 

I haven't bought a set yet. When buying a set they are packed in a cardboard box, but I don't think they are individually wrapped in plastic when they come in a set.

The nibs

The markers I've used are the Illustrator markers. These markers have a bullet nib and a brush nib. The bullet nib is really nice. It is the smallest I've seen on any marker which makes it really good for drawing very tiny details.

Bullet nib and brush nib of the Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers.

The brush nib is a little to the softer side making it more difficult to draw steady lines. The brush nib is good for coloring bigger areas if you don't go too quickly.

One thing I dislike, but also kind of like, is the limited ink flow. I'm a very impatient drawer, so I color very quickly. Which does lead to some minor mistakes. But with these markers I can't color very quickly. If I try to it almost feels like I'm drawing with an almost dry marker. But if I draw slowly it works great.

The ink flow

The limited ink flow is however very useful when drawing smaller things. The Promarkers I use often have such a great ink flow that the ink will bleed a bit when drawing tiny details, but these Spectrum Noir markers don't bleed at all, making them really good for drawing tiny details.

So if you draw slowly and you often draw small things these markers are great for you, but if you need to quickly cover large areas I won't recommend these.

Ink flow of the Spectrum Noir Illustrator marker (on the left) compared to the ink flow of the Promarkers (on the right), both at the same speed.
Coloring this small brake caliper with the Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers was very easy and precise, but coloring the bigger parts on the side took more effort and patience to color well.

Features of the Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers

  • Alcohol and dye based ink.
  • Japanese nibs, which they mention everywhere they can. I don't know what's special about them.
  • Available in 218 colors
  • Refillable with Spectrum Noir Alcohol Reinkers.

What other people think of the Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers

"Initial impression: a bit clunky. In the use not as bad as I thought it might feel. They are not the most comfortable in the world, but they are not uncomfortable. However I did find that the hexagonal shape was a little frustrating when going to put the lid on, because there are only 2 ways it can fit. The colors are amazing. They are really vibrant. Really happy with how the colors go down. The markers feel quite juicy and wet which is fantastic, because you really feel like you can do a lot of blending. However the tip of the brush pen is a little soft. The very tip of the brush doesn't let you get super clean lines. It's just that little bit too broken up on the very end."

~ Jazza on YouTube

A quick comment: After Jazza made this video Spectrum Noir ended up changing the nibs.

"To be honest I not a huge fan of the [hexagonal] shape. It feels a little chunky and it gets a little sharp in your hand with all these edges. The bullet tips are a little squeaky. The [brush] nib is quite flimsy. To be honest these markers feel a little dry. It was a little tricky blending the colors because the nib is so flimsy."

~Kattvalk on YouTube

"The hexagonal shape makes them look so original. I honestly would've preferred a broader nib instead of the fine tip, because if i wanted to use the fine tip and it is really small I could've just used the brush tip because the brush tip is already pretty small. The blending was pretty nice. Some of the markers did and some of them did not match the caps, but I would say the colors are pretty close. But they are not a very strong match to the color caps that's on there."

~ Lucid Neema on YouTube

Rating

Overall score:

Price:

Coloring:

Grip:

Streakiness:


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