Spectrum noir

Some facts:
  • Have two different options: Spectrum noir with a bullet (fine) nib and a chisel nib (that can be replaced with a brush nib) and Spectrum Noir Illustrator, with a brush nib and a super-fine nib (new for 2016). 
  • Sells in sets with no repeats (but are nowadays also available in open stock)
  • They are refillable and have replaceable nibs
  • use to have 168 colors (including a blender), 2016 they extended their color range to 216.
  • Manufactured by Crafter´s Companion (UK)
  • Designed specifically for crafters

To the left: the old one, to the right: the new (third generation) with the brush nib (which you have to buy separate). Notes the rubberized grip on the barrel.      
They release a new marker in 2013: a different shape, a bullet (fine) nib and a chisel nib that can be replaced with a brush nib (see picture above). 

The new Spectrum Noir marker: Illustrator and Graphic
The fine tip of the Graphic
and Illustrator marker

The chisel nib (on Graphic) and the brush nib (of Illustrator)

In 2016 they released two new markers: the Illustrator and the Graphic. The illustrator has a brush nib and small fine nib and the Graphic marker has a chisel nib and a larger fine nib (that I actually though was a brush nib when I first saw it). These new markers does not have the same ink in them as the old ones. 

Illustrator and Graphic Marker
Color System
Their color system has more color-families than other brands and the family is represented by two or three letters. Then they got a number telling you how light or dark the color is. They didn't use to have names on their markers but nowadays they change that on the Illustrator and Graphic marker. In 2016 they extended the colors and introduced more color familys. They went from 28 color family (including essentials, fluorescent and four different grays) to 40 color families (including essentials, fluorescent and four different grays). The grays has change names but I belive they are more or less the same. Essentials is a black and a blender. 

A really big problem that I have with the Illustrator and Graphic markers is that they does´t match the colors of the original. If you buy a Earth Brown (EB) number 2 in the original marker and one in the Illustrator they will not be the same. So I guess that there will not be any refills that going to work for the new markers. 

To the left: the old case of 24 
and to the right the new one for 2013
The sets
The illustrator and Graphic marker are available in both sets and open stock but the original marker are stil only available in sets. The idea of only selling these pens in sets seems as a good idea, but I ended up with a lot of markers but few colors. You can choose between buying sets with six markers or twenty-four. Most of the sets of six is based on only one color family, for an example six yellows or six reds. It is a bit to much colors in my opinion. I don´t need six yellow (even though they most often choose a good variety of colors in this sets). If you want all basic colors, you need to buy almost all set of six. The set of 24 have the same problems. You can choose between lights, pastels, bright and darks. But if you choose twenty-four pastels you have no colors to blend all this colors with. So you need to buy some darker markers. I believe that you will pretty soon end up with almost all colors, even though you won´t need them all. I regret that I didn´t purchase only the 24 sets and avoided the six sets (except for the essential that include the blender), maybe that would have been the best way to cover what I need. 
Not the ring that is created around the colors,
its like the blue color react to the pink color in this lilac color. 
To me it is important to have the option of many light colors since you always can darken them but it is much harder to lighten the colors (it is possible to a certain degree with the blender). Spectrum noir offer many light colors and among these there are a lot of skin colors.
Spectrum Noir refill

The cost
Spectrum noir is not expensive to buy but the markers don´t hold much ink so you need to buy the refill rather quick. That’s when you realize how expensive the marker really can be. The ink is more expensive then Copics (at least from where I live!). Sure they got a bit more in the bottle (30 ml, while for comparison Copic got 25 ml and Letraset got 20 ml) but if you look at the prices (as they are to day, 2013) the Letraset ink is a third of the cost of Copic refill (and are only 5 ml less) but the Spectrum noir are almost double the Copic (for only 5 ml more).  In a way I like the idea that you can buy a marker cheap to try it out and then if you want to continue use it, you pay more. Of course all prices are from where I live and from experience I know prices can changes rapidly so maybe this won’t be true tomorrow.

Spectrum noir colors before 2016
Drawing made by Spectrum Noir marker

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