Welcome to Friday, my friend! I hope that you’re looking forward to the weekend. Here in Canada, we’ll be celebrating Canada Day on July 1st. Of course in the U.S., your Independence Day is July 4th. Is anyone else celebrating something? However you spend the weekend, be safe, and enjoy yourself! I had some questions on my post from yesterday, about the Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers. So, I thought I’d share a bit more about them, today.
SPECTRUM NOIR ILLUSTRATOR MARKERS
Made by Crafter’s Companion, these alcohol markers are available in a wide range of colours and hues – 216 actually! – to make blending and colouring easier. They are created with the same colours as the rest of the Spectrum alcohol markers, which means that you can use the Illustrator markers along with the others, with perfect colour matching. According to the Spectrum Noir website, the Illustrator markers “have been been made with the more serious, regular user in mind, and is built to last with around 25% more ink than our standard alcohol marker.” More ink is always a good thing, right?!
The Illustrator markers are dual-tipped, like most other markers. One end has a bullet nib, with the other having a brush tip. It’s not a ‘true’ brush, in that it doesn’t have bristles or hairs, but it does give a brush-like quality when applying the colour.
The configuration of the barrel, with it’s six sides, is kind of like a flattened hexagon. It’s very smooth and I find easy to hold and use, without hand fatigue while colouring. As someone with double carpal tunnel syndrome, I appreciate this a lot! Another bonus to this shape is that it won’t roll off your crafting table 🙂
On each cap, it has a colour coded end cap, along with the name and code of the colour. This makes it easy for you to keep track of what you have.
Swatching is when you create a chart of the colours. I use the same cardstock that I would normally use for a project, and colour directly onto it. Some great news – you don’t have to create a colour swatch yourself! You can download a blank chart from the Spectrum Noir site HERE. A coloured one is also available, and there’s also charts for all of the other Spectrum Noir marker families.
Since they’re a bit small, I decided to do a larger one, just to show you the colours that I have right now. As I said in yesterday’s post, I only ordered a few of the markers, to try them out. Now that I know I like them, I’ll be adding more colours to my collection!
The Blender is a colourless ink pen, with the same bullet nib and brush tips as the other markers. It is used to smooth the transition between two colours, as well as lighten the intensity of a colour. There’s a great description on the use of the Blender pen on the Spectrum Noir site – I’m just going to copy & paste it here, but you can read it yourself online by clicking HERE.
The first thing to know, is that the blender won’t allow you to merge and move around colour in the same way as you would paint. But it can be used very effectively to knock back colours, creating translucencies and other subtle effects. The key to success with the blender pen is to apply it liberally, and within the short drying times afforded by alcohol markers.
One way you can use it is to generously pre-wet your paper with a coating of solvent before laying down colour. This will diffuse the applied colour, and encourage subsequent layers to blend more freely.
You can also use the blender for directly adding de-saturated colour to your work. Simply touch its nib against the nib of a coloured marker for a few seconds, then apply the transferred colour from the tip of the blender. The solvent will naturally soften down the colour, eventually flushing it through entirely.
In a similar way, you can also try fashioning a makeshift palette (an old plate or saucer is good) then using the blender pen to pick up and apply your colours. First, pool some marker ink straight from the nib onto your ‘palette’. Then use the blender to pick up each colour and apply it to your design. So long as the colour is sitting on an ink-resistant surface, it can be picked up and moved around in this way. And if it dries, it can be re-activated with the blender.
PRACTICE IS KEY!
Like any ability or technique, practice is key to getting it right! Yeah, I know – it’s not always fun, but it can be. Here’s a link to some free downloads; they are from the Crafter’s Companion website. Download and print these onto your usual white cardstock for use with your markers, and get practicing! Be sure to check out the Crafter’s Companion site, especially the Inspiration page, for more useful information and ideas.
FIND OUT MORE!
I sometimes forget this fact – the makers of the products we use WANT US TO SUCCEED when using their products! To make this possible, they often have fabulous resources online. I highly recommend checking out the Spectrum Noir web site – even if you don’t use their markers, you will find loads of helpful information on how to use alcohol markers, colouring, blending, and more.
I hope I’ve given you some good information to use, as well as inspiration! If you missed my post yesterday, where I used these Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers, you can see it HERE.
If you’ve been inspired to try out some of these markers for yourself, I can recommend a great deal! Right now, one of my affiliates Maple Syrup Designs, is offering a Buy One, Get One 50% OFF sale on these markers! They are all individual, so you get to choose the colours you want! Just click their name above, and you’ll be taken directly to page 1 for these markers.