Sunday, 7 August 2011

Spectrum Noir - My Review

There's quite a buzz going on with some new markers on the market and I've been asked by quite a lot of people what I think. So this is my honest opinion and a few facts that I have managed to find out. Today I'll be reviewing the Spectrum Noirs and soon I'll be reviewing the new Letraset FlexMarkers.
Now some of you might be sceptical because I'm a pretty hardcore Promarker devotee, BUT I am not an employee of Letraset or any other company and therefore this is entirely my opinion, no-one has sponsored or paid me to do this review either.


I was given 3 of the tonal packs to try out, the Turquoises, Pinks and Purples - I chose these packs in particular because these are the colours I felt I could add to my promarker collection.
My initial impression wasn't good - I thought the printing of the colour names and numbers and also of the product name on the barrel and ends of the markers wasn't very good - parts were missing and appeared to be rubbed or scratched off. But that was just a minor point and is neither here nor there when it comes to performance, however it may make life difficult if it's hard to read the colour name/number.
 


Next I decided to make my own wee swatch cards so that I could see what each of the colours looked like on the cardstock that I normally use for alcohol marker work....


As you can see, some of the colour names/end cap colours bear no resemblance to the colour of the ink - I think the most noticeable is #88 Purple Grey!
I decided to try the Spectrum Noir pens out on different surfaces - I have used 2 weights of Diamond White cardstock from The Papeterie - I will edit with the weight details, I can't remember them off the top of my head - and the 3rd surface was Letraset's bleedproof paper which is 70gsm
here's the heavy (top) and light (middle) Diamond White and the Letraset Bleedproof (bottom)
 




I have also included a scan of the reverse side of each so you can see how "juicy" the pens are. Now this is only one layer of ink. In my opinion the Spectrum Noirs saturate the paper far quicker than the promarkers do and so you can't do as much blending or layering with the Spectrum Noirs before the paper/card is saturated completely with ink and then starts to bleed outwards across the paper/card.


Next I tried some colouring.....
From the waist down I have coloured like I would with promarkers e.g. from dark to light, I used Geranium (15) in the darkest areas, then coloured over it and outwards with Rose Pink (8) - now these two blended reasonably seamlessly and I was quite happy with it, but when I coloured over the whole skirt and then tried to blend the Medium Pink (137) onto the skirt it started to look a bit strange - it looked like the 137 was bleaching out the colour of the other 2 shades in the same way a blender pen would. However, when it dries, it doesn't look so bad and the blending looks quite good. 
I went from light to dark from the waist up, first colouring the whole area with 137, then dotting on some 8 followed by 15 in the darkest areas - working quickly so that the ink was still wet, but this doesn't make for a smooth transition between shades.
In conclusion, working from dark to light, I did get the end result that I was after, but it was quite disconcerting when I tried to blend in the palest shade - I think the end result is more to do with chance than anything else.
 And lastly I thought I would try to illustrate where these packs of Spectrum Noirs would fit in with your promarkers - I've done this because I know a number of you have bought some Spectrum Noirs to add in to your promarker collection. It's obviously not an exact science as they are not designed to work with each other, but this is the best I could come up with....



CONCLUSION: this is purely my opinion, I don't like them - I did want to like them and to be honest I was very disappointed. I was hoping I would be able to fit them into my promarker collection, but I'd rather pay that bit extra for the new Flexmarkers and Trias to fill the gaps in the colour chart of the promarkers :)

31 comments:

Jane said...

Great review Debbie, I am with you and won't be parting with any PMs the Noir pens I bought have been given to my Grandaughter. Can't wait to get my flexi pens.

PeeJay said...

Thank you for your honest opinion. It's very much appreciated. I know of somebody recently who returned an item rather than review it because they didn't like it but didn't want to say so. To my mind that is not what reviewing is about. You review and report as you find personally - good or bad - as it's the only way most of us can make a balanced and educated decision. Thank you once again for your honesty and integrity. :0)

ps. I haven't been impressed with what I have seen of these pens and you've just confirmed those feelings for me.

Glitter Monkey said...

You have just confirmed what I felt babes - they are just far too juicy for my liking. Okay for colouring in large areas to stamp on and they are really good for colouring gems and brads so I will be keeping mine for that but buying no more xx

Mrs Weyremaster said...

Thanks for a great reveiw Debbie, it seems to me that Promarkers are winning against the Spectrum Noir. I'm gonna save the money i would have spent on Spectrum Noirs and put it towards getting the Fleximarkers, from what I've seen they are going to be worth the money.
Hugs
Suzi
xxx

Shazza said...

thanks Debbie for your honesty, I wasn't sure whether to try them or not - I love my Promarkers. I haven't heard of the Flexmarkers, will look out for them x

Julie said...

Thanks for the review Debbie. I was going to stick with my promarkers anyway, and can't wait to get the flexmarkers, but was still curious as to what these pens were like. I wasn't keen when I saw them on Create & Craft being demonstrated, and seeing your review has confirmed what I thought.

Julie W x

Macpurp said...

this is a really good review, fair and picks up on points I was interested in.
hugs
Teen xx

Ann said...

How lovely to hear an honest opinion. You have said many things that I found out with the pack I bought and regretted buying.
I think the flex markers will be a lot better buy and look forward to hearing what you think of those.
Ann xxx

Suze Bain said...

Thanks for reviewing these Debbi, they seem to be flooding the market at the moment but I'm going to stick with the PM's! xx

nnalorac said...

Read your review debbi just out of interest, very interesting it was but have plenty to contend with already me thinks!! Carolxx

Sheila said...

Thanks for being truly honest - I had to choose between them and Flexis and now so glad I choose the PMs! Sheila:)X

Annette said...

This has been really helpful as I was seriously toying with buying a pack of the Spectrum Noirs. They seems such great value for money, but if they are worse than PMs then I'd rather save my pennies and get the better pens. It seems you get what you pay for as usual. Thanks for helping me to ensure I don't waste my crafting pennies! Annette xx

craftykitten said...

Thanks for a fantastic review Debbi. This will certainly save me buying these pens - wasn't sure when I first saw them and you have just convinced me to stick with my promarkers/aquamarkers and can't wait to see what the fleximarkers are going to be like.
Thanks
hugs
Dawn xx

Susie said...

Thank you so much for the review. For most of us, crafting is an addiction, but we still need to feel that we're getting value for money and buying the right thing. I'll be sticking with my Promarkers and Distress Inks. Thank you. Susie x

Stacie (craft-princess) said...

So refreshing to get an honest review! Thank you!

Elaine said...

Thank you for your review Debbi,it's always nice to hear other peoples views on crafty stuff. I shall be investing in some PM's to try out.

Hugs Elaine xx

kath said...

thanks debbi for your honest review..I bought them to fill in missing colours in Promarkers and also not impressed...a nightmare to blend and I certainly won't be buying any more...hugs kath xxx

CraftyLoops said...

Brilliant review Debbie, thank you for taking the time to do all this. Lee xx

Lorraine said...

thanks Debbi hun i was thinking of getting them when i first heard about them but when i saw them being demoed i didn't like how they looked once blended and since i have seen so many people trying to sell the ones they bought i am so lucky i didn't buy them i love promarkers too much to change over and the new flex markers look fab im sticking with Letraset for my markers forever lol can't wait to see you using the flexmarkers xx

Playing with paper said...

You've found exactly the same things that I have on my reviews. I wanted to like them but didn't, then started to doubt myself when some of the uk forums started raving about how fab they thought they were but gradually more and more people are starting to admit that they don't think they're all that.

Phew, I'm not an oddball anymore lol.

btw I used neenah and stampinups whisper white, found them better on stampinup but had to let the inks dry between layers on both.

Paula (PEP) said...

Thoroughly interesting & thanks for an unbiased opinion. I've not had a chance to do a proper testing of those I bought yet. What you say does confirm what I'd already come to the conclusion of regarding ProMarkers & Copics - they are different. When I tried to do a like for like colour chart it proved difficult so will have to return to that but it seems to me that each are best used within their own brand & not mixed. A Copic colour that appears the same as a PM on one cardstock doesn't on another......... I find the Copics brush tip hard to control & much prefer the bullet tip of ProMarkers.
This kind of comparison is such a useful one.
Paula (PEP)

Debs M said...

Nice to hear a different view as i have only heard positive things but a lot of your commentators feel the same
Debs x

coops said...

thanks for you unbiased view debbi.i have seen lots of mixed reviews for these pens and think i will save my pennies for the fleximarkers :D
the acrylic glitter paint i used on my card yesterday i get from my local art shop and some i have bought from rymans.they are normally 99p to £1.99 a bottle but i got mine out of a reduced basket for 50p so got a few now.they are by Royal & Langnickel and are 59ml so will last for ages, hth :D

xx coops xx

Lorraine said...

Thanks Debbie, as money is scarce I couldn't make my mind up between the Noirs or the new Fleximarkers. This reveiw has helped alot, I think it is Flieximarkers. xx

Karen said...

Thanks for your review. Nearly bought them, but will be sticking to my promarkers and buying the new flexmarkers. xx

~ Ali Watson ~ said...

I have to say the numbers coming off is a nightmare and yes i agree also with the colour numbering but not having many other pens i thought it was just me lol. I think my problem I had with blending the promarkers is that I don't have enough of the colours close to each to blend IYKWIM.

Mwah

Ali x

Shell Shearer Swinscoe said...

Thanks hun, really great to read your opinion!
I have seen a few cards using these & to be honest I just don't think they blend enough, I am by no means as good at colouring with my Pros as you are but I think I will hang on to my pennies & get some flexies!
huge hugs shell xx

Net said...

Thanks for the unbiased view. I'll stick with my Copics.

Blue Daisy said...

Thanks for this review Debbi, very useful and honest. I would have to add that I agree with all your comments having now tried the "skin tones" set.. to add to your comments I would also say there are some pretty strange colours in the set for skin! (unless "Putty" which appears as a muddy green is common somewhere in the world!)

Thanks!
tx

Terri Morse said...

I seldom buy a product without reading reviews, but in this case, I made a huge mistake. I wish I had read this first. I agree with the reviews I've read here regarding the Spectrums' blending problems. I am quite disappointed in their performance. Also, they tend to bleed through the heaviest of papers. They soak through too quickly, and the more you try to blend them, the stranger the effects. Also, the color "spectrums" are hardly spectrums at all. They are quite mismatched, particularly in the blues and greens. The reds are far too close in value to be of much use in a smooth blend. The greens are not only mismatched in color, but they are also so far at the opposite ends of the value scale, they simply cannot be blended. To any discerning artist, I would strongly suggest not wasting your hard-earned money.

Marianne said...

Very interesting review. I bought the complete set but I'm finding it very hard to mix colours and blend them. Just like you I also found that sometimes adding a third colour will bleach out the other colours and when I tried to achieve a jeans effect and tried blending, I got a horrible blotchy result. Since there are several artists/bloggers out there that appear to be very happy with these pens and are achieving stunning results, I thought it was me and my lack of experience. Admittedly, I did achieve a few very satisfying results, too. But I also bought my first set of Flexmarkers last month and found mixing and blending colours so intuitive. When I did not like the colour I could even add another colour with perfect blending results.
I tell myself I need to experiment more, but I'm seriously considering buying another set of Flexmarkers.

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