Color Distraction

Spectrum Noir makes an alcohol marker that will give Copic a run for the money. Copics cost about three times the cost of Spectrum Noir. (At Dick Blick, a six-pack of Spectrum Noir is $8.95;  a six-pack of Copic costs $33.61.) For my uses, the quality is similar enough. Spectrum Noir is a little wetter and the blend is a little more subtle, but that’s the only difference in application.

19913-5169-2ww-mPricing varies greatly. The website for Jo-Anns sells a six-pack of Spectrum Noir for $14.99 and a six-pack of Copics for $49.99).

What I don’t like is that you can’t buy them individually, you buy them in sets or not at all. There are 12 sets of six color-coordinated ones, and larger sets of “brights” or “pastels” in packs of 24. If you buy all the six-packs you have the same markers as in the 72-pen set.

I’m fond of their instructional videos which teach you to put down the darkest color first, then blend with the lighter color, creating a smooth transition.

While packing materials  for the Madeline Island  class, I came across an interesting exercise that works for collage or just an interesting abstract.

Using Golden’s Glaze (in iridescent gold), open the squeeze bottle hold it over a sturdy sheet of paper (this was Stonehenge paper from the spiral block). Make a complicated squiggle, making sure to cross over the pattern several times. Allow to dry. Glaze takes longer to dry than acrylic paint. Expect days, not hours.

SquiggleOnce the glaze was dry, I used the Spectrum Noir markers to color in some of the spaces. Because there was just one package (Turquoise), I used Sparkling H2Os in other spaces, and two sparkle markers (in black and white) for the last two blocks.

You can see the blending on the bottom, right space. The top, left space shows two colors unblended. The oval to the upper right of the black sparkly piece shows blending–my first try.

squiggle2This technique looks very different in different lights. It’s the same piece, but in the bottom one, you can see the sparkliing inks and the iridescence of the gold glaze.

You can also try the technique using black gesso in a squeeze bottle. Mustard bottles work well, and the Dollar Store sells sets of two (red and yellow plastic) for, yes, a dollar.

-Quinn McDonald is thinking of cutting up the piece to use in a collage.


19 thoughts on “Color Distraction

  1. I agree it’s a bit annoying you can’t buy them separately. But once you have them you can buy refill ink for them, just like with the copics. I haven’t tried those yet (haven’t had them long enough for any to run out), but it’s good to know.
    As for the caps: you need to kind of twist and pull them to get them off easier. I’ve had no real trouble with them myself. I never bought copics because they are so incredibly expensive and smell disgusting (in my opinion), these are within my budget and less invasive to my nose (although of course all alcohol markers do smell, there’s no way around that). 😉

    • The refilling part is a big plus, and you can use the inks as dyes as well–for surface decoration. I never really got enchanted by Copics because of the bleed-through issue, but I find myself reaching for these turquoise ones more often. They also bleed through, but I find that I can use them on Bristol and Stonehenge quite nicely.

  2. I have all the Spectrum Noir markers simply from purchasing them only when I had 50% Off coupons. Bought them from Jo-Ann’s and then found them pretty much for that half-off price on Amazon. I’d never used alcohol markers before….they are devine! Rich colors, total coverage…but make sure there is paper under the paper you use them on….they saturate!

  3. I liked the look of the markers and checked out the NZ pricing. NZ$26.50 (US$20.60) for a pack of 6! I’m planning on coming to the US to visit my friends, if they don’t come here first so there’s no prizes for guessing what my bag will be full of upon my return! I know you can have too many art supplies, and I know that making do is something I can achieve, but somehow . . . . that little magpie part of me is very acquisitive and my resistance is minimal! Futile in fact when it comes to a bargain. I shall start a wsh list! I’ll have about a year to compile it!

      • I have friends I taught with in Ilinois, Ohio, Vermont and California and want to visit again. It’s not worth the airfare to come for less than a couple of months so I’d need time off work next year, the year after I will be a free agent. Not retired I hasten to add, I’ll be happily following my new career as a Creative Leisure Consultant – my invention, perhaps I should copyright it! I shall be an inspriation to all over 60s!!

  4. After reading your closing blurb by your name, my first thought was “No, don’t cut it up, it is beautiful this way!”. However, on second thought: I can’t tell from the photo but are your gold lines wide enough to cut them down the middle so that you can keep a gold frame around each of the colors? Each shape would make a neat piece of jewelry if you could keep the framing.

  5. Are alcohol markers the same as alcohol inks? I recently saw a tutorial for alcohol inks to create coasters out of plain white tiles by spritzing on different colors and letting them mix on their own. Just wondering if the markers are likely to work the same with more control.

    • Yes, alcohol markers are filled with alcohol inks. You can buy alcohol ink refillers for Spectrum Noir, or use alcohol inks from Adirondack (Ranger) or other brands. Copics are re-fillable, too.

  6. I tried those markers, but I did not like them mostly because the caps are extremely hard to get off, at least my set was. I like Copics much better and if you use a coupon they aren’t too bad. Thanks

    • At almost three times the price, (Spectrum Noir six-pack is $8.95 at Dick Blick. Copic six-pack is $33.61) a one-use coupon really doesn’t make up the difference for me. I didn’t have trouble getting the cap off. The caps are made to hold between your hands and pull off the cover with both thumbs. I also use one hand and pull them off with thumb and forefinger. I do respect brand loyalty, though, and am not an expert on the quality. For the merely curious who want to try out alcohol markers to see if they like them, Spectrum Noir is a good place to start.

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