Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Coloring Corner: another look at Spectrum Noir

By Lis Whiting

Hi everyone! I was given a few of these new alcohol ink pens to try out. I am not a great colorist. I am still learning to blend! I have been using Copic markers for about a year so I think this will be a beginner’s comparison.

First of all, I like the way the marker feels in my hand. It’s about the size of four pencils put together in a square. There is a marker side and a bullet nib side. There is a grey line on one end cap so you know which side is which and there is a picture on each end also.

I decided to color one of Fran’s own stamped period women stamps, Erte in fur-edged dress (I think I have all of these – they are great!).

I do admit that I like the flexible brush that Copic offers but if you really want tight detail then a nib might be the way to go. I was able to get into some of the tiny spots easily.

Shading can be tricky with these alcohol ink pens but not impossible. I tried shading lighter and darker of the same color on the dress. I think it came out all right. It was very easy to let the ink dry and then go over it again to get a darker shade. (Remember your alcohol ink properties!). I used the light blue-green on the dress. There was no problem staying inside the lines using the bullet nib. You may notice that I have lines in my coloring. I did this on purpose to create the look of texture. Since I had a pink, I used the red on the stamp accent lines on the dress. You will notice that the pink did not blend with the blue but stands out as a color in its own right. WOW!

One thing to remember: as with all alcohol inks, the paper you use them on is important. The more porous the paper, the more likely the ink will feather. This will happen with any alcohol ink.

I had the new Inkssentials craft nib holder, some craft nibs (there are also Cut and dry brush pen nibs which I don’t have but plan to order) and some Ranger Blender so of course I experimented! First off, the brush nib was too large to place in the pen (rats!). But the blender solution works well with the nib and the pens. I did try some blender solution with the inks and it worked well. The hard thing is to get a very small amount of blender solution on the nib before you start working your inks otherwise one can wipe out the coloring. And this is exactly what I did…and on purpose! I smudged the shoes a bit and was able to “erase” my ink lines.

Overall, I like these pens. The colors I received were vibrant. And the pens were fairly easy to use.

Now, about the Viva Décor Pearl Pens… I couldn’t help myself. This stamp screamed for decoration so how could I not add some beautiful pearl accents? The stamp image is a nice size. In order to add pearl accents I would normally work with 2mm or 3mm stones BUT with these pens I could create pearl accents as small as 1mm. This was really great!

I hope that you enjoyed my review and will give these pens (and the Viva Décor pens) a try.


  1. who knew you could get such great texture with pens! and I love the paint pen detail!!!

    lovely piece!

  2. This is great. Do you have a picture with the colored flowers, bracelet, purse and belt, that you refer to? Curious what that looks like.