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Copic versus Spectrum Noir-A Product Comparison


by Debbie Ebat, Artistic Guide

Flower Digi 2  (Scrapbook Stamp Society, artist Karen Sheltrown)
Spectrum Noir (Crafters Companion)
LV2, PL2, LV1
Copic (.too)
V01, V04,V17
Y08,RV04, RV02
YG63, YG67, TG61

Today's watering hole post is a little different.  I was upset by the latest Copic price increase... I think it was the third one in a year.  So I decided to take a look at some of the other alcohol markers.  I was in JoAnn's and saw they had Spectrum Noir.  So I picked up a package of purples to give them a try.IMG_1066

  • The first major difference between the two brands is that the Spectrum Noir come in a set of 6 pens.  So you get a color range to work with right from the start.
  • The second major difference is the price.  When I bought these at Jo Ann's they were $14.99  for six.  I had a coupon, of course, so I got them for 50% off.  Copics almost never go on sale and the latest retail price from Copic is $7.99 per pen,  However, you can find them on line for a little as $5.24.
  • They both can be refilled.
  • I used these on a digital  image printed on white paper.  My printer is an Epson  and I did not have any problems with bleeding from either pen.  I did not try them with ink, but Tsukineko's Memento inks are a good ink to use with alcohol markers.
  • Another big difference is the shape of the pens.  I use the sketch version of the Copic markers.  For me, I found when using the Spectrum markers, my hands were hurting by the time I had colored the flower petals.  I can color all day with Copic markers and not have this problem.  So I prefer the shape of the Copics.IMG_1070
  • In my example, I tried to match the colors of the Spectrum Noir markers to the colors of the Copic markers to give a fair comparison.IMG_1077IMG_1075
  • This is the digi image I used.IMG_1065
  • The only parts I colored with the Spectrum Noir is the large petals.  I discovered that it was harder to place the color where I wanted it to be with their bullet point nib as opposed to the brush nib of the Copics, but that might change with practice. IMG_1069
  • This is how the flower looked after I colored all the petals. IMG_1074
  • I normally would not mix these colors of copics, but did so, trying to keep to the comparison between the two brands of markers as close as possible.IMG_1078
  •  Here is the finished petals.IMG_1080
  •  Then, because all the uncolored area was bothering me, I colored the rest of the flowers.  Here is a side by side shot for you to see the difference. IMG_1085
  • As you can see, there's not a lot of difference between the two colored flowers.  But I felt limited by the color range I had available in the Spectrum package.  Copic markers have 358 colors to choose from, where as Spectrum Noir markers only come in 168 colors.
  • It's no surprise to me, but I think I will stick with my Copic markers.  I'd put it this way, going from Copic Markers to Spectrum Noir markers is like going from a BMW to a Kia.  Yes the price is a lot better, but you're really limited in your options.
  • Thanks for stopping by and please remember, this is only my opinion.



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6 Responses »

  1. iPod versus Android, Chevy versus Ford is what Copics versus Spectrum Noir. Believe me, I had a sense of disbelief when I saw these markers at Jo Ann's. (I honestly couldn't believe seeing them. And for a bit of a cheaper price too!)

    But I decided to get them and I'm glad I did. I purchased "pale hues" as my starter up marker set to compare with my skin tone copics.

    As soon as I got home, I took an 8x5 and doodled a bust of a person. I was amazed at how well the colors blended. This was just a lame little doodle and I couldn't believe how lifelike it looked!

    Then I compared copics to SN "Spectrum Noir" and I saw a big difference in recreating the same doodle. Copics did not do very well. In my eyes SN was also easier to match colors together and blend well.

    I remember the first time I got Copics I was a bit disappointed. I did not like the flesh tones. When I used Copics skin my characters looked like they had jaundice.

    I don't think I will go back to Cooics again. Far too expensive and hyped up among the deviantArt manga community for my taste. Very much how the iPod which I too verily see as overrated.

    I just purchased two more packages of SN markers and I can't wait to try them out.

    I admit I am cheap, but I think even if I had money to shell out for expensive things like copics (oh, and let's not forget Prismacolor pencils and markers!) I probably still would go to the cheaper alternative. Especially if they can do the same (or better in my opinion), than their expensive counterparts. 🙂

    I look to Don Marco to clarify my point. And that man uses CRAYOLA CRAYONS for his beautiful masterpieces. He is one of the sources of inspiration for me.

    It goes to show you that you don't need expensive art supplies to create something so awe inspiring.

    Thank you to whoever created Spectrum Noir for helping us struggling artists still keep money in our pockets to afford your wonderful markers. 😀

    -Lily K.-

  2. So funny how we get used to different things. I started out with Spectrum Noir, and found very little difference when I first played with Copic. I thought the Spectrum markers performed just as well. And I paid about $1.60 per pen as compared to the $7.99 for Copic.

  3. Thanks so much for this comparison. I don't currently use markers because of the cost but had been looking at the Noir's. After reading this I don't think I'll invest in them. Geesh, I wish the Copics weren't so expensive!

  4. This is an awsome review. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Sorry to hear this I just bought three different Colors ! 🙁

  6. I couldn't live without my Copic markers. I teach card making classes and they are my primary coloring choice for my samples, ect, along with my personal cards. With that said, I wanted to introduce my sister-in-law to alcohol markers as a Christmas gift. Yes, Copics are a little pricey, especially when you're looking at purchasing a quanity all at once. So, I opted for the Spectrum Noir.
    After giving them to her we just had to "play". Turns out we had a major problem finding a suitable paper (major bleeding) and the markers had been stored on there end, so they were very dry on one end. Copics can be stroed upright, so I assumed these also could. Nope.
    Anyway, my opinion is that I will continue to invest in and promote Copics. The Spectrum are fine, but you really do get what you pay for.