Back to Basics with Spectrum Noir Markers – Part One


For this two-part tutorial we will work through coloring an image from start to finish.  Focusing on coloring the skin, hair, clothes and background/detail, working with Spectrum Noir markers.


This image is a digital stamp from Elisabeth Bell, printed onto Neenah Classic Crest card (in the US, you could also use our Spectrum Noir Ultra Smooth cardstock).

A draft and grayscale setting was used on the printer and the image was left to dry overnight.

For this coloring the light is hitting the image from the right-hand side and areas to the left will be in shadow.

Starting with the Spectrum Noir marker FS2 color the skin as shown, leaving areas in most light clear.


To define shadow Spectrum Noir marker TN2 is applied as shown in the picture above. This gives roundness and depth to your image.


Spectrum Noir marker FS5 is applied over and round the TN2 to create a color blend for the skin and blended out with FS2.

Some definition is left in areas which would be in deepest shadow. This would be the back of the neck, under hair folds, nose and mouth, at the back of hands, arms and into wrist and finger detail.

On the back of the leg, shadow from dress, under knee and into the foot as shown.


Warmth is added to the image with use of Spectrum Noir marker FS6.

This is added to the cheek, back of neck, under arm and wrist areas and on the back of the outstretched leg and under the heel.


Spectrum Noir marker FS2 is applied over all areas of skin to blend and add shade to skin.


A reminder of the Spectrum Noir markers used to color the skin of the image.


To color an image you can work from light to dark or dark to light, there is no right or wrong way to color and it depends on the colorist’s personal choice.

For the hair of this image we start with the darkest shade, Spectrum Noir marker GB10, and color the sections of the hair which would be in most shade, as shown in the image.


Further shade and depth is added with Spectrum Noir marker GB7. A flicking motion is used to apply the color, either with the fine nib or with a brush nib.

Areas of light and shadow are being created by the application of color.


Spectrum Noir marker GB6 is next used.


Finally the lightest shade is applied, Spectrum Noir GB3.  The hair is now colored.

Notice that some areas have been left uncolored, this is where the hair would catch the light.

If you color beyond the edge of the image with your flicking strokes, this can be removed by your blender pen or blended into your image outline.


A reminder of the Spectrum Noir markers used to color the hair of the image.  A second layer of color can be applied to the hair if you wish to create more contrast and depth.

I hope you will find this tutorial useful.  There is a lot of detail to cover and I have split the tutorial into two parts. The second part of the tutorial, coloring the dress and background, will be posted later in the month.

Spectrum Noir markers used:

Skin:  FS2, FS5, FS6, TN2

Hair:  GB2, GB6, GB7, GB10

Image:  Music Box, Elisabeth Bell

Tutorial credit: Laine Webb


9 thoughts on “Back to Basics with Spectrum Noir Markers – Part One

  1. Thank you I have been so confused on how to go about shading and coloring you tube etc have so many contradicting ways of coloring that I have just put my markers away thinking what a waste of money. I now will get them out again and try again. Tbank you

  2. Thank you for this ‘basic’ tutorial! I have a full set of these markers which I bought 2 years ago at a craft fair but haven’t ever used as not sure how to use them to their fullest capabilities. Tutorials, like these, and those that Christina Griffiths posts, will give me some instructive guidance.

  3. Thank you…I haven’t coloured in so long as I could never get the shades right…I now have the confidence to start again 🙂

  4. Going through these tutorials has made me decide to purchase these markers. They perform exactly what I’m looking for with a cost I can afford. Thank you so much for taking the time to show us how to best use these markers.

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