Basic Pleats with Illustrator Markers

I just love the new Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers! This tutorial I will show you a simple technique for making pleats and shaded regions.

I will use two sets of three markers from the Vintage Blue and Brown Orange specter to color this image in a surprisingly interesting colour combination of orange and blue.

Gather your markers

This image has been coloured with:
Skin: Rose (FS1), Dusty Pink (FS2), Portrait Pink (FS3), Eggshell (FS8), Ivory (FS9), Pale Tan (TN1), Honeydew (TN2), Cream (FS6)
Hair: Green Grey 1 (GG1), Green Grey 2 (GG2), Green Grey 3 (GG3),Green Grey 5 (GG5), Honeydew (TN2)
Coat: Smoky Blue (VB1), Vintage Blue (VB2), True Blue (TB4), Ice Grey 2 (IG2);
Scarf: Vanilla (BO1), Mango (BO2), Green Grey 2 (GG2), Green Grey 3 (GG3), Green Grey 5 (GG5) Gold (GY3)
Fox: Dusty Pink (FS2), Eggshell (FS8), Ivory (FS9) Pale Tan (TN1), Honeydew (TN2), Green Grey 2 (GG2), Green Grey 3 (GG3), Green Grey 5 (GG5), Vanilla (BO1)

Create pleats on the Coat

If you are beginner it’s better to start with the widest portion of the image (here it is the coat). I usually go and cover it with the lightest shade – VB1.

It is just a basic coat so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The next step is to mark the deepest/shadiest regions with the darkest shade – TB7.

Then I widen the shade with the middle color (VB2). The trick with this step is to blend in and out the three colours together.

And all that is left is to take the lightest shade and blend all together from outside to the inside of the pleat.

Colour the Scarf

The same four steps we can use for the scarf  with the lightest (BO1) – all over.

Marking the deepest regions with the darkest – BO3.

Blending them out with the middle shade – BO2.

And smoothing everything together with the first colour – BO1.

If you are not satisfied with the result yet you can repeat the final three steps over (and over) until you you like it or you can add some grays (here I used GG3 or GG5 on the scarf) to emphasize the shades.

Complete the image

Finish colouring as desired!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re colouring!

Tutorial credit: Kalina Pavlova

Custom Made Gift Box

Finished Gift Box

Want to create a quick & easy-to-make thank you gift box? Use Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers to make a stunning topper for a gift box perfect for not only a thank you gift, but to use throughout the year.

To color the image:

Gift Box step 1

Coloring the petals:

First, stamp or print the image of your choice onto alcohol marker coloring paper.

Then starting with the lightest Spectrum Noir Illustrator shade Daffodil color the petals.

Second, use the blender pen to fade out the Daffodil creating a smooth blend.  If pigment bleeds remove with the blender pen.

Gift Box Step 2

Third, add further color detail to your petals.

Color one flower on the outside of the petal with Flame Red. Blend in the lighter shades Vintage Pink and Pink Lace. The fine nibs create small strokes of color build up.

Extra definition is  given with small dots of True Black where areas of deep shade would exist.

Gift Box Step 3

Fourth, tone and depth detail has been created on the petals with Mango.

Start from the central stem section of each petal and blend with Sunshine.

Gift Box Step 4

Finally, color all the flower petals in the same manner.

Use the markers to create dramatic petal detail.

Color the center of the flower shown with the True Black marker.  Add small highlight details with white gel pen or leave the areas uncolored.

Gift Box Step 5

Coloring the leaves & stem:

The leaves and stem of the tulips are next.  Here the light is coming from the right of the image and the marker color gradient reflects this.

First, start with the darkest marker shade Green Gray.  Lighten the color gradient using Pear Green, Pale Citrus, Moss Green, Olive Green, Khaki.

The lightest shade used is Chartreuse.  Apply using the palette blending method or the Blender pen.

Gift Box Step 6

Second, the rest of the tulip leaves and stems are colored with the same markers.  Add extra color detail with a light flick of Sand to the edges of the Chartreuse and blend.

Third, small strokes of white gel pen added create areas of light and detail.

Gift Box Step 7

Finally, to make the image pop add an outline coat of Gray Green.  Blend to create a light shadow with the Blender Pen.

Gift Box Step 8

Mount the image on gold mirror card.

Gift Box Step 9

To make the gift box:

First, cut a piece of card to form the cover of your box.  Card measures 6.5” wide and 12” long and is double sided Centura Pearl.

Score card at 5.5” and 6.5”.

Gift Box Step 10

Second, make the inside of your box by cutting a piece of card measuring 8” x 7”.   Score round all 4 edges at 1” and create 4 tabs cut on the diagonal.

Gift Box Step 11

Third, apply Collall Tacky Glue to each of the 4 tabs and attach each tab to a scored box side.

Gift Box Step 12

Fourth, attach a strip of double sided tape across the middle of the inside of your box cover and add a length of ribbon.

Leave enough ribbon to tie a large bow at the side of your box construction.

Finish by adding the colored topper to the gift box cover.

Insert the box base into the box cover and glue to secure.  Tie a bow on the side of your box construction and your project is complete.

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

Tutorial credit: Laine Webb


Image – Power Poppy
Spectrum Noir Illustrator markers: Daffodil, Blender Pen, Flame Red, Vintage Pink, Pink Lace, True Black, Mango, Sunshine, Grey Green, Pear Green, Pale Citrus, Moss Green, Olive Green, Khaki, Chartreuse, Sand.

Quick & Easy Christmas Tag


Short on time this festive season? This tutorial will give you an idea how to use pre-colored images on an easy Christmas tag and utilize another thing that there is always an abundance of in any crafter’s stash –  scraps of patterned paper.


The materials you need are:
– a colored image
– tag base (from some leftover pieces of CC Kraft Cardstock )
– frame and snow slopes (from Snow White Silver – Centura Pearl which is perfect for Christmas projects)
– some scraps of designer paper in the same palette as the colored image
– and whatever your favorite Christmas embellishments and decorations are.

The colored image has been previously colored with Illustrator markers:
Skin: FS3, FS5, FS7, FS9
Hair and Boots: BO1, BO2
Coat: YG1, YG2, YG3, CG3, CG3
Hat and Scarf: AP1,3 PP2, DP2

Arrange the tag base, the frame, the front piece of paper the image and the snow slopes (you can cut them by hand if you don’t have dies) to lay out the front as desired.

Since it’s a scrap project you can use whatever dimensions your paper pieces are – these are approximately 8/15 сm.


Cut the top sides into tag shape.

Make it symmetrical by using some of the first cut pieces as a model to trim the second edge.

Distress a bit the edges of the paper then glue all the layers together.


The fun part is in the back! Use some thin strips of paper that are usually left from making cards.

The base is an additional piece of paper that is approximately half centimeter smaller then the tag base in every direction.

Arrange the strips in any order that and glue them on this base.


The only thing left is to cut the spares from the back.


Tip: to add a personal message on the back, place a die-cut shape on top of the patterned paper.


Put some decorations like thousands of snowflakes, some ribbon, twine and lace and the tag is ready to be the centerpiece of a perfect Christmas gift! It would look marvelous wrapped in kraft paper. How easy was that?

Tutorial credit: Kalina Pavlova

Coloring Skin with Illustrator Markers


We recently launched our new Illustrator markers in the UK (they’re coming to the US in early 2017!)… have you had a chance to check them out? These markers come with a brush nib, which can have a bit of a learning curve if you’re not used ot them. This tutorial will show you how to color skin using this new brush nib – enjoy!


Print an image on to your preferred cardstock (here: a Morgan Fitzsimmons image from the CD-ROM onto Neenah cardstock, all available from Crafter’s Companion).


Using FS9 (Eggshell) scribble some color down on areas you would want to appear lighter.


Using some TN2 (Honeydew) begin adding in some shaded areas. Use a sweeping motion to apply the color.


Following your TN2 (Honeydew) color, begin adding in some TN3 (Apricot). Each time you apply a different shade, you will apply slightly less.


Use RB1 (Pecan) – this will be your darkest color for shading. Add this in the areas you feel would be darker.


Use FS7 (Linen) pen as a blender color. It conceals the darker colors and lightest color together.


Then to finish her off give her a very light coat of FS9 (Eggshell) again.


Use FS5 (Peach) you can add in some pinky areas like her lips, cheeks, shoulders.

Once you have colored up the rest of your image you can add her to a card!

Share your work with us on our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (use our #spectrumnoir or #spectrumaqua tag) – we’d love to see what you’re coloring!

This image also used the following colors:

Hair – EB2 Natural Brown, EB4 Earth Brown, EB7 Dark Brown

Wings – BT1 Pale Mint, TB2 Periwinkle, DP2 Old Lavender

Purple – HB1 Lilac, HB2 Hydrangea, LV3 Amethyst