The Professional High Quality Alcohol Marker

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For questions related to coloring with alcohol markers, or suggestions for paper and card stock types, please see our Coloring FAQ page.  For questions about the classic-style Spectrum Noir markers, please visit our Classic Markers FAQ. Below you will find some frequently asked question related to our marker system.

About the Markers


What is an alcohol marker?

Alcohol markers are comprised of ink and an alcohol based solution.  Alcohol is the solvent for each pen.  The lower numbered pens are lighter in color, whereas the higher numbered pens have a  more intense, or darker, color.  The lighter colors contain more alcohol in them than the darker colors.

As the lighter colors have more solvent (alcohol) in them, they will dilute the darker colors of ink, which is useful while trying to blend two colors together.


What are the main differences between the original (or classic) and the next generation Spectrum Noir markers?

The next generation Spectrum Noir markers feature a hexagonal barrel shape to be more ergonomic, rubberized grips for comfort and double-walled caps for extended time between refills. The bullet tip nib is finer, for additional detailing and the chisel nib can be replaced with a brush nib (available for purchase separately).


Will the next generation Spectrum Noir markers still be sold in six marker and twenty-four marker sets?

The packages won’t be changing – the next generation Spectrum Noir markers will still be sold in 12 six marker set combinations as well as 4 twenty-four marker set combinations. There is no repetition of colors between any of the sets.


How does the packaging work?  Why are some sets in six and some twenty-four to a pack?

Twelve sets of six markers
Our core set of seventy-two pens is divided up into twelve color families, each containing six pens per set.  Each package contains pre-matched color tone families with several blending possibilities.  The individual packaging allows a colorist to build a collection to fit all types of coloring needs and budgets.

When all twelve of the standard packages of six pens have been collected, the core set of seventy-two pens is complete. There will be several colors in every color family, which is generally sufficient for most crafters. There are no duplicate colors across sets.

Four  sets of twenty-four markers
The four sets of twenty-four markers are to be added to the core collection to increase the color spectrum.  These markers will add darker and lighter colors to the color choices provided in the standard collection, as well as filling in some in-between colors.  Again, no color is duplicated in any package.  Adding all four sets of twenty-four markers to the core set of seventy-two will give a colorist a total of 168 colors.

Note:  The twenty-four piece sets do not contain any blending partners, as they were made to complement or be added to the core set of seventy-two markers.

These twenty-four marker sets are available in four sets: Brights, Lights, Pastels and Darks.  Each set has been designed to fit the individual style of each colorist.

Most colorists will not want to select the the four larger sets prior to purchasing the first twelve core sets. However, many mixed media artists, or those who wish to use the markers for specific techniques such as micro glitter coloring , may be delighted with one or more of these sets as these techniques do not require as many blending combinations.


What do the numbers on each marker mean?

The numbers on the end of each marker specify how intense or dark the color is.  This numbering system was made for very easy understanding.  1 is very pale, 2 is a bit more intense/dark, 3 is even more intense/dark, and 10 is much more intense/dark.  An easy way to think about it is that the lower the number is, the lighter the color will be.


What do the letters on each marker mean?

The letters on the end of the marker specify the color tone.  For example, CT = Citrus Yellow, TN = Tan, CR = Coral Red, CG = Citrus Green and so on. Complete list of colors can be found on our color chart in the downloads section of our website.


Will you be offering the next generation Spectrum Noir markers for purchase individually?

No, the markers will continue to be sold only in six and twenty-four pen sets.


Where can I purchase the Spectrum Noir markers?

You can purchase the pens directly in the UK at or in the USA at You will find other retailers, including brick-and-mortar stores as well as online retailers, by searching for Spectrum Noir online.


How should I store my markers?

We recommend storing your markers horizontally (flat).  This keeps the ink distributed evenly and will prevent any settling to one side or the other.  If you have stored your markers vertically or transported them to a crop, you will want to return them to a horizontal position for at least a few minutes before using them for best results.


Are the next generation Spectrum Noir markers air-tight?

We have manufactured the next generation Spectrum Noir markers so that they feature a double layered cap. This cap along with the plastic material used is designed to minimize the evaporation rates associated with an alcohol based ink and extend the time needed between refills. We recommend keeping the lid on your markers at all times when not coloring.


Will my next generation Spectrum Noir markers ever dry out?

Spectrum Noir markers use an alcohol-based ink and alcohol evaporates at a faster rate than water. The rate of evaporation will depend on factors such as how often you replace the cap during use, if you have both caps off at the same time and the temperature of the environment in which you are coloring. Fundamentally, the more the markers are in use, the quicker they will dry out, however you should not experience any drying out during periods of storage provided the double layered caps are replaced correctly.


Are you going to continue supporting the original Spectrum Noir markers that I’ve already purchased?

Yes, we will continue to support the original Spectrum Noir marker range. The original markers use the same ink as the next generation markers, so you will still be able to purchase ink refills and we will continue to sell replacement bullet and chisel nibs.


About the Inks


Are the ink colors going to be the same in the next generation Spectrum Noir system?

The next generation Spectrum Noir markers will continue to be offered in exactly the same way, with the same color numbers. Some minor adjustments have been made to our color formulations, but every effort has been made to ensure colors match the original color spectrum. A small number of color families have had minor tweaks made to the increments between shades to improve ease of blending.


How long with each marker last before running out of ink?

Due to several factors it is hard to determine how long a marker will last before it runs out of ink.  Here are a few things to consider.

How often markers are used.

How heavy a colorist colors – very light handed or heavy handed.

If the lid is left off the marker for long periods of time they will dehydrate.

The type paper that is being used.  Some paper, like watercolor paper, is made to be more absorbent and will use more ink than one of the papers recommended on the Spectrum Noir Website.

Markers should be stored horizontally (flat) to prevent any ink drying up in either nib.

The temperature and humidity level in which the colorist is coloring – especially if lids are left off while not in use.


Are markers refillable? How do I refill a marker? How much ink should I put in my markers to refill them?

Yes, refill ink is available in all 168 colors.  We recommend that you refill your markers with 1 to 2 dropperfuls of ink at a time. Each dropperful of ink is approximately 1 milliliter of ink.

How to refill a marker:

Be sure to refill your makers over a craft mat or other non-stainable surface.

Remove both lids frommarker.
Pull out the chisel tip of your marker.
Keep marker in horizontal position.
Select the correct color refill bottle (one for each color)
Fill dropper/pipette full of ink and squirt into barrel of marker – repeat if necessary.
Re-cap your marker.

The sponge inside takes a few moments to absorb the ink so leave your marker in a horizontal position for at least 10-15 minutes if possible.


Please see this tutorial video for further clarification.


Will the ink refills be cross-compatible with both the original and next generation Spectrum Noir markers?

Yes, you can use our alcohol ink refills for both original and next generation Spectrum Noir markers.


Is the ink permanent?

Yes, the ink used is permanent and will stain fabric or other porous surfaces.  You should always use these markers in an environment free from stainable surfaces. Use of a non-stick craft mat or other similar surface under your work is recommended.


About the Nibs


Do the next generation Spectrum Noir markers have the same nib types as the original Spectrum Noir markers?

Yes, the new markers have a bullet tip nib on one end and chisel nib on the other. Next generation Spectrum Noir brush nibs are available for purchase separately.


Will the new brush nibs fit the original Spectrum Noir markers as well as the next generation Spectrum Noir markers?

The brush nibs will only fit the next generation Spectrum Noir markers.


Why can we not buy brush nibs for the original Spectrum Noir markers?

When we developed the original Spectrum Noir system, there was overwhelming customer demand for brush nibs. We looked into the possibility of adding these to the range, but found that original marker barrels wouldn’t accommodate brush nibs which offer the high quality results we expect from Spectrum Noir. In developing the next generation markers, we were able to design a new barrel which allows brush nibs to be used interchangeably with the chisel nibs.


Will the original Spectrum Noir replacement nib packages fit the next generation Spectrum Noir markers?
Will the new generation Spectrum Noir replacement nib packages fit the original Spectrum Noir markers?

No, the nibs are not interchangeable. You will need to purchase the correct package of nibs specific to either the original or next generation markers that you own or purchase.


Will you continue to offer replacement nibs for the original Spectrum Noir markers?

Yes, these nibs will continue to be offered for purchase.


If I damage a nib or if it wears down, what can I do? How do I replace a nib?

Replacement nibs are available to purchase.

How to replace a nib:

Remove the nib with tweezers or use a piece of plastic to cover your fingers, then pull nib straight out of pen. Then insert the new nib.

Please see this tutorial video for further clarification.


Other Questions

Does the next generation Spectrum Noir system come with a product guarantee?

Absolutely. If you are unsatisfied with a Spectrum Noir product for any reason, you may return it to us within 30 days from the date of purchase for a full refund. Our products are also guaranteed for the first 12 months against manufacturer’s defects.


Will the next generation Spectrum Noir markers fit into the Ultimate Pen Storage trays?



Will there be a new DVD featuring the next generation Spectrum Noir markers?

Yes, a new DVD will be available in the coming months. The techniques shown in the currently available Spectrum Noir Instructional DVD continue to be applicable for use with the next generation Spectrum Noir markers. Additional instructional and inspirational videos are available on our Spectrum Noir YouTube Channel:


Will there be any other additions to the Spectrum Noir product range?

We are continually developing new products for the Spectrum Noir product range. Black storage trays will be available in October, specialty papers and cardstock are in development and a range of oil-based blendable pencils will be available in early 2014 among other products.


Are the existing product downloads and projects relevant for use with the next generation Spectrum Noir markers?



If you would like information or have questions regarding our Accreditation Program, please visit our Accreditation Program FAQ page.