All About Alcohol Markers with Spectrum Noir 


  • Taking the lid off Alcohol Markers
  • Which pen is for you?
  • Nibs and Inks
  • Putting Pen to Paper
  • Colour Theory & Gradients
  • Blending, Shading & Layering
  • Tips & Tricks

Taking the lid off Alcohol Markers 

If you’ve always got eye out for new ways to create art but find markers a little mystifying then read on and prepare to fill your world with fresh colour! 

For some artists, illustrators and colourists, the classic trio of pens, pencils and paints can become a bit of a creative comfort blanket. So, it may be time to think outside the paintbox and take a closer look at the amazing range of effects, techniques and colour combinations that alcohol markers have to offer!

Today, we’ll be looking at the range of Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers and taking you through how to achieve smooth colours and beautiful blended effects!

Which marker is for you?

The world of alcohol markers has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and there are so many fantastic and versatile products to choose from!

Spectrum Noir offers a choice of three types of alcohol marker, each perfect for different styles and artistic disciplines, let’s take a look:

Classique - The perfect all-rounder, this dual-tipped marker offers a choice between broad and fine nibs – making it idea for colouring and design.

Illustrator – Choose between a fine nib for detailed work and a brush tip to create more expressive, artistic effects with sweeps of beautiful colour.

TriBlend 3-in1 – The name might have given it away, but this pen offers not one, not two but three complementary shades so you can create a seamless and easy-to-achieve blend.

Nibs & Inks

You want a nib that’s going to stand the test of time, which is why every Spectrum Noir marker is fitted with premium, Japanese tips which offer amazing durability as well as peak performance and stunning sweeps of colour.

So inks, now we’re really at the business end of what makes alcohol markers special. Each marker is packed with inks created using an alcohol-based dye, which allows the colours to blend incredibly smoothly. The ink is also translucent which makes layering and blending a breeze!

With Spectrum Noir markers you can stock up on ink refills to recharge your markers – so you don’t have to throw your pens away!

Putting Pen to Paper 

You can’t make a show-stopping cake without the right ingredients, and you definitely can’t create stunning artwork without the right materials.

Before you start working with alcohol markers you need to make sure you have the right paper. Alcohol-based ink will bleed right through thin paper, making your colours spread over the lines, appear dull or penetrate right through and ruin your workspace beneath.

To avoid inky disasters, always choose a heavyweight, smooth and uncoated paper, there are even some out there specifically designed to be used with alcohol markers! The right paper will keep your colours bold, punchy and easy to blend! (If you’re still worried about your tabletops, you can pop an extra sheet under your work for extra protection!)

Colour Theory & Gradients

Colour theory isn’t particular to alcohol markers, but as these markers open up a new world of blending we thought it would be worth taking a quick look.

If you know all about this already, scroll down for more alcohol ink insights - we won’t take it personally. But if you’re a beginner this will come in useful for so many different artistic mediums!

The building blocks of colour are the primary colours, red, yellow blue – every other colour comes from these three. When you’re thinking about combining and blending colours there’s so much to consider, from colour temperature and a whole world of hues, shades and tones!

The translucent effect of alcohol markers means you can experiment with colour gradients, overlapping and transitioning seamlessly between two colours. Colours next to each other on the colour wheel will create a natural transition, whilst shades that sit further apart will combine to form a new colour.

A picture speaks a thousand words, so to get to grips with colour theory and colour gradients, take a look at the colour wheel below.

Blending & Layering

Have we mentioned that alcohol markers are an amazing way to achieve beautiful seamless blends? Here’s how to make that happen.

  •  Basic shading
    • Alcohol marker colour has a translucent quality so with every stroke you make the shade darker. This is great for shading because you can add depth simply by layering the same colour over itself!
  • Enhanced shading
    • For deeper shadows and enhanced dimension you can use a selection of darker shades in the same colour. These can be gradually layered and blended to form natural, realistic graduations. All Spectrum Noir alcohol markers are grouped and graded from light to dark to make this easy when you’re just starting out!
  • Light colour blending
    • Did you know you can also overlay a darker colour to lighten it? Every colour formulation contains some clear solvent and this is especially true for lighter colours. This higher solvent level means lighter colours can effectively be used to soften and lighten darker colours.
  • Shading Tips
    • Alcohol inks blend best when the ink is still wet, so apply liberally to the page and try to work quickly for a smooth transition from one shade to the next. Layering wet ink on dry will give a more pronounced step-change in shade that can also be effective depending on the look you want.

Tips & Tricks 

Well, that was a whistle stop tour through Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers, but wait there’s more! Here are a few extra tips and tricks to help you achieve the best possible results – because we’re nice like that.

  • Swatch your shades
    • So, you’ve given the colour wheel a good spin and have decided which shades and blends to use. It’s a really good idea to swatch your colours onto the same paper type that you’ll be working on. This is a great chance to see how the colours will appear on paper, and how they react when blended and overlaid
  • Organise your markers
    • Tidying is boring, but it can be worth it! Taking the time to arrange your colours by family, or following the order of the colour wheel can really help when choosing a colour scheme
  • Find a fine liner
    • Ain’t nothing finer than a good fine liner! When adding colour to a sketch or drawing, you’ll want your line work to appear clean and sharp, which is where the fine liner comes into its own. A water-based pigment ink is ideal to prevent your lines from blurring or merging with the alcohol-based marker ink.

Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers are available in just about every colour under the sun – why not browse through the full range and get thinking about your next creation?