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Spectrum Noir Reds vs Copic Reds

Spectrum Reds v Copic Reds

Hi All!

This post isn’t an official product review of Spectrum Noir markers. It’s really just a comparison of my experience with the Spectrum Noir reds and the Copic Sketch reds (R22, R24, R29). I’ve always wanted to try the Spectrum Noir markers, so I thought it would be fun.

Watch the video and then scroll down for close-up views of my experiment, as well as a chart of my Copic marker usage over the last 12 months. Enjoy!


Spectrum Reds v Copic Reds

Spectrum Reds v Copic Reds

Click the image to enlarge:
Spectrum Reds v Copic Reds


  1. wrote on December 5th, 2016 at 8:06 pm


    Liked the comparison. A way to decipher which tip is the brush tip on Copic: there is a little gray strip between the cap and the body of the pen. And it looked like that was the case with the Spectrum Noir, also. Hope that helps. I was always opening up the wrong end even with the pictures on each end. I find it much easier to look for the gray strip.

    • wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 2:03 pm


      I was going to say the same thing – I depend on that “gray cap line” indicator to determine which end I am opening. My hubby bought me a large set of Spectrum Noir and I have been very happy with them. But I don’t have any Copic markers to compare them with! ?

    • wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Thank you for that tip! I didn’t even notice it.

      • wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 10:17 am


        I didn’t find it on my own. My best friend told me about it awhile ago. It makes it so much easier. Linda

  2. wrote on December 5th, 2016 at 9:53 pm


    Thanks for that, Darlene. I especially liked the chart Courtney helped with showing the frequency of use of your Copics. I do the same as lsnodg – I find the brush tip on the Copics by looking for the gray strip, as it’s easier for me to see than the pictures of the tips.

  3. wrote on December 5th, 2016 at 11:52 pm


    I don’t have any Copic markers, yet lol….one day! But I will be sure to come back and check out that chart Courtney made to help me pick which ones I would try starting with. Could you add that to your other tutorials section to make it easier to find later? She did a great job and please thank her again for helping us out like that. I’m sure there will be more videos before Christmas still, yeah! but I’d like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year to come.

    • wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Danielle! I added the chart to My Favorite Things in the Copic section, and I also added it to Copics 101. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too! 🙂

  4. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Teresa S

    The frequency chart Courtney made was a brilliant idea! Thank you! Copics are expensive, but worth the cost. You’ve made it easier to build a small, but readily used collection. Thank you again!

  5. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 5:46 am


    Yes, the bullet tip on the Spectrum Noir has a grey line near the cap. I have a few Copic markers and all sets of Spectrum Noir. If one begins with less expensive markers, the SN markers are no problem as you know no difference. If you begin with Copic, you will have issues with SN or other less expensive markers. The key in the SN markers is making a color chart and realizing that both warm and cool colors are included in each set. Also, I do a lot of tip-to-tip blending or coloring one color on a slick surface and picking my color up from there. It was a tip on the Colorista videos by Crafter’s Companion. Just keep alcohol on hand to clean up the slick surface you use.

  6. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 7:28 am


    This video proved very helpful, especially Courtney’s chart for Copic frequency of use. As I started with Copic, I would never change over. SN doesn’t appeal to me. With theink coming out heavy, the pens wouldn’t last as long either. Can they be refilled? If not, that too would have its drawbacks for me. Thanks for coming up with this comparison. Great idea!

    • wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 8:47 am


      Yes, the SN pens can be refilled. The first generation could not and they dried out easily, but the second generation ones can be refilled.

      • wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 11:09 am



      • wrote on December 17th, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        Brenda L.

        I have the first ones that came out and they can most certainly be refilled. You can’t however buy the brush nips for the first ones like you can with the second ones. Hope this helps others.

  7. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 1:52 pm


    Three comments:

    1. The first generation Spectrum Noir pens ARE refillable (I have them all) and,

    2. you can buy the Spectrum Markers individually $1.88/ea. The Copic Sketch markers are $5.65/ea. Both are at Scrapbooking Warehouse on line, this where I get a lot of my supplies. Good prices and reasonable shipping.

    3. Had I seen this video 2 or 3 years ago, I would have gone with the Copic markers.

    Hope this helps

    • wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 2:05 pm


      Wow Bonnie – I will have to check out Scrapbooking Warehouse!

    • wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 8:15 am


      Bonnie, thank you for correcting me. I didn’t realize the 1st generation were refillable. I bought a few sets and still have them, but when they dry up, I toss them away.

      I think the key to liking any alcohol marker is in the paper. When I use the inexpensive card stock, like from Hobby Lobby, it absorbs the ink for any alcohol marker. The Spectrum Noir paper does a much better job with alcohol markers. I do not have any Neenah paper to compare it to. I thought I was purchasing the Neenah paper that is good for alcohol markers, but it was the wrong kind. It makes a great card base, though. My daughter uses Prismacolor markers and doesn’t understand the purpose for the colorless blender. Is there a video on here that explains the colorless blender? I tried explaining, but she thought it should simply blend the colors like her pencils blend.

      • wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 8:43 am

        Darlene DeVries

        I don’t have a video dedicated to just the colorless blender, but I do mention its purpose periodically during my videos. It actually dilutes and pushes color away from the marker. So, for example, if you color over the lines, you can push the color back inside the lines with the colorless blender. It does “blend” in two ways: 1) It can soften a marker line so that it fades to blank cardstock (not to another color), and 2) If you use it to cover over an entire area that has been colored by Copic markers, it can help to mute/blend the colors together. I don’t use the latter much because it does mute the color. I hope that helps as a very quick explanation.

      • wrote on December 11th, 2016 at 3:18 pm

        Darlene DeVries

        I also got these comments from Bonnie via email:

        This site takes you to Crafters Companion and shows what you can do with the blender pen which actually is not a blender! http://www.spectrumnoir.com/blender-pen-texture-correcting/
        To be fair my assumption is that the Spectrum Noir markers out now, the ones you can buy brush nibs for, is second generation. I have the ones just prior to these. Hope we are talking about the same ones. I use Crafters Companion cardstock and Gina K cardstock both work just fine for me. Have a great day.


        This will help your daughter with the blender pen.

        • wrote on December 11th, 2016 at 6:53 pm


          Thank you. Maybe she will look at these after she is finished with her finals this week. She is a drawer, not a stamper. She loves her Prismacolor markers for coloring. When I gave her better cardstock than what she was using, she preferred the Spectrum Noir, not Gina K. I do not see much of a difference for what I do, but to each her own. She can purchase Copic paper locally, so she might give that a try. I have used it before, but like the Spectrum Noir paper better. Thanks for sharing the links.

  8. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 2:09 pm


    Luv the usage chart that you had Courtney make. I laughed when I saw how little you used the violets. Purples are my favorite colors but I never use them. How weird is that. Would you consider having Courtney make the same type of chart showing the color of card stock that you use for the base of your cards? I have some SU colors that I thought I had to have but have never used, or only used once or twice. If I had to guess what you use most often I think I would guess you probably use white and black the most.

    • wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Helen. For my base, I use either Neenah white or a Hero Arts black notecard (black on the outside, white on the inside) 90% of the time. There are a few occasions I have used SU Crumb Cake, SU Soft Sky, and SSS Fog. After a quick look through the cards, I think that’s it. If you’re talking just about general cardstock usage though (not just as a base), I’ve used a lot of the colors, but not any of them in a dominant way. You can get a feel for the colors by going to the main card gallery and scrolling through the thumbnails (Gallery from main menu, then All Cards).

  9. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Lorrie Yeager

    I have had the copic markers since they first came out and I love them. I had to buy the spectrum noir and try them , no comparison . I don’t think their is a marker that is better on the market , so worth the investment. Just buy a few at a time until you get what you want. Addicted to copics, ha !!!!!

  10. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Sherry W.

    Thanks for the comparison. I went with Copics and I am glad I did, despite the price differential. If you shop around, you can find Copics at slightly more reasonable prices. Michael’s now allows you to use their 40% or 50% off coupons on Copics, so I have been SLOWLY building a collection.

  11. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 5:34 pm


    Thanks for this video. I started with copics..but got sucked into Spectrum Noir on HSN. I must admit I am spoiled with the brush tip, but I do find the Spectrum Noir are sometimes “faster” for small stamps like lawn fawn and stuff where you don’t need as much color variation and stuff.

  12. wrote on December 6th, 2016 at 9:10 pm


    You amaze me Darlene. . . I will print out your Copic grid. Thank you so much.

  13. wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 7:14 am


    Hello Darlene: I’m not a Copic marker fan at all, I tried some time ago to use them, I even bought a few using your choices in your “My Favorite Things” section with that little chart you have there but, I just couldn’t get good results, I don’t like how they bleed all the way through the paper, to me that is a lot of wasted ink jut to get shading and blending of colors so, I gave them all away to one of my friends who was starting her Copic collection, she was beyond thrilled.
    Now I see this Spectrum Noir marker on this video and I just do not like the results, like you said, looks like they are so completely soaked with ink that, the second the tip of the marker touches the paper it soaks the ink up like crazy.
    I might seem way to critical here, specially because I don’t have any intention of buying this markers, I just wanted to give you my thoughts about them and why I prefer my good old Stampin Up! markers and water color pencils to water color my images, but I’m sure the people who love alcohol markers will definitely appreciate your efforts to inform them about this products.
    As always, I love how you always strive to keep all of us informed about new products by doing this fabulous video comparisons.
    Thank you so much.

  14. wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 4:53 pm


    I have the complete set of the SNs (or at least what was the complete set — they’ve just come out with additional colors). The brush nibs are a bit easier to use than the bullet nibs. I haven’t played with Copics because, well, I don’t want to be disappointed going back to SN. I understand blending is easier with Copics and I’m still trying to learn how to blend SNs. lol

    Anyway, my biggest critique of SNs is that there isn’t always rhyme or reason to the numbering and how they go together. For example, with the blues, some of the higher numbers are actually lighter than the lower numbers. It makes little sense. And sometimes the jumps between a 2 and 3 is too great, or a 3 and 4 are almost indistinguishable. So that is frustrating.

    My guess with your SNs is that they’re new, so still way juicy. But the reds do tend to wick really badly. I usually will color ALMOST to the edge and then do a final quick cleanup to get it to the edge so it doesn’t leak over the line.

    Some day I will invest in Copics. But for now, I have the SNs and all the refills (I suffer from “full set” syndrome), so I have to get through all of those first to justify the cost.

    Thanks for the comparison!

  15. wrote on December 7th, 2016 at 8:14 pm


    I have 50 or so Copic Markers with generally 5-6 from each color (i.e. 5 reds, 7 blues, etc). And I would agree that there are colors I use almost daily and some that I rarely use at all. Your frequency chart will help any new Vooic purchasers from wasting money on colors they won’t likely need. Great idea!

  16. wrote on December 17th, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Brenda L.

    Hi Darlene, I have all the SN markers and I love them. I do know what you are talking about with the marker having a lot of ink in them. Some do and some don’t. I can get into tight spots with my SN only because I have never used a Copic brush tip. Also if my marker is extra juicy, I just use a lighter hand when using them. There are also more reds in the collection so you can get that look you got with your Copics. I would love to have Copics, but I know that they just aren’t in my budget, so it is the SN for me. Most of my markers aren’t juicy like the ones you used either, but then I have the old style of SN. Thanks for doing a comparison, I also love seeing similar products compared. Hugs, Brenda

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