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I hope you enjoyed the unpacking and video review of the Spectrum Noir ColourBlend pencils.
Spectrum Noir are part of the Crafters Companion brand that specialise in paper crafting products and coloring products. Their range consists of markers, water colors, colored pencils, coloring pads and a variety of crafting items. Their Colorista range of markers, pencils and coloring pads was developed for those new to the world of adult coloring and are set a lower price point.
Other products in their range, are priced a little higher, but represent a broader range of choices and mediums to use.
I had been curious about these pencils for a while and had debated whether to purchase them or not. As I have a massive range of pencils and little time to color, I had put off my decision on whether to buy or not. Of course, when a reader on my Facebook page raved abut their creaminess (thank you Sandra!) I knew I had to have them.
A creamy, soft pencil is something that I really appreciate. A damaged right wrist often means coloring is painful for me, particularly when the pencil is really hard.
You can purchase the tins separately but as I dislike anything “incomplete” I opted to purchase the entire set of 5 tins containing 24 pencils at once (they were on special too!)
Spectrum Noir create two ranges of coloring pencils. The Colorista range (which I am also reviewing later) suitable for casual colorists and those new to the world of coloring, and the ColourBlend range, an artists quality pencil, the subject of this review.
The colourblend pencils are set out in different themed tins. The Essentials and Primaries are the core colors with Florals, Naturals and Shade and Tone providing additional colors to the range.
In each tin there are 24, pre sharpened color pencils totalling 120 pencils.
The pencils are well protected in the snug plastic tray and protective layer for shipping. I did have one lead crumble in the shipping process – which is not too bad.
The Spectrum Noir ColourBlend pencils are wax based which accounts for their feeling of creaminess.
A crimson barrel with brand name and color name in gold gives these pencils an elegant feel. At the top of the barrel there is a color dip denoting the pigment color with a gold band around it. As always, these colored barrel tips are similar to the pigment, but not exact, which is why a swatch is always needed.
Each pencil measures approximately 17 cm from tip to barrel. According to Spectrum Noir contain a “4mm core for seamless blending and shading, with superior light-fastness”
You can see the pencil in comparison to similar priced products and brands below
Having not tried these pencils previously or tested one, I had wondered if I had been hasty ordering the complete set. As soon as they arrived though, and I had an opportunity to play with them, the doubt left me. They are really creamy to use, disbursing a lot of pigment. For some reason the pencils make it easy to layer lightly.
One thing I noticed when using the colourblend pencils was that there was no wax bloom on the picture that I colored.
You can see the range of colors in the swatch below and my color swatch on video.
You can download a blank color swatch for the ColourBlend pencils from Spectrum Noir here
Usually, my little Steadtler sharpener is what I use for every pencil. However, on this occasion, I found the softness of the lead did not make a match with my sharpener. The best result that I got was with my T’gaal on setting 3.
Sometimes you may want to erase a bit of color that has gone out of the lines, or add some highlights or soften color with an eraser. I tested three of my erasers, Lyra, Faber Castell and Tombow Sand Eraser. My coloring was on cheap copy paper.
The Lyra was my least favorite of the three. The Faber Castell was able to erase the marks without damaging the paper. My Tombow sand eraser is a demon and can erase anything I try it on, but I feel that it is too abrasive for cheap copy paper.
Layering and blending
Because the pencils are so soft they blend well together really well if you are using multiple layers. I did not use multiple layers and wanted to blend out color smoothly without going to much effort 🙂
A blending stump was used first of all. By just making small circles you can smooth the lines out.
Sand off any pigment on the stump when you finish a color selection. Most people use sandpaper for this job – I use my trusty nail file (emery board).
Next, I tried using my blending stump dipped in a dab of Gamsol. Spectrum Noir do produce their own line of Gamsol. I did not have that, so I used a product I had purchased from the art store. With Gamsol (or baby oil) a much smoother result is quickly and easily achieved.
My favorite method of blending any wax pencil, including these, is always a blender marker. Spectrum Noir make their own blender marker. I own the ones for the Illustrator markers that I have previously reviewed and the one I used for the test from the original coloring system.
Blender marker pens effectively melt the wax of the pencil markings producing a smooth finish. The great thing about these pens are that they are refillable and you can replace the nibs as they wear out.
Spectrum Noir do make their own blending kit that contains an eraser, sharpener and blending stumps. As I do not own that kit, I did not use it for the tests.
You can, of course, use any other blender pencil that you may have for use with wax pencils. I am a lazy colorist though and I always find that the blender pen is my favorite thing. I also find that useing this helps me avoid multiple layoers, soething I find painful with pencils due to a wrist injury.
- Super soft which is great for colorists with injuries to their hands/arthritis
- Highly pigmented giving you a lot of color with little effort
- Vibrant colors
- Created in accordance with the Spectrum Noir Coloring System to blend well together
- Open stock pencils are not available (or if they are they are hiding well from me). To test pencils or to replace much loved pencils, a new tin has to be purchased
- Small spaces may be difficult to color as the pencils are very soft and a harder lead may be required
Where to buy ColourBlend pencils
The pencils come in a tin with 24 colors in each tin or you can buy a bundle that has the whole set.
|Set of 5 – Florals, Essentials, Naturals, Primaries and Shade and Tone||Essentials||Primaries||Naturals||Florals||Shade and Tone|
I hope you enjoyed this review of the Spectrum Noir ColourBlend pencils.
Happy coloring x