Last weekend, I finally bit the bullet and purchased my first Copic markers! It's exciting and mildly panic inducing all at the same time. I have been teetering on the fence for a while now about investing in these premium brand alcohol ink markers, but the financially savvy me (who is always my voice of reason) shushed the inner "do it, do it" voice. I have had the Spectrum Noir alcohol ink markers for approximately five years now and while they have worked good enough for me, I was ready for, 1) more variety in color, and, 2) a better base build. Today I'd like to talk about why I finally made the switch and what I bought. In tomorrow's post, I will talk in more detail about the Copic marker itself.
Please let me begin by saying that purchasing any high quality product is an investment. Copic markers are no different. While my husband and I are fortunate enough to be financially secure, I still saved up money to purchase these markers, and, I have a financial plan in place to pay off the credit card bill, so that I incur no debt. I mean after all, these are just markers! I did not make this large purchase on a whim, nor to "keep up with Joneses." No one should be pressured into buying anything that is living beyond their means.
Why Spectrum Noir?
I initially purchased Spectrum Noir alcohol ink markers because a well-knowledgeable friend recommended them as being a middle-ground between the more pricey Copics and less superior quality brand markers. Yes, I have been generally happy with these markers and they have served me well. They are, as Ginny stated, a happy medium, that would suffice for novice, beginner or intermediate artists. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who could not afford to purchase Copics. They are a quality made marker that will last a very long time with proper care, cleaning, ink refills and replacement nibs.
I own 202 of the current 216 markers and probably about 50 refill bottles (for my most used colors). On average, the Spectrum Noir markers run about $2-$3 per marker. Refills (with dropper) are currently around $5.75 per .30 ml bottle. You can fill each marker more than a dozen times. For reference, I found both markers and refills cheapest on Carpe Diem markers, while others recommend Dick Blick. As in anything I do, I always compare prices. You will see some rather significant cost deviation across websites.
My biggest complaint with the Spectrum Noir markers is limitation on color. It seemed that so many of the Spectrum Noir markers did not have a large difference in their colors (despite being labeled as varying in intensity). I found AB1 and AB 2 (aqua blue) nearly identical in color. Also, as per the color intensity scale, AB1 should be VERY light in color and it was not. Which leads me to my second biggest complaint about the Spectrum Noir markers - their light colors were not very light. They were very pigmented. AB1 should barely have a blue color visible, yet it was nearly turquoise on paper! I was beginning to become frustrated with the lack of light/pale color options available.
My third complaint was that when you opened the marker (on either end) the bullet or chisel tip often popped off with the cap and the entire ink tube was exposed. And unfortunately, this happened A LOT! Many of them were able to be fixed, but I had called the company at least three times to complain about this issue. Spectrum Noir Customer Service has been very positive in dealing with the issue and they did send me replacement markers free of charge. But, it was still a real nuisance, and at times rendered markers unusable in the middle of a class.
What Did I Buy?
I purchased 3 sets of the Copic Sketch markers. According to the Copic website the Sketch marker is the most popular and offers the most color variety. Each set has 72 markers in it. I purchased sets A, B and D. Simply because after reviewing each set's color inclusion chart, these were the best colors for me.
Yes, this was a very HUGE first time investment! No, I did not decide to purchase them individually or even in 6, 12 or 32 packs. Ultimately, it still is cheaper per marker when you purchase them in larger sets. After price shopping, I found all three sets actually cheapest through independent seller on Amazon, despite everyone saying Dick Blick was the cheapest. Even with 10% off AND free shipping, Dick Blick was still more than $90 for set A than Amazon was!
You don't even have to look up the prices for yourself, because in full disclosure, I will tell you exactly what I paid for each set:
Set A - $293.97
Set B - $319.19
Set D - $351.40
Yes, I spent $964.56! In. One. Day. For. Markers.
Feel free to call me crazy now, my husband surely will, so please, let's not tell him!! : )
If you do the math (as I did) that comes down to $4.47 per marker . On average each markers costs $6-$8 depending upon where you purchase them, so no matter what, I have still saved significantly by purchasing these larger 72-count sets.
The Plus Side
Yay for small blessings! The good news is that the marker trays and carrying case I currently have for my Spectrum Noir markers will work for the Copics. I will not need to purchase anything additional!
Yes, for those wondering, I did not buy blindly or without a test drive! I have used Copic markers before in a variety of professional classes and by borrowing a friends' (when I needed a lighter color that Spectrum Noir did not have) so I know that I will be very happy with my purchase.
I hope I have given you a well thought out dialogue of why I decided to switch from Spectrum Noir to Copic. I do believe in education and being well informed before decision making! If you live nearby or attend any of my classes, YOU will now get to use these markers at your next event!
Thanks for visiting! Tomorrow I will share more detail about the Copic marker itself and what that coloring system is all about.
Hi, I'm Crystal!
I, Crystal Komara, am solely responsible for this blog and all of its content, including, but not limited to designs, concepts, text, images and photographs. This website is for your personal enjoyment, inspiration and to help stimulate your own creativity.
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Whether gifted, or from my own supply, all of my recommendations are based on items that I use and truly love, and I think you will too.