I've finally managed to buy the full set of Spectrum Noir markers to review for you all (it took a while to save up!), and I'm so excited because I absolutely LOVE them. Like, I'm finding it really hard pressed to use any thing else when I colour now, neither my felt tips or pencils. As these are quite expensive and a serious purchase, I'm going to give you the pros and cons so you can make your own mind up about whether these pens are for you.
First of all you may have noticed I titled them as a 'marker system', which sounds a bit odd I know, but there's no way you can class these as a just bunch of coloured felt tips. These pens were created with crafters in mind, and with practice can produce some stunning, professional looking results. The tones are vast- 168 in total- and none are duplicates. Such a large range of shades means you can blend colours in a light to dark gradient seamlessly- more about that later. The coding system of the pens is a little bewildering to start with, but once you understand the way it works it's actually a very helpful and practical way to sort the different tones into families.
The letters on each shade indicate the family they belong to, eg. PP stands for Pale Pink. The number which follows specifies the intensity of colour: 1 being lightest, through to 11 which is the darkest shade.
Here's where it can get confusing: colour families are not all found in the same pack of markers. For example, OR1 is in the 'Yellows' pack, whereas OR2 & OR3 are found in the 'Brights' pack. Should Spectrum Noir have divided them more simply into pinks, reds, blues, or have they created more categories so you have to buy more sets to get the full range of each colour? I don't know.
Here are some pictures I have coloured with these pens so far, both for practicing shading and simple block colour use.
The pens come in twelve colour families (6 markers per set) for around £6-7 each, and then the bigger 24 packs of which there are 4: Lights, Brights, Darks, and Pastels. These packs are around £20-25 each, so as you can imagine, buying the whole set at once is a purchase most people would have to really think about before investing. As always my opinion is my own and I wouldn't allow anyone to coerce a false review, so you can be assured when I say that these are hands down the best colouring materials I own. Yes they take some figuring out, but just look at the results you can achieve if you're willing to put in the effort :) Here's one of the Spectrum Noir Pinterest boards to inspire you. There are loads of YouTube tutorials demonstrating techniques and tricks to help you, too.
If you have any questions or want me to clarify anything just comment below and I'll do my best to help with more info & pics :)