Spectrum Noir Artline Pens – a review

“These quality fine line pens are perfect for sketching, outlining and colouring fine detail.  Various line widths and colours.  Quality micro-pigment inks.  Light-fast and Water-proof.  Quick drying and smudge-proof.”

That’s what it said on the back of the pack of these pens.

After reading that information and watching a video on YouTube reviewing the pens, I thought ‘marvellous – I’ll give them a go’.

So, I ordered a set on Amazon and they arrived yesterday.

I was particularly interested in their waterproof and  quick drying smudge-proof claims. I tend to use a lot of water-based media in my work, my Sakura Pigma Microns and Uniball UniPin pens work perfectly adequately.

Naturally, I wanted to test them out.  In the back of my bullet journal (BuJo) I have pages set aside for testing media.  So, I drew some lines from each pen, and a pattern with the brush pen.  The pens wrote smoothly, though the nibs feel rather soft and I don’t know how they’ll hold up with  using them with my not very light hand.  Time will tell on that one.

The ArtLiner pens didn’t bleed through the Leuchtturm paper, though there was some ghosting, which happens with many pens.

The brush pen was not pleasant to use, but that’s down to personal preference.  I write/draw with quite a firm pressure, and this pen just doesn’t suit me at all.

However, I did manage to smudge the lines because the lines remained wet for quite a while.  I was disappointed with that.  Maybe these pens were a bit too ‘juicy’ to dry quickly, or maybe it was the smooth nature of the Leuchtturm paper that resulted in them taking a little longer to dry.

To test this out, I drew a design on some Canson Mixed Media Imagine paper using the 05 and 03 Spectrum Noir Artliner pens. Here’s a photo of part of the drawing.

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First thing I noticed was that the ink took a while to dry on this paper too, and though you can’t see it on this image, I did manage to smudge the ink on some of the leaves at the top.

I left the drawing to dry for a goodly amount of time (my cat, Cuffs, needed a long cuddle before he settled back down for big sleeps) and came back to colour it.

I started off using Faber-Castell’s Pitt Artist Pens, which I used to colour the top part of the image.  I noticed that the colours looked a bit duller than usual.  That signalled some warning bells in my mind.

I switched to Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens with a Tombow Dual Brush blender pen.  I definitely noticed the black ink spreading.  You can see that in the rows of leaves dangling down, especially those on the right side.

I left this drawing overnight and went back to it not long ago.  I added just clean water to the bottom leaf on the right.  You can see how much the ink bled and smudged.

Not happy. But I wondered if it was the paper.  So I went back to the test I did in the back of my BuJo, and you can see here the results of that.

cof

The Tombow blender pen, Zig Art and Graphic Twin pens, Zig Clean Colour Real Brush and Pitt Artist pens all caused the ink from the ArtLiners to bleed.  All of these are water-based media.

So, from my little tests, these are not what they claim.  Maybe I had a dodgy set, but for all the pens to behave in a similar way?

I won’t be buying them again. I’ll stick to my trusty Sakura Pigma Micron or Uniball Unipin pens, and they are pens I would recommend to anyone.

Just to emphasise, I don’t have any connection with Spectrum Noir, I bought the product myself, and I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on these.

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