Spectrum Noir Hair & Skin chart and tutorial

Afternoon everyone, I hope you are all having a lovely day ? 

I recently received a lovely email asking me if I would mind going through a basic Skin & Hair tutorial for Spectrum Noir pens, so here it is :) 
Before i get started I just wanted to give anyone starting out with Alcohol markers some tips 
  • Use a decent card/paper...i cannot emphasis this enough, if you try to use copy paper or an uncoated paper you will end up with lots of bleeding...and well... a general mess! I use Crafters Companion Neenah card and it works perfectly for me. 

  • Always keep a scrap piece of your marker card next to you, I use this to test out colour combos, it saves wasting an image. 

  • Work in good lighting, I use a Daylight lamp and it really does make a difference. Not only will it show your colours "true" but I have also found that I no longer get headaches ! 

  • Practice really does make perfect, don't be scared to play around with colours and techniques...but learn the basics first. 

I think one of the most common questions with regards to alcohol markers is what colours do I use for Skin Tones & Hair? The possibilities really are endless, but start simple and then once you have more confidence move onto your harder and more dramatic colours. 

Here is my basic skin combo which works well with most hair colours. 

With regards to everything but hair I ALWAYS lay a rough layer of the lightest colour, this does not have to be even, at the moment it acts just as a base. I have laid down a base of FS5.

Then whilst your base layer is still wet go in and add your darkest colour..in this case FS9, think about where the darkest area will be, because of the sweep of the hair there would be a shadow, so I have added mine there. 

Now take your medium colour FS4, what you need to do is blend the area between the light and dark, so work in tiny circles (or some people find it easier to use a gentle flicking motion) work along the edge where the dark meets the light colour. Now i bet you are thinking "this doesn't look right"...DON'T PANIC. 

Take your lightest colour again and repeat the previous blending, but this time blend the medium colour into the lightest colour. 

I now go back in whilst he layers are still damp and add my cheek colour (FS8 in this case), and I also add a shadow line. 

Now if you are feeling confident and own the fab new Spectrum Noir pencils you can add even more depth by taking 119 and taking it along where you want your shadow area, I then go in and blend with 117 & 112. 
And there is your basic skin tone. 

Now onto a nice easy hair combo. Now with hair I work in a different way, because hair has texture and i like it look like it has different strands and colours. Also with hair I tend to only do one area at a time....if there is a lot of hair with different layers I tend to break it down into 4-6 areas, but with this image two is fine. 
So i always start with my darkest colour first (TN2)....with hair I tend to hold the tip near the darkest area and flick out towards the lightest area. 

Then take your medium colour (EB1) and flick over the top of the dark colours, but this time you want to do longer flicks so they go more into the lighter area. 

Now take your lightest colour and colour all your white area going lightly over the already coloured areas. 

I then go back in with my darkest colours and repeat the first 2 steps. 

Repeat the process on the rest of the hair, and there you have a nice simple hair combo. 

I hope you have enjoyed me sharing this with you, I will be back tomorrow with a more advanced hair technique where I will show you how to achieve a nice hair combo using Tip to Tip technique. 
I have also done a colour reference chart below showing some of my most used Skin and Hair colours, please feel free to pin it, but please note it is for reference only and not to be used for anything else. 
Thank you to Wendy at All Dressed up for allowing me to use one of her images from her Digital Image Three Little Party Girls

Happy Crafting 


  1. Fabulous Tutorial Tracy.

  2. oh wow thank you for this hun its brill, now all i need to do is get the rest of the colours lol

  3. This is fabulous Tracy, I am revisiting my Spectrum Noirs as I haven't played with them for a while and just what I needed. You are a star! Thank you so much!

    Linda xxx

  4. Wonderful Tutorial! I need all the help I can get.

  5. Brilliant tutorial Tracy... even though I haven't got any SN pens, I still learned from it! Thanks for sharing..

    Christine x


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