Practicing Creativity

Which are Better for Coloring – Colored Pencils or Markers?

Do you notice something different about this card? I used my Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils to color the digi (Di's Digistamps Festive Parade Mice) instead of my usual Spectrum Noir Illustrator alcohol markers. Before switching to alcohol markers in September of 2020, these pencils were my coloring medium of choice. The paper is from one of Mode & Travaux magazine's special Noël paper issues and the sentiment and frame were borrowed from an old Bugaboo stamp. Nuvo Crystal Drops in Red Berry dress it up.

Why am I using pencils again, you might ask? After three years of use several of my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers are starting to dry out and although I do have some reinkers, I by no means have all. At €5.95 each (about US$ 6.40) you can see that buying the reinkers I need is an investment on top of the already large initial investment in the markers themselves. I've narrowed my reinker wishlist down to the colors I use most, but that's still another €240 (US$258) I would need to spend (ouch!). I am therefore faced with three options – using the alcohol marker colors that are still juicy/ones I have refills for, buying the reinkers, or using my colored pencils again. For this card I've chosen the third.

I do like coloring with alcohol markers. Coloring is faster, blending is easier, and colors are brighter. But, what I don't like is the price per marker (two to three times the price of a pencil), the price for reinkers to refill them/new nibs that have to be replaced (more €€€), I have to buy them online as I can't find them locally, and the constant care (marker lids and around the nibs have to be cleaned often and this takes time). 

Pencils on the other hand, are very reasonably priced (see this card made with a box that only cost €5.00) even for a respected brand like Caran d'Ache (a Swiss company), I can easily find them in Geneva, they don't dry out, the only maintenance you need is to sharpen them, and you can store them however you want (markers must be stored horizontally). If I had fully realized the investment decent alcohol markers require I'm not sure I would have purchased them. If you're reading this thinking about buying markers do give the continued expense a thought. Whatever you do, don't buy those cheap ones without refills. They'll dry out and you'll be stuck with something that's only good for the trash with no way to buy the individual colors you need (which is also an environmental waste).

If you'd like to see a comparison of pencils versus markers coloring check out these posts: this 2020 card featuring Di's Cheesy Christmas Mice digi was colored with pencils, while this 2022 card using the same digi was colored with markers. 

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Mode & Travaux Noël paper issue
Digital stamp – Di's Digistamps Festive Parade Mice
Dies – no-brand border strip,  Gemini Fancy Borders ric-rac
Embellishments – Red Berry Nuvo Crystal Drops
Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Art-n-Fly white pen

I'm linking up with: Di's Digi Designs Challenge – Any Winter Holiday, Little Red Wagon #735 – Merry Christmas, ABC Christmas 13/12 – Y is for Your Choice & Z is for Zebra, Crafty Gals Corner #250 – Tis the Season, and Fab 'n' Funky #586 – Christmas.


  1. These little guys are adorable Shanni and fabulous festive colouring.. Thank you so much for joining in with our challenge at Little Red Wagon, hope you will play again..
    Luv CHRISSYxx

  2. Adorable image on this lovely Christmas card. Thank you so much for joining us at Fab'n'Funky. Pat K x

  3. PENCILS ALL THE WAY! (: Honestly, I'm jealous that you can colour with both. Such a cute card! I especially love that paper.

  4. I was fortunate to find a full set of Spectrum Noir markers at a discount store and also got an amazing dead on Copics from a friend who had doubles and triples. I have a set of inexpensive pencil crayons but didn't seem to have much success. You, my friend, are a talented colourer with whichever medium you choose! Your card is so very sweet!

  5. I was grappling with the same issue, Shani. I, unfortunately, am not the pencil colorist you are, but I am a work in progress. This expense is a big reason I''ve decided this, but no-one will ship to Hawaii due to some deal I really don't understand, and our local dealer has not had the refills I need. I'm going to do the same as you and try to keep my most used colors up, but you will be seeing more pencil practice from me. As for your card, it is adorable and so beautiful colored. I love the papers too!

  6. This is adorable! Thank you so much for joining us at ABC Christmas challenge

  7. Darling card. Beautiful images and coloring. Thanks for sharing over at Crafty Gals Corner


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