Today I am reviewing Glaze 3D Pen Sets, a Basics Set and a Bright Set, both were items sent to me by Sakura of America, in return for some artwork that they shared. I received two 10-color sets, and since the only difference is in the colors, I’m reviewing them together.
If you are here for the giveaway (a black tile Zentangle® tool set, a set of 6 Pigma Micron pens in assorted colors, and a Sakura pen pouch), please go here.
Look & Feel
Although they look similar at first glance, Glaze pens are not part of Sakura Of America’s Gellyroll line. The ink will create a raised line that you can feel. The ink is water-based and waterproof (once dry) on most surfaces.
The pens are plastic, and non-refillable, with caps that are close to the color of the ink. Note the word ‘close’. If you don’t use the pens often enough to memorize which cap means which color, you should test before using to make sure you get the color you want. In the company’s defense, the colors would be very difficult to match absolutely.
When you use one of these pens for the first time, you’ll find a bit of plastic that keeps the ink from flowing. You’ll need to remove that before using. The tip is a hard metal, so it will hold up to a bit of pounding.
As I mentioned earlier, the ink in a Glaze pen leaves a raised line. It’s subtle, though, almost more something that you feel than see, and may not happen if you draw too quickly or on a paper that is too absorbent. It works best on a harder, smoother paper, such as a Bristol vellum. Even then you need to draw very slowly giving the ink time to build up.
This slow build-up also means the drying time is long, up, a good minute or two, depending on the paper you are using.
The pens also write on ceramic, stickers, and CDs.
When the ink comes out of the pen, it is watery and semi-transparent, almost like watercolor. As the ink dries the color gets more opaque, though not necessarily darker. In other words, the color stays close to the same, but you can’t see through it all. Depending on the color of the paper, there may seem to be a color shift (change), but that is because you can no longer see the color of the paper.
Because the ink is so watery in the beginning, you can make the colors flow together, whether on purpose or by accident. Lines must be kept apart to avoid this, and small detail must be created by layering after the first layer has dried.
Once dried, the ink can be written on, flattened, or punched with a pin for different effects. It can also be used as a resist, especially with the clear. Used on transparent paper, you can get a stained glass effect, and because it resists water, you can get a batik effect.
The colors in the Basics set are Sepia, Turquoise, Hunter Green, Royal Blue, Gray, White, Real Red, Deep Green, Black and Clear.
The colors in the Brights set are White, Gloss Yellow, Gloss Orange, Gloss Red, Gloss Pink, Gloss Rose, Gloss Purple, Gloss Green, Gloss Blue and Black.
Glaze colors can be used on a colored background, but don’t show well if the paper is too dark. In the example above, I wrote on black paper. In some lights, the writing doesn’t show at all. For this photograph, I was holding the paper close to a light.
Even with lighter colored paper, you may not be able to see how much ink is going down as it is applied, and you might need a second layer. You can use this to advantage to get a two-toned look.
When you finish with a pen, it is wise to wipe the tip on a paper towel to remove left-over ink. Otherwise, it may dry, and clog the pen. The dried ink can be removed, but it’s a lot easier to do when it’s still wet.
You are more likely to use these pens for accents than complete drawings (though I’ve done both). On some papers, their effect makes me think a bit of tooled leather. The effect can be subtle, or bright and bold according to how you use them.
Performance with the Glaze pen varies with the surface you are writing on, and with your own technique. I found that some colors flow easily and bead up well, while others require more work.
Because of the slow speed needed to get the 3D effect, these aren’t pens that you would likely choose for long writing sessions, but they’d be great for art journal quotes, or mixed media wording.
I mentioned earlier that most people would tend to use these pens for accents rather than drawings, but I’ve used them otherwise in the past, and decided to do so for the purpose of this review as well, so you could really see the possibilities.
Basics colors On Bristol Vellum
Brights colors On Bristol Vellum
When used on a smooth, hard paper such as Bristol Vellum, the Glaze pen ink is brilliant. The raised effect is easier to achieve and to see, though you do still need to draw slowly.
Basics colors On Official Zentangle® Renaissance Tile
Brights colors On Official Zentangle® Renaissance Tile
The Official Zentangle® Renaissance tile is a tan paper with an almost gritty surface. It isn’t too absorbent, though more so than on the Bristol Vellum. It is difficult to see the lighter colors going down, though I never needed a second layer of any of them. I did add a second layer to the dried ink in some places though–you can see the white highlights on white on the first tan tile shown here.
The raised effect is harder to see, but easy to feel. This is one of the papers, where I think of tooled leather – it almost looks more like the tan paper has been debossed than that the ink is raised (although, this could just be me, that feels that way).
Colors from both sets on Clear Vellum
As with the bristol vellum, the Glaze colors are extremely bright on clear vellum. I didn’t quite get the stained glass effect I was hoping for, but I think if I used more black, and smaller areas of color I might. I was also using a thin vellum which rippled a bit, and I think that also had an effect.
Information given at the Sakura of America website claims that the Glaze 3D pens are considered a craft tool rather than a writing or drawing pen. I think that’s important when considering a purchase of these pens. They aren’t a Gellyroll pen, though similar in some ways. If you take care, have some patience, and learn to use them to advantage, you’ll enjoy these pens thoroughly.
For both technical information about these pens, and for crafting tips, visit the Sakura of America Web Page.
Disclaimer: I received these 10-color Glaze 3D Pen Sets as part of a thank you for artwork that Sakura of America shared. I was not asked to do this review, and received no other compensation. All opinions are my own.