By Christina VanGinkel
Choosing a set of colored pens or markers should not be that difficult, unless you are going to use them for crafting and every set you look at does something different, something special, in comparison to the set you just looked at that is!
Sakura Souffle 3-D Paint Pens
This was my dilemma when I recently shopped for a set of pens and a set of markers. I wanted a set that would lend itself creatively to my scrapbook work and other paper crafts that I regularly participate in. Well, after browsing numerous different sets, I actually ended up ordering two separate sets of pens, each set from a different company, but both basically doing the same thing, with the difference mainly the color family of the inks, with one set writing in a more opaque color family. I also ordered one set of markers. The first set of pens that I decided on had one other brand for me to compare them too (which was the second set I also purchased). The first set was the Sakura Souffle 3-D Paint Pens, they are advertised as being able to produce an embossed effect with little effort, with no need for messy glitter or heat guns, and more importantly, they stated that they would work on just about any surface including glass and plastic. Any non-porous surface should work well actually. The set comes with ten colors, including Yellow, Orange, Light Orange, Pink, Purple, Light Green, Green, Blue, Gray, and White. With this wide range of colors, I figured they would work for just about any scrapbook, card making, or other craft that I might want to create an embossed effect on with ease.
Glaze Gelly Roll Pens
The other set that they compared to was the Glaze Gelly Roll Pens. They also create a raised line, similar to an embossed look, but the colors are somewhat darker and are not opaque, a feature that I liked about the Sakura brand pens, but I figured the more wide range of colors would only mean I would come up with more uses for the pens.
The few complaints that I heard about both of these sets of pens before I purchased either of them did worry me some, mainly, that they did not really puff up as stated. When I researched this issue further, what it came down to was that those that were not getting satisfactory results were not taking the time to write slowly with the pens, which is very important. They were also using them on porous material, namely plain paper or cardstock, without going over their work with a second coating. Depending on the surface material of the paper, it may be necessary to go back over your initial work, in essence using the first run as the base for the pens to 'work'. The pens work well on light and dark surfaces.
Zig Photo Twin
I was also interested in getting a set of markers, photo safe, which would create the look of tinted photos from long ago. I had fallen in love with the look of this technique from an actual old photo of a cousin of mine, which had this method done to it many years back. In black and white, an artist had then gone over the picture and filled back in the blue of his eyes, and added more color to the brim of his hat he was wearing, and the insignia of a little blue and yellow duck on his shirtfront. I though how cool it would be if I could alter some of my own photos to black and white, then go back with color and just highlight small, important accents in them. I even knew which photo that I wanted to experiment with. It was of my son leaning against a tree on our back forty. Wearing a white tee and jeans, the shirt has an American flag emblazoned across the front. I thought it would be interesting to strip the color from the photo, then just go back and tint the flag back to its original glorious shades of red, white, and blue. While I know some people would go at this project with real tints and dyes, I was hoping to find a marker that would duplicate the effect with much less work, and less talent on my part. I found the ideal set, the Zig Photo Twin. Each set came with six double-ended markers, so I would have more control when coloring photos, what with the two sized tips. I ordered the natural hue set, but they are also available in other color choices.
Pens and markers are currently available that do all sorts of creative things. If you want to take your photographs or other craft projects to a new height, be sure to check out all the pens and markers currently available. You will be sure to find the perfect set (or two or three), that will do just what you want them too.