A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Diva's Weekly Challenge and Gel Pen Review

I have decided to accept the Diva's Weekly Challenge for a Zentangle drawing.  I thought it would be a great double exercise (use of ink on fabric and drawing class skills).  Here is a picture of the Zentangle I made on Saturday during the Play Date of the FIVE.  The challenge was to incorporate blue in the Zentangle.
This is a piece of cotton I shibori dyed in January with Cerulean Blue.  I had originally planned to draw zentangles only where the white was but the right hand side of the material had very little white and was looking lonely.  I went ahead and drew some zentangles there and will go back and put a little bleach in them to see if I can lighten the inside some. 

The reason I am posting the zentangle here is that I used the Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric pen to create the Zentangle and wanted to give a review of it as part of the ink month.  The pen and I have a love/not-so-much relationship.  It has a broad tip--1.0 mm.  That gives a wonderful line but tiny details are not achievable.  The black is very black and it does go on the fabric very smoothly.  I have not yet washed it so I can't comment on the permanence of the ink.  My biggest problem is that the pens do not last long.  This Zentangle of 8" by 14" used one complete pen's ink--I started with a fresh pen and it was ink-empty when I finished.  The pens aren't all that expensive-- between $2 and $3  I think--but the idea of having to use dozens of pens to finish a larger project seems a bit much. 

Rosalita had other gel pens which were not especially made for fabric that I tried when my pen ran out.  I would think that once you use them on fabric and paint them over with a textile medium they would also be reasonably permanent. (I have not tested that theory yet). They did not go on quite as smooth as the Pentel but were not bad. They covered well.  I couldn't get as strong of a black using them but then I had lots of other colors to choose from (the Pentel had 3 colors I think).  I didn't use one color long enough to know how fast they run out.  Neither did I price them to know if they are cheaper.  I do know that I could buy regular gel pens at Michael's or A.C. Moore or probably WalMart for that matter so they are more available and I would not have to pay for shipping or wait for delivery.

So, if I want to do more Zentangles on fabric will I use a regular gel pen or the special Pentel Gel Pen Roller for Fabric?  I liked the Pentel well enough that I will order some more but I will come up with a Plan B for any larger drawing on fabric projects.

Good news!  I just got an email that my acrylic artists inks have been shipped.  Hurrah!  I see more ink play in my future.


  1. This is really beautiful, Judith. Do you pre-plan what you're going to draw, or do you just "go with it" once you start on something?

  2. I am new to zentangles so I have several different patterns for them in front of me when I start drawing but that is the extent of my pre-planning.

  3. This turned out really beautifully!

    I too, have tried several different pens and you know.....I keep going back to my ultra-fine tipped Sharpie permanent marker. ( I actually like them the best)


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.