Review: Sakura Moonlight and Glaze Pens

Sakura makes an endless number of gel pens for journaling and scrapbooking–pastels, brights, sparkles, and now, Moonlight and Glaze.

Top: Moonlight pens on Sheer Heaven. Bottom: Glaze Pens on Sheer Heaven.

When I purchased my first Sakura a few years ago, I did it only because I had to for a class. I was a fountain pen/felt-tip writer. And while my nose was wrinkling my hands and heart were captured. The pens write the fist time. They put down a smooth line of gel ink. And they play to my secret, almost-hidden love of occasional sparkle. My head would say, “Well, maybe I have a one-time use for this new Sakura pen,” and my heart would say, “Squeee! Metallic sparkle!”

So when the Moonlight series landed in my mail box, it didn’t take me long to open them up and try them. I used three kinds of paper–Sheer Heaven, which isn’t really a paper at all, but a multi-media surface. I also used Arches Text Wove (Velin) and Strathmore Black Art Paper.

Colors in Moonlight series by Sakura. The colors are rich and vibrant.

Moonlight gel pens go down smoothly and evenly. The colors are rich, with the look of paint. I tried to resist the fluorescent colors, but they stole my heart. They vibrate off the paper, they are vivid and bold. And best of all, the fluorescents will glow bright under a black light (Ultra-Violet) source.  To test this out, I went to a hardware store and borrowed one of the scorpion lights–which are UV flashlights. Yep, the gel pens colors lit up.  They show up on white paper, but ahhh, they glow right off the page on black paper. In fact, these pens do best on colored stock, photographs and transparencies. They do write on plastic, and the colors stay vivid. On paper, I found no bleed-through or feathering. Like all specialty pens, they take about a minute to dry.

Flowers done with Moonlight pens, shooting starts with Stardust pens. Color in your monitor will vary. Shooting stars have more sparkle than in this scan.

The Glaze Pens have been around a while, but the ones I tested were in colors I haven’t seen before–ink blue, bronze, clear, white, black, purple and two greens–a forest green and an olive. These pens write on plastic, metal and glass.

Glazes dry to a slightly raised, polished look. The clear pen can be used as a resist, as shown.

I wrote my name on my scissor blades and will see how it holds up to wear. I love the effect on Sheer Heaven–glazes create a stained glass look. (The first sample in the post is on Sheer Heaven).

I tried mixing the colors and that doesn’t work–I’m relieved, because it allows for soft boundaries.

My favorite use of Glazes is the clear pen. It creates a great batik effect, as you can see from the red watercolor wash on the right. I think this will be my favorite of the bunch, although the bronze and olive are wonderful on transparencies, photos and plastic as well. The rich color goes down in an even flow, easily and thickly. I was surprised at the control the pen had. I tried the pens on black, and loved the subtle effect. I couldn’t tell the colors, but I loved the clarity of the writing. Don’t expect a puffy, lifted surface, the 3D effect is very subtle–more like engraving than raised type.

Glaze samples on Strathmore black art paper.

I’ll be doing a lot more playing artistic experimenting with these pens.

You can read Tonia Davenport’s review of the Secura Glaze and Soufflé Pens on the Create Mixed Media site.

Sunday, I’ll review the glue pen (yes, glue!) and the starlight–another sparkler. I’m having a lot of fun in the name of research!

Disclosure: F+W Media sent me the pens for review. North Light Books, the publisher of my book Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art is owned by F+W media.

Quinn McDonald is an author, artist and certified creativity coach who helps people through changes in their hearts and lives.