The Kuretake company was established in 1902, so it‘s a company with a long history of making art products. The original name was Kuretake Sumi and began with the production of “sumi” brushes. The Kuretake ZIG Corporation was established in the United states in 2014. Now days, they make a wide variety of pens, brushes, watercolors, inks and markers.
A line of products that may be of particular interest to tanglers (people who like to create Zentangles) is Kaleidolines. These products include pens, books, templates and coloring pages.
The Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush pen has been around for a while, but it‘s just beginning to rise in popularity in the United States. It isn‘t technically a “marker” because the business end is a real brush instead of a porous nib. But I‘m putting it into the mix for the marker reviews anyway because it is often used just like a regular brush marker.
I purchased my 80-color set from Amazon for $116.70. They arrived in a fantastic, clear plastic, container that is beautifully made.
Inside the outer box, there is a divided section that pulls out. Each section will hold 4 pens.
I‘m sorry it‘s so hard to see in the image above, but it‘s not particularly easy to photograph clear plastic. Here‘s a view of it in the container with a few pens.
The pens are white with black imprinting. They are 6″ long with the cover on, and with the cover removed, the pen is just over 5-1⁄2″ long. The product name and logos are printed on one side.
The other side has the bar code, color name and color number either imprinted on the barrel or on a sticker attached to the pen.
The clear, plastic pen cover is just shy of 2″ long. It has a single, raised ridge to keep the pen from rolling around your desk. When you take off the cover, it fits nicely on the other end.
As you can see above, there is a button on the end of the pen that is color coordinated to the ink.
The brush end has a cowl that is color coordinated to the ink.
This pen‘s brush is truly a brush with individual “hairs”. It is extremely flexible and acts like any similarly sized, traditional, watercolor brush. This allows you to make a variety of marks in addition to simple lines.
The markers seem to have plenty of ink, and put down nice, juicy marks. Color overlap works pretty well, although you may want to do a bit of blending on some colors where the overlap is more visible. These were designed to play nice with water, and as you can see from the example, they do a great job.
These pens contain a water-based dye ink. While that makes them perfect for use as a nice painting and watercolor medium, it also means that the color isn‘t fade proof. They also are not listed as acid-free, so I don‘t know how archival they are.
Notes: Substrate used for testing examples is Strathmore Vellum finish Bristol board.
There are 80 different colors in the full range, including 4 fluorescent. You can view a chart of all the colors here.
One of the first things I did with my markers was create my own color chart by printing a blank chart and coloring it in.
Note: I made the color example(s) by printing the outline on computer cover stock which was then scanned into the computer and processed in Photoshop. Therefore, while all care was taken, the colors are probably not exactly as they would appear in real life.
As you can see, the color range is good, although a little heavy on the pink/red end. There were no problems with dye separation on my color chart when water was added. On the other hand, if you‘re looking to create a more traditional watercolor image, these pens will take some getting used to because the colors are generally very bright and strong and render much more vivid results.
The colored plastic parts of the pens do a fair job coordinating with some of the colors but for the darker inks, it‘s very hard to tell them apart at a glance. You really have to look at the color name. There are also a couple of lighter colors that are hard to distinguish from each other.
I like being able to see the brush nib through the clear, plastic cover. But there is nothing on the cover to indicate the color of the pen it belongs on. While for some people it might not matter, I usually end up getting some ink inside my covers over time. That means I might put the wrong cover on a pen and contaminate the ink in it. It also means that I can‘t store the pens, cover up, in the original packaging and be able to distinguish individual colors clearly. Instead, I have to put them in my horizontal racks with the colored end visible.
I hope they are in the process of eliminating the bar code sticker and go with the imprinted barrel. The sticker can get worn or fall off altogether over time.
- Kuretake ZIG Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 80-color set - Suggested retail unknown
- Target - no listing on website
- Walmart - no listing for the 80-color set, but they do carry other sets and individual pens
- Amazon - $110.00
- Dick Blick - no listing for the 80-color set, but they do carry other sets and individual pens
- Jerry‘s Artarama - no listing for the 80-color set, but they do carry other sets and individual pens