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
The Zentangle® Renaissance Tool Set contains all the basic necessities to start tangling, plus a little more. The pens, paper and pencils are all official Zentangle® products. In the beginning, traditional Zentangle used only a black Pigma Micron pen and white tiles, but the product line has expanded, to include black and tan tiles as well. This set has tan tiles.
For those of you new to it, Zentangle has its own terminology. Patterns are called tangles, and when you draw them you are tangling. The finished drawing is a Zentangle. Zentangle also refers to the method of drawing itself.
The pens, pencils and tortillons come enclosed in a resealable plastic bag.
The tiles are a light tan. I find the color very rich. It's dark enough that light and white colors spark, but light enough that the black and brown pen lines stand out well.
The surface has tooth, feeling almost gritty to the touch.
All official Zentangle tiles are mould-made, acid-free, 100% cotton, heavy-weight fine artists' paper with a vellum surface finish, including the tiles in this tool set.
Two of the Pigma Micron pens are brown and one is black.
These pen tips are felt, inset in metal to make them sturdier. The ink is archival, waterproof, chemical resistant, fade resistant, bleed free, quick drying and pH neutral. Drying times are short, especially on the paper used for making these tiles. They are professional quality pens.
The point sizes 0.1 and 0.5 refer the to width of the tip. The larger the number the larger the tip, and the sturdier it will be.
However, nothing is perfect and, from experience, I can tell you that if you press too hard while drawing, you may find one section of the pen won't write anymore. I'm not sure, but I think the fabric flattens and blocks the ink flow. If you roll the pen slightly, so you are writing from a different angle, the pen will work fine. If you find you have a heavy hand, you may want to switch to a larger size tip.
You also need to keep these pens capped as much as possible. If you pause to think for a while, cap the pen. If you set the pen down for even a moment, cap it. Your pen will last much longer if you do.
The pens are not refillable.
That said, these are my favorite pens to draw with. They are the most waterproof of any I've found and I like the feel of them in my hand, and the way they move across the page. The quality is consistent.
There are two golf size pencils included in the set. One is a black lead, and the other is a white charcoal. Both leads are soft, giving good coverage and blending easily. They also smudge easily, so lefties will need to use the care they always do with soft leads.
The white charcoal is nicely opaque for strong highlights, but can be blended or brushed to simply lighten or give a misty look.
There are two tortillons included. These are rolled paper stumps that are used to smudge and blend the pencil lines for more subtle shading.
The Zentangle Tool Sets also comes in a traditional white tile, round mandala, and black tile. The pens, pencils and tortillons vary according to the set.
For my first tile, I only used the items in the kit. My scanner didn't pick up the highlights properly--they are brighter and whiter than they look here.
The pencil lead grays the tan (as you might expect) to provide a gentle shading. I only used the tortillon at the mid-right. You can see that it is possible to get darker pencil values. Both the black and brown inks stand out well against the tan. Truly, the tools in this set are more than enough to create beautifully finished Zentangles.
Still, one may wish to use other products at times ,so I wanted to text the tan tiles with other products to see how they did. I used colored pencils and Glaze 3D gel ink pens. I also used the pens and pencils that came with the set.
The colored pencils work beautifully on this paper. The colors are muted somewhat by the tan, producing more of a tint with the first layer of color. There was no hint of wax build-up, so I could have continued to build darker values with no problem. I liked the delicate tinting, and decided to leave it.
Glaze 3D pens are just that--3D, so they leave a rough surface. The white pencil did produce highlights on it, but I had to press harder, and did get a bit of dust because of that. You can see a bit of the 3D texture on the center stones.
The pens and pencils will last longer than the tiles, so I had to do an example on another paper. I chose to use Clairefontaine paper, which is good quality but much smoother than the Zentangle tiles.
I've used Pigma Microns on this paper many times in the past, so I knew they would work beautifully. Drying time is slightly longer than with the tiles, but still very quick.
I did use both the black and white pencils. Both were light on this paper, and getting dark values would be difficult, though not impossible. My scanner didn't pick up either pencil very well.
The Renaissance Zentangle Tool Set has everything you need to create elegant Zentangles. All the products in the set are high-quality professional tools that are pleasure to work with.
The products also work well with colored pencil and gel ink.
The paper is toothy enough to be a good surface for pen, pencil, colored pencil and chalk.
The pens are archival, waterproof and professional-grade. The felt tips can be damaged if you are heavy-handed when you draw, and will quickly dry out if left uncapped for long, but any quality product needs some care.
The pencils have soft lead providing good coverage that is easily blended. The down-side is that you can smudge the lines easily as well.
The Renaissance Zentangle Tool Set (and other Zentangle Tool Sets) can be found in many brick'n'mortar stores, at Zentangle.com or from many Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT)®