Friday, March 4, 2016

Souffle 3D Pen Set Review #SakuraOfAmerica #Glaze3DPens #Zentangle

Today I am reviewing a 10-color Souffle 3D Pen Sets, which is one of the items I received in return for some artwork that Sakura of America shared.

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
It's obvious from the first look that the Souffle colors are different than those found in the Glaze pen sets.  Both have 3D ink, and in many ways, the two pens are the same.  The difference in those colors is important though, because Souffle pen colors can be seen on dark paper.  They are pastel, almost chalk colors, and as such are different from both the Glaze and Gellyroll ink colors.

The colors in the Souffle set are Yellow, Orange, Light Orange, Pink, Purple, Green, Light Green, Blue,  and Gray.

As with the Glaze pens, these are considered a craft tool rather than an actual pen.  The ink leaves a slightly raised line if you draw or write slowly.  The ink is water-based and waterproof (once dry) on most surfaces.


The pens are plastic, and non-refillable, with caps that are close to the color of the ink.  I think the cap colors in this set are closer to actual color than with any of the other sets. 


When you use one of these pens for the first time, you'll find a bit of plastic that keeps the ink from flowing. You'll need to remove that before using.  The tip is a hard metal, so it will hold up to a heavy hand.


The raised line left by the ink is subtle, almost something that you will feel rather than see, and the effect may not happen if you draw too quickly or on a paper that is too absorbent.  It works best on a harder, smoother paper, such as Bristol vellum.  Even then you need to draw very slowly giving the ink time to build up. 

This slow build-up also means the drying time is long, up, a good minute or two, depending on the paper you are using.

You can also use these pens on almost any clean, non-porous surface.


The ink comes out of the pen looking and acting like thick, tinted water.  As the ink dries the color becomes opaque. In the photo above, the white on the right is the ink a second or two after coming from the pen, and on the left is the same color ink (white) after it has totally dried.

Patience is key.  Let your ink dry before planning too far ahead, because you might change your mind once you see the final effect.  The inks can flow into each other if you apply a second line too close to another.  This can be annoying if it happens by accident, and you can get some cool effects if you do it on purpose.

Once dried, the ink can be written on, flattened, or punched with a pin for different effects.

When you finish with a pen, it is best to wipe the tip on a paper towel to remove left-over ink.  Otherwise, it may dry, and clog the pen.  The dried ink can be removed, but it's a lot easier to do when it's still wet.

You are more likely to use these pens for accents than complete drawings (though I've done both).

Performance
Performance with the Souffle pen varies with the surface you are writing on, and with your own technique.  I found that some colors flow easily and bead up well, while others require more work.

Writing
Because of the slow speed needed to get the 3D effect, these aren't pens that you would likely choose for long writing sessions, but they'd be great for art journal quotes, a chalk board effect or mixed media wording.




Obviously, the white doesn't show up on white, off-white or very light colored papers.  The yellow isn't terribly visible either, but both are highly visible on dark and black colored papers.  Conversely, the gray doesn't show up on black, but may show on some darker colors.

It is possible to add layers of color, so white/yellow could be used for highlights, and gray for shadows.

Drawing
I went with full color drawings, because that's how I tend to use these pens, and I think it gives you a better idea of just what you can do with them.  Most people probably wouldn't use them quite this extensively, though.

Souffle colors on Black Paper


In some ways, completely coloring in a black page is a waste of the black itself, but I like the look and feel of a work like this.  It was done on a fairly hard, smooth, black paper, more like card-stock than construction paper. The raised effect is apparent in some areas. I controlled it by the speed at which I laid down the ink, so the flowers and leaves stand out more.  It makes me think of the puffy pages you find with some of the children's book for toddlers.

I couldn't get a very good representation of the color in either photo or scan.  The green and yellow look almost identical here, but in real life they are different.  That said, they aren't too different. Just more so than it looks on the above piece.


This second drawing was done on an ATC-sized piece of black Elephant Poo paper (yes, you read that correctly).  Elephant Poo paper is extremely soft and absorbent, and it took two and in a few cases three layers of ink to get color even this bright.  However, I made use of that to get two-toned colors. On paper this absorbent, the raised effect doesn't exist, except where the ink is layered on top of another layer.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend using these pens directly on this kind of paper -- why do so if you can't get the 3D effect?  Using them on top of other inks or paints would work though.  That said, I kind of like the chalkboardy look even without the 3D.

Souffle colors on Colored Paper


The Official Zentangle® Renaissance tile is a tan paper with an almost gritty surface.  It isn't too absorbent, though more so than on the Bristol Vellum. 

Without a dark paper contrast, it is harder to photograph and scan the Souffle colors than it is to pick up the Glaze colors. 

The raised effect is apparent, but I had to work hard to get it, so I only worked for it on the centers and dots.

Souffle colors with Mixed Media

Acrylic Paint Background


This drawing was done on an ATC-sized piece of bristol vellum (very hard and smooth) that I had painted with Ultramarine Blue acrylic paint, and scratched with some squiggly lines. It was very easy to get the 3D effect, and, of course, the colors popped!  In some areas, I applied the paint fast and thin, leaving them transparent enough that you can see the blue of the background beneath.

This is probably closer to the way most people would use the Souffle pens.

Watercolor Monoprint


A monoprint is made by painting onto plexiglass, letting the paint dry, and then pressing wet paper onto the paint.  You can get more than one print sometimes, and this was a second print that didn't have too much detail.  I decided to use the Souffle pens to bring out and add more detail.  It was on a fairly hard smooth paper, so I got the raised effect pretty much through-out.

Again, this shows how well the Souffle pens work, using them with mixed media, where some other medium of ink or paint supplies the main color.

Overall
As with the Glaze 3D pens,  Souffle 3D pens are considered a craft tool rather than a writing or drawing pen.  I think that's important when considering a purchase of these pens.  They aren't a Gellyroll pen, though similar in some ways.  

They work very well on dark paper, especially if is is smooth-textured, and hard (non-absorbent). The 3D effect is subtle and can be lost entirely on some papers or if a line is drawn too fast.

Some patience and care is needed to use these pens, and most will use them for effect in mixed-media projects.

For both technical information about these pens, and for crafting tips, visit the Sakura of America Web Page.

Disclaimer: I received this 10-color Souffle 3D Pen Set as part of a thank you for artwork that Sakura of America shared.  I was not asked to do this review, and received no other compensation. All opinions are my own.

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