Drawing Zentangles is a great way to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and other problems you may have right now. It might seem like a simple activity but it definitely provides several benefits. Just ask the many people who have been using this technique to cope with their struggles and you will immediately learn about their positive effects.
If you are also interested in this activity, then you need to start by getting the best pens for Zentangle. Why would you need a dedicated pen for drawing Zentangles? You do not “need” it per se, but the practice will be much more enjoyable and beneficial if you are using a pen that is fit for the purpose.
Read on to learn more about how to find the right pens that you can use for Zentangles.
- Best Pens for Zentangle Reviews
- 1. Sakura Pigma 30068 Micron Blister Card Ink Pens
- 2. Brusarth Micro-Pen Fineliner Zentangle Pens
- 3. Art-n-Fly Colored Fine Point Pens
- 4. Uni Pin Drawing Fineliner Pens
- 5. TOOLI-ART Micro-Line Zentangle Pens
- 6. PANDAFLY Precision Micro-Line Zentangle Pens
- 7. YISAN Drawing Art Pens
- 8. Mr. Pen Drawing Multiliner Pens
- 9. Sakura 57454 Gelly Roll Classic Pens
- 10. Tingeart Micro-Pen Fineliner Ink Pens
- What to Look For When Buying a Zentangle Pens
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Pens for Zentangle Reviews
1. Sakura Pigma 30068 Micron Blister Card Ink Pens
This is a set of fine-tipped markers. It is the best choice in case you are making Zentangles. I prefer using these 0.25mm tips because I can create small details as much as I want. Any smaller than that and I would need to use a magnifying glass to see them. With these markers, I can make intricate Zentangles easily and in 8 different colors.
Another amazing thing about the writing tips is that they are incredibly durable. I am a bit on the heavy-handed side and I have yet to bend or break even one fine tip. Aside from being durable, the writing tips also write buttery smooth. I usually use regular drawing paper and these pens glide over the surface effortlessly.
The inks that these pens use are also incredible. These markers, unlike some of the other cheaper brands, do not use dye inks. What they use, instead, are pigmented inks. This means that the ink stays on the topmost layers of the paper instead of getting absorbed in it. This means that the Zentangles you create can last for years.
In addition, this set of markers comes with 8 different colors of pens. I would usually just draw Zentangles in one color, typically black, but having 7 other colors to choose from makes this hobby even more enjoyable than it already is. There are times when I would like to use two or more colors. It just makes the pieces look a whole lot better.
The only issue that I have with these pens, aside from them being a bit expensive, is that their inks take a bit longer to dry compared to other brands. This may be due to the inks being pigmented instead of dyes, so it takes a bit longer to dry on paper. With that, you need to have a bit more patience when using these pens.
2. Brusarth Micro-Pen Fineliner Zentangle Pens
If you want a pen set that you can use for every art project you might have at the moment without setting a large budget for it, the Brusarth micro fine liner pens are for you. This set has 9 different sizes of pens. It also includes one pen with a felt brush tip.
It does not matter if you are working on Zentangles, doodle art, ink drawings, calligraphy, or any other project, you will always have the right pen for your needs. If you are like me who loves collecting Zentangle drawings so you can look back and see how you have improved both in skill and mindset, you would love these pens.
All 9 of the pens here also use archive-quality pigment inks. This means that even after many years have passed, your drawings will remain as crisp and clear as the day you made them. The ones that I made a year ago are still clear. The paper has yellowed a bit but the lines are still dark.
I do not have a heavy hand but I have to admit that I could use a bit more practice in holding these pens lightly. However, even though I sometimes put too much pressure on the tips, enough to punch through the paper, I have not broken the tips of these pens, even that of the smallest one.
Aside from not fading, the ink of these pens is waterproof. Unlike some of the other pens that I have used in the past, the drawings I made with these pens can withstand getting wet quite well. There have been many times when I would accidentally put a couple of drops of water on my works in progress, but the ink would not even smudge a bit.
The only problem that I have with these pens is that they do not contain quite as much ink as other brands. I think the longest that I have been regularly using one of these pens is around a month to a month and a half. It is a good thing that these pens are quite affordable, so I just buy a couple of sets at a time.
3. Art-n-Fly Colored Fine Point Pens
I do not know about you but I like putting as many small details as I can when I am making Zentangles. It is the reason why they usually look like wimmelbilders (the drawings that have lots of intricate details) where you can see something different if you look closely.
These Zentangle colored pens have 0.3mm tips. The tips allowed me to create highly detailed Zentangles. These pens are a joy to use. The main reason is that they use high-quality inks, archival quality to be exact.
These pens also use pigments instead of regular ink, which typically gets absorbed into the paper, leaving you with clean and crisp lines even after you put the drawings into storage for a couple of years. I honestly believe that the paper you wrote on would deteriorate before the ink would start to fade.
Another reason why I like these pens is that they write so smoothly, almost like a gel pen. Other than Zentangles, I also use this pen set for scribbling notes on my Bible journal. I could fill an entire page of my journal with writings without complaining about the tips scratching or snagging on the paper.
In addition, this is a set of pens with 12 different colored inks. If you like doing adult coloring books, they are great tools for the hobby. I find adult coloring books to be quite relaxing, so I try finishing a page at least once a day.
They are just the right size for coloring the tight spaces. For the rest, I use a standard set of coloring pens with larger nib sizes.
I like using these pens for coloring, which is why I was disappointed to find out that you cannot buy individual pens when you run out of one color. This means that even if you just need one or two colors, you will need to buy an entire set of pens. It is the reason why I try to use each color as evenly as I can.
4. Uni Pin Drawing Fineliner Pens
Even though these pens are some of the most affordable ones that I have ever had the pleasure of using, they contain quite a lot of ink. I use my pens regularly, not just for Zentangles but also for drawing/revising architectural and engineering plans.
I can draw an entire project’s worth of plans using a couple of pens of different line weights. It is possible while still having more than enough left over for a dozen or so Zentangles.
One of the reasons why I love using these pens for Zentangles is that they write so smoothly. Even the 0.1mm tip pen just glides over the surface of the paper and will not snag on the fibers. This is also the reason why I like using these pens for taking notes. It is almost like writing with a good-quality fountain pen.
Although these fine liners also use archival quality ink, they dry quite quickly unlike the other brands that I have used so far. This is good news for left-handed users because the ink dries rather quickly, which means it will not have enough time to move from the paper onto your wrist.
I know that expensiveness is mostly subjective. However, this set of pens is quite affordable, even if you do have a small budget. It contains six different-sized pens, ranging from 0.8mm to 0.05mm tips, so you will essentially be getting all the pen sizes that you will need to create dazzling Zentangles.
Although I have mostly praises for this marker brand, it does have a couple of issues. One of them is that the tips tend to blot on occasion, especially if you do not clean the nibs after every use, which most people do not do.
5. TOOLI-ART Micro-Line Zentangle Pens
One nice thing about this set of markers is that you are getting a total of 14 pens that range in tip size from 0.2mm to 2.5mm (brush-tipped). This means you will always have the right-sized marker for whatever project you might have on hand.
I currently use these pens for Zentangles. However, I also use the brush pen for calligraphy and brushstroke drawings.
These pens use archive-quality ink, which means that whatever you write using these pens can last for many years without any sign of significant fading. Unlike the ink used by regular pens, this does not bleed into the paper. It remains on the top layers of the paper, which is why it will always be dark and vibrant.
I also liked the brush-tipped pens that came with the set. Although it is not as flexible as the other brush pens that I have used, this is not that bad at all. The tip has just enough give that allows me to make different line weights. It also springs back to its original shape immediately.
The felt tip is also quite durable. I used up all the ink in the pen and the tip has barely frayed.
What I liked the most, though, is the included carrying case. This is not just a simple pouch where you throw in your pens. This case has individual compartments for each pen, thereby ensuring proper organization. I am a stickler when it comes to organization and this carrying case makes me happy.
I only wished that these pens would have a bit more ink. Other brands that I have tested lasted at least twice as long as these and some of them even cost less. On the other hand, it is good that this set came with extras of certain tip sizes.
6. PANDAFLY Precision Micro-Line Zentangle Pens
I like composing my Zentangles using different line weights, which is why I love using this set of fine liner markers from PANDAFLY. This is a collection of 10 pens that have different nib sizes, including one that has a felt brush tip. The brush-tipped one is a personal favorite because I also use it for brushstroke calligraphy.
I usually create my Zentangles on the kitchen table, typically once everyone else in the house is asleep. Sometimes, I like making Zentangles with a cold drink in hand, so there will be times when I would accidentally spill some water on my drawings.
Thankfully, the ink these pens use is waterproof. Some of my drawings have visible water stains on them, but the lines are still quite clear.
Another nice quality of the ink is that it dries fast. Even though these markers use pigment ink and not dyes, it still dries rather quickly. Also, because of the fast-drying ability of the ink, it does not have enough time to bleed through the page as well. These qualities make the markers ideal for note-taking and/or journaling.
Speaking of writing, these markers write rather smoothly, especially when compared to other felt-tipped pens. I do not use special drawing paper for making Zentangles, but even so, these markers do not scratch the surface or catch on the fibers. They are a joy to write and draw with, which makes creating Zentangles a lot more therapeutic.
As much as I love using these pens, I do have a couple of minor complaints. One is that the ink is not as opaque as some of the other brands of markers that I have used before. However, the biggest issue that I have is that the markings on the top of the caps easily wore off after just a couple of days’ worth of use.
7. YISAN Drawing Art Pens
Aside from drawing Zentangles, I also use this set of markers for illustrations. Although I use the fine-point tips the most, my favorites are the chisel-point and felt brush pens because they can make both thick and thin lines just by changing the way you hold the pen or varying the pressure on the tips.
I am not left-handed but if you are, then you would like to use these pens for note-taking. The ink dries almost as soon as it hits the paper, so you will not smudge it easily. This means that you can use this to take down notes. You will not also have to deal with ink blotches on your wrist.
These pens use archive-quality ink. This may sound complicated and classy, but this only means that the ink these pens use will not fade as quickly as the others. It is also waterproof. You can expect your completed Zentangles to still look as clear as the day you drew them even after several years from now.
The best thing about these pens is that they write as well as several of the more expensive brands. I own a couple of professional-grade markers, so I know what I am talking about.
These pens are only a fraction of the cost, but you cannot tell the difference between them and an expensive brand. If you want your Zentangles to look amazing, you can start by using these pens.
I would have wanted to give these pens a perfect score, but they do have a couple of issues, the biggest of which is that they do not have a lot of ink. The chisel point and brush pens were the first ones to go. The main reason is that they write the thickest lines and they only lasted a week or so of regular use.
8. Mr. Pen Drawing Multiliner Pens
These pens use pigmented inks that are different from the dye inks that most regular pens use. For one thing, the ink does not fade as fast compared to other pens.
The reason is that dye inks would readily absorb into the paper while pigment inks would just stay on the top. With that said, the lines drawn by these pens would still be clear and crisp even after years have passed.
Speaking of the ink, compared to the other similar markers that are in the same price bracket, the ink it uses is very opaque. I have used more expensive brands of markers with inks that are not quite as black as that used by Mr. Pen. They are quite dark and do not need as many layers when used for hatching or shading.
Another thing I liked about this Zentangle pen set is how comfortable the pens are to hold and use. They have rounded bodies with just the right thickness. They also have a matte texture, making them easy to hold. I tend to spend a lot of time deliberately making Zentangles and I have yet to get hand cramps while using them.
Some people say that Mr. Pen markers are just cheap knock-offs of popular brands, but that is not the case. This set or fine line markers may be affordable, but they are not “cheap”. They write almost as well as the more expensive pen brands but at just a fraction of the cost. You will get a lot of value for your money when you get this set.
However, even though I like these pens a lot, they do have a couple of issues. The biggest issue that I have with these pens is that they do not hold quite as much ink as I hoped they would. These pens, by my estimate, have 30% less ink compared to the more expensive brands.
9. Sakura 57454 Gelly Roll Classic Pens
When I first got these pens, I thought that they would write like correction fluid, but it was more like acrylic paint. These pens use gel inks, which lay thick on the paper and leave a completely opaque mark. These pens are only visible on black or dark-colored paper. They will not show through the ink.
Just like other gel pens, the Gelly Roll pen writes smoothly and evenly. Whenever I use these pens for making Zentangles on black paper, I do not need to go back on my lines to make them thicker, they are quite thick anyway. In addition, you can’t layer these pens’ lines anyway, but more on that later.
Unlike other gel pens, this is a set of three pens with different nib sizes. Most of the time, gel pens only come in one tip size, usually 0.8mm, because of the thick consistency of the ink. These pens gave my white Zentangles a whole new dimension. I did not think that I could make white lines that had different line weights.
Aside from Zentangles, I also use these pens for other art projects, mostly for adding highlights. These work well with watercolors (once dried) and acrylics. However, I do not recommend this with oils and chalk pastels as they would clog the pen.
With that said, these white gel pens have very niche uses, so I would not say that these are not necessities for Zentangle enthusiasts. On the other hand, having an unusual pen in your collection does come with certain benefits and you might even find a good use for them one day.
10. Tingeart Micro-Pen Fineliner Ink Pens
If I have to say so myself, I believe that I have somewhat improved my skills in making Zentangles. I improved enough that I need ultra-fine markers to give my drawings a lot of extra details. I especially like the 0.05mm tipped marker because it helps me draw details so small that you would need a magnifying glass to see them all.
I also liked the brush-tipped pen that came with the set. The felt nib was flexible enough that I could somewhat replicate the look and feel of real brush strokes. I also like using the brush pen for filling in larger spaces with ink. It is just more convenient using a brush pen compared to cross-hatching using the other markers.
The ink that these markers use dries quite fast. It is like it dries almost immediately after it leaves the pen. This is great news if you are left-handed because you won’t need to deal with ink smudges on your wrist every time you use these pens for note-taking or journaling.
Speaking more about the ink, it is archival-quality. This means that whatever you write or draw with these top-notch pens for Zentangle art, you have a guarantee that they will last for years without fading.
Moreover, the ink is also waterproof. This means that you can use your Zentangles with water and they will not wash away. Once the paper dries, your drawing will still be there.
I like these pens quite a bit, but I do not like how light and cheap they feel in the hand. I have used other pens in the same price bracket and most of them have a bit more heft and they felt solid. These pens felt like I could break them in half if I just clench my fist.
What to Look For When Buying a Zentangle Pens
Are you new to drawing Zentangles? If you are, here are some of the things that you need to look out for once you begin to shop for the pens that you will be using.
You want your Zentangling pen to have opaque ink, regardless of whether you will be using black or colored markers. Zentangle drawings are line drawings, so you should be using a pen that can lay down lines that are already thick enough in just one pass.
Zentangles are quite small so going over your lines can be difficult. Also, look for pens that have “archival quality” ink. This kind of ink is quite opaque, waterproof, and does not fade easily.
Depending on the intricacy of the Zentangles that you like to draw, you will be going through quite a lot of pens in a month. I often make detailed Zentangles, so I need pens with a lot of ink. Pens that have large ink tanks will be quite expensive, so make a bit of room in your budget if you want good quality pens.
As mentioned earlier, Zentangles are typically small, so you will need to use pens with small nibs. I usually use 0.1 mm thick nibs for the small details, and 0.8 mm for the outlines, and I suggest that you use them too.
You do not have to get just those two pen sizes. If you want more variety, you can get a set of pens. I suggest that if you are getting a set of pens, get one that comes with a brush-tipped pen. Brush-tipped markers have various uses and I am sure that you would find them useful as well.
The overall design of the pens that you choose is important as well. I like to take my time when I am drawing Zentangles, so I want my pens to be comfortable to hold and use. The pen barrel should have just the right thickness so that you will not get cramps when drawing and it will also make it easier to control.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Supplies do you need to do Zentangle?
If you want to draw Zentangles the traditional way, you will need a couple of black markers with fine tips, a pencil and an eraser, and 3.5” x 3.5” paper tiles. The paper size is the “official” size recommended by the Zentangle community. However, if you will not be posting your work in their online forums, you can use whatever size tile you want.
What Kind of Paper to use for Zentangle?
Since you will be drawing lots of lines using pigment inks, you will need to use paper that is a bit thick so that the ink would not easily bleed through it. Ideally, you should use one labeled as marker paper. This type of paper has a semi-glossy coating on one side to keep the ink from bleeding through.
Zentangle drawing is a relaxing and quite enjoyable hobby, especially because you do not need to follow strict rules aside from the tile size. If you want to make this hobby a lot more enjoyable while providing you with even more benefits, you need to use the best pens for Zentangle.
Now that you have reached the end of this article, you most likely already know how to spot pens for Zentangle. You now know what to look for when you are shopping for your first set of pens. Hopefully, the information here can help make your Zentangle journey more fruitful.