What I Used for Inktober 2016: Sakura Gelly Roll Pen

River Painting: Finishing Touches with Sakura Gelly Roll SMALL

River Painting: Finishing Touches with Sakura Gelly Roll SMALLWelcome back to the fourth and (for now) final installment of What I Used for Inktober!  Today we’ll be looking at the Sakura Gelly Roll Pen in White, a gel pen that I like to use for accents, outlines, and highlights, like I did in the picture above!  (I also added a blue background using a Promarker – but that’s a review for another day! 😛 )

When I committed to Inktober, I was worried about highlights.  In digital art, it’s easy to add a white outline or highlights at the end of a painting – just make a new layer!  But with markers? o~o  Luckily, with the Sakura Gelly Roll pen, it’s easy to add highlights and finishing touches after the main shading!  At about $5 USD for a set of 3, these pens are budget-friendly. . . and, I would say, well worth the price.

The pen looks like this:

Sakura Gelly Roll Pen close-up. Photo by River.
White-on-white is hard to capture! orz

The pens are about the size of a pencil and very light.  They are small in diameter, so not very ergonomic, but it would be easy to add one of those squishy pencil grips to make ’em comfier.  ^w^

As the ink is white, it works well for highlights, and the gel formula means that it flows easily.  It’s also a lot of fun to use on black paper, like on these sketchcards:

Seasonal Witch Sketch Cards by River
I especially like how the summer berries turned out! :3

One thing to note is that the Sakura Gelly Roll White is slightly translucent.  It’s an effect I like, but for a strong white line you may have to go over it two or three times – especially if the base color is dark.  Here’s some examples:

Sakura Gelly Roll Tests Page by River
This photo has a larger version! Click to view!

In Row 1, I layered the Sakura Gelly Roll over black Tombow water-based markers.  For some reason, the Sakura Gelly Roll appears more translucent over water-based markers, so you may need to layer more to have an opaque white.  They also have a tendency to smear if the marker ink is still wet, so make sure to let it dry thoroughly before using the Gelly Roll. On each black square, I drew a white loop, increasing the number of layers each time.  So left is 1 layer, middle is 2 layers, and right is 3 layers. (In the picture, “rep” is short for “repetition,” or layers.)

In Row 2, the same tests are repeated – but this time they are over an alcohol-based Promarker.  Again, left is 1 layer, middle is 2 layers, and right is 3 layers. I am not sure why, but the Sakura Gelly Roll appears more opaque over the Promarkers.  This doesn’t seem to change with darker colors; so it may have to do with the pigment composition of the Gelly Roll and how it interacts with water-based vs alcohol-based pigments.  In any case, even the 1 layer example shows up well against the blue Promarker, and increased layers will create thicker and more opaque lines.

In Row 3, I laid down a wash of blue-violet Promarker, and just doodled!  The Sakura Gelly Roll really shines with loose, fluid movements.  The line is even and consistent.  I’ve only had a Gelly Roll skip on me twice – which is amazing compared to the Papermate gel pens I use for writing.  Each time, it was only a small break in the line, and easy to repair.

To recap, here are some things I’ve learned using the Sakura Gelly Roll:

  • Let the painting dry completely before using the Gelly Roll.  This will prevent smears!
  • Go over the line several times to make it more opaque or thicker.  Or, leave it at one line for a slightly translucent effect.
  • Relax a little! Loose, fluid movements help the gel ink flow smoothly and consistently.

Though there are other tools one can use for highlights, outlines, or the like, I really enjoy using my Sakura Gelly Rolls and would definitely recommend them!  😀

What do you use to create highlights in traditional media?

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And this concludes the review series,  What I Used for Inktober!  Thanks for reading!  I hope you’ve enjoyed these reviews over the past month. Please do let me know what you think of this series, and if you’d like me to do more reviews in the future. 😀

 

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