Monday, January 7, 2013

Sakura Gelly Rolls Gold Shadow & Silver Shadow

The Sakura Gelly Roll is the classic stick gel pen that comes in a vast array of colours and types - from glittery to fluorescent to metallic to three-dimensional ink - as well as in standard ink colours.  Because they're generally wet-writing pens that write with a relatively wide line width (around 1.0mm I would guess, although there are slight variations among the different varieties), I use them primarily as craft pens rather than writing pens - and they are also marketed primarily as craft pens, i.e., pens that you can use for doodling, scrapbooking, mixed-media art journaling, and other art and craft activities.


The Gold Shadow and Silver Shadow Gelly Rolls are the latest additions to my Gelly Roll collection.  I chose the Gold Shadow in green and the Silver Shadow in blue.  Just as with other Gelly Rolls, the design of these pens is very basic and minimalist, just a translucent round barrel with no grip and a basic cap.  The cap indicates the colour of the ink, and the symbol on the clip indicates the variety of the pen.  The Gold Shadow has an opaque metallic-coloured cap; the Silver Shadow a translucent coloured cap.  Although the design is not really important because I do not use these as writing pens, one thing I really don't like is the barcode printed directly on the barrel.  This is not a major issue, but it is something that always irritates me with all kinds of pens because it just makes the pen look cheap, and not in a good way.

I do love these little designs on the clip that Sakura always matches to each variety of Gelly Roll. 

But on to the important stuff - how well do these pens write?  Well, they're Gelly Rolls, so they're wet writers, but in comparison to other Gelly Rolls*, these Gold and Silver Shadows seem even wetter and inkier than usual.  They also write with a very bold line (the Silver Shadow may be slightly bolder than the Gold Shadow), so you won't want to use them for small details or for writing if you have small handwriting.  Unsurprisingly, considering the inkiness and boldness of the line, these pens are also very slow to dry.  This is also typical for Gelly Rolls, but also seems even more pronounced with the Gold and Silver Shadows than with other Gelly Rolls.  And (with the Gold Shadow much more than the Silver Shadow), the ink has a rather "sticky" or viscous quality, so that if I don't lift the pen high enough off the page between letters (or doodles), I get this little line of ink between the letters as the ink trails from one letter to another.  The ink in these pens also seems to be a bit more prone to bleeding through paper than that of other Gelly Rolls.  Curiously, it is only the coloured part of the ink that bleeds through, while the gold and silver seems to float on top of the coloured ink.

Mandala drawing.  These pens are way more fun to doodle with than they are to write with.

If these pens were marketed as writing pens, they would be a complete fail because of the issues I have identified above.  But, because these are craft pens, I'm not judging them by the same standards as a writing pen.  They write very smoothly (definitely a lot smoother than the standard Gelly Roll) and lay down a lot of ink, which makes them great for doodling or adding some colour and metallic shine to a journal page.  They write with a gold or silver line that is outlined in colour.  They write well on both light and dark paper, although the Silver Shadow stands out better on dark paper than the Gold.  The main concern I have with them is the drying time.  Especially since I turn my page around a lot when I am drawing a mandala or something like that, I have to be careful with these pens because it would be very easy to turn my page into a smudgy mess.  Another thing I don't like: These pens really don't have much colour in their lines.  The gold and silver dominates and the colour only appears in a narrow border.  On some papers there really isn't much difference between these pens and ordinary gold or silver pens (especially on the dark cardstock in the writing sample below).

These aren't writing pens, but here's a writing sample to show you how they are to write with and to compare how they look on white and dark paper.

Trying to show the metallic shimmer of these pens.

Overall, the Gold Shadow and Silver Shadow Sakura Gelly Rolls are not bad craft pens, especially if you are looking for a bold metallic pen with a hint of colour.  They are not my favourite Gelly Rolls, and they definitely have a different feel to them than the other Gelly Rolls that I have used.  These are nice pens, but I do not think I'll be using them very often.  I like them, but I do not love them.


*Other Gelly Rolls: When I refer to other Gelly Rolls in this review, I'm really just referring to the standard Gelly Roll, the Gelly Roll Moonlight, and the Gelly Roll Stardust, these being the only other Gelly Rolls that I have used so far.

6 comments:

  1. There must be something wrong with my monitor setting because I am totally seeing mossy green and silvery lilac and I almost hopped straight into Micheals (maybe I will go anyway since it;s within walking distance from home) for them if that's how they look in real life. I have a whole pack of the metallic shades and I am already a little overwhelmed by the colors...

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Citrine! It is difficult to make the colours look on the screen exactly the way they look in real life. Mossy is actually not a bad description of the green, although the gold still dominates. And the blue is mostly just blue but with the silver added it actually does look a bit lilac when viewed at the right angle and in the right light, although I wouldn't have noticed that if you hadn't pointed it out.

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  2. I just wanted to say great job on this blog. This really has nothing to do with this post but this is the most recent one :) I ran across your blog because I was just casually looking at comparisons between Rhodia and Moleskine. Always had a pen fetish and stationary in general but never really kept a journal. Then while in Japan I ran across a Rhodia Webbie and fell in love with the feel and the paper...and it works well with my fountain pens. So I'm starting this thing up again. Your blog was a great time killer while at work (shhhhh). Keep up the great job!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tim! I'm always happy to be an enabler for pen and paper addictions. The Rhodia Webbie is one of my favourite notebooks (I'm using a Webbie as my current journal), so I'm glad that it was that notebook that brought you here. I hope to hear from you again in future comments!

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  3. I agree, the Gelly Roll Gold Shadow pens are pretty thick compared to the others. Like you said, they are sticky and gooey, but they are cool! Never have I seen a pen like the Gold Shadow! I mean, how many pens have you seen that have gold outlined in a base color?!

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    1. Yes, they definitely are unique! Not a pen that I want to use everyday, but they are still fun to doodle with, as long as I don't mind the bleedthrough to the back of the page.

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