I already told you some of the history of the Kuretake company in the post about the ZIG Real Color Brush markers. Today I want to talk about another of their products, this time in the Memory System product line. This line of products was designed to preserve memories and archival materials.
The ZIG Memory Writer pens have been around for years. The available colors change from time to time, but the twin-tipped, Memory System Writers are a staple in almost every scrapbooker’s toolset since 1977.
Although I still have a handful of older markers, I recently decided to purchase a new set. I got mine from Amazon.
Like many other Kuretake products, these arrived in a fantastic container. The outer, softer plastic container has a nice carrying handle on one side. When you set the container down, the pens are automatically horizontal, which is great for storage.
There is an inner, imprinted cardstock liner that labels the product with a color chart on the back. The chart is a nice reference, but it’s not perfectly accurate.
The plastic snaps are used for the closure of the outer package.
Inside there was a piece of bubble wrap to keep the markers from rattling around.
The markers are held in place inside the package by a set of clear, rigid plastic, dividers. These snap together and can be removed from the package completely if you wanted to place them on your desk.
Each marker is 6-5/8″ long with both caps on and 6-1/8″ without the caps. The light, greenish-grey barrel of the marker is imprinted with the pen type, pen information and company information.
The marker’s color and color number, however, is on a sticker attached to the pen.
The two plastic end caps are color keyed to the the color of the ink in the marker. They are both exactly the same size, and will fit on top of each other.
However, even though they have some “ridges”, they do not prevent the pen from rolling around on the workbench. I can give you a little fix for that issue. You will need a small rubber band, like the little kind used to make rubber band bracelets.
Wrap the rubber band around the pen a couple of times. Now it won’t roll around.
This is a dual-tipped marker. One end has a very fine (.5mm) pointed plastic nib.
The other end is a 1.2mm, bullet-shaped, fiber nib.
I did the usual tests for this marker, even though I already know that water mostly doesn’t affect the ink.
You’ll notice that it doesn’t matter what angle you hold the marker at. Generally, the line widths are all the same. The fine plastic nib makes a very fine line. The bullet-shaped nib makes a thicker line.
It’s pretty much impossible to spread a scribbled mark with water, even when you move as quickly as I did. The ink dries very quickly and is waterproof as soon as it’s dry. Drawing into a wet part of the paper just produced a small amount of bleeding at the edge of the line.
But you can scribble onto a plastic palette and pick up the ink with a wet brush. I was able to create a gradient, but you have to work quickly. When the ink bonds with the paper, you’re done… it won’t move any more. There is an advantage to this, though… you can glaze over areas and create beautiful layered effects.
Note: Substrate used for testing examples is Strathmore Vellum finish Bristol board.
These pens use a water-based, pigment ink that is waterproof and smudge proof when dry. It is permanent, lightfast, acid-free and photo safe. Those are all reasons why these markers have been so popular with people who scrapbook. They want those memories to last for generations!
Currently, Kuretake is making these markers in 48 different colors.
In the past, there were more colors. Each year, a limited edition was issued. I still have some of the older colored pens, which you can see on the second page of the color chart that I made. The first page is all of the colors that came in the new set.
Unfortunately, the limited edition colors are no longer available.
Note: I made the color example(s) by printing the outline on computer cover stock which was then scanned into the computer and processed in Photoshop. Therefore, while all care was taken, the colors are probably not exactly as they would appear in real life.
In addition to the ZIG Writer, there are several other pens in the Memory System. Each type has a different colored barrel so that you can distinguish them from each other quickly. The ZIG Writers have a light, greenish gray barrel. The Scroll & Brush marker has a light pink barrel. Calligraphy markers have a light beige barrel. The Fine & Chisel markers have a white barrel. All of these markers use the same inks.
The color name and number is on a sticker attached to the pen. I realize that it is expensive to imprint a large number of different barrels, but I really don’t like stickers. They tend to peel off and/or become unreadable over time.
These pens, like all other dual-tipped markers must be stored horizontally. The two tips share a central ink source. If you store them standing up, the top nib will not work properly.
I decided to purchase a new set of these pens because of Eni Oken’s post “Distress Inks… Once More” on her blog. She is using the Tim Holtz Distress products. I think I can do something similar using a combination of the Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush pens (background) and the Zig Writer pens (fine lines)!
I have always liked the ZIG Writers. They make a wonderfully fine line which I can use for colored tangling and doodling! Here is a comparison of various, extra-fine line pens.
As you can see, the ZIG is slightly finer than the Distress markers and almost on par with the Micron pens.