The Low Down on Sakura Gelly Roll pens

My Art Journal Sakura Gelly Roll reference page

I get A LOT of questions in the studio about Sakura Gelly Roll pens. They are just wonderful to work with and you just can't beat the juicy, bold colors.

Yet...which is which? Sakura offers several kinds of Gelly Roll pens, including "Classic", "Moonlight", "Metallic", "Souffle", "Glaze", "Stardust Glitter" and "Gold (or Silver) Shadow." Each one works differently.

I made myself a little reference chart in my art journal to sort out the differences, which I thought I'd share it here with you—along with more specific details about each Gelly Roll from the manufacturer below.

For you Sakura Gelly Roll lovers—this just may be a post to print out and stick in your art journal...but be forewarned, the penwork is far from perfect—which we can see oh so much better in these closeups! Don'tcha' just love close-ups? I'm just glad it's my art journal page and not my face...

Classic

The Classics

The Gelly Roll Classics are, well, classic.  They were the first gel pen invention and they are solid, juicy and bold. They come in two sizes: fine and medium point.

What to know about the Classics:

  • Waterproof—archival, acid-free and fade resistant
  • Gel ink
  • Opaque and deep colors; great on acrylic paint as well as plain white paper.
  • Roller ball comes in two sizes: Fine .6mm ball/.3mm line and Med .8 ball/.4mm line
  • No feathering or bleed through on most papers
  • Good for writing and doodling

Moonlight

Moonlights

The Moonlights are the go-to pens for bright, neon colors—especially on a black background. But as you can see, they're also great on white paper! The ink is super thick and luscious and they also come in two tip sizes.

What to know about the Moonlights:

  • Waterproof—archival, acid-free and fade resistant
  • Pigment-based ink
  • Best on dark paper
  • 1.0 ball roller with a .5mm med line
  • The brightest and most vibrant of all Gelly Roll pens
  • They glow under a black light!
  • No feathering or bleed through on most papers

Metallic

Metallics sample

This isn't the best picture in the world, but I did capture some of the metallic shimmer of the Metallic Gelly Rolls. And they come in 14 different metallic colors! As you can see, they are great on both dark and light backgrounds.

What to know about the Metallics:

  • Waterproof—archival, acid-free and fade resistant
  • Pigment-based ink
  • Shiny ink good on light and dark papers
  • 1.0 ball roller, .4mm line
  • Good on glossy and matte surfaces

Souffle

souffle

When the ink is wet, Souffles are translucent and light—almost clear—but they dry opaque and raised. The 10 colors of souffles are pastel colors and the opaque, matte, almost chalky finish is good on a dark background, too. The manufacturer recommends writing slowly, which I think I didn't do in a couple samples above—both the pink horizontal and blue vertical lines as well as the peachy circles, for example. This close-up is isn't the greatest, either...

What to know about the Souffles:

  • "Waterproof on most surfaces" - which means, NOT waterproof in my book. You never know.
  • Water-based, gel ink
  • Use on dark backgrounds
  • Works on plastic, coated paper, acetate, vellum and glass.
  • 1.0 roller ball (.7mm) makes for a bold line
  • Sakura says it's a "special craft pen for coloring and lettering"—not for "lengthy writing"
  • Ink flows thickly and takes time to dry—up to 10 minutes for glass

Glaze

glaze samples

The Glaze ink is glossy and bright, and as you see they the glazes are great on shiny surfaces such as plastic packing tape, but they are really beautiful and vibrant on the white paper, too.  The ink dries raised and dimensional—you can definitely feel it when rubbing your finger over the dry ink.

What to know about the Glazes:

  • "Waterproof on most surfaces" - which means, NOT waterproof in my book. You never know.
  • Transparent pigment ink
  • Use on light backgrounds
  • Works on plastic, ceramic and metal
  • .8 roller ball (.7mm) bold line width
  • Sakura says it's a "special craft pen for coloring and lettering"—not for "lengthy writing"
  • Ink flows thickly and takes time to dry
  • Can be used for a stained glass effect on transparent surfaces

Stardust Glitter

stardust samples

The Stardusts are all about the light. They actually glimmer and sparkle! I love the glittery effect and definitely want to collect all 12 colors! They are not metallic so much as glittery. I think the line is a bit crisper than the metallic pens, too. They also offer a clear stardust pen that applies glittery sparkle embellishment without color.

What to know about the Stardust Glitters:

  • Waterproof and fade resistant
  • Pigment based, archival quality (but they note that sparkle may lift over time)
  • Best on light colored, matte paper
  • 1.0 roller ball (.50mm) med line
  • No smearing, feathering, or bleed-through on most papers

Gold (and Silver) Shadow

gold shadow sample

These pens are pretty cool. There are five colors of the Gold Shadow and five different colors of the Silver Shadow categories. Each pen is two-toned—gold or silver outlined in the contrasting color. I have just the one green Gold Shadow and it's really a beautiful pen. You can see here how the gold metallic powder shimmers inside the color. The ink is both thick and juicy. Yep, gotta get me more of these too!

What to know about the Gold and Silver Shadows:

  • Waterproof and fade resistant
  • Water based, dye-colored
  • Best on white, fibrous fibrous paper--on nonporous surfaces, the ink is more metallic and not two toned.
  • 1.0 roller ball (.70mm) very bold line.
  • Great for handwriting for elegance and glamour.