REVIEW: Kaleidolines Starter Set from Kuretake ZIG

Kaleidolines Starter Set Packaging Zig Kuretake

Need a set of tools for drawing, doodling and watercolor-style coloring? The Kuretake ZIG Kaleidolines Starter Set may be exactly what you need.

But What Are Kaleidolines?

Kaleidolines pamphlet Zig Kuretake

Kaleidolines is a method of drawing based on patterns, similar to Zentangle and Tangling. It works very well with both. Really, it’s just a way to get started with abstract drawing or doodling.

Kuretake describes it as:
“Kaleidolines is a type of picture in which lines are joined to create a work of art.”

What if you aren’t interested in patterns, and just want to do your thing? It’s also a great set for casual drawing, art journaling, doodling, outlining, coloring, and calligraphy. Check out my examples below before giving this set a pass.

The pamphlet that comes with the set gives you a brief example of the technique.

What Is In The Kaleidolines Set?

The set includes:

  • Four Mangaka pens,
    • two Fineliner
    • two brush pens
  • Eight ZIG Clean Color Real Brush pens
    • Light Carmine, Pale Pink, Light Blue, Pale Green, Yellow, Bright Yellow, Gary Brown, Gray
  • Four Postcard-sized sheets of Kaleidolines paper
    • Two blank sheets
    • Two Pre-printed sheets
  • A small pamphlet with brief instructions in the Kaleidolines method

Kaleidolines Color Chart & pen lines

As I mentioned above, this set may be designed for the Kaleidolines method, but it’s a nifty little kit for many kinds of drawing.

The ink is Xylene-free, conforms to ASTM D 4236, ACMI-certified for safety, registered AP mark for sale in the United States.

The Mangaka Pens

Zig Kuretake Mangaka tips

The Mangaka is a drawing pen designed with input from professional Japanese cartoonists. They are filled with water-based pigment ink.

Once the ink has dried completely, it is water-proof. It can even be used with alcohol ink markers. Please note the ‘once dried completely’. Depending on the weather and the paper used, this might be almost immediately or it might take several minutes.

The ink dried pretty quickly for me, but I did have one occasion where I used the Clean Color pens on top of the Mangaka too soon. The smearing was light — mostly it dulled the Clean Color a little bit. I took note of that, not only for avoiding it later, but doing it on purpose, for those occasions where I want to dull color for effect.

If you are uncertain about the timing, or live somewhere where it takes a while for the ink to dry, I’d recommend using the Clean Color pens first, and the Mangaka after.

Mangaka pens come in several sizes, both with flexible brush tips and fineliner style. This starter set has two brush tips — fine and medium, and two fineliner pens —sizes 0.25 mm, 0.45 mm.

The flexible tips are fairly rigid with only a slight flex. The medium is more flexible than the fine. I have a personal preference for more flex, but still found I could get a wide range of marks.

The Clean Color Real Pens

Kaleidolines Clean Color Tips

ZIG Clean Color Real Brush pens have tips made of individual polyester bristles and hard plastic bodies filled with water-based dye inks.

The color is bright and intense, drying quickly, and is water resistant once dried.

The tips hold their point well, but also spread to give a fantastic range of brush strokes.

I reviewed the 90-color set of these brush pens earlier this year. The link to the review is at the bottom, if you wish to learn more about them.

The Paper

Kaleidolines Paper

There are four sheets of postcard-sized paper included with this set — just enough to give you a taste. The pens will work with many papers, however. If you are giving this set as a gift, I’d recommend buying a pad of paper meant for pens and markers to go with it.

Kaleidolines Pre-Drawn Before

Two of the sheets have a pre-drawn image. Both are exactly the same image. The included pamphlet shows how you can color these to make them different. In my examples down below, I show how you can make them very different.

The paper is very smooth, but not slick. I wasn’t able to find any information about the specifications, but color stayed bright, and allowed the pens to glide over the paper.

Performance

Kaleidolines Pre-Drawn After

This is my take on using one of the pre-drawn samples in the way shown in the pamphlet. I traced the lines with the Mangaka pens, and then colored with Clean Color pens. This is the drawing that had some slight smearing. It occurred near those really dark areas, and I suspect you wouldn’t have noticed and may not see it, even though I’ve told you about it. It was that slight.

Painting by Sandra Strait Kaleidolines Autumn

Remember, I told you that you didn’t have to use this set for pattern-themed styles? And that I made the second sample very different from the first? This is what I did with the second pre-drawn sample.

In essence, I ignored the pre-printed lines, and colored the entire card with the Clean Color pens. I let it dry, and drew my forest and lake.

In some places, I traced the pre-printed lines to create the foliage, but mostly ignored them. The lines show through, if you look closely, but just add interest and detail to the drawing.

Zentangle Watercolor and Ink

I followed the Kaleidolines method for this blank sheet, though I did color first and then draw.

Baby Duck Watercolor and Ink

For my last example, I decided to ignore kaleidolines, doodling, and patterns altogether. I drew my duck, lightly with pencil, and added the lightest colors. I let everything dry, and added the second layer of colors. Once that dried, I added a third layer. Another round of drying and I added the Mangaka lines.

Kaleidolines – Overall

The Kaleidolines Starter set is a nifty little set with two fineliner pens, two flexible pens, eight colors of brush pen, four postcards and a pamphlet showing the Kaleidolines method.

Despite being designed for the Kaleidolines method, which is a doodle drawing style using patterns, this set can be used for just doodling or drawing without using the method at all.

It’s a handy little set, good for artists of any level of experience.

Links of Interest
REVIEW: ZIG Clean Color Real Brush Pens

Tools
Kuretake ZIG KALEIDOLINES STARTER set, 4 MANGAKA pens(2 fine liner pens and 2 fine brush pens) and 8 Color of REAL BRUSH pen set

Disclaimer
I received 6 sets of the Kaleidolines Starter Set from Kuretake ZIG, to be used as I wished. I wished to do this review, because I thought they would be of interest to others. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
16 Comments
  1. Mugdha 2 months ago

    Hello Ms. Sandra,

    First off, wish you a very Happy, Vibrant, Healthy & Safe 2022! I hope you continue to be safe & well. Thanks yet again for such an informative review. I found it amazing how one artistic technique could have so many different interpretations and names. Kaliedolines is so similar to the technique we use in India, to decorate our hands with mehendi or henna. I loved the duckling you made! Thanks so much again. 🙂

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you so much, Mugdha! I hope you are having a safe and wonderful New Year as well!

  2. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Excellent review, Sandra!

  3. Alice 2 months ago

    That second pre-drawn piece you used for trees – I love that water reflection!

  4. Walter F Pierluissi 2 months ago

    Interesting, I do have a kuretake watercolor set and like the vibrancy of these watercolors… Although this specific one is not for me, I do enjoy your review, as usual your reviews strikes my imagination to new possibilities. Thanks.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you, Walter! I don’t often use brush pens, but I’m really enjoying them for my primer. I like using them when I travel too, because they’re no fuss or muss.

  5. Phillis 2 months ago

    Thank you Sandra, Always informative with lovely art😍
    🤩👏

  6. Teresa 何 Robeson 2 months ago

    Another fine review…thank you, Sandra! The Mangaka pens sound like something I might be able to use and I hope I can give it a try soon. Love your duckling, by the way!

  7. M. L. Kappa 2 months ago

    Thanks, Sandra, interesting little set indeed

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you! I’m having great fun doing my alphabet primer with this set.

  8. Marisela Delgado 2 months ago

    Awesome review, Sandra! Gorgeous art, too.

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