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Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen Review and Tutorial

Kuretake Zig

Hi All,

These pens certainly have a long title, don’t they? I was so intrigued when I first saw them. I hate to say “I had to have them” because that sounds frivolous and I am very frugal. But, I kinda sorta felt like that! I found the 12-pack on Amazon for $22 – less than $2 per marker! Considering everyone else has them for about $3/marker, I felt like I was getting a good deal.

Wow, I really love these pens. I would describe them as distress markers filled with Inktense color, used like an aquapainter. The color that comes out of these markers is EXTREMELY vibrant, yet they are very watery. It’s actually kind of strange.

You can use them as a beginner with ease. There are also more advanced things you can do with them using multiple markers. The most important thing to remember when using these markers is to always color light to dark. Never color dark to light. Once you dip your lighter marker or paintbrush into a dark color, the color is so intense that it will overpower your lighter color quickly. These pens are color-powerful.

The video is pretty short and sweet. There is a quick intro, then I get right to showing you the different ways to use them.

I also posted another video today showing a card using these pens. You can see it HERE if you haven’t already.




  1. wrote on April 15th, 2015 at 2:18 pm


    Honestly, Darlene, will you stop showing me new products that I will then have to have?? lol I’ve seen these making the round. Thanks for that explanation and tutorial. I’ll be curious to know how long the inks in the pen last, given that they’re not refillable. (I recently bought some of those erasable pens recommended by Jennifer McGuire, only to find that one pen didn’t even last me an entire grading session (I write a lot of comments on papers). That was disappointing, although I did like the pen.) I find I really like Kuretaki/Zig products. Looking forward to trying these markers out!

    • wrote on April 15th, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      I was wondering the same thing Irene, especially since you do use quite a bit of color to clean the brush if you are working with multiple colors. I agree about the Zig products – they also make the Wink of Stella pens and mine have been great. Hopefully they will last awhile. We shall see!

      • wrote on April 16th, 2015 at 12:11 am


        I look forward to hearing more about that. Let us know what you learn. 🙂

  2. wrote on April 15th, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Mary Jane

    Hi Darlene,
    Can you tell me how these compare to Tombow Brush Markers?

    • wrote on April 15th, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Mary Jane. I don’t own the Tombow markers. You could add a question to the forum and see if anyone else has compared the two products.

      • wrote on April 15th, 2015 at 10:42 pm

        Mary Jane

        Thanks Darlene.

  3. wrote on April 17th, 2015 at 8:56 am


    Awesome looking pens. Thanks for the review. Now I have another item on my wish list. (Sigh)

  4. wrote on April 18th, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Terri Blindstamper

    I am wondering how they would work to ink directly onto a stamp. I’m curious to see how they compare to the new Spectrum Aqua’s that are becoming so popular. Oh dear, which to buy? Which to buy? 🙂

    • wrote on June 14th, 2015 at 2:26 pm


      I totally agree! The one thing holding me back from the Spectrum markers is that I don’t think they’re available open stock, only in sets. I did see a video recently on YouTube by Maureen Wong, where she used the Clean Color pens on a rubber cling stamp, and they stamped pretty well. She was using her MISTI, which was good, because she had to repeat the stamping on some parts 2 or 3 times, due to the color being not vibrant enough on the first pass. Sorry I can’t provide any personal advice, but that’s all I know–and it’s all second-hand! Good luck with your decision-making. 🙂 ~ Andrea

  5. wrote on April 18th, 2015 at 10:22 am


    These look amazing – I may have to try them out! Thanks Darlene!

  6. wrote on April 18th, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Carol B

    Great review, might need those, LOL.

  7. wrote on April 18th, 2015 at 11:50 am



    Thank you so much for the product review! Your descriptions of the various techniques to use with watercolor brush markers was the most concise and helpful video i’ve ever seen on the subject. I’ve seen dribs and drabs of those techniques for distress and tombow, etc, etc. What a jam packed wonderful tutorial. You are an awesome teacher.

    • wrote on April 20th, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Thank you Erika! 🙂

    • wrote on July 22nd, 2015 at 11:01 pm



    • wrote on February 27th, 2016 at 9:04 pm


      I’ve just watched the review video all these months later and found it really informative and useful. Thanks Darlene!

  8. wrote on April 21st, 2015 at 3:25 pm


    I hope you do more with these as time goes on. Thanks for your clear and consise descriptions of products, but like some of the others it makes me want them.

  9. wrote on April 22nd, 2015 at 2:20 pm


    I relate to Irene! Just had to have these markers, and I’m not disappointed. Thanks so much for your awesome reviews and videos.

  10. wrote on April 29th, 2015 at 1:57 pm


    Well Darlene, this is just right up my alley, I love the water color look and I’ve been using the SU markers for that with good results but I love the vibrancy of this markers so I thin I will invest in a set like yours to start.
    I have a question…..Have you heard of the Chameleon markers? I just got an email about them, they look really nice although they are like Copics in price range.
    I hope you look this over and maybe get some and try them and see how they compare with the other markers, this are alcohol based too.
    Thank you for this very informative video Darlene, from all the ways you used this markers today, I like the one where you applied the marker to the paper and then, start blending upwards, to me it’s the best way to get the shading done right.

    • wrote on April 30th, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Maria. There has been some discussion on the Chameleon Pens in the Forum if you want to check it out.

  11. wrote on April 30th, 2015 at 7:57 am


    Yippee! My marker brushes just arrived today. I’ve taken all the wrappings off and am ready to start having some fun tomorrow! I just watched your video again, Darlene, and it was a very helpful overview. I noticed, however, that you always put on the cap immediately after using a marker. Did you do that because they dry out very quickly?

    • wrote on April 30th, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Connie. I never noticed that I do that! I think just habit. 🙂 How many did you get?

      • wrote on April 30th, 2015 at 5:49 pm


        Hi Darlene, I only got 12. I really think 40 colours would be overkill because you’ve got all your primary colours and can mix them to extend the shades anyway which I really like to do. Only a 12 set of the paints were available too and they’ve worked just fine because I’ve got some beautiful shades when mixing paints so plan to do the same with the brush markers. As for the Peerless, I got the basic 15 set plus the small 40 set and there were a lot of duplications. So you can tell your hubby that more isn’t necessary sometimes. Ha! Ha!

  12. wrote on October 14th, 2015 at 3:37 am


    I have the zig pens and absolutely love them. They blend so nicely. If the run out I think I will replace them as that happens. I just ordered the peerless watercolors and can’t wait to try them. Great video Darlene!

  13. wrote on July 12th, 2016 at 8:22 am


    I wanted to buy these pens, but noticed that there was something called Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers (which are significantly more costly). Do you know what the difference is between the two? Here is the link to these markers on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0100JGGLW/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    I want to get the correct set before I invest in yet another set of markers. You keep introducing me to new things I “need.” 🙂

    • wrote on July 12th, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Darlene DeVries

      They appear to be the same product. Pricing may be from supply and demand – they are from Japan. I had to wait several weeks for mine, but I ordered from Amazon via the link I use on my site.

  14. wrote on July 12th, 2016 at 12:41 pm


    OK. Thank you!

  15. wrote on June 12th, 2017 at 10:43 pm


    Yay!!! I finally got mine! Had to make sure I got all 80 colours. I’m having a play now and I started thinking do you know if these should be stored upright or not? It’s a bit tricky to see the colours in the box when stored upright but they have the colour on the bottom so I wonder if I can turn them upside down?

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