Review · Zentangle

Gems, Challenges, and a Product Review

To say that the last 12 days have been a challenge is an understatement. I woke up on the 7th and felt like I was in my own personal tornado. The room was spinning, and I felt like I would throw up every time I moved my head. For the first week, I couldn’t even sit up without getting nauseous.

Now, I am completely symptom-free as long as I am lying down. I can even roll over in bed without being sick. So, every day, I wake up thinking that this vertigo has gone away as suddenly as it came. Then, I stumble towards the bathroom and realize that I was fooled again.

I feel like I am in someone else’s body. I am grateful that it is not life-threatening and should be temporary. But it certainly has been life-altering. Thank goodness for social media and all of the support on Facebook.

Also, for the first week, my tangling supplies were lost. So, I did last week’s Diva Challenge (2 square string) in my daughter’s sketchbook.

Alexa’s Sketchbook

Not exactly Zentangle tile quality, but looks sturdy enough. So, here is my string.


To match my state of mind, here is the final result.

Hurricanes & Vertigo transzended with water drops.

It was so good to tangle again that I decided to do another.

Misty pencil tangles – just like my foggy brain.

Cozy Tangles

While I felt well enough to tangle, I still couldn’t sit at the computer long enough to put them up. So, you get this week’s cozy tangles also.

Since I am stuck at home and can’t move around much, I figured it is the perfect time to do some Bijou gems for a swap I am participating in. So this week’s challenge has my cozy tangles wrapping up gemstones.

I started by wrapping my gem in a scarf, which quickly turned into enyshou.


Marasu is another tangle keeping the little gem cozy.

Here are the rest of them. I was only supposed to do 12, but I just couldn’t help myself 🙂


Review of Tombow TwinTone Markers & MONO Drawing Pens

Finally, I got a chance to use the Tombow pens I mentioned in the last post. The TwinTone markers come in sets of 12 – one in brights and one in pastels. Usually, pastels and bright colors don’t mix, but the pastels aren’t really soft colors, so the two can be used together, and they look great. The fine tip is great for tangling or fine line writing as it is the equivalent of an 03 pen. It has a sturdy tip that glides nicely across paper or tiles. The other side is a soft felt tip that reminds me of the Flair pens I used as a kid. It is an 08 tip so good for coloring in or making bullets in a bullet journal.

The coolest thing about them is a detail I didn’t even notice at first. The cap on the thin side has a clip, and the cap on the bullet side does not. The caps are not interchangeable, so the thin side always has the clip. So what, you ask? Well, after only a few minutes, I noticed that I always uncapped the correct side of the pen without even thinking about it. With other dual-tipped markers, I always seemed to pick the wrong side. It seems like such a little thing, but it was really nice to just have what I wanted. There was no distraction or interrupting the flow that happens when you open – or accidentally start writing with the wrong size.

In the journal, these pens worked like magic. Watch any video on gems, and you will see that each one can take 15-20 minutes easily.  Here is my before picture. If there are colors listed on the pens, I could not see them, so the names are my own. You can see that I scribbled colors – took about 30 seconds.


Then, since the markers are listed as “aqueous,” I thought to use a water brush to blend the colors. So, about a minute later, I got this!


I even loved how the water damaged the texture of the paper because it looks like veining in the gems.  Two-minute gems! How exciting!!

Sadly, the pens didn’t work the same way on tiles.


I don’t have the before picture, but it looked just like the before pictures from the journal. When I used the water brush, it was like there was double the ink and the highlight disappeared. No 2-minute gem on the Bijou tiles. I got a yellow Prismacolor to fix the highlight area and used the Twintone pens to add veining. White Gelly Roll highlights saved the gem.


I actually used the pens to color all of my gems. The only colored pencils I used were Canary Yellow and white to add to add highlights.

And the MONO drawing pens? I love them too. I like the way they feel gliding across the page. Compared to the Micron, they bleed ever so slightly more on the journal paper, but not on tiles. They are also just ever so slightly less black than the micron. To get the intense black I like, I had to use a second coat. It is hard to tell even in the close-up.


01 Pen test on a journal. M – is for Micron T is for Tombow MONO pen. 


In comparison with the Micron, the MONO is basically equivalent: same retail price, similar size and weight, and both have pigment ink. I can’t speak to longevity of the ink because I haven’t used them long enough to tell. They advertise that the nib strength is excellent, which is not the case with Microns, but I didn’t want to test that to the point of breaking either pen!

So, in my opinion, the new Tombow pens and markers are a great addition to your tangling arsenal.

If you try them, please let me know what you think.

7 thoughts on “Gems, Challenges, and a Product Review

  1. Wow! There is so much to digest here. First of all, I’m sorry to hear about the vertigo. That must be awful. I had it once for about 5 hours after taking a double dose of medication by mistake. I can’t imagine what it must be like to deal with it day after day. Consequently, I am very impressed at the amount of tangling (and writing about it) you have been able to accomplish. I especially appreciate your demonstration of how the tombow water based pens worked for gems. They are beautiful and I also would like to decrease the amount of time it takes to do one. I hope you continue to improve. It must be very enervating to have to spend so much time in bed.


  2. I’m a seasoned survivor of Vertigo…Nasty …Ask your Dr. for Antivert, altho now they give Meclezine….it helps . Thats why I haven’t gone on a cruise….I can imagine the vertigo. Your tangling under duress is awesome….I hope to take a class or 2 later…KathyM in UA


  3. You poor thing. I get hit with the same thing occasionally. It can last one day or a couple of weeks. It is horrible as you can’t even get out of bed with the room spinning so badly. I hope yours is not long lasting.
    I really love all your gems. And, I have found that any products from Tombow are well designed with lovely coloring abilities. It’s always fun to play with new pens. Sometimes colors don’t work well on the original tiles. When I find that, I just cut down the kind of paper that does work into tile size and round the corners.


  4. Cris, I’ve been using the Tombow marker I received as a sample and I really like it. It is comparable to the Micron. I also like to draw on a Bristol vellum paper as it allows me to blend my graphite smoother. Like your tranzentions, an area I haven’t really explored as of yet.


  5. I’m very sorry for you having that vertigo. Can’t imagine how awful that must be. You did some great work in this time, maybe that is a small comfort. I like the gemstones a lot! Take care.


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