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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TANGLE GUIDE to help you select tangles. See Pages 7 and 9 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings: simply pop in any number in the range of 1 to 250.



Sakura Micron

Sakura Micron PensSakura Micron Pens are the “gold standard” of pens for Zentangles and the #01 (0.25 mm) is the size not only recommended by Zentangle® originator Maria Thomas, it’s included in the official kit.

Sakura Micron drawing and writing pens have “waterproof, quick-drying pigment ink. Micron pens will not clog or dry out. Ink will not feather or bleed through even the thinnest papers and is smear-proof once dry. The pigment in the ink remains colorful and will not spread when applied. It is fade proof against sunlight or UV light, and is permanent and washable on cotton fabrics.”

The ink is archival, dries pretty much instantly, and the blacks are intense. Treated well, these pens do last a very long time and are well worth getting.

Tips to prolong the life of your pens: the ink dries quickly (solid areas do take a little longer) so you will want to keep these pens capped at all times even when you’re just switching sizes or colors. Sakura also recommends storing them flat for best performance and longevity.

Update: Here’s an excellent communication from Sakura with information on how the Microns were developed, advice on how to hold them and the amount of pressure to use, and more. Be sure to check out the comments at the end of the article for additional good tips from our community.

01 Single Pens

You can buy the #01’s in singles, or get the multi packs containing a range of nib sizes, including the #01.

Black Single Sakura Micron 01 (0.25 mm) Pen > Pigma Micron Pen .25mm: Black

Red Single Sakura Micron 01 (0.25 mm) Pen (useful for drawing pattern steps) > Pigma Micron Pen .25mm: Red


The rest of the sizes do come in handy, the bigger nibs are especially great for making short work of larger solid fill areas.

Black: contains 1 each: #01 (0.25 millimeter), #03 (0.35 millimeter), and #05 (0.45 millimeter) > Sakura Pigma Micron Pen Set, 3-Pack, Black Ink


Contains 1 each: #005 (0.20 mm), #01 (0.25 mm), #02 (0.30 mm), #03 (0.35 mm), #05 (0.45 mm), and #08 (0.50 mm) > Sakura Pigma Micron Pen Set, 6-Pack, Black Ink


Microns also come in Sepia – some like to combine sepia with black in their drawings or use it on its own. (Update: See CZT Jan Brandt’s comment below about the Sepia color, you might prefer Sakura’s Brown.)

Sepia Single Sakura Micron 01 (0.25 mm) Pen > Sakura Pigma Micron Pen .25mm: Sepia

Visit more TIPS & TOOLS pages

Check out the other pages under TIPS & TOOLS at the top of the page. There are recommendations if you want to add colored ink to your Zentangle-inspired art, or watercolor, as well as ideas for strings, and much more to come.

And if you have information to share on pens you enjoy using with your Zentangles, or more tips on their use, please leave a comment or email me (linda AT tanglepatterns DOT com] and let me know so I can add them to this resource for everyone’s enjoyment. Thanks!

32 comments to Sakura Micron

  • I love Micron pens! I am wondering how long they usually last for other people. I’ve heard some people say that their pens last a whole year of frequent use. However, mine only last 7-9 months of weekly use. Any thoughts?

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi Erica, it really depends on what kind of patterns you choose to draw because if there are a lot of solid areas, then naturally it won’t last as long as if you choose the “lighter” patterns. It sounds like you got good life out of yours, certainly for their price. Are you diligent about capping the pen immediately? That makes a huge difference too.

  • ziggi

    I was going to ask a similar question – I’ve been using Artline pens (easily available in Australia) but I’m finding the tip is disappearing rapidly equating to poor value. I’m happy to invest in a Sakura Micron but would like to know that it also won’t disintegrate as rapidly.

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi Ziggi, with normal use the Sakura nibs do not wear out. If you are scrubbing very hard with them or something like that, then one would expect damage. The Microns are only about $2.99 each, so they are not an investment and they last a long time.

      • ziggi

        Thanks Linda, that’s brilliant! I’ve just found an Aussie based online store that has them in stock at a good price so I’m looking forward to trying them out.

  • Linda B.

    Just wanted to report on my successful revival of a Sakura pen. It was a sepia that was left uncapped. I rarely use it, so don’t know how long it was left that way. Could have been weeks, if not months. I left the pen tip soaking in hot water for awhile and then needed to put some pressure on the tip. (It’s an 05, so could take the pressure.) Voila! Now the ink is flowing again. Love those Sakura folks!

  • Pat Barry

    Do you know where I can get sakura pens in the uk please? The ones on Amazon cost too much in postage from the USA. Thank you, Pat x

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi Pat, if you google “Sakura pens uk” you will find several sources in the UK. Cheers!

      • Judy Lisette Martin

        CottonPatch is a UK firm that sells fabrics and everything for patchwork, including for Tangled patchwork,this means that they sell the Sakura pens in Black, Sepia and a lot of other colours in 01 and 05 and they deliver them fast.

  • Sharon Wrench

    Hi Linda,
    Can your recommend a good gel pen for working on the black tiiles. I purchased a set of two at Michaels, but they skip and leave globs on the paper. Sometimes they will not work at all.

    Thanks for your help.


    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Hi Sharon, check out this article on the TUTORIALS menu on the alphabetic menu bar: Tips for using white ink on Black Zentangle® and Zendala Tiles. Enjoy!

  • Leonie Wight

    Micron Pens are around the $6 in Australia. I believe that they are a quality pen and worth paying for and I get longevity out of them. Even at $6 it is worth trying one before investing heavily in a set. For my zentangles these pens are beautiful to use and I would not use artline for zentangles. I love my artlines for other things.

  • Sharon Wrench

    I appreciate the response on the pens. I love the Micron Pens, I had trouble with the white pens that I purchased, but will try the pens that you have recommended. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.

  • Hi – could you please recommend a thicker pen to use for coloring in the black areas on Zentangles? Seems the skinny ones don’t cover as well as I would like. Many thanks!

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Hi Gina, any of the larger nib (03. 05, 08) Sakura Microns will work, even the Graphic 1. Be sure to allow good drying time with the larger nibs, especially the Graphic 1 as it goes on kind of “wet”.

  • Steve tipper

    Hi from he U.K everyone.

    With regards to the filling in of large amounts of black I often use (hope this is ok to put on here) ROTRING rapidograph pens in a larger nib size. The ink is a VERY dense black and for filling in the larger nibs are really good. I have tried these pens for the actual drawing but they can catch on the paper so I stick with the microns but for filling in they are hard to beat.

    On another note are there any other male tangles out there ! Or am I the only one lol
    Keep up all the good work your site is very inspirational.


  • Georgette

    With regards to filling in lines, I use Sakura Micron Brush pens. I love using them. They do the job but you will need to use Micron 01 or 005 to fill in corners.

  • Jan Brandt, CZT XII

    Thanks, everyone, for your questions and suggestions! Very informative. I want to mention that the Sakura Sepia is a very dark, cold brown. I prefer Sakura Brown, particularly on Renaissance tiles, because the ink is a lighter, warmer brown.

    • Lucille

      Re: Sepia Pens ~ I bought a four-pen set of Sakura “Sepia” pens, and was disappointed they were dark brown. Although I do remember asking the clerk about the colour on the ends of the pen….which is dark brown. So if you want Sepia ~ you buy Sakura’s Brown.

      However, I DO like the dark brown on the tan tiles.

      Just a correction to my comment of yesterday ~ the sand-tangle at Saratoga Beach is on September 6th, not next weekend. We bought a rake yesterday and went to Parksville for a trial. We did a large “tile” in the sand and created some interest, so I wrote in 3-foot letters on one side.

  • Lorraine

    For filling in large spaces I use the Paper Mate Flair pen and it looks just like the Micron pen. They are very inexpensive and work well.

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      The water-based ink in Flair pens is not permanent like the archival quality Sakura Micron ink. For Zentangle we don’t recommend using inexpensive pens because the cheaper ink will fade and/or discolor and ruin your art, which, to put it mildly, is very distressing 🙁

  • Claire Gibson

    That’s good to know. Thanks for the clue on the difference with the two colours.

  • Lorraine

    I can see your point but at this point in my beginning tangling and the practice involved to try out this new art I don’t think I need the archival quality, hence the use of the Flair. When I do archival work down the road I will certainly use the Micron but the Flair is cheaper and faster for my practice now. Thanks for your guidance

  • JLP

    Just to make sure, the only reason to use the micron pens would be if I am using these patterns on paper for the purpose of having a permanent art piece. However, if I use a sharpie to draw designs on paper that will be copied on my computer to a special paper for image transfer, that would be fine???

  • Brunda


    Please let me know where do we get the tiles and sakura white pens in India.

    Thanks and Regards,

  • Anthony V

    I came across this article and forum during my quest for knowledge, in an attempt to fix my girlfriend’s new pen which just fizzled out. Once I learned how they work, I tried Linda B’s solution of a brief soak of the tip in hot water, then examined under a small handheld microscope. Sure enough, it was ALL clogged up. I had a stroke of brilliance though, and fixed it! The “tool” I used is kind of a strange thing that most people don’t just have lying around unless you’re diabetic. The condition came in handy today, as it turns out that the needle of an insulin syringe is the perfect tiny diameter, plus it’s hollow so I was able to (very carefully) poke that inside the pen tip and scoop out the clog. Viola!! A little obscure, I know, but there’s a huge shortage of info online about reviving these pens, so I figured any tip is a good tip!

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Thanks Anthony, for those who have “the equipment” this is a helpful tip! I imagine it’s more economical to buy a new pen than an insulin syringe …

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