As soon as we saw the incredible Chameleon Pens, we knew we had to try them.
Every artist will tell you the same thing: shading is the often the defining aspect of any drawing.
It’s fun, it’s grueling, and if done well, it’s beautiful.
Nothing adds that dazzling flare to a line-art or adult coloring book quite like the subtle intensifying of shades, giving dimension, character, and radiating expertise.
What if all that technique, skill, and creativity… could fit in a pen? If you could put the nub to paper, drag it back and forth, and get instant, excellent shading with no effort?
Well, that’s exactly what Chameleon Pens promise to do.
It may sound too good to be true, but can they make your shading easier, cleaner, and, hey – be as crazy neat to play with as they look?
Let’s dig in further to see if they live up to their claim of greatness, or if they’ll be in the bottom of your drawer in minutes…
What are Chameleon Pens?
Chameleon Pens are unique in that they come with a specialized cap which lightens or darkens their color.
This allows you to lighten it at the beginning, and then as you shade further into a character’s iris or a flower’s petal, the original color bleeds back in and delivers a darker tone – gradually and naturally shading the image.
All that’s required from you? Coloring it in, and letting the pen do the heavy lifting.
Here’s a video of the pens at work:
In case you wish to try another color, you can do it by simply changing the nub.
The base itself can be used time and time again, but replaceable nubs are interchanged for any color in the rainbow and beyond.
As we tested it out for our Chameleon Pens review, we discovered that’s where the secret lies: the nubs are designed to be refilled and replaced, which makes them flexible enough to evenly spread light to dark colors – unlike some pens of its kind, which aren’t as subtle with the tone changes.
Chameleon Pens Review
So, are they worth the money? Here’s what we think is right and wrong about the Chameleon Pens…
They Take Artwork to the Next Level
First and foremost, these pens are incredible at what they do.
We’ve always loved sketching, but have never quite got the hang of the coloring in part — whether with pencils, pens, paints or whatever.
But we found that the Chameleon Pens immediately made our work look much more polished and professional.
Shading was naturally even and consistent, the colors bold and luscious.
Regardless of what sort of art you like to indulge in — illustration, design, manga, graphic cartoons, fine art — you’ll be able to find some application for the Chameleon Pens.
Yes, there is a learning curve — but much less than you’d have with traditional shading and coloring! And you know what they say — nothing worth doing is ever that easy.
Lots of Color Variety
If you’re wondering exactly what colors are on offer, we’ll be here a long time.
The short answer? Practically limitless. But to give you an idea of how diverse and original some starter colors are, here are just a few that are available:
- Crimson red
- Light peach
- Warm sunset
- Green apple
- Natural grey
- Hot cocoa
- Purple grape
- And more.
These color pens are pretty good at sketches (with 3D effects), transitions, gradations, and blending. You definitely get a diverse selection for your money.
Comes with Everything you Need to Get Started
Here’s what you get:
- Cap with color indicator, with replaceable Japanese super soft brush nub
- Refillable, high-quality, alcohol-based ink
- Mixing nib
- Refillable mixing chamber filled with toning medium
You can Mix and Blend Your Own Shades
If you’re artsy enough to make your own colors, you have the option of mixing and blending your own shades, customizing the exact color you need.
You can do this in the refillable mixing chamber, which is filled with toning medium.
The pens are compatible with all alcohol based inks, so you can experiment as far and wide as you fancy.
High Quality, Permanent Ink
As you can probably surmise from the brilliance of the color, the Chameleon Pens aren’t going to fade away to nothing in a few months: they’re permanent on most materials.
The ink is also non-toxic and low odor, making them a good bet safety-wise for kids.
While the pens are designed to be simple, changing out nubs, figuring out how the cap works, and learning the exact time allotment you have in the light-to-dark process takes some practice.
Be sure to start on a coloring book or piece of paper you won’t mind throwing away!
It’s certainly not too difficult, but you will need to invest a little time to get the best results from the Chameleon Pens.
The Color-Changing Time Isn’t Always Exact
As you change out nubs, the exact time the light-to-dark process takes will vary slightly.
While this might be annoying at first, if you practice with the range of colors for a few sessions, you’ll develop a feel for it. But it does take practice!
Not entirely unexpected, considering it’s a specialty art supply, but a five-pack of Chameleon Pens in only shades of blue is $26.99 before shipping. Single pens are $5.99.
If you want a more diverse range of colors to start with, the cheapest option is the 22-pen set, which is priced at $99.99 before shipping.
These are high quality, deluxe pens, and their price tag reflects that. Are they worth it? Only you can answer that.
Other Chameleon Pen Products
If you want more than a single pen, or some accessories, here are a few other options the company offers in their online store:
- Detail Pen
- Colorless Blender
- Single pens
- 5 pen set
- 22 pen set
- 30 pen set
- 52 pen set
- Replacement Nibs
- Ink refills
- Coloring books and coloring cards
- Color Tones Pencils
So, in Conclusion…
If you want some additional help with your coloring and shading, and aren’t afraid to put a little practice in, the Chameleon Pens should be on your crafting wish list.
Not only are they super fun to use, delivering impeccable results, but they’re incredibly innovative, and just generally high quality.
Of course, you do pay for that quality — they’re not exactly a cheap, impulse buy!
We’re not the only ones that would love a set of Chameleon Pens as a gift, however, we’re sure…