Thanks to the kindness and generosity of David Staub I was able to try using my CTMH markers in my Explore. I personally thought the writing was a little too thick for small sentiments, but they could definitely be used to draw the details on an image then cut or outlining fonts. I am definitely going to try some projects doing just that.
The marking at the top of the paper wasn't the pen dragging, it was user error. I forgot to put the mat in all the way. Also, for some reason he CTMH marker skipped on the last letter it wrote, but I think that had something to do with the pen bing the right height. I glued two popsicle sticks together and put them under the Cricut pens to see about where my pens should sit. The Cricut pen doesn't quite touch the popsicle sticks. Hold the popsicle stick steady while you insert the pen, when it is just about to touch, it should be ok. I haven't tried a lot of markers, so you might have to adjust height depending on each marker.
I also wrote with a Sharpie Ultra fine tip, you will notice I used a gel pencil holder. I cut one in half because they are really difficult to get on pen. If you want to use foam tape, you will probably have to make one for each type of marker, the one I made for the Le Plume was too big for the Sharpie and the gel pencil holder fit it. I found the gel pencil holders don't fit all pens, some are a little too fat, so making them out of foam allows you to custom size them.
I picked up the Le Plume markers at Tuesday Morning for $7.99. These Le Plumes were different than the ones I have seen at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, they wouldn't fit in the pen holder like the others. I was going to take them back until David shared a video and instructions on using other pens. He shows how easy it is to take out the pen housing. Just be careful, because Provo really doesn't want us to remove this. But until they come out with more colors, folks will be doing it. I'm sure we will see more colors and other companies making their pens fit the Explore. But until then here is an easy solution to use the pens you already have.
I don't have a link to his video, but if you go to the Facebook group "Let's Learn Cricut Explore" you can find him there. He posted his video in Facebook and also pictures of the pen holder he made. All you need is 1" double sided foam tape and paper.
Be sure to check out the Facebook page and David's video, you may be able to use more of the markers and pens you already have.