Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Diva's Challenge #97: Flying Without a Net

Yes, flying without a net. 

This exercise has made me recall why repetitive pattern drawing is so appealing to me. When I say, "flying without a net" it's because this week's challenge is to create tiles with no string. Now, the string has been the key to unblocking me, and allowing me to relax and just flow. Frankly, for me, no string is torture. (laughing).

I have had so many starts and stops, where I get so far, and just don't know where to go from there.

I've been in kind of a goofy mood today, and this goofy little tile finally appeared. It was fun to do. It's kind of a "cop-out" though, because I really didn't need to do any flowing from pattern to pattern.

I will post at least one more. I am enjoying the exercise, just finding it difficult. That probably means I should be doing twice as many!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Diva's Challenge # 96

Well, this weeks challenge was a real challenge for me. I still haven't really firgured out how to combine such an open pattern as zinger into a tile.

I didn't give up, though, and here such as it is, is my entry for this week.

Thank you Laura (The Diva) for setting up this challenge for us. You can view the challenge, as well as visit the blogs of those who have made an entry (from the linky machine). here

I always enjoy the diversity of styles, and interpretation of the theme. Hope you enjoy them too.

My tile for Diva's Challenge number 96: Zinger

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Help from YouTube

Well, I'm a little later getting to this post than I had hoped. It's been a crazy couple of weeks!

I wanted to take you on a little tour of some of the great tutorials and zentangle and doodle videos. I find YouTube an invaluable source of information.

You'll notice lots of familiar names and faces as you watch these. For techniques and patterns:

Rick and Maria: Mooka is here

Rick and Maria: Auraknot is here . I love this pattern. It's so relaxing to draw, and so pretty when complete.

Rick and Maria: Betweed is here.

There are lots of videos on techniques with various media.

I was very frustrated with my tombow markers, until I found this video with Suzanne McNeill demonstrating a tombow marker technique for coloring zentangles using the blending pen extremely helpful. You can find it here .

Sandy Steen Robinson demonstrates adding color with tomobow markers and inktense watercolor pencils with a demo using one of the images from "Tangled Fashionista" here .

Suzanne McNeil demonstrates how to make a lovely zentangle collage with multiple tiles, here .

Watching Zentangle and Doodle videos has become a guilty pleasure of mine. I'm mesmerized by watching others draw.

Next time, I'll share some of my favorite drawing videos.

Until then, happy tangling!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Real Zentangle (c) Supplies

I hope you're all surviving the time change, and the quick turn into winter-like weather that we seem to be taking.

Yesterday was a crazy work day, but Zentangle gave me an unexpected and delightful break in the afternoon. My box arrived from Rick and Maria's I bought apprentice tiles (I like the touch bigger size). They are absolutely beautifully cut and the paper feels so nice. I also got the "Book of Zentangle" which I will talk more about when I have time to sit and enjoy it. I got zendala tiles, which look a little intimidating... some are prestrung and some not, but again, beautiful quality. I got a couple of ensemble sets that I'm looking forward to completing for a couple of Christmas gifts. I also got some white Sakura gel pens. Beautifully packed, reasonably priced, and every item is just lovely.

Now I'm in an organizational crisis. My zentangle supplies have officially outgrown my corner of the dining room. If only all my books, pads, tiles, etc were regular sizes and shapes, but alas, (for me) if it was tidy, it would not be art. My art supplies are a bit like my water dragon's treasure trove! 

We're in a smallish apartment, so my thinking cap is on, for ways to contain my mess and still have the kind of access to it that I want and need (which is, when I reach for it, it had better be handy!) Right now I'm thinking that one of those rolling carts with the drawers might be the answer... I just don't know where I would put it (as a permanent, handy home.

I'm still really enjoying my adventures in "One Zentangle a Day". The patterns are getting a little more challenging, and I'm having to push myself not to go back to my favorites all the time.

So, here is tile #5 (Tile #4 committed hari kari, so it's really the fourth in the series):

You can see the new introductions... Shattuck(the weave), Jonqual(the stepped checkers) and Nipa (the "holes" surrounded by lines). I tend to really like the more organic patterns (It's aliiiiive!) and I'm pretty happy with this tile. I find Shattuck very warm and earthy looking, and Poke and Fescue are always good for softening the harsher geometrics.

I will have another busy work day today, but most days are easier now that I do some 'tangling on my breaks. It clears my mind, settles me physically and helps me put things back in perspective. What's not to love?

I wish you all a wonderful day, full of the things you love to do.

Tomorrow, I'm going to talk a little about my discoveries on YouTube... stay tuned.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Diva's Challenge #93... The Slideshow

Last night, Laura (The Diva) published the slideshow for last week's challenge. I'm posting the link because I always find it so exciting and inspiring to go and look at all the unique and beautiful interpretations on the theme. All entries are included in the slideshow. There are no winners or losers here. I derive great inspiration from seeing everyone's work.

See The Diva's Challenge #93 Slideshow here .I think this link gives the best view. Just click on "slideshow" in the lower left.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

One Zentangle a Day

In the past week, I received the book, One Zentangle a Day... a 6-week course in creative drawing for relaxation, inspiration and fun, by Beckah Krahula. Through this book and many others, which I will talk about here, as time goes on, I've begun to appreciate the pure form of zentangle. This book teaches three new patterns a day, and then asks you to create a tile using any of the tangles you've learned so far. Although it's taken me five days to get through 2 days, and learn the tangles for the third, I am enjoying every minute of it.. I didn't think I would like the small tiles, and in fact I have stuck with 4" x 4" tiles, a size I am a little more comfortable with. I am delighted with the tiles that I created in the first two lessons. I find myself becoming mindful of each stroke, enjoying what's unfolding before me, and learning to chase back the analyst in my head who wants to plan and make it a logical, not creative, process.

Although I have done a fair bit of Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA), these are my first "pure" zentangles, and I'm thrilled with them. I really enjoyed creating them from the patterns she's chosen to begin the "course" with.

Tile #1: Introduces Stipple, Static, and Crescent Moon Tangles.. all copyrighted by Rick and Maria.

Tile #2: Introduces Fescue, Knights Bridge, and incorporates them with Stipple and Static, learned the day before. There was another pattern taught this day, called Nekton. I will have to work on it. I just can't seem to get it, so it's not included in this tile.

I CAN do anything, stroke by stroke. Thank you so much Rick and Maria, for this beautiful art form!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

On Art Supplies, Books and One Zentangle a Day, Tile #3

Well, it's been a quiet weekend at my house. I've had lots of time for art, which is always a good thing.

I experimented a bit with some Tombow markers to colour another ZIA containing Bunzo. That's going to take some practice.

I ordered a pile from Rick and Maria's new book, white tiles (I prefer the 4x4), black tiles, 2 ensemble sets, some ATC's, Zendala tiles.

You know, it's funny. Part of the appeal of the Zentangle art form, for me, is it's simplicity. All you need is a (hopefully nice) piece of paper, a fine marker and a graphite pencil, right?

Not for me. I get passionate about something and I need all the toys. First, the books. Must have allll the books. (laughing... sad, but true). I love every one of them. I will soon be reviewing the books I have.

Then there was paper, a broader selection of microns, a couple of different pencils for shading, an eraser, a putty eraser, and a pencil sharpener.

So, fellow addicts... can you imagine my dismay as I look around my art area now and see gel pens (both metallic and plain, watercolour pan paints (both luminescent and plain), artist quality pencil crayons, a motley collection of coloured sharpies and black sharpies, a collection of pattern stepouts that now span 3 binders.

It was definitely time to get back to basics because all I managed to do was overwhelm myself and stress myself out... not at all the idea of Zentangle art.

So here is my tile today, from the One Zentangle a Day book. It features Poke, Festoon, Hollibaugh and Knight's Bridge... and a dark shade that I won't use again anytime soon. Always learning!

I'm so excited to see the slide show from the Diva's Challenge this week. I have visited many of the linked blogs, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone's take on the theme, and their blogs in general. Quite a wonderful community we have here!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Strings and Sealing Wax and Other Fancy Stuff

It's a beautiful day, so I'm cheating a bit, and showing you a piece I did a couple of weeks ago.

I started with this string, which I believe was shared on Linda's

I had been kind of fascinated with a variation on the pattern "dragonaire", and I bordered the large ribbon, going top to bottom in the middle of the string. I decided to put scales between the borders, and lo and behold, to my eye, a dragon was taking shape. This was the dragon I ended up with (with a big thank you to a dragon's head drawn by Mollosus). I wouldn't have had a hope otherwise.

I showed him to a few friends, who loved him, and said he looked like a young water dragon, and he really needed a story line. I thought and thought about what would be the interests of a young water dragon. I came up with many, but decided to focus on two. Every dragon needs food, and every dragon wants a treasure trove. So away I went. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the result, because I felt clumsy with the watercolour paints I hadn't tried before. However, I figure we're all on a journey, so here is the result.

The young water dragon solved two problems at once. He ate the fish from the nets, and then stole the glass floats for his treasure trove.

I had a lot of fun with this, and it drove home what Maria always says about strings, which is basically, "Use part of it, use all of it, or start somewhere and then ignore the string and just let your tangle grow." That midline "ribbon" was all I used of the original string.

The clocks fall back tonight, and that's always a sad time for me. I think I'm part plant, and I do not enjoy the lack of light through the winter months. 

I hope everyone is having a great weekend, and planning for a fantastic, artistic week to come.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Diva's Challenge #93

The Diva's Challenge is a challenge to create a Zentangle or ZIA around a different theme each week. This week's challenge can be seen here. This week, the challenge is based on the newest addition to the list of official Zentangle patterns. This is not a competition, rather an inspiring way to see the fascinating results of multiple interpretations of the same theme. I would encourage you to subscribe to The Diva's blog, since she publishes a challenge every Monday and a link to the slideshow of all the entries for the week, usually on Sunday. I look very much forward to the slide shows, and this will be my first time to enter. I'm so excited!

This is my entry, and for those of you who didn't go and look at the original challenge, the black and white pattern in front is the theme pattern.

Click on the image to enlarge it. Materials used were Pigma Micron Pens (the black) and good old sharpies for the greens. I can't wait to see how others interpreted the theme!

Zen What?

In my travels on the net, and particularly on Pinterest, I began to see some most intriguing drawing going by in my feed. I was so curious about it, that I started a community board on Pinterest, where a devoted community of fans has been pinning faithfully, and it now contains something like 1300 pictures. You can see the board here: . .This board is full of zentangles, mandalas and other artwork people find, that inspires them toward Zentangle.

Me being me, rather than investigating the art form at first, I used what I was seeing as a jumping-off point, permission if you will, to doodle to my heart's content. I started watching Zentangle and Zentangle-inspired art (ZIA) videos on YouTube, and decided I really did want to learn more about this Zentangle form.

I soon found , the site of the originators of Zentangle, and I learned that the patterns and the process were developed and copyrighted by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.

The idea behind Zentangle is two-fold. The "Zen" part is that the appreciation of fine materials, breathing and preparation to "tangle" that take you into that magical "zone" where the world goes quiet, your creativity flows without too much analysis by the logical mind. Rather than planning for a result, you take your benefit from the process... from enjoying what you see evolving as you develop your "tile".

A tile is a 3.5" x 3.5" piece of very high quality watercolour paper, available from, or from the site of any CZT. They all have an agreement that they will charge exactly the same prices for material, so it doesn't matter where you shop.

Zentangle is simple... it's meant to be simple, so you can find tranquility in any environment, so you can tangle in a waiting room, a restaurant... anywhere. The basic supplies are a #01 Pigma Micron pen (or even just a sharpie if you are checking it out), a zentangle tile, or any piece of good paper (usually watercolour paper with a vellum or similar finish) or any paper you choose as you start out. You need a pencil for drawing your margins within the tile, and then your "string" (a set of light, pleasingly contoured lines that segment your tile). You may stick with the string,as you draw or just start with it, and then ignore it completely. You will find as you go on, that the enjoyment you get from using beautiful paper and the best pens, etc. you can get, will change the whole experience for you. A thick, pleasingly tactile paper, such as the official zentangle tiles, feel like they give your work value. It you tangle on a napkin or a scrap of paper that's handy, you may feel like you started with junk, and the results are, therefore, junk.

The copyrighted zentangle patterns are designed to prove that anyone can create beautiful art, one simple stroke at a time. These patterns, as you internalize them, are akin to the fundamentals of ballet. Once you know a number of patterns (like ballet steps), you can tangle without thinking and the patterns will just flow as your creativity guides them. In the same way, a ballerina gets to a point where she can just flow in her dance, because her body contains the memory and ability for all the steps she's learned.

Stay tuned.. the next post will contain my entry for Diva's Challenge #93, which can be seen here:. Be sure to subscribe to her site, because you'll get the challenges on Mondays, and the link to the resulting slideshow, usually the following Sunday. They are wonderful to look at, and it's so inspiring to see how creative people get with the theme.