Friday, August 15, 2014

You Take the High Road and I'll Take the Low Road

"Do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat."   Scottish proverb

The Diva's challenge this week is to use the tangle MacDee (step-outs found here), by Anneke Van Dam. Anneke says that the pattern reminds her of a classic Scottish checkered fabric, so she gave it a Scottish sounding name. I completed this challenge in honor of my daughter, who has been living in Scotland for the last 6 months. As a matter of fact, I will be going there next week to visit her, where I'm sure I will see LOTS of checkered Scottish fabrics!

Since the colors of the Scottish flag are blue and white (I admit that I had to look that up), I chose one of my blue hand-colored tiles to work on. I tangled using a blue Micron pen and a white Uni-ball Signo UM 153 gel pen. A blue Prismacolor pencil was used to add just a touch of shading, along with some very subtle white charcoal pencil highlighting. 

When I first saw the pattern I immediately thought background. I decided to keep it simple and used Arc Flower as the center of focus in order to have a contrast between the very geometric MacDee and the curviness of the flower. This is definitely not one of my favorite tiles, but something a little different.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Good Things Come in Small Packages

"Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional."        
 Liz Vassey

The newest member of the Zentangle family recently came out of his shell to be introduced to the world. If you have not yet met Bijou, you can read about this adorable little snail here and watch some videos. Along with Bijou, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas have introduced a new mini Bijou sized tile. Made of the same paper as the 3 1/2 inch Zentangle tiles, these cute little tiles are just that....little! They are 2 inches square. That's only a little over 1/4 the size of the regular tiles. Small...and quick to tangle. Have only a few minutes? Pull out a Bijou tile and you'll complete it in no time at all.
The Diva's challenge this week is to "Be like Bijou" and tangle something little. Since I don't have any Bijou tiles yet, I cut my own out of watercolor paper. On my first tile I decided to try out the new tangle pattern, Maryhill, by CZT Betsy Wilson. I love the look of this pattern once it's shaded.

Next I used Tripoli with several different finishing touches.

Since both of those were monotangles (using only one pattern), I decided to do the next one with more than one pattern. I tried out Holdy (by Ksenija Vojisavljevic) for the first time, along with Flux.

And for my last one, I used my tangle Collana in the center (from my e-book Step Out in Style ), Florz, and Ramy (Sandy Steen Bartholomew).

I took a picture of one of my Bijou tiles next to a regular sized tile, just to show you how little these tiles really are. The bigger tile is one I completed while waiting at the airport on a recent trip.

And speaking of the airport, here's the tile I completed in the airport at the other end of my trip.

I will confess that I had more fun tangling on these Bijou sized tiles than I thought I would. They're tiny, they're cute, and they're kind of irresistible. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Spiraling Out of Control

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have."   Maya Angelou

How many of you remember Spirograph from when you were a kid? For those of you who may not, it's a geometric drawing toy. I just looked it up and found out it was first sold in 1965. Now I may be dating myself, but I'm sure it wasn't long after that when I played with it. I'm pretty sure the toy is still manufactured, but it's probably not as good as the original. My sister still has the one that we had in our house all those years ago.

So why am I talking about Spirograph you ask? Because not too long ago I found a miniature version of it on Etsy.  Here is the link so you can see what I mean. I had the idea to somehow combine this spiral art tool with my Zentangles. I pulled it out this week for a test run. First I practiced many times on scrap paper to make sure I could do it without messing up. Once I got a good flow going, I took out my journal and used the tool to draw the center of this zendala, which is about 4 1/2 inches square (even though it's not a square...I think you get the idea).

I used a gray Tombow marker to shade it, instead of my usual graphite pencil. It was really easy to do and came out looking pretty good!

Next I wanted to use my new tool to draw an outer border, rather than a center. So again I practiced first. Then I drew this on an 8 inch square piece of 90 lb. watercolor paper.

This one I shaded with graphite for a reason that you will understand in a minute. I was very happy with it, but the outer ring was just screaming out for some knightsbridge, so I added random rows, not trying at all to make it symmetrical. I think the result is very interesting. Usually I prefer symmetry, and that's why I love zendalas so much, but I love the asymmetrical aspect of this one.

Never satisfied to just leave things alone, I knew I wanted to add some color to the outer ring. And that, my friends, is why I didn't use my Tombow marker to shade this one, because I wanted to erase the shading on the ring before adding the color (color and pencil shading don't always mix so well). I added the color with my Tombow markers, but not before making sure I had a good picture of what I had completed...just in case. I'm happy to say that I don't think I ruined it, although a couple of small parts came out darker than I wanted.

I will be playing some more with my new toy to see if I can find other unique ways to co-mingle it with my Zentangles.

I'd be really interested to hear which version you like most - no knightsbridge, knightsbridge just black and white, or knightsbridge with color. I'm also wondering if I've inspired anyone to pull out their old Spirograph or maybe buy a little mini version like mine?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Come Fly With Me

"If you want success in life, then just learn how to walk like a turtle instead of flying."  
 Vikrant Parsai

Time sure does fly by when you're not paying attention. It's been nearly three months since I attended Tangle U in Maine. While I was there, I bought 3 luggage tags to tangle from Kip Kozlowski. I hadn't done anything with them, but with two airplane trips coming up between now and the end of the summer, I decided I had better pull them out and get moving on them.

They are made from some sort of white plastic material, so I knew my microns would not work on them. I used Microperm pens, also made by Sakura, but meant to be used on non-porous surfaces. They worked perfectly - the 01 for drawing and the 05 for filling. The Sakura Identi-pen would have worked also, but I like the finer line of the Microperms better. 

Here's the first one I made. I found it easier to make the straighter lines than the curved lines because the pen slipped more as I went around in circular motions.

Here is what I decided to do on the front of the tag.

On the next one I decided to do a monotangle (just one pattern), and I chose 'Nzeppel and added the lines to make them look more like flowers. Normally when I do this, the shading really makes the petals of the flowers look like they curve under, but I couldn't figure out what to use for shading and was afraid I would ruin it if I tried. So, no shading. The red I used here was done with the Identi-pen.

And the front.

For my last tag I decided to stick with the monotangle idea and chose Bunzo. I really like the way it looks, but wasn't sure what to do on the front, so for this one I just left the front white with no tangling.

If you'd like to make some of your own luggage tags, you can contact Kip at for info on ordering the tags.

Now I'm all ready for my trips, the first one coming up in less than 2 weeks. I definitely have one of a kind tags to adorn my luggage with. My fingers are crossed that the tags don't get destroyed first time out, as has happened with new suitcases!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Round and Round We Go

" I don't believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process."    Oprah Winfrey

I love zendalas!  I've always known that (but sometimes seem to forget)...there's something about the symmetry in creating a round piece of Zentangle art work that really appeals to me. This past week I worked on several zendalas after receiving the mandala stencils I ordered from fellow CZT Genevieve Crabe at Amaryllis Creations. These stencils make the process of designing your own zendalas so easy.

I've done the pre-strung zendala tiles from, but it's so much more gratifying for me to create my own designs. With these stencils you just pencil in the dots and use them as a guide to make symmetrical lines, curves and shapes ... and voila! You have your own unique zendala! Using one stencil (you get 3 in the set), you can design an infinite number of totally different zendalas. No measuring, no need for a compass or protractor. No folding paper and punching holes as in a method I had devised.

Here's the first one I designed, on watercolor paper. This is unshaded because I knew I was going to add color. 

Then I added the color and shading using  Tombow dual brush pens.

I designed my next zendala on a tile that I colored with watercolors before tangling. That whole area tangled in Paradox started out as several different sections, but as I tangled I decided it would look cool to continue the paradox throughout, and I'm glad I did.

The last one I completed was larger, drawn on a 6 inch circle (the first two were each 4 1/2 inch circles). No color added this time.

I love the way all of these zendalas turned out. And I loved the process - after all, isn't that what Zentangle is all about?