Friday, July 1, 2016

Pre-strung Pathway Tiles

"The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere."     Terence McKenna

I'm very excited to share with you my latest creations. Another passion of mine, in addition to Zentangle and photography (as I mentioned in my last blog post, here), is working with alcohol inks. They come in bright, beautiful colors and flow smoothly across your paper as they blend and form new colors. The process of painting with the inks is nearly as relaxing as the Zentangle process is for me. And you can create great backgrounds for tangling!

Recently I began playing with plastic wrap on the inks. You spread ink on yupo paper (a synthetic paper with a smooth finish), lay plastic wrap on top, scrunch it all up with your hands, and leave it alone until it dries completely. When you peel it off, gorgeous and interesting "pathways" have been created on your paper. Some of you may be familiar with the plastic wrap method on other media, such as watercolors. When I saw these pathways, I knew immediately what had to be done! The inks had created a string on my paper to be tangled within.

Maybe a photo (or two...or many...) will help you to see what I'm talking about. Here is the first one I chose to tangle. You can see the pathways that I'm talking about.

Here's how it looked after I tangled it with Baton.

I absolutely LOVED this, and went on to do more... and more... and more! The next one I did, before and after tangling with Cadent... (I remembered before I got too far that I wanted to take a picture)

 And the next one...

By this time, I started thinking that these would make great tiles printed on paper that I could tangle with my Microns. What I had done so far were approximately 5x7 inches each, and because they were on shiny yupo, they needed to be tangled with different pens. So I tested printing them on various papers and found that I liked the Bristol vellum best, as it is similar to the regular zentangle tiles in weight. 

I cut the tiles into 4 inch squares, to allow for a little more tangling space than the standard 3 1/2 inch tiles. Here is a sample of some that I made...

Next is one of my favorite tiles, before tangling and after adding Baton (obviously one of my favorite tangles!)

Here are some more of my tangled tiles. Sorry, but I don't have the "before" pictures of these. The first one uses the pattern Static.

For the next one I decided to use 2 patterns, Cadent and Huggins. You will notice that on most of them I chose to do a monotangle, meaning I used just one pattern. I also shaded this one with graphite, whereas on most of them I have not shaded, instead allowing the colors on the tile to form the shading.

One using Knightsbridge...

A white gelly roll pen was used on this one to draw Printemps...

Then I wanted to complete some tiles by tangling behind the pathways instead of on the pathways. Personally I don't like them as much as the others, but several people have told me they do like them.The first one is Crescent Moon and the second is Munchin.

I have had such a blast designing and tangling these tiles and am happy to share that I am now selling the untangled tiles in my Etsy shop here for you to add your creative tangling. If you decide to try some, I'd love to see what you do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


"Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks."     Yo-Yo Ma

Besides Zentangle, one of my other creative passions is photography. What could be better than combining two of your passions to create something new? I recently ordered 5x7 prints of some of my photos that I thought would lend themselves nicely to being tangled. 

Here is the original photo of a feather that was floating in the water.

I used my Sakura Microperm pens to tangle this because of the glossy surface. The Microns that I normally use to tangle on paper don't work on these.
Patterns used: Diva Dance and Bask-it

One of my favorite things to photograph is flowers, using macro (close-up) photography. Here is one of my flowers. It's not 5x7 because I thought it would look better as a square.


For this one I decided to outline the petals in white, using a gel pen. The tangles were, again, completed with the Microperm pen.

Patterns used: Florz and Printemps

Another close-up of the center of a flower...

And the tangled version...

Patterns used: Shattuck, Indyrella, 'Nzeppel, Sand Swirl, Printemps, Diva Dance, and Munchin

It's wonderful how well Zentangle can be combined with so many other creative endeavors. If you enjoy photography, take a look at your pictures and see if you might have some that would look great with tangles. 

Just in case you'd like to try this with some of your own photos, I've been printing my photos through an online service called I find their prices to be very reasonable and their quality to be excellent. (My local CVS did not do an acceptable job with my prints.) If you decide to give them a try, you can get a $10 credit when you create a new account by entering "TWEET-Caren Mlot" in the "referred by" box.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

All Strung Out

"The coolest things in life are things that you have not done before. That's the key to life: new things always."    Afrojack

Have you ever tangled on the pre-strung Zentangle tiles? I really haven't used them much... if at all... in my five years of tangling. I think it's a great concept, having a string already drawn on the tile so you don't need to draw one of your own. Strings are simple enough to draw, but somehow I always come up blank when sitting down to tangle, and that's why most of my work has been drawn without a string. I just start with one tangle and grow it from there. 

But recently I pulled out a pre-strung tile to try. Why all of a sudden after five years? Because I sell them in my Etsy shop and they are my best seller! So I decided to see why they are so popular.

Here's my first one. 

Patterns used: Aquafleur, Betweed, orbs and lines

I had so much fun with it that I decided to do another.

Patterns used: Bunzo and Diva Dance

And another.

Patterns used: 'Nzeppel, Dex, Cootie, and Pokeroot

And another!

 Patterns used: Florz and Fassett

Now I know why they're so popular. They provide guidelines. They give you a place to begin. And a place to continue. That's something that I have trouble doing on my own. Even if you do more than one tile with the same string it will look entirely different because of the patterns you choose. So now that I get it, I will definitely continue using them. What took me so long?

If you'd like to try them yourself, you can find them here in my Etsy shop. There are 24 different strings. You can buy all 24 or buy a pack of 12. See if you like them as much as I do.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lazy Days of Summer

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."        Sam Keen

A couple of weeks ago I told you about my new studio. Well, I have to say that I've REALLY been enjoying it! It's so bright and roomy and cheerful, and it fits all my needs perfectly.

So... you may ask what I've been creating in my new space. My latest is a Zendala, using Knightsbridge, Paradox, Printemps, and Betweed. Here is a picture of it before shading.

And here's the final piece, after shading. This was drawn on Stonehenge paper, which I've grown to love for my tangling. The pencil shading is so easy and smooth on this paper.

The shading, once again, made all the difference in the world! There is so much more dimension to a shaded piece.

I recently decided that I was going to offer prints of some of my Zentangle and Zentangle inspired art work for sale in my Etsy shop. Currently I sell supplies, hand-colored tiles, my e-books, and cards. I have started by adding three of my favorite drawings up to now, as well as this newly created Zendala. I hope to add lots more over time. There are many options as to size, as well as paper and surface finish, from glossy to matte to canvas to giclee, among others. If you're interested in taking a look at my shop, you can check it out here.

As a kickoff to my new venture, in conjunction with Memorial Day and the "unofficial" beginning of summer, I am offering 10% off any purchase made from my Etsy shop between now and Monday night, May 30, at midnight (EST). The discount will be applied to any purchase you make, including supplies, e-books, and my newly offered prints. Make sure you enter the code MEM10 before checking out of the shop.

Thanks for taking a peek at my shop, and for following my blog. Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New Tangles and New Studio

"The coolest things in life are things that you have not done before. That's the key to life: new things always."      Afrojack

 I haven't been tangling a lot the past couple of weeks. I've been busy setting up my new studio space. With the help of my husband, I converted our sunroom into a dedicated art space. I love it! I'll add some photos at the end of this post.

In my last post, I mentioned how I was going to write about creating tiles where I used a "new to me" pattern in each one. But I got sidetracked with Jaysix. Now I'm back to show you some of those tiles I did with new patterns. In this first tile I used Borbz (the one on the diagonal), and added some Phicops and Bunzo. I enjoyed doing Borbz and am happy with the way this turned out.

Next I pulled out a pre-strung Renaissance Zendala tile. I haven't used one of those in forever. It was my first time with Peaks Border, which I used around the outside, and then added Munchin in the whole center area, and some Henna Drum flowers. Of course I shaded and added white highlights which are so important (at least to me) when working on tan tiles or paper. I love the contrast between the tan, brown, black, and white.

The tile below was completed a couple of weeks after the first tile above, and when I looked back afterwards I realized I had used Bunzo in both tiles. Guess that shows how much I like that pattern! But the tangle that was new to me in this one is Biscus, in the center. And I threw in some Zingers for fun.

Time for another one of my Dylusions painted tiles. Here's the before.

And the after, where I used mmmforestry (for the first time) along the sides, and added some Rixty. I decided to leave this one light and airy to let the beautiful colors shine through.

Well, that's it for my tiles. Now for my studio. I now have space not only to tangle (on my new drafting table that tilts up so I don't strain my neck), but I also have space to do the messy stuff like painting and inking, without worrying about ruining our new kitchen table. And without having to worry about setting up and putting away all those supplies every time I feel like doing something messy.

And did I mention that there are walls of windows on 3 sides of the room for some amazing light for working? And the wonderful view I sit and look at (whenever I look up from my paper)?

The studio has only been complete for a couple of days, but it's such a great space! Have I said how much I love it?