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?


  1. I love this idea. I remember Spirograph and have often contemplated what it would look like with tangles. Some of the tangles in and of themselves remind me of Spirograph )Paradox, Maryhill even rosewood). Both Spirograph and some of the tangles remind me of graphs we used to do in geometry and calculus.

  2. This is SO COOL! I had a Spirograph and I loved it! I would love to own another one, and you've given me a quest to find one! Your mandala work is stunning!

    1. Thanks Kristine. QVC has a Spirograph in case you're interested.