Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Zendala Time

 "Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous."     Bill Moyers

Way back in May I realized it had been a really long time since I had worked on a Ben Kwok template. So I decided to do one of his mandalas. But then began my crazy summer, and it wasn't until last week that I got back to this zendala that was started so long ago.

Here is a picture of Ben's template that I began with.

A few lines were left out so that I wouldn't have spaces that were too tiny to tangle. Here's what it looked like after I finished tangling. 

I began shading but paused after the center area was done so I could share the half shaded zendala with you. It's always so interesting to see the difference a bit of graphite can make.

Then I completed the shading, which took quite some time,  and here's the final zendala. 

Not bad, but I have to admit that after having this one laying around for so long I'm looking forward to moving on to something else!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dingbatz Unleashed

"Unsuccessful people are busy being busy. Successful people are busy being productive."     Kevin Abdulrahman

 I'm back after a very long and busy month. In that time we packed, moved out of our house and into storage, traveled to Fl, back to NC for a couple of weeks, back to SC to move out of storage into our new home, unpacked and organized... and I'm exhausted! Needless to say there wasn't much time for tangling in all that, and I didn't always have access to my Zentangle supplies. But I'm finally back to a little bit of normalcy, which means finally some tangling time.

A while ago dingbatz were introduced in the world of Zentangle. I hope you've heard about/seen them, because I can't explain them well as I don't know that I fully understand them. Here is the first one that I attempted... a small frame-like thing divided into sections by a tangle pattern that extends outside the frame. For my first try it wasn't too bad, but I felt something didn't look right. Then I figured it out... my Mooka that creates the sections all goes under the frame, and I think some should go above and some below.  Oh well.

Next I tried one on a colored tile (which I sell in my Etsy shop, although the tiles won't be available for about 2 more weeks until everything gets settled in here). Here's the tile before tangling.

And here is my dingbatz. Unfortunately it wasn't until after I did this one that the over/under bit occurred to me.

Then I added some shading.

It's okay, but still not exciting me. So on to another one. This time I used Hollibaugh to divide it into sections, and remembered to make some of it go under the frame and some of it over. I added lots of auras which are always fun.

 Then I shaded, added a little more black, and an outside border.

I like this one better than the others, although I think the style kind of got further away from the "traditional" dingbatz that I've seen everyone creating. But that's okay, because I should have my own style, right?

So, back to the drawing board! Here I used some large Flux to create the sections. Definitely my own style again!

Added shading to some of it with graphite.

And added color to the rest of it with pastel pencils.

This one is definitely my favorite. Whether or not it embodies the original intent of dingbatz... I just don't know!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Zen Photos

"Flowers are like friends; they bring color to your world."    Unknown
I decided it was time again to combine my two favorite things to do, Zentangle and photography. I've blogged about this before, once in 2016, which you can see here, and once in 2015, which you can see here. I again chose a photo of flowers to tangle since that's one of my favorite subjects for photography. 

Here is the photo before any tangling. 

I printed the photo on mixed media paper so that I could tangle using my Microns. In the past I've printed them on glossy photo paper which meant that I had to tangle using a Microperm pen because of the slick surface. Not my favorite surface to tangle on. 

First I tangled the petals of the two flowers using Angel Fish on one and Maryhill on the other. For the bottom layer of petals I tangled Dyon.

Then I used a gray pen to add some Printemps to the Dyon.

I wanted to add color and shading using some other medium besides pastel pencils which is my usual go to method. Watercolor pencils is what I decided on. I could have used a water brush to blend, but I never feel like I have the control I'd like with a water brush. So I tried a Copic colorless blender pen. I didn't really think it was going to work since Copics are alcohol based, but to my surprise it worked great. With the pointed tip of the blender pen I could control it easily and get into tight spaces.

After adding color, a few shades of pinks and purples on the upper petals, I decided to use some green on the bottom petals to transform them into leaves instead of petals. Some graphite shading was also added to those leaves. And some white gelly roll pen accents in the centers of the flowers.

As one last finishing touch, I added some white pastel pencil (couldn't resist!) highlights on the leaves... can you see the difference?

It was a fun little project. Using photos to tangle is an easy way to have instant color and a ready made string. 


Saturday, July 8, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."      George A. Moore

The Diva's challenge this week is to create a tile that reflects your home in some way. We recently purchased a summer home in the mountains of NC and this is my first summer here. So I chose to use this home as my inspiration. 

First I drew a string to represent the mountains. I used bristol vellum paper, a green micron, and 3 different shades of green pastel pencils for shading. As a finishing touch I added some Msst (with gray pen) to show all the rain we've had here, which is why everything is SO green. I wish I had remembered to take a picture before I shaded. Besides the Msst, the tangles used are N'zeppel, Sea Wave, Leeter, Fallen Leaves, and Shattuck.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer (or winter, depending where you are.) I'm loving the cool mountain air!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tangling With Courage

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."     Nelson Mandela

A while back a good friend of mine gave me this (African?) drum as a gift. Here's a side view.

And here it is from the top. As soon as I saw it, it screamed out to me to be tangled. But I'm always nervous about tangling on these kinds of things where, if I mess up, I've ruined it. Unlike a piece of paper that I can toss in the garbage and start over if I want.

So it remained untangled... until recently when I brought it up to my new summer place in the mountains. It fits in so nicely with my more rustic decor up here. But it was still screaming out to be tangled. So I gathered up all my courage and decided to go ahead... so hard! 

Because it's round, a Zendala just seemed like the natural thing to do. I didn't want anything too intricate... that would only give me more opportunity to mess up and regret my decision... so I chose a fairly simple design. I wasn't sure if it would work to transfer it onto the drum skin with graphite, but I gave it a try. It worked but was very light and hard to see, so the first thing I did was darken it a bit by going over all the lines with pencil. 

Notice that the drum is sitting in a box that fit very tightly around it. That was to hold the drum still since the bottom is narrow and not totally flat. The box worked really well to keep it steady.

The next uncertainty was how the pen would perform on the slightly textured/rough surface of the drum. I used an Identipen, and to my surprise it drew very nicely, even on the roughest of the spots.

Some line work and some Paradox. So far so good! I really wanted to stop there, before it went wrong, but I knew I couldn't. I continued with some patterns that I felt confident about, first adding a border of Gewurtz.

Then I wanted to add something in those last sections, but it needed to be kind of light and airy, so I decided on Florz.

I didn't add any shading on this, partly because I had no idea what would work for shading, but also because I like the stark contrast and boldness of it just the way it is.

Here it is in what I thought was going to be it's resting place, but after some rearranging of my decor, it is now sitting on a different wooden shelf.

I really love the way this turned out and am so glad I gathered the courage to finally do this project.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Colors of Summer

"People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy."        Anton Chekhov

Happy summer to those of you in my neck of the woods, and happy winter to the rest of you. Summer is a time full of flowers and color, so this is going to be a colorful post.

The first tile I'm sharing with you is one of my alcohol ink background zendala tiles.

Just because it's a round tile doesn't mean it needs to be tangled with a zendala. I love the swirl in the tile, so I decided to tangle along with the flow. This is the first time I've used the pattern Floral Waves. I think it goes well with the swirl in the tile. Then I added some Mooka and Tipple to finish it off.

But (almost) no tile is complete, in my mind, without shading. So out came my trusty pastel pencils, and blues and pinks were used to add the finishing touches. 

Then it was onto another zendala tile, this time one of my "pre-strung" alcohol ink backgrounds. The designs formed by the inks can be used as a string to tangle inside or outside, or just tangle right over them.

That big shape going right up the center of the tile reminded me of a tree trunk, so after tangling that with Sand Swirl, I added Pokeleaf "foliage" to the tree. And once again, pastel pencils were my choice for shading.

In case you're interested, these colored tiles are available, along with many more, in my Etsy shop here.

Until next time, happy tangling!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lazy Day Zendala

"Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous."     Bill Moyers

I love Zendalas. Sometimes when I'm feeling really creative I start from scratch and design my own using various methods: compass and ruler, stencils, freehand... But this time I didn't want to have to think too much, so I chose to start with a mandala pattern from a coloring book I have called Mandala Designs, which you can see here. 

This is what the page looked like before I put my hands (or should I say my pens) on it. 

I transferred the design onto a piece of off-white Stonehenge paper, one of my favorite surfaces for tangling and shading on. Cadent was used for the border, Fassett for the triangular area, and Coil for the...other sections... not sure what to call them. I love the way Coil looks, but boy did it take a lot of concentration. That was certainly not the most relaxing part of this Zendala for me! So much for not wanting to think too hard.

I'm really happy with the way this one looks and like the contrast of the dark parts. About half of the book I mentioned has designs great for tangling (the other half would be for coloring), so I have lots more to use when I'm having another lazy Zendala kind of day.

Friday, May 12, 2017


"No matter what the colour of your skin is, we all bleed RED."  
 HH Younus AlGohar

It's been a long time since I last blogged. I've been really busy with lots of other things (family visiting, vacations, selling a house and building a house), and I haven't tangled nearly as much as I usually do. But I'm taking time to share what I did for the Diva's challenge this week, which was to use the pattern Molygon. 

For the first one I chose a Zendala tile, drew some Molygon in the center, and added Pokeleaf (and a few Pokeroots) around the outside. I used my red stardust gelly roll pen to add some color.

For the next one I used a 4 inch tile I cut from Bristol vellum paper, one of my favorite surfaces for tangling and shading. I couldn't decide if it needed something more around the outside, but I left it as is. 

I added some red to both of these tiles because in the FB group that I manage, Zentangle: Adventures in Color, I just issued a challenge to add only red to a traditional black and white piece. If you're not already a member of that group, enjoy adding color to your work, and would like to join, click here to get to that page. If you do, please be sure to read the group guidelines!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Celtic Knot

"When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on."   
 Theodore Roosevelt

Fellow CZT Cherryl Moote recently wrote a blog post on drawing Celtic knots. She included some videos of how to draw different versions. The videos were very helpful and they inspired me to try making one

This is one of my colored zendala tiles that I began with.

Following her video, which you can find here, I drew this knot. I have to admit that I drew it in pencil first so I could tweak it as I went.

Then I added some lines in the knot itself, and tangled Opally along with parts of Beelight and Laria. I added a little bit of blue stardust gelly roll pen (whose sparkle totally gets lost in the picture), and shaded with pastel pencils and graphite.

I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out. Thanks Cherryl!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Introducing my New Tiles!

"Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul."     W. Somerset Maugham

Hooray! The day has finally arrived when I can officially introduce my new tiles to you. You may have noticed over the last couple of months that I have been sharing a lot of my work on colored tiles. I've been developing this new line of tiles for a long time, and I'd hoped to have these ready a while ago, but life kind of got in the way! The tiles are now in my Etsy shop, but let me tell you a little about them. Warning: This will be a long post with lots of pictures.

I love playing with alcohol inks. I'm not very good at creating anything realistic with them, but boy do they make great backgrounds for tangling. I start with alcohol inks on yupo paper, play with them, manipulate them, and let them do their own thing. Beautiful designs emerge for tangling. I scan them and print them on Bristol vellum paper and cut them into 4 inch tiles, as well as Zendala tiles. But then I decided to take it one step further. I began editing the backgrounds in Photoshop and wow! Amazing special effects were created - waves, spirals, pond ripples, geometrics, zig-zags, etc. The possibilities are endless, and addictive too! So, after many, many hours of playing, I have created hundreds of new tiles to add to my Etsy shop. 

So let me share a few more with you now. 


And after...


And after...


And after...

Zendala before... 

Zendala after...

Then I designed some with geometric shapes, but since these were so different than the others I decided to make them a separate group and listing in my shop.





But that's not all! I decided to also make these designs into digital papers for crafters to use in so many different ways: scrapbooking, invitations, origami, and on and on. Here are some samples of the papers...

And just when you thought I was finished... No! I also made these into lined papers for writing and journaling. Some examples here...

NOW I'm finished. That's all I've done....square tiles, zendala tiles, geometric tiles, digital papers, and lined digital papers. If you'd like to check them out in my Etsy shop, go here. (Where you will also find my pre-strung pathway tiles!) You'll be able to see many more of the tile designs in my shop photos, although not nearly all of the designs I have.

If you have tangling friends and family, or other crafty friends and family, or writing friends and family, I would be most grateful if you'd pass my shop information on to them.

And of course, if you decide to try any of these for yourself, I would LOVE to see what you do with them!