Friday, January 31, 2014

Time For a New Shirt

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.

"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation."
 Lois Wyse
I've been thinking about tangling a t-shirt for a long time, but just kept putting it off. Finally I picked up a shirt when I was at a store recently, and one for my grandson also. I figured if I did his shirt first it would not take as long (he's not quite 2 years old, so his shirt is much smaller than mine) and would be a good way to test out the process and decide if I want to do more. My first thought was to do a cute picture of something, but since I can't draw and I don't have any appropriate stencils, I settled on just drawing some squares (which I do have a stencil for). Here's how the shirt started out.

Using a Pentel gel roller for fabric, I tangled the squares. The pen is wonderful! It makes a nice dark line without much effort. The only problem is that I think it will run out of ink fairly quickly, which is why I bought several of them before I even began. It's no fun when you run out of supplies in the middle of a project. I used a Fabrico gray marker to do a little shading. 

Here's a closeup picture so that you can see the tangles a little better. 

Now the best picture of all. My grandson, Hudson, modeling the shirt. My totally unbiased opinion is that he looks adorable in his new shirt! And when he returns home to Mississippi after the weekend (if I don't kidnap him first), he will undoubtedly be the envy of all his day care buddies. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Black and White

"There's something really appealing about the simplicity of black - and - white images."  
Joseph Gordon - Levitt

I'm sure I've said it here before, but I'll say it again. I'm a big fan of contrast. Most of my Zentangle work has at least some black areas. You won't find a lot of pieces in my portfolio that are light and airy. There may be some sections that are light and airy, but almost always there will be dark areas to balance it. I see plenty of work by others that are light and airy and beautiful, but it's just not my style of tangling. That's one of the things that drew me to Zentangle - the stark contrast between black and white. 

So this week I decided to play around with lots of contrast by creating a Zentangle made solely from variations on a theme - that theme being the tangle pattern Knightsbridge. There are endless ways to vary the pattern to give it very different looks. Here I began by drawing the two diagonals in my square, and then used a different variation in each of the four triangular spaces. I will admit (but don't tell anyone) that I used a ruler to draw some of the lines, mostly in that bottom triangle. This is what I ended up with, and I must say that I love its boldness.

Now I am a big fan of shading, and shade everything I make, but my inclination was not to do any shading on here so that it would retain its stark simplicity. But after thinking on it a little, I decided to go ahead and add some after first taking a picture. Below is what it looks like after shading. I really like it both ways.

What do you think? Better with or without shading? I'd love to hear what your thoughts are!

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Goes Around...Comes Around

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."  Twyla Tharp

It's been a while since I did the Zendala dare, and I like the template this week so I decided to jump in. I pulled out my Strathmore toned paper, thinking I'd use the tan paper, but changed my mind and used the gray instead since I've done very little on the gray. I try to remember to scan my design before shading it, although I admit that doesn't always happen. Today I did remember, so here is my Zendala without any shading.

Next I used pencil to shade. It never fails to amaze me what a difference some pencil shading makes in a piece. 

Then I used a white charcoal pencil to add highlights. Even more amazing what those highlights do for it. 

I'm pretty happy with the results, though I'm not sure if I should have blackened in the center spot. But I do have to say that I think I like the tan paper better than the gray. I'm not sure why, especially since I have gray paint on some of the walls in my house and I don't usually like tan in clothes, walls, or anything else. I guess Zentangles are the one thing that goes better with tan for me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Power of Gold

"Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold."  Author unknown.

I'm in the process of publishing an e-book of all new tangles that I have designed, along with some from guest contributors. It has been taking up a LOT of my time, but I'm really enjoying the process. My goal is to have it ready for my Etsy shop sometime next month. With all my time and energy being spent on that, I haven't been doing a lot of tangling just for relaxation. So I stepped away from my pattern sketchbook this morning to simply tangle.

I had been wanting to test out some new "pens" I got recently, so I figured this was my opportunity. I'm talking about the Sakura pen-touch metallic ink markers. I was told that they work great on black tiles/paper, so that's what I wanted to see. The picture below was my first try, on an official Zentangle tile. I used the gold, silver, and copper markers in the extra fine point. While not as fine a point as the Microns I usually use, they were thin enough to draw nice detailed lines. I love how all three colors look on the black. For shading just a touch, I used the zenstone, recently introduced by, but I wasn't too excited by the way it looked with the metallic markers.

Next I decided to try one more, so I pulled out a black "tag" from Ranger. I stuck to just one color on this design - the gold. It has a very rich look on the black. The paper is smoother than the Zentangle tiles, and again the markers worked beautifully. For this one, I used Derwent metallic watercolor pencils (without the water), to do the shading. I think it was a much better match than the zenstone.
I also have a couple of the markers in a fine tip, which are great for filling in larger areas, but I didn't use them for anything on these pieces. Although I'm not totally satisfied with either of my designs, my objective was to try out the markers, so that I did, and I'm very happy with the way they look. I will definitely be using them again.

Now back to my sketchbook...

Friday, January 3, 2014

On the Road Again

"The cars we drive say a lot about us."  Alexandra Paul

Many months ago, maybe as long as a year ago, I tangled on my car windows. I already had magnets on each side of the car advertising my website (hoping to get people interested in my classes), my Zentangle license plate, and my little Zentangle heart decal. So I decided that tangling my windows would be a great way to show what Zentangle is all about, a traveling display. I thought I had taken pictures that I could show you, but I couldn't find them anywhere. That's okay though, because now I have new pictures.

Although the "auto chalk" I used to tangle does not wash off in the rain, after so long the tangling was beginning to rub off the windows. I decided it was time to re-tangle them, so the first thing I did was get my car washed. I wanted to start with a clean slate, as the saying goes. I was hoping the brushes in the car wash would help to rub off the remains of the previous tangling, but wouldn't you know it - the car wash I went to was of the brushless variety. So I still had to use some glass cleaner to get off the old stuff. 

When I pulled out the auto chalk I used last time (surprised that I knew exactly where it was after so long), to my disappointment the white marker I had used seemed to be all dried out and wouldn't write. So I tried the red and blue which were in much better shape. I've included 3 pictures here - one of each side of the car, and one of the back. 

The next picture shows how I decided to tangle right around the decal of the palm tree and crescent moon, the symbol of South Carolina. I guess I should have tangled the crescent moon pattern around the crescent moon!

Since the markers have  a fairly wide tip, I couldn't choose any intricate tangles. And they work better for drawing lines than filling in spaces. At first I was disappointed to find the white marker dried up, but the red and blue stands out more than the white did. Maybe that will draw more attention to it, which, I expect, would be a good thing.

So there you have it - my tanglemobile all ready to go out for a spin