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? 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I'm Getting Married in the Morning

"Find the one who makes your heart smile."  Unknown

My daughter's best friend is getting married later this month. Looking for a gift for her friend, my daughter commissioned me to make some Zentangle art work for her (at the reduced family rate, of course!) Now for a little geography here - I live in SC, my daughter lives in Scotland right now, and her friend lives in MD. So I was to complete the piece and ship it to MD with an arrival date a few weeks before the wedding. I finished it a while ago, but didn't want to post pictures here on the very slim chance that the bride would see this. Now that the package arrived (safe and sound, luckily), and the bride and groom seem to like it, I can safely show you some pictures. 

First is the before shading photo. An illuminated letter Q for their last name.

Next, the shaded version - what a difference a pencil can make!

And last, the matted and framed picture. Believe me, it wasn't easy getting a photo without all kinds of reflections in the glass. It looked nice hanging on my wall...if only my name started with a Q!

And, coincidentally, yesterday when I pulled out the alphabet book I'm working on for my grandchildren, the next letter to do was the Q. So I decided to show you the latest page, since we're talking about the letter Q anyway. I like how the capital letter looks like a mini zendala!

I hope that the bride and groom will enjoy their gift for a long time, and that if I ever finish the alphabet book, my grandchildren will enjoy their gift also. 

Congratulations Becca and Phil!