Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Swirls and Twirls

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."   Scott Adams

Recently I saw some photos in one of my Facebook groups that showed tangling on prints made with a gelli plate. If you've been hiding under a rock and have never heard of the gelli plate, you can find out all about it here. I got a gelli plate about a year ago, with the intent of making prints that I could tangle on. At that time I did a blog post showing a print that I tangled. I was a little frustrated with the fact that I didn't like most of the prints I had made.

But I was inspired by what I saw on Facebook and decided to unearth my gelli plate. And again I was frustrated by all the "bad" prints that I pulled. Since my sole purpose was to make prints I could tangle on, I needed to keep them fairly simple. If I used too many colors, stencils, tools, etc., the print would be too busy to tangle. So after many attempts, I realized that the ones I did like were mostly done using wedges... comb-like tools that I have. And just the wedges with nothing else. Keep it simple.

Here's one that I thought would work. Unfortunately I forgot to scan it before I started, so this shows the beginning of my tangling.

And here it is after tangling.

The next one was done using a wedge with "teeth" that are much narrower, for a very different look.

I chose to use just two patterns for this one.

I do like the way these look but wish I felt more comfortable and confident with the gelli plate. I really need to take a class, but as far as I know there are none offered where I live. I ended up with a few more prints that I feel have potential, and I've put them aside to try another time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gray Matter

"Life is about the gray areas. Things are seldom black and white, even when we wish they were and think they should be..."   
Emily Giffin

It's been a long while since I tangled in my toned paper sketchbooks, so I decided to pull out the gray paper. I always love the way the black pen looks on the paper with white highlights. For my first ZIA I decided to go organic. If anyone knows the name and creator of the main leafy tangle here, please let me know. I have the pattern in my collection, but never knew who to credit. I added some Printemps and B'Dylan to the unnamed pattern, then drew highlights with a combination of white charcoal pencil and white Prismacolor pencil. A little bit of graphite shading and voila! I was VERY happy with the completed piece.

I started this second one with some Tripoli. I could never get the hang of Tripoli until we did an exercise with it at Tangle U last spring. Now I'm okay with it as long as I don't get stressed over the fact that they don't all come out perfectly even and lined up. As a matter of fact, I made a "mistake" in my Tripoli, so I repeated the "mistake" so it wouldn't be the only one. Since Tripoli is all triangles, I decided to stay with the triangle theme, adding some Fassett by Lynn Mead, and Z-Trik by Yamit Fridman, both of which are based on triangles. Again I used the white pencils for highlights and graphite for shading to finish it off.

The white makes the patterns really pop on the toned papers. I must remember to pull out these sketchbooks more often!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One Step at a Time

"It is always the simple that produces the marvelous."
 Amelia Barr

This week's Diva challenge, the last one for the year, is K.I.S.S., which stands for Keep It Simple, Silly. So, in order to keep it simple, I decided to do a montangle, or a tile using only one pattern. I chose to use a Zendala (round) tile because I love them, and also because I thought the pattern I chose would look really nice in the round. And the pattern is... Cosmo, a hot off the press tangle by CZT Sonya Yencer. I greatly admire Sonya's work, and love the look of Cosmo. 

I decided to show you the evolution of my tile, one step at a time. Hmmm... where have I heard that phrase before? First I used a Micron 03 pen to lay down the basic pattern.

Then I added some shading, with a 6B woodless pencil. I've recently started using the woodless pencils and love the way they lay down on the paper, although I can't really pinpoint what makes them feel different to me. Maybe it's all in my imagination!

Next I added auras inside each of the spaces created by the criss-crossing elements. I used the Micron 01 for this step. 

In what I thought was going to be my last step, I added dashed lines.

 But then I changed my mind and added one more thing. 

Although I was happy with the way it looked before blackening the circles, I do like the way the black makes the design pop a little more. Now I am finished. I could have kept it even simpler by stopping after the original shading, but the auras, dashes, and blackening were all simple steps to add even more interest to an already interesting pattern. Thanks, Sonya, for Cosmo!

Friday, December 12, 2014


"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."   John W. Gardner

The Diva is back to her blogging this week, and the new challenge is to use the tangle Arukas. About a month ago, when this tangle was newly released, I tried it out on a couple of tiles. The first one I did back then was on a Zendala tile. I loved the way this turned out, enough so that I included it when I recently changed the headers on  this blog and my website, tanglemania.com. I really like tangling on the round tiles even if they are not your typical Zendalas.

Since I enjoyed this pattern so much, I was happy to see this week's challenge. I picked one of my hand-colored tiles to use and completed it in a similar fashion to the round one, but blackened and shaded different areas, as well as adding 'Nzeppel in the background. Not bad, but I don't like it as much as my first tile. 

Then something interesting happened. I was looking through a pile of completed tiles I had sitting on my shelf. Lo and behold, I found another Arukas tile I did last month and had completely forgotten about.

Well, would you look at that! I used 'Nzeppel in that background also! I guess I have a one track mind. They are a little different... the turquoise one has 'Nzeppel in a grid, and the pink one has it laid out randomly. And of course the rest of the pattern was done very differently, with curving arms. This is not my favorite tile.... probably why I had forgotten about it!

I did like the idea of curvy arms, however, so I decided to do another tile, trying to make it very different. I think I achieved my objective.

It's on an apprentice tile, which is a little bigger and a little whiter than the regular Zentangle tiles. I had decided to make the arms wavy, but of course was not thinking as I began, and drew the first lines straight. There are no mistakes in Zentangle, so I just continued. It was a happy 'mistake', as I love the way it looks with one straight side and the others wavy! This is definitely a pattern that has been added to my list of favorites.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rag Doll

"The guy's only doing it for some doll."    Guys and Dolls

When I saw the Diva challenge for this week, by guest blogger Emily Classon, CZT, I didn't think I was going to participate. The challenge is to be inspired by dolls and "awaken your inner child, and add some playtime to your tangling with a doll-shaped string, a tangled paper doll chain, or a tangled fabric doll." But as I thought about it more, something came to mind... those adorable tangle folk created by Billie Lauder, CZT. They would definitely qualify as doll-like. 

I created a few of these a while back, probably a couple of years ago, but had not made any since then. Here is my first one for the challenge. I added a "face" to mine, as primitive as it may be, which Billie does not do when she makes her tangle folk. This one has been picking flowers.

My second one is in the middle of a kickball game.

These tangle folk really are so much fun to draw. My favorite part is tangling the hair in wild and crazy hair styles. Maybe I will start a sketchbook dedicated solely to these cute "dolls"! If you're interested in trying them yourself, you can find Billie demonstrating them here. It's a very long video of various Zentangle ideas that you may also be interested in, but the section on tangle folk begins at 10:35 into the video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Alphabet Soup

"There is nothing like a grandchild in your arms to put a smile on your face, a lump in your throat, and a warm feeling in your heart."  Author Unknown

I'm so excited! My ABC book is finished. In case you haven't heard me talk about it before, I made a Zentangle ABC book for my grandchildren. Actually, when I started  I only had one grandson, Hudson. He's now going on 3, and I have a 7 month old granddaughter, Brooklyn. So, although originally the book was going to have a dedication to Hudson, it has now been dedicated to both of them. After spending so much time making the book, I won't be starting from scratch to make another one for Brooklyn.  I'm probably going to have a new copy printed for her so she'll have her own clean book when she's ready for it.You know how little boys can be with their books!

Here are a couple of pages from the book.

 If you'd like to see some of the other letters I did, before pictures were added, you can see them here and here.

Since we were visiting my grandchildren (and their parents) for Thanksgiving (far away from home), I hand delivered the book. Here's a picture of Hudson reading it.

And here's Brooklyn peering over his shoulder to see it. She doesn't want to feel left out!

Maybe there are some of you out there who would like a copy of the book to share with your own children or grandchildren, so I decided to make it into an e-book and list it in my Etsy shop. For $4.95 you will get a PDF file of the book which can be shared with the little ones on any electronic device. Since technology is such a big part of children's lives these days, this will be a helpful tool for them to learn their ABCs. Of course you could choose to print out a copy also (I'd suggest heavy paper/cardstock) and have a spiral binding put on it, the way I did with my copy of my e-book of tangle patterns, Step Out in Style. In case anyone is interested, you can find the ABC book in my Etsy shop here.