Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Recipe for Zentangle Inspired Art

"I just want to make beautiful things even if nobody cares."     Unknown

Zentangle Inspired Art


     Stonehenge paper
     Black micron pen


Using your pencil, draw a string with random curves. Then draw auras around your lines so you have space to tangle between the lines. Now take your Micron pen and fill that space between the lines with the tangle pattern Baton.

Next, aura the outside lines and fill that space with one row of Knightsbridge. Aura the inside spaces and fill the narrow area with orbs and blacken behind them.

With your pencil, add a first layer of shading. Then go back and darken the shading right along the edges.

Add a few lines to the center open areas, just because.
And voila!

Just the kind of recipe I like... one with only a few ingredients and a few steps. And one that tastes good in the end!

Wishing everyone a happy new year, one filled with lots of tangling!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Renaissance Faire

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."      Leonardo da Vinci

Here is a piece I completed recently on tan-colored Stonehenge paper. I really enjoy working on that paper because of how nicely and easily you can shade on it with a tortillion. In my opinion, the shading is much smoother than on the Renaissance tiles from Zentangle.com. 

Patterns used: Henna Drum, Mooka, Steffi, Flux, Printemps, Flowtus and Tipple

I absolutely love the way this turned out. And what a difference the shading (with brown pastel pencil) and highlighting (with white pastel pencil) made! I was never a big fan of Mooka, probably because mine just never looked good to me, but here I really like it. Those little flowery things in the upper right are my pattern Steffi from my e-book, Step Out in Style.

Coincidentally, the day after I completed this piece, Cris Letourneau contacted me. She is the author of the Zentangle related books Pattern Play (co-authored with Sonya Yencer) and Made in the Shade. She wanted to know if I'd like to contribute any of my art using pastel pencil shading (since I use that method so often) to a new book she's working on all about tangling on Renaissance tiles and tan-toned papers. (More info on her book at the bottom of this post.) Of course most artists wouldn't pass up a chance to have their work published, so I showed her the piece from above, and then worked on a few more to send to her.

The first one is light and airy with lots of open spaces for shading and highlighting. Completed on a Renaissance tile.

 Patterns used: Joki and Pokeleaf

The next one is more traditional, started with four dots, a border, and a string. Also completed on a Renaissance tile.

Patterns used: Cadent, N'zeppel, Leeter and Printemps

I decided to go with color (also pastel pencil) on the next one instead of the brown I usually use. This one is on tan-toned paper from Strathmore.

Patterns used:Flux, Sea Wave and orbs

This last one was not one I sent to Cris, but another one done on a Renaissance tile, this one a pre-strung zendala. I used both brown and black Micron pens, along with brown pastel pencil and graphite for shading, and of course the white pastel pencil for highlights.

Patterns used: Purk, Baton and Munchin

I have no idea which of these might show up in Cris' new book, but I enjoyed working on them all.

Cris informs me that the title of her new book will be Timeless Tangling: Art Inspired from the Renaissance and Beyond, and the publication date will probably be next summer. In her own words, "This book will be about techniques for working on tan-toned papers, using different tools, and learning some fine-art skills to make your ZIAs even more beautiful. Included will be inspirational art, step-by-step projects, and practical information to help take your tangling to the next level."

I know that I'm looking forward to the book and am confident that it will be just as wonderful as her previous publications!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016


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

I was supposed to be on the road to FL right now. However... we've had a lot of rain in the last 24 hours, and at 11:00 last night we found that a roof leak that we had last year has returned for a visit. So we postponed our trip for a day (the roads would have been bad anyway and it probably would have been a  s-l-o-w trip.) I turned to tangling as a way to take my mind off our problems. 

The Diva's challenge this week is to use the tangle Moowa, by Anya Ipsen. This pattern was the focus of the Square One FB group a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't have time to give it a whirl then, so this is my first time trying it out. I decided to use one of the tiles I made a while ago using Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions acrylic paints. And this is what I did...

Patterns used: Moowa and Aquafleur

I probably should tell you that I planned it that way, but the way those Moowa lined up was pure coincidence. A happy coincidence. I used graphite to shade the Aquafleur and pastel pencils to add a touch of green shading to the Moowa, and I was pretty happy with the tile!

Well, that took my mind off the leak for at least a little while. Now back to reality.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Brusho Magic

"Life is art. Live yours in color."     Unknown

Have you ever heard of Brusho paints? Maybe you already have some, but if you never heard of them you should check them out on Pinterest or Youtube. They are watercolor ink crystals (meaning they're powders) that can create some very unique effects. Some time ago I bought a pack of 12, but have done very little with them. I had a free afternoon recently and pulled them out to play. 

It was a good chance to use some of the pile of odd sized papers that I have sitting around, leftover pieces from other projects. There was some cold pressed watercolor paper, hot pressed, mixed media, bristol vellum, and even some yupo. By the time I was finished I wasn't sure what paper was what... I should have documented them in some way. I laid a wash of water on some and then sprinkled the brusho crystals on. Others were spritzed with water after the crystals were put down. On some the crystals were just left alone to do their magic, some were manipulated with a brush or sponge, and other papers were tilted to let the paint run around the surface. Again, by the time I was done, I couldn't tell you which method was used on which paper! 

Most papers were larger than tile size. Once they were dry I looked for the sections that I liked most and cut them into tiles, discarding the parts I wasn't too fond of. Here's the first one. 

The color reminded me of fire or the sun, which led me to tangle it like this (using black Micron, white Uniball Signo pen, and just a touch of pastel pencil for shading)...

Patterns used: Squid, Tipple, and Maryhill

On the next one I achieved a very different look.

I decided to run the tangling around most of the color. Then I added some shading with pastel pencils. I LOVE using them for shading on tiles with color. There is a color to match pretty much anything, and they smudge and spread so easily with a tortillion.

Pattern used: Huggins

And the last one I have to share with you today, with another different look...

When I began this one it was going to be stacked with rows of tangles, but as you can see, that's not exactly what happened! I used no shading on this one other than what was provided by the paint.

 Patterns used: Sand Swirl, Gewurtz, and Arukas

I have several more tiles prepared, waiting to be tangled another time. Have I inspired you to get some Brushos of your own to try... or to pull out the ones you may already have?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Keeko Challenge

"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."    
 George S. Patton

Just here to share my tile for the Diva's challenge this week, which was to use the pattern Keeko. I chose one of my pre-strung colored tiles, which you can see here in my Etsy shop (the shop will be closed until after Thanksgiving). This is not the exact same tile, but close to it, that I started with.

I tangled the pathways using Keeko, and then shaded with graphite. I stopped shading halfway so I could scan it and show the difference shading can make.

Then I finished the shading.

That's it for this time. Hope to see you back here soon!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Drama of Black and White

"If you want the beautiful moments to shine, you have to contrast that with dark and gruesome moments. That's the way life is."     Tony DiTerlizzi

One of the things that drew me to Zentangle originally was my love of black and white and the contrast between them. The bold, striking look of the two together. I love black and white in my clothing, and I've decorated my home in black and white. And when it comes to tangling, my favorite pieces are always the ones where there are areas of filled in black, not just black lines. 

Here are a few of my recent tiles with some drama, which is how I like to describe the ones with lots of bold black. 

Patterns used: Flux, Pais, and C-Wing

On the next tile I was planning to add drama by filling the whole background with black but decided it was more interesting leaving it alone at this point.

Patterns used: Leeter and Morf (filled with lines)

Next I used the pattern Aquafleur, which by itself is a pattern with drama, no extra drama needed. I spent some time trying to figure out what to add in the middle of the tile, before finally deciding that nothing at all should be added. 

I'm sure that some of you have enough drama in your lives already, but if you'd like to add some to your Zentangle art work, think black and have some fun!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Study of a Tile

"It's easy to make good decisions when there are no bad options."    Robert Half

I've been having so much fun with my pre-strung colored tiles! Here is one of them that I wasn't so sure that I liked at the beginning, but it has grown to be one of my favorites.

Since there are so many different options for tangling these tiles, I decided to take this tile and tangle on it using three different methods/styles. In the first one I show here, I tangled mostly on the "pathways", using one pattern. This is the way I tangled them when I first designed the tiles. I love how relaxing it is to follow the paths without any thinking about where to go next, especially when I just draw with one pattern (I've also tangled them like this using two patterns.) I didn't add any shading to this one, and opted to leave a chunk of pathway untangled.

Pattern used: Diva Dance

Another way to use the tiles is to tangle behind/in between the paths. Although this is not my favorite way to tangle them, I've learned that I like them better when I leave some of the behind spaces open instead of tangling them all. On this tile I added some color using stardust gelly roll pens and some shading with pastel pencils.

Patterns used: Purk, Fassett, Falls, Tipple, and Crescent Moon

For my last one, I chose to just tangle, kind of ignoring the pathways. Not necessarily tangling on them or behind them... just wherever my pen decided to go. By the way, all of these were tangled using a Micron 01 pen. When I first started on this one, I wasn't too sure about it. But I have to say that this is now one of my all time favorite tiles that I have ever made! What really brought this one to life for me was the shading, which I did a little differently than ever before. I shaded using pastel pencils, which is nothing new, as I use them a lot. But after that shading, I went back with graphite and added darker edges, which, I think, added more depth to the tangles. I've never combined pastel pencil and graphite shading together in the same pieces/shapes/elements.

Patterns used: Flux and Pokeleaf

So there you have it, an in-depth study of one tile. Depending on your individual tastes and style of tangling, there are so many different ways to use these tiles. No bad options - I love the quote that I began this post with. (I wish that today, on the eve of Election Day here in the U.S., I could say that this was the case.) If you'd like to give my tiles a try (they're also available in Zendalas), please check them out in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Gray Magic

"You just do the best you can with what you've got... and sometimes magic strikes."     Sally Field

Just stopping by with a quick post to show you what I worked on today. Time for some gray-toned Strathmore paper. And of course with gray paper comes a black Micron, white pastel pencil for highlights, white uni-ball Signo UM 153 pen for accents, and graphite for shading.

 Patterns used: Porky, Flux, Phicops, Printemps, and Tipple

I'm happy with the flow in this, and love the magic of the highlighting and shading on gray. That's it for now. Told you it would be quick. Hope to see you back here next time!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


"If everyone would look for that uniqueness then we would have a very colorful world."     Michael Schenker

I haven't participated in the Diva's challenge in a long time. But this week the challenge is to create a duotangle - a tile using just two tangles - with Flux and N'zeppel. Two of my favorite patterns. So I just HAD to do it. 

I decided to tangle on a tile that I had created using alcohol inks for a background. Just to show you my process, here is the piece of yupo that I inked...

Then I scanned it, chose the section of that design that I liked the most, cropped it into a 4x4 inch size, and printed it on Bristol vellum paper for tangling. This is what it looked like...

Then I tangled...with just N'zeppel and Flux. I decided to shade the large Flux shapes using graphite, and the small Flux shapes using pastel pencils. I really love the way this one turned out...

I hope to do another duotangle for this week's challenge... I'll see if time permits.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Off the Beaten Path

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm back... with more Zendala pre-strung colored tiles. I had such a great response to the square pre-strung tiles I made, that I decided to create the same tiles as Zendalas. Just very briefly, in case you haven't seen them yet, these are created with alcohol inks on yupo paper and then printed on Bristol vellum, a great surface for tangling. If you missed it, you can read more about the process in my blog from a few months ago.

I will warn you that this is going to be a long post, with lots of photos. Please stick with me to the end.... I don't think you'll be disappointed. I am so excited today to include art work here by my friend, CZT Sonya Yencer. Her tangled pieces are always beautiful, so I asked if she would tangle some of my new Zendala tiles to give you a different perspective on what can be done with them. And she said yes! But first, take a look at some of the Zendalas that I just completed (all include before and after photos, but the befores may not all be turned in the same direction as the afters.)

The first is a multi-colored tile tangled using black micron, stardust gelly rolls, and white gelly roll pen. The patterns used are Antidots, D'rua, Verdigogh, and Tipple. I chose, for the most part, to ignore the pathways and just go for it. I love the coloring in this tile.

The next tile was created in a more monochromatic color scheme. I tangled the pathways using Cadent, but didn't fill in all the paths. Less is very often more, and I have to keep telling myself that. Then I filled in some of the background spaces with Printemps using a white gelly roll pen and a touch of stardust gelly rolls. I kept telling myself, "Don't do it all...don't do it all!"


Next up is a tile with more earthy tones. So I decided to use a brown micron on this one, with touches of stardust and white gelly roll pens again. At first I wasn't sure that I liked the combination of Munchin and Sand Swirl that I used, but by the time I was done I had changed my mind.

Jumping from earth tones to much brighter pink, purple and blue... on this one I filled some of the background areas with the light and airy patterns N'zeppel and Frost Flower. I added a touch of white highlights using a white pastel pencil, and I ended up liking this one more than I thought I would when I began it.

The last one of my tiles that I have to share with you... for now... is one of the tiles from my gray collection. Just shades of gray in these, no color. That is, until I started tangling. I tangled all the pathways in this one (with variations of the pattern Emingle), using black and red microns, adding shading with graphite and a red pastel pencil. I have grown to love this bristol vellum paper for shading because the pencil smudges so easily with a tortillion.

I've saved the best for last, so please DON'T GO ANYWHERE YET!!!!  Here are three tiles that the very talented Sonya completed, along with a brief description of each, in her own words.

"I was immediately drawn to this one because warm
analogous colors make me so happy! In this instance, I chose to ignore the background shapes and create my image on top. The fall weather appears to have revealed a sunflower-y shape! Materials: black .01 Micron, white Gellyroll, Silver Slicci, and InkTense watercolor pencils."


"Love the blend of warm and cool tones on one Zendala! On this one, I wanted to do something bold so I chose a mix of Striping and Pepper to fill a handful of the larger shapes. Sometimes it's hard to know when to stop to achieve the "right" balance of tangled/untangled space. Materials: black .01 Micron, white Gellyroll, InkTense watercolor pencils."

And for Sonya's last Zendala:
"This Zendala's bold colors intimidated me at first because I didn't want to "ruin" the background - it was so striking on its own! So I chose a more classic way to approach it, allowing the shapes to be the strings and working inside. I added in tangles breaking free of the strings to add visual interest. The background is filled with Tipple and Printemps. Materials: white Gellyroll, clear Glaze Gellyroll, InkTense watercolor pencils."

Sonya mentioned the Tipple/Printemps background in this one. It's so subtle that you can barely see it in the photo, so here's a closeup. 

I hope that you've been inspired by some of Sonya's and my tiles. Thank you Sonya for allowing me to share your amazing work in my blog! The good news is that these tiles are now available in my Etsy shop here, just in case you'd like to try some for yourself. If you do, I'd love to see what you create with them, so feel free to send me pictures of your art work.... or post them in a Facebook group.... or post them in your own blog... or just keep them to yourself, if you'd rather. Thanks for taking a peek!

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Path to Nowhere

Forget about trying to compete with someone else. Create your own pathway. Create your own new vision.       Herbie Hancock

Who loves Zendalas? (Most of you, I hope!) Who's seen my colored pre-strung tiles? (Again, most of you, I hope!) If not, you can read all about them here.

Today I'm here to share some of those pre-strung tiles that I've made into Zendalas. I love working on round tiles, but not always drawing the typical, symmetrical designs found on many Zendalas. As you will see below, these are anything but typical! I am showing the 'before' and 'after' tiles. Note that in the first one, the before is not exactly the same as the after tile, as I forgot to take a picture before tangling, but the tile has the same coloring as the after.

Patterns used: Flowtus and Indyrella
Shaded with pastel pencils

On the first tile I tangled between the pathways, but on the next one I tiled inside the pathways.

Pattern used: Garlic Cloves

I expect to have the tiles in my Etsy shop in a couple of weeks. Now it's time to get back to work... there are lots more Zendala tiles awaiting me.