As I mentioned at the start of the month, when I picked up Beckah Krahula’s “One Zentangle a Day” I really just wanted to copy the patterns out into my sketchbook after going through a Zendoodle book and doing the same. I’d gone through the bulk of the book as planned before I decided to try following it after all. And here we are with two weeks worth of drawings (although it took me longer than that to finish them).
A Zentangle® is a form of meditative abstract drawing using specific types of patterns called tangles developed by Rick and Maria and an expanding community of tanglers. It is drawn on a 3.5″ square tile, usually with black ink. However, the book is also a little bit about exploring art, so you branch out into ATCs (an Artist Trading Card is a 2.5″ x 3.5″ card that is traditionally traded or gifted instead of sold) and different colors of paper and art tools. There are plenty of optional exercises in your sketchbook, etc. And the supplies section is shiny permission to purchase lots of New Art Supplies to go with the New Activity!
That is a trap. I have purchased zero art supplies.
Now I have the advantage of formal art classes that left me with leftover Stuff. You can see in the photo to the right all of my sketchbooks/paper pads, none completely filled. That doesn’t even cover all my pens, paints, loose papers, etc. So if you don’t have a bunch of art stuff already lying around, don’t let my words keep you from acquiring what you need to play. But keep in mind that buying art supplies is easy.
Using them up is hard.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ve already seen these in a compilation graphic, but I thought I’d at least let each shine on its own and list the tangles I used. If you’re on a desktop, you can see the images full-size just by clicking on them. 😉
My first Zentangle. Not much depth to it, but I did add shading. Shading is an optional enhancement, but not one that I skip.
- Crescent Moon
So bulbous. You can see the weird sheen Bic pen ink creates more easily with the big checkerboard pattern. I’m also terrible at tangling Nekton. The trio of lines connect with others very awkwardly in several spots. Some day I may get it right.
It’s funny. When I first saw the cherry-like Pokeroot tangle, I thought it would be hard to draw. But it’s actually one of the easier ones for me.
This one could be considered a ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) instead of a Zentangle drawing because the shapes form a rabbit. I think you could spin the tile about and it still works, but the rabbit was deliberate. I made a tangleation* of Gneiss to form the ears and everything.
* A tangleation is when you take a formal Zentangle pattern and alter it. The two examples here are pulling out two “petals” to make ears with Gneiss and using crosshatching instead of a solid color on Jonqal.
- Jonqal tangleation
- Gneiss tangleation
The pressure required to use semi-dry Bic pens was starting to fatigue my hands. So I started mixing in other pens on Day 4 and this day I used a different pen as well. Of course, my old Microns are drying up as well and require more pressure than normal… *sigh*
- Jonqal tangleation
This is the first day that I actually managed to draw Mooka correctly. It’s one long, continuous line and my brain kept telling my hand to hare off in the wrong direction. I practiced lots. I love the pattern quite fiercely because it reminds me of Art Nouveau (which is also the source of its inspiration so…accurate). I will master it in its many exaggerations!
- Crescent Moon
I love the little “window” with the wee Fescu sprouting up (or down, etc. if you rotate). Also, I remembered I had blending stumps and used them to smooth out my shading. It’s a lovely tool, though I am often too lazy to use it.
- Knightsbridge tangleation
As the days went on and I began taking my drawings more seriously, I realized using a properly sized tile would make a huge difference. This is an abstract art form. I should be able to rotate my finished tangle in any direction and have it make sense. The large sketchbook provided automatic orientation and got in the way of turning the paper at will. Plus, without the boundaries of the paper edge, my drawings were more 4″ – 4.5″ than 3.5″. So guilty. So before Day 9’s drawing, I dug into more of my art supplies and cut up a bunch of paper to make my own tiles and ATCs. The paper I’m using now is a natural-colored 80 lb vs their pure white 110 lb with lines for signing and dating on the back. So, yeah, the official stuff is nicer, but the feeling of already paid for has its own magic. 😉
For the first time in a while, I dug out my “fancy” fountain pen with its lovely nib and refillable ink reservoir. Given another chance, I’d probably buy a different fountain pen, but the delight of any fountain pen is how little pressure you have to exert to draw. It makes you realize how much you have to press down to use modern pens. Also, the refillable ink reservoir saves a lot of money in pens. I’ve filled it five times since I started using it to tangle. The level of my ink bottle is barely getting down past the neck.
But the danger of fountain pens is that it’s a little slower to absorb into the paper I’m using and that means smearing unless I remember to put another paper down between my hand and the tile. And…I really suck at that. A lot.
Today’s Zentangle had to be drawn on a black tile. I don’t own any white gel pens or white charcoal pencils, so it was time to improvise! Enter an old white acrylic paint marker buried in my pen drawer. It mostly did the trick until I needed to get more ink on the nib and pressed down right on my paper. Splatter! Well…part of this whole process is learning to embrace mistakes. So I made a few more splatters and called it good.
- Crescent Moon
Some tangles I love more than others and today’s Zentangle has a lot of favorites on it. Plus all the practice was really improving my line quality…
This is my favorite tile to date. I just love how it came together. The Isochor “cones” make me think of wee beehives. I’m very glad I stopped myself from Shading Everything Lots!
- Mooka + Tipple with an aura
Today I decided to play with tone and tried to create very distinct levels of light and darkness using mostly pattern. I mean…there is shading in there, but not enough to make a mid-tone into a dark pattern.
Four days after the last tangling session, I used the deconstructing technique to make one pattern flow into another. It’s hard to say if I flubbed more because my line quality had suffered from the break or if this is just a technique I need to practice more. Not terrible. Just…hard to take after Day 11.
This time I ended up taking a big break as I worked to catch up on all of my nail art reviews. I do like the Chainging tangle, but I’m just not into Dyon all that much. It reminds me too much of an umbrella perhaps? I filled in a few sections to make it more interesting, but it still feels cheesy.
- Chainging with an aura
- Dyon tangleation
The End…of Week 2
Well, that’s fourteen tangles down and 28 to go. Hopefully I won’t have to take any big breaks again, but plans can get disrupted. If you want to learn more about Zentangle, you can visit the site of the trademark holder: Zentangle Inc. You can also check out your library or the bookstore to find any books on the subject. My favorite site for learning about tangling is TanglePatterns.com. It has a huge database of tangles beyond the official hundred or so. Additonally, you can check to see if there is a Certified Zentangle Teacher in your area for a hands-on approach.
Until next time, friends! 🙂