A little while ago I posted some pictures and introduced a new word to many of you -- Zentangle (which is a registered trademark and is supposed to have that little R in a circle thing, but I don't know how to do that on here so let's pretend this is a really long version of that).
A few of you have said you looked into it a bit or thought about trying it but haven't really found your way. So I thought it might help if I shared my Zentangle (still trademarked and you'll have to assume that from now on) journey with you.
I first saw the Zentangle art form over a year ago on my cyber-friend's blog (Sherri -- not to be confused with a cyberman, for all you Whovians). She fights MS and talked about how tangling helped her. Even though I don't have MS, a lot of the symptoms I have are similar to things she struggles with. I was intrigued but didn't think I could do it. I doodled in junior high and high school and used to copy the illustrations in my Peanuts book and took a basic art class in seventh grade. That was about the extent of my drawing experience. I just kind of filed it away in the back of my mind as an if-I-ever-feel-well-again-I-will-try-this thing.
I don't know why I suddenly decided the time was right a week before Thanksgiving this last year, but I did. I thought about it for a day or two. Looked it up a bit. And then went out and bought what I thought were the absolute basics I'd need. A sketchbook and pens. A six dollar sketchbook from Walmart and a fine and medium Sharpie (also from Walmart). Within a few days I'd added a pencil (just a regular one from the drawer) and some Q-tips to my supplies. A few days later I bought a gum eraser and a paper stump (for blending, which is what I'd been using the Q-tips for).
|These are the basics. That's what the Sharpie packaging looks like in case you want to buy some.|
|This is my sketchbook, which has my name on the cover because two of my daughters have the same kind.|
For the first little while I just drew in my sketchbook. I searched out some of the basic patterns and copied them in my book, for practice and reference. I drew some simple tangles. I was really enjoying it, even though it caused me to fight my perfectionist tendencies.
Then, as he was looking at my latest tangle, my husband said he wanted to color it. Which, of course, I wouldn't let him because it was my art. Hello? But it inspired an idea. I decided to make a coloring book for him for Christmas (which I did and made several for my kids and a few friends, too; I have these in a pdf file and you are welcome to it if you want it, just shoot me your email address). That's when I bought some linen paper (because I love the texture of it) and got out the clipboard and started drawing on 8 1/2 x 11 paper.
I don't think this is the traditional journey to Zentangle, but who knows. Zentangle is an art form that started around 2005ish when a former Buddhist monk was watching his artist wife add detailing to a piece she was working on. She described what she felt as she did it and he told her it was just like meditation. They worked together to create a simple system so others could enjoy a similar experience. Their tag line is, "Anything is possible one stroke at a time." They also say there are no mistakes, just opportunities to discover new patterns and go in unexpected directions.
They teach their method to others who then become Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZTs). There are CZTs all over the world, although there isn't one close by me.
Zentangle is done in black and white, with shading (although there are variations on this and lots of people add color). It is done with pigment pens (so many to choose from, but the Sharpies worked just fine for me for a long time and were the least expensive option). It is taught on tiles (3.5 inch squares of paper sold by the company). The tiles now come in white, black, and Renaissance (which are tan). They also have black and white circles. These are all about the size of a drink coaster. They also have black and white ATC-sized cards.
Anyone who has done paper crafts knows you can buy all the stuff from the main company and get great stuff but pay a lot or buy similar stuff at your local craft store and pay a lot less. It's fun to have some genuine Zentangle supplies, but not necessary.
(Yes, I know my "little bit" about Zentangle is turning into a "lotta bit." But I want to keep it in one post. Deal with it.)
You start with a string, which is basically just a line of any shape. Then you use the Zentangle patterns to fill in the spaces this line created. The line is your skeleton. The patterns are the muscles and skin. The shading is the beautiful clothing. Or something like that.
Most of the patterns have step-outs available. This is a step by step illustration of how to do what they did. There are so many patterns that look complex but are so simple (like Paradox). The best resource for tangle patterns is TanglePatterns.com. I have spent a lot of time there doing things like this:
|A page of patterns from my sketchbook. Make sure you include the name of the pattern in case you need to look it up again. Also, if I figure anything out as I draw it, I make note of it next to the pattern. Because I am old and won't remember.|
I'm still finding my way, deciding what works for me and what doesn't. I think my art will continue to expand. It's been very enjoyable for me.
And before you tell me you can't do it, let me tell you this. My husband has started tangling. My can't-draw-a-straight-line-or-a-circle-either-for-that-matter husband. And he loves it. His tangles turn out very different from mine, but they are still cool and it's very satisfying and soothing for him. And he doesn't have the same perfectionist issues I do, so he tends to experiment more. His are very creative.
If you think you'd like to try but want someone next to you to walk you through it (and are in my general area), let me know and we'll find some time to get together so I can show you the basics that I've learned. I am absolutely NOT a CZT. I am just a self-taught novice who is willing to share what she's learned.
I have added a tab, Tangled Art, under my blog header. For now, this is where I will put pictures of the pieces I create. Hopefully, I will find a better option for this eventually.
I am participating this week in two Zentangle based challenges.
First, the I Am the Diva Weekly Challenge #152 -- Aquafleur:
|This is the first time I've drawn a tangle in anything other than black. It was fun. Plus, I love Widgets and wanted to try making a Widget the center of a tangle.|
|I know Aquafleur is all about the look of a water flower, but to me it always looks like a ribbon around something. I wanted to try something other than a flower.|
|I started building this from the center out. Soon it was this fun twisty pillar shape. And whenever I see Fassett done randomly, I see these star shaped flowers. I wanted to bring a few out with color.|
These two challenges were the first time I've worked on the 3.5" squares. It was fun.