Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 20 “Oysteroid”

This tangle, with it’s use of heavy lines for shadow/dimension is just up my street. Or so I thought. I ended up experimenting with how the thicker lines can change whether the layer appears to be growing up from or digging down into the page.

I enjoyed varying the inny or outy nature of each layer in the pattern, but I’m not entirely sure I’ve got the shadow and highlight right for the innies!

I’m going to put it down to sheer tiredness. I had a poor night’s sleep again. I’ve been up since before 5am and I’ve done nearly a day’s work already, and I still have more to do. But first I really do need to go sleep for a while. I’m just about falling asleep at my desk.

Template Thursday … on a Wednesday?

Wednesday is the day give a sneak peek of this week’s colouring page/template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I’ve only done part of the template so far, and the video is in real time and I try to vocalise my thought processes as I draw.

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 19 “Oopsmie by Hanny Nura

Oopsmie, by Hanny Nura CZT, is an organic tangle that reminds me of a feather. I’m glad I created many variations on the Oopsmie theme here. I gained a better understanding of this tangle, even if I haven’t worked out how it really can work for me yet.

I think the key for me, as I look at the sketchbook page on the screen, is to start with drawing the ‘seed’ – it’s shape and size – and then work from that out. I need some more time with this tangle to explore that idea more.

Today may very well be the perfect day for such a journey. It’s wet and grey out. I’m tired after a poor night’s sleep and early waking. I’m not up for the challenge of working on templates for ‘Adorable Dogs’ today. I need do to comforting art that gently challenges me to stretch my visual vocabulary.

The grey, wet, gloomy day isn’t helping my energy levels or mood. I think more tea is required, lots more tea!

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 18 “Moonpie”


Moonpie is a tangle pattern by Zentangle Inc. It’s based on crescent moon, another pattern by Zentangle Inc. In keeping with that, I divided the triangular segment up in the way that crescent moon is drawn – in circular arcs. Next, the addition of patterns to the segments.

This motif is something that is a familiar feature of my art, usually nestled betwixt arches or other elements of the design. The variations are endless.

Shadow and highlight, and/or colour really helps to bring these drawings to life.

I thought it would be fun to add stems to some of the moonpies. Some end up looking like flowers, others like very architectural seedpods! And, of course, I started the whole page with a couple of wobbly moonpie pies!

Matt graphite pencils?

I have long disliked using the humble drawing pencil to add shading to drawings. It’s also rather reflective, giving a sheen to the drawing that obscures the pen lines, no matter how carefully the graphite is blended out.

Towards the end of last week, a video popped up You-Tube for some pencils that claim to be matt graphite pencils. These are the Pitt Graphite Matt pencils by Faber-Castell. I watched the video and the review for them seemed to be fab. So, I had to get some to try.

In the same video, Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black pencils were mentioned as having less shine than traditional graphite drawing pencils. So, I thought I’d try those out too.

The result? They are a lot less shiny than traditional graphite pencils! They don’t blend out as far as traditional pencils do, which is fine by me as it really helps to keep the shading in the area you want it.

There’s still a little shine with them; graphite is a shiny material. When I was a science teacher, it was always surprising to myself and my students how slippery a piece of shiny-grey graphite feels. It really is shiny too. So that doesn’t surprise me. So, it’s not the graphite that’s less shiny itself, it’s what is included in the mix.

Carbon and charcoal pencils are duller, but messier and impossible to erase if you need to. I think this may be one of the ingredients in the pencil ‘leads’ in both makes. The Mars Lumograph Black also seem waxier, though I’m not sure of that yet.

I’ve only been using these for a couple of days, and so far I much prefer them to traditional graphite pencils. Time and use will tell if they become my go-to drawing pencils for shading.

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 16 “Ecstatic” by Jem Miller

I wondered what I was going to be able to do with this tangle, which is essentially a series of zig=zags that become broken and smaller so that they seem to be wearing ‘hats’.

Surprisingly, I found it a really interesting tangle to work with, especially with the addition of shadow and highlights. They really bring the tangle alive.

It is, however, fun to add ‘dangle’ elements to the peaks of the design, both above and below, or ornaments that act like finials atop roofs.

I think there’s a lot more exploring of this pattern.

Inktober Tangles 2021 Day 16 “Moonesque” and Saturday Sketchbook – My week in art.


Today’s tangle pattern is the lovely grid based tangle ‘Moonesque’ by Leslee Feiwus CZT.

Grid based tangles are often my favourites, though during Inktober I’ve discovered that I really like other tangles too.

All grid based tangles are full of opportunities for variations, and so a page full of them was the most natural thing for me to do. And there’s only a few possible variations here.

Sketchbook Saturday – My week in art.

It’s become my habit to take a look back at my week in art with you via a video. It’s a really good way for me to reflect on my recent art and insights gained about myself and my arty journey.

This week, I think it’s discovering how valuable it is to work on variations of a motif or pattern. This aids in understanding the design, but also leads to variations that, perhaps. are more my style. I really think I’m going to do this with more of my favourite motifs and patterns going forward too. The result could be both a library of inspiration for myself, and a regular art practice too.

I wondered if people would like me to share that daily (or almost daily) practice with them, explaining how I draw various patterns and motifs. If it’s something you’d like to see, leave me a comment!

It’s also been a surprise that I’ve enjoyed drawing motifs and patterns on a larger scale than I would usually. That gives me much more space, both on the page and in my mind, to explore and experiment. That’s saying something from me, who tends towards the small and highly detailed, fussy kind of line drawings!

Discovering that using graphite pencils for shading can be useful and attractive is another surprise of the past couple of days. I’m not entirely convinced it will be something I use regularly in any work I do; I think it’s likely to depend on my mood at the time as well as the colours/media upon which I add it. Still, it was a surprise!

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Days 14 and 15

C-Knots by Valli Ganti CZT

This is an absolutely lovely tangle. Curves that are interwoven. Those delightful c-shaped arcs that create fan shapes that remind me of ginko leaves. The finished tangles remind me so much of medieval brooches.

It took me a little while to work out how the placement of the starting grid influences the final shape of the pattern. That was an interesting way to give my analytical mind a bit of a work out.

I did struggle finding different ways to complete the design, though I have started on a second page in my sketchbook just for this tangle. I also haven’t tried turning it into a border or repeating pattern…yet. As much of my signature art includes motifs rather than patterns, it’ll be a really useful pattern going forward I think.

Ing by Zentangle Inc

This is a rather angular pattern, which are not my favourite types. About the only thing that can be done with Ink is to fill the triangular spaces with patterns. That’s what I chose to do, not sticking to one pattern on each ‘ing’, but different ones to see how they worked (or didn’t) in the spaces.

I did, however, try to use a wavy line rather than a zig zag as the foundation of the pattern. It actually worked out, which surprised me. Whereas the zig-zag ing can look like folded paper, the sinuous version is much more like a ribbon, depending on the patterns that are placed in the sections.

I took this pattern as an opportunity to work on shading and highlight. I could kick myself with the lines of gel pen I used as stark highlights on this page. Goodness knows what I was thinking! Most probably not thinking is the more correct statement. Still, it’s only by doing can I learn, eventually, about what works and what doesn’t for me.

Some reflections…

I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying drawing the patterns much bigger than I would usually do. Despite my reticence about using other patterns to fill spaces, I think I’m learning that it just depends on what pattern you choose to fill the space.

In the ING wavy variation, I really like the nested tear-drops towards the bottom of the pattern. They really seen to give a lot of volume to that part of the design. I’m sure I could use nested triangles in the ziggy-zaggy version. However, I’m not sure the effect would be quite as dramatic.

Previously, I’ve used my finger to smudge white Gelly roll lines, which gives a softer edged highlight that is brighter than white charcoal. Today, I didn’t do that. I wish I had, or at least used broken lines or dotty lines.

Surprisingly, I’m using a 2B pencil more and more for shading. Today, I didn’t seem to have that ‘it looks grimy and I don’t like it’ thought. Maybe it’s just my mood today that appreciates that kind of shading. It’s certainly useful for adding shadow around motifs/patterns if nothing else.

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 13 “Spynes”

I love spirals, I really do. They tend to feature a lot in my abstract drawings. So, “Spynes”, by Heidi Kay CZT, was going to be a pattern I would enjoy.

Working on variations though … I’ve got a few, but, not as many as for other tangles. Shadow and highlight is the key to increasing the dimensionality of this particular pattern.

I could’ve done square-ish, rectangular-ish, hexagon-ish, or any other shape-ish for this pattern, but I kept it to a vaguely circle spiral. Instead, I focused on how I could change the ‘spynes’. I also changed the direction of the ‘spynes’ to pointing inwards. I have to say, those variations reminded me of the Sarlacc of the Great Pit of Carkoon in the Dune Sea of Tattooine in Return of the Jedi – the sand-pit dwelling monster that Jabba the Hutt attempted to throw Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca into. Well not Jabba himself personally; he gave the order for it to be done.

I may not have been quite so creative as I am just so darned tired and not feeling too well in the digestive system. I’ve been awake much of the night. It’s now just after 8:30am here in the UK and I’m about ready to go and try to get some sleep before I tackle Wednesday’s task of creating a new colouring template for the facebook group. Yes, sleep is a very good idea, and soon. Very, very soon.

Inktober Tangles 2021 – Day 12 “Yumemi”

Pretty flowers, yeuchy colours.

Yumemi is a lovely floral tangle pattern by Shie Naritomi. I enjoyed drawing not just the original form of the pattern, but working with variations too. Things went downhill when I started to add colour.

I know I used a piece of cut ‘n’ dry foam to add distress ink to the paper. The colour looked as soft as it does when I use make-up brushes to add distress ink. I discovered today that cut ‘n’ dry foam lays down a lot more ink, and it coloured everything.

In the flowers that look grungier, it actually reminded me of the effect you get when you use water with black Quink fountain pen ink. But not quite as colourful. I used graphitint pencils and a waterbrush for these flowers.

I switched to chalk pastels for the more colourful ones, which were a bit better but … well.

As unhappy as I am with the colours, I can learn from the process, even if it seems to be a repeating pattern for me where colour is concerned. And this reminds me of the value of working in a sketchbook – the permission to experiment, explore, make art that I’m not happy with, and even record it in writing for future reference.

“Fengle” | Inktober Tangles 2021, Day 11

Fengle, a tangle pattern by Zentangle Inc, is a tangle I’ve found difficult to draw with any kind of success in the past. I just couldn’t seem to get my head around it.

So, today I watched Zen Linea’s video showing how to draw fengle. The pieces of the puzzle clicked into place and this higgledy-piggledy page of explorations resulted.

I discovered that it really is a lovely pattern to draw, and many, many variations are possible, including the direction in which the second stroke is added. I’m not entirely sure this is all that different, but the way the ‘leaves’ seem to overlap feels different and looks more exaggerated. Of course that could just be how I drew those second lines.

I tried to use individual ‘leaves’ to create linear borders, not all that successfully. However, sometimes you just have to go with an idea and see where it leads. As I’m typing, my mind is coming up with ideas of how I could make that work.

I’m not a big fan of putting other tangle patterns inside a tangle pattern. However, I was surprised; the large space inside the leaves lends itself nicely to this technique.

Yesterday, I did start a second page of hirari variations. Today, I can feel some fengling around being done to fill another sketchbook page!

Inktober Tangles 2021 and an Entanglement

Inktober Tangles 2021| Day 10 “Hirari” by Midori Furuhashi CZT

It’s Day 10 already, of October and Inktober! In the past, Inktober has felt, after the initial surge of excitement and energy, like a chore to be done. Except two years ago with the skull prompts and this year with the Zentangle patterns.

It’s hard to explain why this is. I think with the skulls, it’s because my scientific background has an interest in such things, and I often combined the drawings with mandalas. Mandalas are something I love to draw, though haven’t dome many in recent months. Of course, I draw upon many patterns and motifs to create mandalas, some of which are zentangle-ish in nature.

With the tangle pattern challenge, it’s a simple pattern each day, but it’s exploring variations and developing my own style that is fascinating to me. I’ve found the creation of one (at least) sketchbook page of variations on a theme an excellent way for me to approach the challenge. Not only can I look at different ways of drawing the tangle and keep it’s essence, I can also experiment with different media to add colour, shadow and highlight. These are all things that will spill over into my usual kinds of artwork.

Hirari was a bit of a challenge. I’ve struggled with drawing it. However, I’ve worked out that the addition of shadow and highlight is what brings this tangle to life. I wanted to see how I could arrange the motif to create both floral and border patterns. The floral patterns are relatively easy; the borders not quite so. But by drawing them, more ideas come as the issues with the drawing are identified and ways to overcome them are thought of. I’ve got work to do with the borders, that’s for sure!

I also liked the way the furls of the petals looked by themselves – rather leafy or frondy. So I made a note of them too. I think they’d work well in patterns of their own.

Talking of experimenting with different media… To add colour to this page, I used some tinted charcoal pencils from Derwent. And I’m well pleased with them. The don’t spread as far as chalk pastel pencils or graphite pencils. That means it’s much easier to control how far shadow or highlight extends. They can be layered to increase contrast, both with the same colour or other shades. In doing this, they actually blend rather well too. Once encouraged gently into the fibres of the paper with a paper stump or tortillon, they don’t smudge easily either! Oh, and they don’t have a shiny aspect to them like graphite does.

The colours of the charcoal pencils are all rather earthy and muted, which is what you’d expect from charcoal. These kind of colours really appeal to me at this time, and they’ll work well with the Graphitint pencils, also by Derwent.

So, I’m really pleased with my flash of inspiration that led me to them.


This drawing, on the right, was a pleasure for me to indulge in. It’s a typically ‘Angela’ entangled drawing with plenty of detail and characteristic curves and swirls and arches. Some tangle patterns have found their way into the artwork, which is to be expected as I’m focused on such things at this time.

My only worry now is whether I add shadow/higlight with the charcoal pencils or leave it as it is. I will scan it in before I make any decision. I may try to do that digitally and keep the original pristine, for now. Shadows, at the very least, are needed to bring out the layers and volume of the various elements of the design. But this is for later on.