Exploring Triangular Zentangle Fragments

Click on this link to watch the accompanying YouTube drawing tutorial.

This morning I just wanted to mess around with some fragments, and triangular ones seemed the way to go! ‘Fragments’ is the Zentangle term for the cells that make up a repeating pattern.

I started with a simple fragment of a circle (orb in Zentangle-speak) inside a triangle. All of these fragments have orbs as part of them, and I’m not sure if I’ve done many of them before.

I’ve written it before, and no doubt will again, that exploring both fragments and tangle patterns is an absorbing activity. No matter how often I look at one particular fragment, there are endless variations that can result. Some may be of use in a ‘reticulum’ (Zentangle-ese for the grid upon which a pattern is formed), others may just be for the experience of being curious and seeing what happens if I do x, y or z…

This is also a great warm-up activity. It gets my hand-eye coordination and fine motor control working well. My creative brain gets flexed and exercised too. It is also an opportunity to try out new drawing tools and media.

Another big benefit of this practice is that there is no pressure to complete a finished artwork. There’s the implied permission to make mistakes, for things to not work out. Indeed, I learn more from those that don’t work out or where a mistake is made than anything that works out well.

I’m always amazed by how many fragments can be made from a simple start. In this case a circle within a triangle.

Narfello – A Zentangle Tangle Pattern Exploration.

Carrying on with the flowy pattern theme, I explore the Zentangle tangle pattern “Narfello” today.

This pattern is based on wavy lines and is easy to construct. The fun lies in all the variations that are possible. The first three steps in setting the tangle pattern up give an unusual grid that can be filled in so very, very many ways.

I always enjoy exploring patterns. It is, for me, a way of practising creativity, giving myself permission to draw without the end product being as nearly perfect as possible. It’s about trying things out to see what happens; if I don’t like what I’ve done, it’s no biggie! I can learn from it or, even better, work on how to change what I’ve done to make it something I like.

It doesn’t matter how many times I explore a pattern or fragment (the basic cell of a repeating pattern); there are always more things to discover and to use. It is quite addictive at times, that’s for sure!

Exploring Zentangle Pattern ‘Bucky’ and some organic motifs

Click on this link to watch the accompanying #DrawWithMe video on YouTube.

This morning I had no idea what I wanted to draw, so I visited the random tangle generator on tanglelist.com, which suggested Bucky.

Bucky is an official Zentangle pattern that I’ve never drawn before. I had to look up the deconstruction, which you can find on Zentangle.com. So, in typical Angela style, I threw myself in at the deep end by using a ‘crazy’ asymmetric grid (the middle section in the artwork). It worked out fine in the end, but not with a few mis-strokes!

I thought I’d add some organic patterns/motifs to balance out the rather geometric Bucky pattern.

To add shade, I used an Iron Green Inktense pencil with a water brush to produce some colour gradients. I really wasn’t at all tidy and controlled about this. And you’d never really have known that if I’d not said it! I tried embracing the fluidity and random nature of a watery medium and it worked out just fine.

I used a white charcoal pencil and a paper stump/tortillon for the highlights. That meant I had to re-ink the black hexagons, but that was fine.

Finally, I drew Bucky in a more regular grid at the bottom. I didn’t film this part, but it worked out just fine, I think.

Indeed, I’m fairly happy with the overall result. I like the monochrome colour scheme; it gives coherence. The one thing I haven’t done is add shadow and highlight to the narrow bands between the sections.

Exploring a square Zentangle fragment

Click on this link to view the accompanying video on YouTube.

Time seems to fly when I get engrossed in a task. Today, that was exploring a simple Zentangle fragment – a circle in a square.

In Zentangle terms, a fragment is the basic unit of a repeating pattern, whether repeated as is or rotated/reflected.

It is always a lot of fun to see what kinds of fragments I can develop using the chosen one to spark some creativity.

It’s always lovely, too, to work on toned paper, in this case, it’s from Fabriano and is in the colour ‘Clay’. Whenever I use toned paper, I realise I’m drawing in shadow and light; the paper is the mid-tone. This is why I love to colour plain paper with Distress Inks or NeoColor II water-soluble wax crayons. The colour immediately becomes the backdrop for dark and light and a strong contrast ‘twixt the two extremes.

In art, chiaroscuro is the term used for the use of high contrast between light and dark in a composition. In drawing, this is affected by using a coloured background, and black and white ink or media are used to create the drawing.

As I was typing this, I realized I’ve long loved working in this way. Since my early days of exploring my artistic nature that started some 20 years ago, I discovered I loved to use coloured paper with white and a black or much darker tone of the paper to draw with. It was far more fascinating to me to draw in light and shade rather than tones of grey graphite on white paper. It was my chosen way to work when I did some life drawing. When I go out and about sketching, I will colour the pages in my sketchbook with Distress Inks and use black and white pens/pencils to draw on them. The shapes of shadows and highlights fascinate me; everything becomes very architectural.

I’ve often mentioned the only oil paintings I’ve ever done and how three-dimensional they appear. When people see them for the first time, they’ll touch them because they think they are dimensional and are always surprised to find out they are totally flat. The high contrast I favour in my work creates the illusion of volume.

This little journey down the pathways of memory has allowed me to make some connections. I’m smiling as some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is me fall into place, clicking together satisfyingly.

There are times when I have to work with black pen on white paper, but there are many times when I can choose what colour paper to use. And going forward, I think much of my entangled drawing that isn’t for colouring books will be done on toned paper.

Rectangular Zentangle Fragment Explorations

Click on this link to view the accompanying video on YouTube.

This was a nice way to start my day! Exploring fragments and creating fragments is always a fascinating process. I never quite know what will come from my mind onto the paper. Some fragments work out, others don’t. Either way, it is still of value, even if just exercising hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and the creativity ‘muscle’!

I can see some of these fragments working best as individual motifs. Others would work well in a reticulum – the zentangle name for a grid.

I still have quite a few rectangles to fill, so I will post them as a resource when that’s done.

Talking of resources… I now have quite a few sketchbooks and loose pages filled with explorations of fragments. I need to start organising them all so I can refer to them for inspiration. Or do I? I mean, it’s not a huge issue to just sit and do some of these fragments until I find one I’d like to use in a drawing. I worry about forgetting things, not using them or referring to them. Perhaps the value in all of this is to get a memory hoard of shapes and ways of putting patterns together, which can be drawn upon when needed.

Yes, a memory hoard, whether conscious or stored in the subconscious, is so important and trusting that all these things will be there, somewhere, ready to be used in different, unusual and even unique ways.

“Drawing” on vellum paper with ‘Scena’ variations.

Click on this link to view the accompanying video on YouTube.

Like many of you, I have been watching Zentangle’s Project Pack 18 videos. For this project pack, they’ve included vellum tiles, which they’ve called Translu-zen-cy. It took me a while to remember that I had some things in my stash – vellum, ball styluses for working on vellum, and past experiences drawing on vellum in the Pergamano style!

So, I had a bit of a faff around with vellum on Saturday and Sunday. This morning, I decided to share this with a YouTube video.

Drawing on vellum is fairly easy, but it’s not without its tricksy elements. First, you need a surface to work on with a little bit of ‘give’ so that the ball tool, a ballpoint pen that has run out, a fine-pointed knitting needle, or similar can emboss the vellum. This embossing is done on what will be the reverse of the artwork; the marks appear much more opaque white on the front. The darker the surface, the better, as it’s easier to see the marks you’re making on the reverse side.

You don’t need to use a lot of pressure to emboss the vellum. In fact, a series of lighter strokes, giving the vellum a chance to rest and relax back to being flat, is better than using heavy strokes. This will minimise the curling of the vellum, but it will still need to be put under a heavy book for a couple of hours, or days, to flatten it out. So it’s not something that can be completed in one go.

You can always tell which is the front; the lines feel raised because they are! Also, they are a more opaque white. I always check that I’m embossing on the reverse side before wielding the ball stylus with any kind of intent.

To make the ball stylus run smoothly across the vellum, making it easier to have a light hand, you can rub the vellum with a tumble drier sheet and the ends of the ball tools. It also makes your vellum smell nice for a while. Not that the vellum has a smell anyway.

Once the drawing is finished, it can be coloured, again on the reverse, mounted on coloured paper or card, or a combination of these. Metallic highlights can be added to the front if desired.

It has been a nice exploration of this technique and the Zentangle tangle pattern ‘Scena’. I’ve not finished drawing the design; the vellum is currently resting under my cutting mat so it can flatten out. But I’m going to film the process. Then, I’ll look at ways of adding colour to vellum in a third video in the series. That’s if I share the process of drawing the rest of the design.

I’m no expert on Pergamano, but drawing with other tools and surfaces is fun.

#DrawWithMe – Exploring some square Zentangle pattern fragments

Click on this link to view the accompanying video tutorial on YouTube

Earlier today, I just wanted to explore a simple Zentangle Pattern fragment, or two. I started with two square fragments, each with a circle in the centre. One had a diagonal cross, the other vertical/horizontal. And I went from there to create some more ornate versions of them.

I never know where this kind of exercise is going to go, but it is always interesting and some pleasant kinds of fragments result.

These are just a few fragments I came up with during the course of the video; I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the possible variations.

This exercise is good for flexing your creative ‘muscles’, warming up hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and playing around with colour, shade and highlight. Also, it’s perfect for relaxing, taking a break from all that is happening in this world. Even if for just a short while.

#DrawWithMe – exploration of some triangular Zentangle fragments

Although I didn’t tackle all of the triangular fragments in today’s video, I enjoyed sharing some explorations, along with the little bit of an overall pattern that came about almost accidentally!

I’d almost forgotten how much fun it is to use a basic shape and see how it can be turned into a fragment of a larger pattern. Then, create variations on this theme. Some of the fragments are from the Zentangle Primer Vol. 1, others are variations that resulted.

Flowers and a Zentangle pattern variation

Video to go with the variations on the right.
Video to go with the flowers and variation on the left.

It’s blessedly cooler this morning as I write this blog. There’s been a little rain, but not enough to help out nature. We have the potential of thunderstorms and torrential rain at some point today. I do hope we get some thunderstorms – I love nature’s fireworks and drama! Rain is fine, but torrential rain can cause huge problems.

Anyhoo, to arty things. There are two drawings in the photo. I completed the one on the right on Sunday and filmed a video tutorial. It explores a new fragment shared on day one of Zentangle Project Pack 18. It’s always fun to explore patterns; I get to understand the pattern more and discover variations.

One of those variations came out in my sketchbook on Sunday evening. I used the ideas of the fragment as a way of filling space. What resulted looked a lot like the tangle pattern Diva Dance. you can see this in the drawing to the right in the image above.

It never ceases to amaze me how patterns can segue one into another as variations are explored. Everything, even tangle patterns, is interconnected and related by not that many degrees of variation!

Of course, I filmed the drawing of the flower and tangle pattern tile as a video tutorial. Hopefully, slowly and clearly enough that it’s easy to draw along with me. I hope you give it a go!

Exploring Mark Making and Pattern #DrawWithMe

Click on this link to view today’s video on YouTube.

I had a lot of fun with this sketchbook page. It’s well out of my ‘comfort-zone’ as there are absolutely no black lines, not even the lines that define the basic shapes.

This is inspired by illustrator Kate Sutton, whose Domestika course I started watching yesterday. And there’s another project I have on the go that is inspiring me to explore this kind of drawing.

I’ve tried this before, but felt so uncomfortable with it that I gave up very quickly. Today, I was determined not to use any black lines at all. Instead, I picked a colour palette of just four colours of Arteza EverBlend markers. For each colour, I chose a similar one from my set of Zig Writer pens.

I started by creating the collage of simple shapes using the markers, overlapping them so that the colours mixed. I was careful not to mix the pink and green; I didn’t want to make mud!

Once I was happy with the basic design, I used the Zig writers to add patterns made from simple marks. To begin with, this felt really awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain wrong. However, the more I did, the easier it became, and the more I liked what was happening. I’m so glad that I persevered!

I dug out a white gel pen to add some brighter, lighter marks and to play with the ‘stitching’ to the top right. The idea that I was using pen ‘stitching’ to connect shapes and patterns amused me.

Using the white gel pen reminded me I had other gel pens to use, and use them I did.

I love the translucency of the marker pens and the way that the patterned shapes seem to float. The use of monochrome colours in these shapes, along with white, just gives an airy, delicate feel to them. I can now see the value of this way of using no black line. I have a lot more exploring and experimenting to do. My mind is ticking over how I can make use of this in a project I’m developing at the moment.

As eager as I am to continue my explorations, I have an errand to do first. But when I return home, well, I’m going to try out some of my ideas both on paper and digitally and see where this takes me.