Today’s tangle pattern is “Hollibaugh” by Zentangle Inc. It forms the white ‘beams’ that overlap and form the gaps between them. Instead of adding patterns to the beams, which is what I would usually do, I decided to add patterns to the gaps. In some of these gaps, I added Kwazeela, a lovely leafy tangle pattern by Eni Oken CZT.
I drew all of this design in today’s video, but I added the colour and highlights while the video was uploading and processing. To add colour, I used Ohuhu markers and a white Gelly Roll pen to add the highlights.
It was a nice way to spend a couple or so hours while I recover from a bout of tiredness, headache and upset digestive system as side effects of my ‘flu jab on Saturday.
Each had its own challenges, but I feel I have a few options to work with when I choose to use these patterns.
I worked in black and white, using a Pitt matt graphite pencil to add shade. That is unusual for me; usually, I like to work with colour.
Although not every section has had shade added, nor has the line weight been adjusted, I’m happy with what I produced. It will be added to my sketchbook, which is fast becoming a repository of ideas and inspiration!
However, those curveballs helped me to better understand the tangle. They also helped me discover some interesting variations and a beautiful flower bud too!
I tried adding some texture lines and patterns to the petals, but they just didn’t feel right. However, using colour to add shadow and highlight worked well. To do this, I used Inktense pencils and a water brush. They reacted in some surprising, but nice, ways with the Distress Inks (Picked Raspberry, Seedless Preserves and Villainous Potion) I’d used to add colour to the paper.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.