Zentangle Patterns Aquafleur, Pepper and Dra-wings

View the accompanying YouTube video by clicking on this link.

Today seems to have disappeared. I have been lost in arty pursuits since around 10:30. It’s now 14:49. The video that goes with the drawings has finally uploaded. The three drawings I started in the video are now all completed and shown here.

It’s actually been a lovely way to spend a Saturday. It’s beautifully sunny out, but there’s a coolness in the air that is absolutely delightful and so reminiscent of many early Septembers in the past. All I want to do is curl up in bed and listen to the sounds of the world outside; a car every now and then, the varied sounds of a rugby match, the twitter of birds and the clattering of jackdaws.

All of this has been a lovely soundtrack to do my art to! And I suppose I should talk about that.

Yesterday, I took a look at the tangle pattern Aquafleur. As I was drawing it, the way I made pen strokes reminded me of two other tangle patterns – Pepper and Dra-wings (or Drawings). So, I decided to look at them in today’s video.

One of my YouTube subscribers had left a comment saying they weren’t sure how to get their Aquafleur to spiral inwards like mine did. So, I started the video by showing how to do that.

And it was rather fortuitous that I was asked about that as it meant I had an example of Aquafleur to compare to Pepper and Drawings! The similarity is in how the various segments are shaped. But by some simple adjustments, you end up with three different end results.

Although I left each drawing incomplete at the end of the video, I did show in the Pepper and Drawings tiles how I was planning to add shade and light to them. I wasn’t even sure I would complete the Aquafleur, but I am glad I did.

I’m not sure whether I have a favourite out of the trio of tiles. Each has its own charm and allure.

Zentangle Tangle Pattern “Aquafleur”

To watch the accompanying tutorial video on YouTube, just click on this link.

Aquafleur is a lovely, organic tangle pattern that creates layers as you draw. The result is reminiscent of a flower, coral, seashell or sea plant. It’s also a bold, high-contrast tangle with a lot of dimension. It’s not a tangle pattern I can remember tackling, and the version you see above is actually my second attempt! I misunderstood the Aquafleur deconstruction by Zentangle Inc.

Like most tangle patterns, Aquafleur is quite easy to construct once you’ve made sense of the pattern’s step out (deconstruction).

I used a graphite pencil and a paper stump to add shadow to the purks (nestled orbs). Highlights I added using white charcoal on the purks and a white Gellyroll on the black sections.

But this design needed something a bit more. So, I got a dip pen and a bottle of gold acrylic ink and added stripes of gold to the Aquafleur. Then, I added a few sprigs of golden leafy loveliness to the design and called it done.

I rather like how this has turned out. I particularly like the opulence of the gold against the very graphic black and white. I decided to leave this motif and the sprigs as they were, nothing else added to fill the piece of paper. I could add a drop shadow around the Aquafleur to lift it up. However, I like it just as it is!

Template Thursyay!

Thursday is Template Thursyay! Most weeks, it’s the day I release a new colouring page exclusively to the members of Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans Facebook group.

This week, I’ve designed a mandala full of layers and patterns. I’ve chosen a limited colour palette of soft greens, pinks, reds, oranges and browns; a softer, calmer selection of colours that have that late summer, early autumn feel.

I love drawing mandalas. Seeing the repeating pattern building up is both fascinating and relaxing. Adding colour to bring out the layers and breathe life into the design is a magical process. I’ve not done much with high contrast to bring out the dimension today. Gentleness is the approach needed today both to my art and to myself.

I find it fascinating how my colour choices are often softer, more muted and in limited palettes nowadays. It does make a change from the riotous colours that I so often used not all that long ago, and still do when it comes to the more whimsical and cute colouring books that I create for Creative Haven.

Seeing how others choose to add colour to the colouring page designs I create is also endlessly fascinating and varied.

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.

My A3 Drawing Board, side 1.

Over the past two or three weeks, I’ve been gradually decorating my A3 drawing board. The board is made from compressed wood chips and has a dull, pale brown colour. That means I chose colours that would work well on this brown.

I drew the black lines with a Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen, which is now almost empty of ink! The brush tip is a tad worn but functioning well all the same.

I added colour with Arteza EverBlend marker pens. The white highlights were added with a white Posca pen.

There are only two things left for me to do. Firstly, use a spray varnish on this side to protect the drawing. The second is to decorate the other side too!

It has taken me many hours of work, some of them when I wake in the middle of the night with my mind whirring. Eventually, my mind calms down, and I can get back to sleep. Lying in bed, tossing and turning, is useless to me. I much prefer to do some intuitive art like this. Something I don’t need to think about, just let it happen, and that in itself quietens my mind down.

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!

A flowy, abstract pen drawing.

Click on this link to view the accompanying YouTube Draw With Me tutorial video.

I was asked to look at the absolutely beautiful work by Angel_Draws on Instagram, use the work as inspiration, and explain how to create similar texture and volume.

I chose to use an extra fine Twisbi Eco fountain pen. The paper is Moss toned paper by Fabriano, which measures approximately 12.5cm square (approx 5″). For the shade, I used a Prismacolour Ebony graphite pencil. A General’s white charcoal pencil was my choice for the highlights.

I’ve had a go and done it my way, that’s for sure. I enjoyed creating lines that give the illusion of volume in the drawing. Adding shade and light really brought the appearance of folded space out.

It’s also complex, intricate, convoluted, and maelstrom-like, reminding me of roiling, billowing clouds. The textures of clouds are fascinating to me at this time. I’ve seen some amazing ones recently.

I’m not sure if this drawing is finished or whether I’ll add more of the frilly stuff around it. Only time and a good night’s sleep, or several, will tell!

Exploring Stylised Flower Motifs

This morning I wanted to do something fairly simple, soothing and relaxing. So, I chose to look at some variations of a stylised flower motif.

The version I started with is in the centre bottom of the design.

I used various Distress Watercolour Pencils and a water brush to add colour.

The white and gold highlights and patterns were added using gold and white acrylic ink and a dip pen.

Finally, the more intense shade was added using a graphite pencil and a paper stump. I even put some graphite around the gold foliage surrounding the design.

Overall, I’m quite happy with this one. I like the mostly monochrome blue/teal colour scheme on the grey tile. I wasn’t sure bout the gold patterns, but now it’s finished, I think It’s turned out just fine.

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.