Thursday, July 28, 2016


Circles - It's an interesting way to start a design. This was the challenge this week and I wasn't sure how I wanted to approach this. I remembered how much fun I had with the stacked challenge a few months ago so I decided to revisit that only with circles. I hunted through the stash of papers I have in my studio and found this assortment of neutral colors. (The black is an official Zendala tile for size reference.) I tried out different ways to put the circles and ended up liking this off center placement.

I wasn't sure which way to go with the tangles so I just started with whatever came to mind.  Then I added some gold paint along with the shading. I think it actually shows up in this picture for a change!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Meandering Echoism

Echoism is one of my go to tangles. It sneaks into many of my pieces including the post from last week. When it became the focus tangle of one of my Facebook groups this week I wanted to try it in different ways than I normally use it. 

I started with a meandering line for a string in pencil. I then added echoism in a very random manner - more or less following the pencil line I started with. I added a variation on Henna drum and some auras. Shading / Highlighting completed the piece.

Which do you prefer? Black or white?

A late addition to the post here - someone asked me where the echoism was in this tile so I hope this picture explains it better. The picture on the left show the way we usually start basic echoism. The one on the right has the pencil line that I used as a string and then a more freeform echoism.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

tangling while traveling

I love to tangle while I travel. I always have the basic supplies in my bag and can pull them out anyplace, anytime. I was on a plane when I did this one. A plane has very limited space but the tray table is just fine for tangling. The last time I tangled on a plane the tween girl that was sitting beside me was fascinated with what I was doing. After I finished the shading and signed my name I handed it to her as a gift. You should have seen the smile on her face. Of course, I took the opportunity to tell her mom all about Zentangle.

On this tile I started with a very simple string. I don't know quite how it happened, but all the tangles made me think of traveling and movement. They are; Ditto, Schway, Twing, and Echoism.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Imagine Peace

It makes me so sad to see the craziness in this world of late. I don't understand how such hatred toward people different than each other has gotten so out of hand. I certainly don't have the answers so instead I will try to let peace begin with me and ask the almighty for help.

My artwork this week uses a gold metallic paint from Finetec. I wish I could figure out how to photograph it better - trust me when I say it is glorious in person. The dove and simple tangling was done with the white chalk pencil. I wanted to keep it simple and understated.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fireworks zendala

Today I am really stepping outside the box of traditional Zentangle. I wanted to do something that was inspired by the 4th of July and fireworks came to mind.

 I started with red paper. I recently acquired a product from the Martha Stewart line of products called a 'cut and fold punch'. It's a fun little gizmo that punches cut lines all around the paper and then you go back and fold them to create this design. It has magnets to help you line them up. After I had it all punched and folded I noticed the inner circle was the perfect place to tangle.

The tangles that I used were less traditional tangles than bits and pieces that come from other tangles. Once I got going it was fun to keep creating. I used a white gelly roll pen and bits of a gold gelly roll pen too.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tangle Remix

Not every tile that I do excites me. Some are simply 'meh'. So when the diva invited us to do a Tangle Remix, I pulled out my stack of old tiles that I wasn't thrilled with and pulled out this one. It was originally done with an emphasis on simplicity. It did suit that challenge but I knew I could take it further. I started by embellishing the flux and dittos patterns that I had already done and then I set it aside. After thinking for a while I decided to add a field of black. I then added more of the ditto pattern with a white pen. Wow, I'm happy with it now.

Before shot (late at night on the kitchen table).

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Zenspirations Butterfly and pen test

Zenspirations come from the very talented Joanne Fink. Yesterday she did a post on her blog about the butterfly designs she did in honor of her friend Barb. Her blog post can be found here. She really did a great step by step explanation so I highly recommend that you click over to it when you are done  here. Butterflies are a symbol that reminds me of my mom too so I had to jump right on that project.

I loved playing with all the colors and then adding tiny tangles. Using my markers with watercolor techniques really expands their uses. (Note - the colors are not lightfast so I will be sure to display this piece away from sunlight.)

Joanne used the Sakura Koi markers (which I love) but since I don't have a wide range of colors for the Koi markers I ended up using my Tombow markers instead. Joanne also suggested printing out her designs onto watercolor paper using a laser jet printer. That wasn't an option for me and I wanted my butterfly to be bigger anyway so I had to try out all my pens to see which one worked with my Tombows. 

As you can see in the picture above, there were some pens that bled badly when I put the Tombow color on top of them. In the end I determined that the ones that would work for me were; Uni pin, Sakura IDentipen, and the Sakura Microperm. I ended up using the Microperm because I like the tip and thickness of the pen best. (Note - the Micron pen did not work for me with this technique.)

This shows the piece in a mat. The finished piece measures 8" by 8" plus the mat.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Black, white and red

Black, white and red all over is the challenge that the Diva issued this week. When I sat down to do this last night I really had no idea of what I wanted to to do so I really just let it flow. I started with a continuous line string. (See below). In this type of string you can alternate colors or patterns easily - just like a checkerboard. It simply requires that you pay attention and go from one section to the next and not skip around. Striping is the tangle pattern that came to mind first so I went with it. I alternated red penwork and black penwork. Shading was either a pencil on the black sections or red colored pencils on the red sections. At the end I felt I had a lot of red so I colored the background in with black.

Picture taken late at night with poor lighting!

A continuous line string is where you put the pencil down and start drawing and don't pick it up until you reconnect it to your starting point. Here it is entirely self-contained within the tile. I used the one on the left for the tile above. I decided not to use the one on the right because there were too many small sections to work with. I've also done continuous line strings that go off the tile. I'll have to do a demo on that later.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Rainbow Beads

Rainbow Beads - The diva challenge this week is inspired by the Beads of Courage program that she supports. It is a wonderful way to support and encourage children who are receiving all sorts of medical treatments. See Laura's blog at for more details.

I decided to use a variety of linear tangles that reminded me of beads. And to remember the victims of the terrible tragedy in Orlando I decided to use a rainbow background. Creating the rainbow background was a creative journey so I am sharing photos that show how I picked the colors to use. 

All the tangling was done with a black pen. I used colored pencils that coordinated with the color of the stripe behind it for the shading. A little white pencil added some highlights.

Tangles used: Zenith, Lezy, Eek, Binial, Girland, and Inapod.

These are the Tombow dual brush markers. I used the method where you put each color on a plastic palette first. I then wet my tile thoroughly with water. Using a wet brush, I picked up the colors one at a time and stroked them on, allowing them to softly blend into each other.

This envelope is where I tried out the Tombow colors that I wanted - I looked at the pictures of the rainbow flag online so I had an idea of the shades I was going for. I had to try out a few different markers to get the right choice.

I also tried out my Inktense pencils. The tile is where I tried out the possible color choices. With the Inktense it's important to wet them to see the colors. When I did the tile I colored the paper directly with the pencils and then wet each stripe. I haven't tangled on this tile yet but I will!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

tangled checkbook

There are so many things you can use Zentangle techniques in. Last week one of my good friends celebrated her birthday. She had a blank canvas covered checkbook that was waiting to be tangled. She wanted her initial on it. This didn't take me very long to do this for her. It was done in one evening.

The process was started with a post-it note. I sketched out a large letter 'R' on the post-it and cut it out. I placed it on the checkbook and using a Sakura IDentipen, tangled around it as I normally would. I used tangle patterns as my strings. Since this is a checkbook that will be handled often I didn't add pencil shading as I normally do but simply added a few extra lines here and there. I finished it off with the dashed line inside the 'R'.

Tangle patterns used; Zenith, W2, Copada, Printemps, Meer, Leezy, Bales, and Ditto.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Skye - snakes in the grass

Skye is a new tangle pattern from Margaret Bremner. It is a wonderful, complex tangle - just the way I like them! I printed out the step out right away but haven't had a chance to play with it until this week. 

It flowed easier than I thought  so I just went for it on this tile. I meant to leave enough space so I could close the loops at the ends but when that didn't happen, I discovered SNAKES! Oh yeah, twisted snakes! I have no desire to see this in real life, but on a tile, FUN! And since they ended up being snakes, I used other tangles that had a grasslike feel. Quabog and Fescue.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Ellish is the newest official tangle pattern. The step outs can be found in the latest newsletter from It is a very elegant tangle.

I'm still learning and practicing it. I've seen a few examples where people have done the tangle multiple times. I'll get to that later. Right now I wanted to let the tangle shine on its own. I wanted to add lots of highlights and shading. Then I added the tangle Zenith as a frame.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pens and Butterflies

This is an interesting technique that I learned recently. It's done by rubbing graphite all over your paper and then erasing within the confines of a stencil. The tangles are then done with a pen as usual. I have a brass stencil that has pens, a pencil and a brush. Only three shapes fit on my tile but that is fine by me. As I picked my tangles I tried to choose ones that would add extra black areas in it. Fun, fun! It's not a traditional zentangle but I really enjoyed playing with it.

This piece is much bigger than a tile. It uses the big butterfly from one brass stencil, the small butterfly from another stencil and the word from a third. If you look at this one closely you will see that I decided to use a pencil for the tangles on the little butterfly so that there would be even less emphasis on it, 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pokeroot and drupe

Trying to get my challenge done this week I pulled out a tile I started the night before.  This was the perfect tile to work on during a meeting. Pokeroot and drupe are two tangles that play very nicely with each other.

I knew I wanted to work on a green tile so I picked out several of my hand colored tiles. I had the green pen but I used one of my favorite tricks to see which tile it looked best on. Junk mail has little plastic windows that have just enough tooth to hold the ink of the pen. So I scribble a bit and see which combination makes me happier.

I shaded with a green colored pencil and highlights were added with a white chalk pencil.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tangled feather

During my recent trip I learned several new techniques for tangling. One of my favorites was this one called "Zero Drawing" taught by Meredith Yuhas. Simply, it involves creating your own toned paper with graphite and then erasing the design area using a stencil and a fine tipped Zero eraser. More information on this technique is available in the book Pencil Magic by Marie Browning.

This technique was lots of fun to use to add tangles to. I had fun choosing the tangles and then decided to leave several sections without tangles to leave a place for the eye to rest. A liile extra weight to the edges with heavier pen lines and I was very happy.