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. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teacher get together in Portland


One of the benefits of becoming a Certified Zentangle Teacher is that you gain a community of other teachers who are equally excited by Zentangle are are interested in continuing our learning and exploring where Zentangle can take us. We have message boards, Facebook groups, and periodic get  togethers, both on a local and national scale. 

Last weekend was one of those events. It was held in Portland, Maine. We had over 100 CZTs gathered in a lovely hotel, enjoying great food, great classes, forming and renewing friendships, and exploring the picturesque city of Portland. 

The pictures here are from just one of the classes. It was taught by Kate Lamontagne. We explored ways to create Zendalas using a special rotating compass tool. You can see it pictured in the corner of the picture below which is my work in progress. You can also see the top of my pen so you can see the scale of the piece.

After we all had our Zendalas drawn in ink we then were guided in adding colored pencil work to our pieces. Mine isn't quite done, I have a few more things to add. But I wanted to show you how it's coming.

The other picture below is from a class taught my Molly Hollibaugh. Molly took us back to the basics of Zentangle. It is soooo good to remember what got me hooked in the first place. We did the traditional class mosaic of all out pieces. It was quite a sight to behold!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


There are quite a few tangles that work really well in borders - or in stripes. I was looking through the tangles on my page of tangles and saw several of these linear tangles. So I decided to put them all together in this 'stacked' tile.

Tangles are;


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Grid on a Globe

Grids are a common way to start a Zentangle pattern. The grid can be done in many ways; big, small, perfect or wonky. This grid was done in a way that enhances the globular effect. I added a simple tangle because I knew the spaces in the outer areas were tiny so a simple tangle would be better for those areas. But I wanted to try something else so I worked in the Yin Yang symbol and tangled in the negative spaces for the darker side.

Tangles were done with a brown Micron pen. Shading was done with a terra cotta colored pencil and highlights were done with a white chalk pencil.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Beyond the Basics McHenry class

"Beyond the Basics"  is the class that I teach after the Introductory class. One of the things we do is explore Paradox on a black tile. The students are also given a white chalk pencil to add highlights as desired. I really enjoy seeing what students do with the same instructions for the same tangle pattern!

Monday, April 4, 2016


Fassett by Lynn Mead is the featured tangle this week. It's a tangle that appears to be tricky but is really easy when you get to the step outs. There are several ways you can add variations to this tangle. I used it as my border tangle here. I did it on a Renaissance tile so I could play with two colors of pens and use both shading and highlights. 

The weather here in Illinois has been bizarre. My daffodils have started to come up and I think it will be glorious once they are all in bloom. But then, on April 2, we had snow again. NOOOOO! I'm done with winter! Yesterday we had a high of 65 - today it's in the 30's again. I can't wait for the weather to make up its mind!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Color stack

The Diva challenge this week was so much fun. The challenge was to use a bijou tile (2 x 2") and then add a 3", 4", 5", and 6" tile. We could arrange them any way we choose and do any tangles we wanted.

I immediately thought of using my hand colored tiles but the problem was that I only had 3 1/2" tiles cut. So I needed to hand color several more big sheets and then cut them to size. Of course, playing with watercolor paint is the fun part to me so that was not hard. A couple of layers of paint,  drying time, lots of measuring and cutting, and I was ready to tangle finally by Wednesday night.

Color makes me happy so I was glad to have a reason to pull out my colored pens and pencils to tangle with. I made several sets of colored tile stacks so I will definitely be doing this again. The additional color stacks will be going into my store on this blog.

Color stacks are loose in the bag so you can tangle them individually first. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Shattuck monotangles

Shattuck is a tangle pattern that I use frequently. It's one of the first official ones I learned and is very similar to the doodle that I've done for years as I talk on the phone. These tiles are all variations on the same Shattuck tangle. Since they don't have any other tangles they are all monotangles. I played with doing it in different strings along with variations in how curvy or how many lines I used.

Both of the two tiles above used a spiral string. I love how different they look simply by changing the number and spacing of the lines.