Wednesday, August 15, 2018

CRA CRA tangle pattern

CRA CRA in the background

CRA CRA on a zendala

CRA CRA is a new tangle pattern that I spotted in the background of an ad on TV. I found myself freezing the TV and getting my sketchpad out so I could deconstruct it. It looks pretty complicated but it wasn't too hard to break down. 

In the step outs above I started with a simple stylized V shape. It's important to keep the V shapes close together and I put two pencil dots in the first step to indicate that. Once you've done it a few times you don't need those dots at all. Repeat the V shapes twice below the first. Next start the V shapes but bring them down to meet the V shape below. Repeat so you have 4 lines. Then shade as desired. Look at the bottom of this post for an alternate way to draw this. 

This tangle pattern has some similarities to other tangle patterns - I would say that Y-not is more or less a cousin to this tangle. You may see other tangles that belong to the same family. Please let me know so I can add them.

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This is an alternate way to draw the tangle that was drawn by Lynn Shelton Mead. THANKS Lynn! Try it out to see what works best for you. Just be sure to eave yourself enough room for the lines in between.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


'Icantoo' is the tangle pattern that was the challenge here. It's a lovely tangle from Hanny Nura. You can find the step outs by going to her blog at

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it so I flipped through some of my older tiles looking for inspiration. I came across a zendala I had done using a template from 'the bright owl'.  Erin, who writes the bright owl blog, hasn't been active for a while but her blog is still there and you can still look through the older posts for all sorts of inspiration. This template is from Dare 112.

This is how it looked before I did any shading.

I added shading here and thought I was done but the more I looked at it the more I thought it wasn't quite done. So I added small elements of the 'Icantoo' at the corners.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Blue String pull

Finally got a new string pull tangled. Working on colored paper gave me a chance to tangle with a colored pen and add highlights with my white charcoal pencil. I also added a soft white border around the edges with the white charcoal pencil too.

This is the string pull before I added the tangles.

We are lucky to have an active group of Zentangle artists here in the Northern Illinois area. At the last meeting we did string pulls as a group. This picture is all the pulls as the ink was drying.

Monday, July 23, 2018

cindyer - Black and white and color

Cindyer is a new tangle to me. It comes from Yu Ru Chen.  It starts out in the same fashion as the tangle Cadent but then adds a twist. I especially love how there are multiple tangleations you do with the basic tangle. I started with the tile above in simple black and white. But then I was in the mood for COLOR!

I erased all the pencil shading. I know, I know, no erasers. But once you venture into color, well, WHEEEE! I used my Inktense pencils for the color on the circle. Since there are six shapes, it lent itself to do a color wheel. Then I found my colored Micron pens and added some multicolored tangles (printemps) in the center. The inktense pencils came out again for shading.

What do you think? Which version do you like better?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

new string pull tangle

I finally figured out what I wanted to do on another one of my string pulls! We did the pulls a couple of weeks ago with some CZT friends (Mary Kissel and Lesley Goldberg). I figured out right away that I wanted to tangle the brown parts with a white pen right away so I was happy with that. But I felt there was too much white space in the background so I had to sleep on that for a while. Then I decided to try tangles that fir easily along lines - also sometimes called border tangles. I lightly put in pencil lines to see where I wanted these lines to flow. You can see the lines in the photo below.

Photo has everything before shading.

Photo has just the white tangles and some light pencil lines to see where I might put my border tangles.

note: these photos were taken at different times of the day so the lighting is different in each.

Sting pull before any tangles.

Friday, July 6, 2018

string pull tangles

I recently learned about creating art by doing a string pull. If you've never tried it, it's fun. I tried this with a couple of friends and we had a blast. There are videos that show how it's done but simply: dunk a piece of string in ink, lay it carefully (and artfully) onto a sheet of paper, cover with another sheet of paper, hold down, and pull the string out.

This shows the piece I did in it's before state and below is the after. I took a few liberties with the shape but following the Zentangle method, I used my 'string' as inspiration and went with it.

I used a brown pen for the tangles and though the color looks different in the picture above, I think it's just due to taking the pictures at different times of day.

This isn't the best picture but it shows you a few of the other string pulls we did that day. We experimented with different types of string, different degrees of wetness of the ink, and different inks.

Monday, May 28, 2018

old tile - new shading

This week I was challenged to take an older tile and redo it. As I flipped through a pile of tiles I found many I was happy with and some that were pretty hopeless but were fun to do at the time. Then I came across this one. It wasn't bad. But could I make it better? So here's what I came up with.

The string is the same. It uses fairly basic tangles but as I looked at it it seemed too crowded. So as I did it again I made several of the tangles bigger and eliminated one all together. That helped. Then I looked at the shading. It was OK but I felt it could really be played with and bumped up. What do you think?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Adding auras

I was at a meeting earlier this week and sometimes I find myself randomly drawing things. I was looking down at my purse and found I needed to deconstruct the pattern it had on it. So I drew it out during the meeting and then when I got home I tried it again and photographed the steps as I did it. As I did it I found adding auras was something that came naturally. More auras and shading made me happy.

The inspiration

The drawing I did during the meeting.

The start. A simple 4 petal shape with 'V' auras.

Pull down double 'C' shapes from all four sides.

Complete the other side of the 'C' shapes, Add half circles.

Connect the outer edge of the half circles in.

Connect the inner edge of the half circles.

Starting the auras. Add detail lines too.

More detail and more auras.

Needed just a little more detail - and another aura.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Painted Portland

I'm continuing to share posts from the time I spent in Portland OR at Tangle U. This is from a class named 'Painted Portland' taught by Julie and Art Allison. It was a fun class where we learned how to combine traditional tangling with color and images that referenced landmarks or other aspects of the location.  Some of the places referenced are the Chinese and Japanese gardens, the river, 3 bridges, industry, horse rings, bubblers, and more. At home, I decided to add in a reference to Voodoo donuts.

We used a paint called Lumiere Metallic Paint. It's water based so it's easy to work with. It has a marvelous sheen that doesn't show up easily in photographs. So I tilted the paper until I got the sheen and took closeups - see below!

Thanks Julie and Art!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Peerless watercolors at TU

One of the optional classes I took at Tangle U in Portland was a class taught by Tess Imobersteg. She introduced us to a product from Peerless. These are small cards that have watercolor paint dried onto them. We took our strips of color and attached them to a folder along with a sheet of clear acetate. Then we played around with the colors and a waterbrush to test drive them.

This is the outside of my folder. You can see the info along with the website for Peerless.

Closeup of my folder, the waterbrush and two tiles I did in class. If you look carefully you can see the sheet of acetate that is taped into the center.

You can see by the lighter dots on the paint chips how little paint it took to color my tiles.

So, what did I think of the paint? Well, I found there was a little pilling of the paper as I picked up the color off the paper but I was told that as I got used to it I wouldn't need to use that much pressure to get the color up. I had mixed feelings about the color palette. I would have liked a more saturated color but it wasn't bad. We only played with the summer palette but if you look at their website you will see the complete range of colors.

Where this really shines though, is how wonderful this product is for travel. You can pack  this in a backpack and travel light but still have access to all the colors you need to embellish a journal or a couple of tiles.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

linen panel from Kim

I've recently returned from Tangle U - a conference for CZTs where we have a variety of classes on Zentangle related subjects. I learned so much! I'll be showing you more pictures and telling you about the classes in the next few days, so stay tuned!

This class, taught by Kim VanZyll, had us tangling on a 10" x 10" linen panel. We were able to incorporate many of the same ideas we used on Renaissance tiles so it was still in my comfort zone. I was thrilled with the way it came out.

I photographed it several times. Usually I set my work on the slate, front walk to my house but this time the neutral tones of the slate looked so blah against the linen background that I looked around for something else. so I went to my garden and found some spring flowers. Perfect! Then I came back in and got a clear shot on the kitchen table so you could see all the detail.

Do you like my zenbutton in the center?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

more zenbuttons/spundalas

These zenbuttons/spundalas are so much fun I've kept going. I keep experimenting with color schemes and it's always a surprise when they are finished. The shading and highlights add such a pop to it that I can't wait to finish each one.

Go back to the previous post to see how these are done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Zenbuttons and spundalas, these are the new fun techniques people are trying in the zentangle world. Zenbuttons came from the mind of Marguerite Samama, a CZT from Amsterdam. Her Zenbuttons create the string and add shading. A Spundala is similar but adds color using a kids toy commonly called a paint spinner and markers. 

I've combined the two techniques here. I didn't have a paint spinner but I remembered that we had a kids pottery wheel stored in the basement.  I needed to hit the store for new batteries but found that this worked just fine. - In fact, I think I liked it better because this didn't have the high sides that the paint spinners have so it was easier to control the color from my markers.

This is the toy pottery wheel I had in my basement. I attached my tile to the wheel with a couple of pieces of tape rolled up. That worked fine.

This was the first picture I took of my 'finished' tile. When I looked at it up close on my computer screen I decided it needed more shading. I went back in with colored pencils and added more depth.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Pickpocket tangle

Pickpocket - that's a fun name for a tangle. And this is my first tile using this tangle. I did draw it out on a sketchpad first to get the hang of it It is a little tricky but since I love the tangle W2, this is really just a skewed version of W2.

Zentangle also doesn't usually have things that are representational but since this tangle starts out with a dot grid, The eyes of my 'worm' were already there in my grid!

This tangle comes from the mind of 
Tomàs Padrós

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Curvy Paradox

Paradox is the monotangle here. It's a tangle that I really enjoy doing. I wanted to push myself here so I started with a curvy string. It's trickier to do this tangle when the lines curve but I really enjoy the different effect that I got. Look below for the string I started with.