Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! It's turned out to be a beautiful fall day here in Illinois. We were lucky to be sparred the weather from Sandy. My heart goes out to those who had damage or are still without power - and that includes my sister in Massachusetts. I was able to visit my sister several weeks ago and we visited in Salem - the home of the Salem witch trials. Now it's a charming town - although I'm told it gets a little crazy there in October!

We bought this cute little witch hat for my granddaughter. It only lasted long enough for me to snap this picture and then it was off. But it inspired me to think of using the shape of the hat for a string. Later that night I started this tile and I finally pulled it back out to finish it for my Halloween post!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Shaky - new tangle from Deena Perlstein CZT

Today's post features a tangle pattern by Deena Perlstein CZT. Deena took classes with me and was so inspired that she went and got her CZT herself. Deena doesn't have a blog yet so I agreed to post it here. Thanks Deena!

This tangle is named Shaky.

Steps for Shaky

The tile on the left has shading while the one on the right is unshaded.

Deena wasn't as happy with this one but I think it's fun so I hope she doesn't mind my posting it.

Deena Perlstein,CZT
Huntley, IL

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stripes - Diva challenge

I saw this idea from another certified zentangle teacher and knew I had to try it myself. Then I realized that it actually fit into the Diva's challenge of 'stripes'. This little tangled pumpkin is made with strips of 1" paper that certainly look like stripes to me! Then I had leftover strips from the first one and cut a few smaller black strips to do a second.

Making the pumpkin is simple enough. The instructions call for a brad to fasten the strips together but since I didn't have any on hand I made a gold pipe cleaner work instead. Basic instructions are found here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Banbury - new class dates posted and pictures

Wow, I've been getting phone calls lately. My spring is starting to fill up with classes. I'll be at libraries, a community college, and park districts. I will post info on those dates as they get closer. I look forward to meeting lots of new people! And if you are thinking about booking a date, call now so you can get your choices!

Two new classes are scheduled at Banbury Fair. These are in addition to the upcoming Zentangle for the Holidays class on November 11th. Seats are filling up so call now!

Basics - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013
Beyond the Basics - Sunday Jan 20 2013

As always, call Banbury to complete your registration. 630 837-1727 - and did you know, Banbury is right across the street from the train station! If you are coming from the city it's a fun day trip!

Below are some pictures from the last class at Banbury. Banbury is ever changing. New merchandise, new layouts, - it's almost like a treasure hunt. Now that Banbury has closed the ice cream section for the winter, we moved the class area in there. Nice big tables to work at!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joy of Zentangle - new book review

I just got my new copies of  'joy of zentangle' last week and I want to give you my quick review of it.

It's a nice, fat, paperback book. It's not the cheapest at $24.99 list, but I do think it gives you value for the money. There are 159 pages and instructions for 101 tangles. There are 8 chapters. The basics are covered. The philosophy and benefits of zentangle are explained. There are lots of color pictures of ZIAs (zentangle inspired art) too. The book gives credit to Suzanne McNeill CZT, Sandy Steen Bartholomew CZT, And Marie Browning CZT. There are lots of contributions from other CZTs throughout the book.

In the section for the 101 tangles there is a separate page for each tangle with all the steps clearly shown. In addition to the steps there is something extra on most pages. Sometimes it's a tile using that tangle. Sometimes it's an inspiration for that tangle. Or it might be an explanation of how zentangle has played a role in helping someone in their life.

The page that's pictured here shows a zendala that I did. It shows the Printemps tangle pattern in use. So there is a little bias from me in reviewing this book - but honestly, all I got was one free copy. 

Now, there is one caveat that I have for this book. This book is, in large part, a compilation book. By that I mean, that a large percentage of this book has been featured in other Design Originals books. Is that bad? Well, it depends. If you are starting out with zentangle, or if you want to get a gift for someone new to zentangle, this is actually a great book. If you already have the vast majority of the series in your library though, you may be disappointed  Personally, I think that there are enough new things to make this book worthwhile but I will leave those individual decisions up to you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beads of Courage

The Diva challenge this week is to draw inspiration from the 'Beads of Courage ' program that supports children as they go through whatever medical journey they are on. Beads of Courage  is the link to their site I wish I was a glass artist as I would love to do some for their program. Hopefully I can use this tile to boost awareness of their program.

I used my Tombow markers with a watercolor technique for the background and a purple Micron pen for the tangles. A purple colored pencil added the shading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shading tips

The articles on shading in are wonderful. I was working on this idea myself last week. So this seems like a good time to add my input on shading too. Try these ideas along with the tangle pattern 'Zaturn' that I posted yesterday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Zaturn - new tangle pattern for shading

New tangle pattern today!  Zaturn

Click on picture to enlarge!

This is a tangle pattern that is geared to people who love to shade. And if you don't think you can shade, try it and see if this helps you get better at it!

1- It starts with a continuous line - well, a semi-continuous line that is. Start your pen at the edge of the shape you are tangling and draw a line that goes around, in loops, across, etc. When you get to the edge of the shape lift your pen and 'fly' over to where your line would continue. (See the dotted lines in the first step as an example of what I mean) Don't get too complicated with your design. Try to cross other lines at somewhat of a right angle but don't panic if it's not. And avoid having more than two lines cross at the same place.   ---  And if this is as clear as mud to you, try using a wonky grid pattern as I did in the lower example.

2- Shading - Put the darkest pencil shading in one corner of each section. as you do each section, alternate - at random, the corner you shade. You could also shade one of the four sides if that works better for you. You can do all the darks at one time. Then, using a paper stump or tortillion, blend the shading out. Start by tickling just the edge of the pencil area and aim to get the shading to reach halfway or two thirds of the way across the shape.  Always leave the side opposite from your shading white.

In the lower example You can see the same shading done on the wonky grid pattern. The section on the left shows the darks as they were drawn before the blending step.

Ok, the name. Zaturn. I was thinking, shading and turning the piece in different directions - shading + turn. That led me towards 'saturn'. Cool, kinda other worldly too! But in my book of tangle patterns I have too many patterns that begin with the letter S already. So I changed it to a Z. Thus Zaturn was born.

Come back tomorrow where I'll add more of my tips on shading. And, if you haven't already, see the wonderful pages on shading on

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Diva challenge 90

The Diva's challenge this week was to use a string that was shown on It's a simple string so it was a pleasure to just sit back and let the magic of zentangle take over. The string pattern is found on the web site here. Thank you Diva for a relaxing challenge this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alphabet soup challenge - B

B tile - Using the letter as a string I've tried using more of the tangles that are new to me or rarely used.

Tangles include;
Bubble-Up - Molossus
Brayed - Michele Beauchamp
Braidle - Skinny Stray Cat
Bandola - Sadelle Wiltshire
Banners - Elaine Benefatto
Bumps - Sue Jacobs (me)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Alphabet soup challenge again - A

I was looking through my sketchbook this weekend. In it I have many, many tangle patterns that other tanglers have generously shared on the internet. Yet there are so many I just haven't used in a tile yet. So my challenge to myself, is to work my way through the alphabet, one letter at a time, using as many of those tangle patterns as possible. I'm starting off using the letters as the string too but I can't be sure if that will work all the way. You are welcome to join me in this challenge if you are so inclined. 

I have no idea how long this may take me, as I still want to do the Diva's challenge, and the zendalas, and do Christmas ornaments, and, and, well - I'm sure you understand! So you may see one or two letters a week - or maybe per month. Keep checking!

This is slightly different from the last time I did an alphabet soup. Then I used one tangle per letter and ended up completing the series in only 5 tiles.

Without further ado - the A tile. What's in it?

Alien Ant Farm - Lizzie Mayne
Aura-Leah - Carla Du Preez
Asian Fans - Suzanne McNeill
Ace - Sue Jacobs (me)
Artoo - Laura Harms
Aziza - ? let me know who to credt.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sankegg challenge

Sankeeg is the latest challenge given to us by 'The Diva'. She asked us to use a pattern designed by Maria Vennekens. The pattern itself was inspired by a super size Psyanky egg that was spotted in Edmonton, Canada. So, when I had a chance to get back to tangling after my trip, I decided that I had to do my tangling on an egg shape! The pattern is tricky to get done evenly and I'm sure you will notice I had a couple of shaky areas on the red egg. The white Gelly Roll pen from Sakura was perfect but I needed to do my design a little larger as the line is not as fine as the Micron pens. I highlighted the red egg with a chalk pencil and shaded the blue egg with a blue colored pencil. I think these will also work well as ornaments.

I have a special love for Pysanky. I learned it by chance from a friend back in college and have enjoyed working on this beautiful craft each spring. The picture below is of two of my favorite eggs.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

tangle trip in MA

I got back late last night after a trip to the Boston area with my daughter and grand baby  There will be more pictures next week but I wanted to start with these. I was helping my daughter and her husband by watching the baby while they attended a friend's wedding. We were at a hotel waiting for the shuttle bus that would take my daughter to the ceremony site. My granddaughter was not particularly happy as she realized her mommy was going to be going out without her. As the baby walked around the lobby area I was busy with my camera since she is just so darn cute. And of course I was then noticing the tangle patterns around me. The carpet was a version of 'Printemps'!