Monday, December 5, 2016

Color Escapes colored pencils

I have a new toy to play with. I blindly ordered the brand new Color Escapes premium colored pencils from Crayola.  I know what you are thinking, "Crayola, that's for kids!" Well, these are definitely a step above the usual school supplies. I used them on the tile above so I could really see what they could do. I'm pretty happy with what I got and how the pencils preformed.

Pros and cons; The price point is a lot less that the Prismacolors and Lyra pencils that I love. They are currently available on the website for $22.49 for the 72ct box. The selection of colors is very good (but not perfect). The box they come packaged in can be opened so that all the colors are easy visible but as it's only cardboard I may be moving them out to another container soon. (They sell a wooden box set at $49.)

When I did this tile I started by laying down the lightest color in each section coloring the entire area, I applied the color with a VERY light touch,  I then laid the next lightest color - again - with a very light touch. I moved down the range of colors, adding each darker value in a slightly smaller area than I did the last one. At the end I went back with my lightest color and blended the color all together - it isn't until this point that I applied the color heavily and effectively burnished the area. At the very end I added a few white details with a white gel pen.

How did this process work as opposed to my Prismacolors?  Well, they didn't lay down as nicely and the blending was more challenging. But it wasn't that much harder. I have no idea what the lightfast ratings are for these pencils - there is nothing written on the box or on the pencils.

Did these sharpen well? Yes, I had no problem there - but I'll let you know at a later date what happens when I get further down the pencil. 

This picture shows you the range of colors I was using in my purple sections and my blue sections. Did the color choices give me exactly what I wanted - no. But I could 'make it work'. It helps if you have a little knowledge of color theory when you have to substitute colors. Also in this picture you can see the stencil I used to get my Zendala shape. If you are a quilter you will recognize that it comes from quilting supplies. I used a pencil very lightly to get my basic lines in. I then used my trusty, Micron, brown pen for the lines.

This is what the box looks like. I haven't seen it in the stores yet - I got mine from the web site.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Folded Star

Time to start the ornaments! I can't believe we are into the Holiday season already. It's been rather stressful around my home so I was glad to finally have a chance to sit down to tangle on an ornament. I used the folded star design that fellow CZT Cris Letourneau has on her blog . She provided a star with a grid on it so I could use the reticular concept as I tangled.  I did it on a cream colored sheet of cardstock paper and tangled with a brown Micron pen. I used both a 05 and 01 sized pen. A little colored pencil added some shading.

If you are in the Chicago area, I am teaching a class on Zentangle for the Holidays at the Dupage Art league on Wednesday Dec 7th at 1pm. Call them to sign up. Link here.

As I mentioned, it's been stressful for me lately - both in a good and not so good way. We had the entire family here for Thanksgiving. I LOVE having them all and seeing the beautiful faces of my grandchildren, but it's nice to have the house quiet again now. The not so good parts are - first and foremost, my husband's continuing battle with lung cancer. He is now in the Hospice phase and I am his caregiver. Hospice has been wonderful in helping us out with whatever we need and his pain is under control.

The other stressful parts took place just in the past few days. My oldest son returned home only to discover his home had been robbed while he was with us. the house was trashed and some very sentimental pieces of jewelry were among the things taken. However, that is only STUFF!, because the next day we heard the news of the attack at Ohio State University. My youngest is an engineering student there (An engineering building was the one in the attack). Thankfully he was two blocks away when it all happened. My heart goes out to the families of the students that were hurt.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tangled rocks

Rhode Island is a beautiful place to be. It has beaches and scenic rocky shores. I'm visiting family and attending a seminar too here. We had a chance to walk on the beach and I had fun looking for just the right rocks for tangling.

These are just a few of the  rocks I've tangled on this trip. They are easy to do and make fun little keepsakes.

I use the Sakura IDentipen. Whether I use the fine tip or broad tip is dependent on the texture of the rock. Add a few highlights with a white chalk pencil and I'm done.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tangled Owls again

Tangled Owls are such fun to do. If you have been following my blog you will remember the owls I did last year. These are made with recycled materials - as I'm sure you can see, empty toilet paper rolls. All you need to do is push in one of the ends to make the ears. I used a Sakura IDentipen. It has two tips - a fine one and a broad tip. Then I added highlights with a white chalk pen.

The challenge, and fun part, is to create a different character for each owl. I started with the eyes. I did a little research on the internet to find images for cartoon eyes. That gave me a personality for each one. As I added the tangles I tried to pick ones that fit that personality. 

These are the ones that I did last year. I'm posting them again so you don't have to scroll back to find them.

And of course, a class picture.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Sometimes the simplest combinations of tangles can be the most effective. Here there are only two tangles used; Flux and Nzeppel. A tan Renaissance tile is the base and all the tangles were done with a brown Micron. I drew a simple string that reminded me of scrollwork and added Flux along it. In the opening there was a perfect space for Nzeppel. Shading with a brown colored pencil and highlights with a white chalk pencil complete it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tagh tangleations

Tagh is a wonderful, basic tangle pattern. It starts out very simply, with simple scalloped lines. You can leave it at that or add all sorts of tangleations. This weekend I started to play with it. I had no idea where I would go with it so I started with a curved line in the middle of my tile. I first began with the Zenith tangle pattern. The reason I started with Zenith is because it has the same scalloped line that Tagh uses. After adding an aura around Zenith, off I went with Tagh. I liked the lacy effect I got.

I added a curvy border around the edges and tried different tangleations that used bold black lines. I wan't done though, My mind was coming up with several more tangleations. Tagh was reduced to its simplest form in the inner areas so I could keep on trying tangleations.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall foilage

It's time for leaf peeping again. Time to hop in the car and head off to the wooded areas where the leaves are turning glorious colors. In my case, that may be simply a trip to a local forest preserve where the colors are equally beautiful.

I did the zendala above on one of my hand colored tiles that was a mottled yellow orange to start. The string is, of course, fall leaves. Tangles were done with a brown micron and shading used colored pencils.

These leaves were done by a group at the Schaumburg Public Library. This class was designed for fans of coloring, and the library provided markers and colored pencils. I taught them a few Zentangle tangles to add to their leaves to create a zentangle inspired artwork. I love all the variations and the variety of colors they used! Click on the image to get it full screen!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Antique Oshun

Trying out two tangles here that I haven't used before.  I've admired them but somehow never put them in tiles before now. Antique comes from Kathy Barringer and Oshun comes from Sandy Steen Bartholomew.

While it's fun to be random, sometimes I want things to be more orderly, symmetrical, and less chaotic. So I found peace for the time I was doing this by simply repeating, repeating, repeating.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


This zendala uses a tangle called Dreamcatcher. It's a simple tangle from Daniel Lamothe that can be found here. Once you have the basic pattern done you have many ways to add any sort of tangles within. I used Bumper and Aviary to fill my Dreamcatcher. Fun and relaxing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Anne Marks traveling tangles

Traveling tangles again. This one is a collaboration with Anne Marks. She does such beautiful jewels that I was excited (and somewhat nervous too) to work on this one.

Anne did the jewels and the tangles in the upper right corner. Her start is shown below. As I looked at it I felt it was such a happy piece it was a celebration! I was thinking about Mardi Gras - or a similar party. I decided to add streamers using a variety of tangles flowing from Anne's start. Thank you so much Anne!

Traveling tangles is a fun project that began on Facebook. One person begins a tile and then mails it to another tangler who then completes the tile. It's really interesting to see what happens to the tiles you begin and challenging to get a partially completed tile and to work with it.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Traveling tangles with Storm Van de Werken

Traveling tangles is a fun project that began on Facebook. One person begins a tile and then mails it to another tangler who then completes the tile. It's really interesting to see what happens to the tiles you begin and challenging to get a partially completed tile and to work with it.

This tile was begun by Storm Van de Werken. I ended up going with a group of stacked tangles. Fun and relaxing! The picture of the tile as I received it from Storm is below. Thank you Storm!

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Last week the Diva issued her weekly challenge and it was to 'Relax!' With the stress I'm under right now with my husband's illness I thought that this challenge was perfect for me.

I'm lucky that I have a support system of friends. We get together at my house once a week (most of the time) and we work on our crafts while we talk about what is going on in our lives. We started out doing decorative painting together but now we have branched out to beading, quilting, and of course, Zentangle. Since we were together again after a few weeks off, I had the incentive to tangle again.

I decided to start with a large sheet of tan paper. I wanted to have lots of room to play. I first thought I would just start drawing but as I sat down I saw a round, cork, hot pad and used it to lightly draw a small circle in pencil. A Tupperware lid provided the inner circle. One of my comfort tangles - a tangle that just flows from my pen, is the Flux shape. So I went back and forth with it along the circle strings.

As I worked I consciously told myself to relax, to take my time. When I needed to stop, I stopped. When I didn't know what to do next I just set it aside and didn't worry about it. So I didn't get this piece finished till today. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wonky fife - down the rabbit hole

I haven't posted anything in the last couple of weeks and I suppose it's time to tell you why. My life has been turned upside down. My husband of 42 years is fighting the biggest battle of his life. Lung cancer. He was diagnosed in February. We've done the chemo, we've done immunotherapy, but the cancer has progressed and we are now in the hospice phase. My husband is still strong mentally and is still positive even though we know what we are facing. He has gone from 155 lbs to 115 lbs and my once athletic husband has lost all his muscle mass. And no, he has never been a smoker. 

I am his caregiver and dealing with the cough, pain, nausea, lack of appetite, and myriad medications is a whole new world for me. It feels like we have fallen down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. We continue to put one foot in front of the other and try to look at each day as a gift. We feel blessed to have a wonderful support system in family and friends. 

I've been having trouble focusing enough to sit down to tangle. I don't know why, I enjoy looking at everyone else's work on Facebook and their blogs. I'm overdue on challenges and swaps. I appreciate everyone's patience with me right now.

Fife is almost a mac and cheese - comfort tangle for me. So when the Square One facebook group suggested it, I finally sat down to tangle again. I knew I had to do it in a wonky style to represent how strange my life is these days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ing with colors and woven

Ing is a fun tangle that I don't use very much and I'm not sure why. So I really got to playing with it this week when the Diva challenged us to use it.

In the first tile I decided to get crafty. I used a couple of my colored tiles and did the Ing tangle with a black pen. I did it again on a smaller scale on the pink tile and carefully cut it out. Once more on the smallest piece of the blue tile I did the Munchin tangle which echos how I filled the Ing. Then I glued it all together.

On the second tile I played with a simple Ing  and a woven effect. I liked the way the black popped it out.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Olympic rings

Have you been watching the Olympics too? I love the wide variety of sports that we normally never get to see. Diving, rowing, synchronized swimming, badminton, and even trampoline were fun to watch along with the other bigger sports.

As I was playing with the tangle,  quandary, I noticed the circle shapes that the pattern makes as you work it. I decided to work it a little more carefully and then find the Olympic rings within the tangle. Quandary is a tangle that is usually a little more challenging to me but I'm happy with the way this came out.

I realized too, that I had done a tile using the rings once before - back in 2012 during the last summer Olympics. I thought I'd add the picture here for comparison. I bumped up the shading some since I was less confidant in shading back them. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tangled Seashells

Tangled Seashells - Summer is almost over so before school starts up again I wanted to do some more tangled shells. After I clean and dry them well I use a Sakura Microperm pen. (I also recommend the Sakura IDentipen.) I use the same tangles I use on my tiles. While the shells above are whole, don't hesitate to pick up broken pieces of shells and decorate those too.

 It's a bit tricky working on the curved surface but so much fun. The little cupped area by the top of the shell makes it difficult to maneuver my pen so I use very simple and forgiving tangles in that area. Tipple is a good example. If you work on the outer area of the shell there are often definite ridges/lines. They can provide a string to start with. Shading on shells is either skipped or done with a stippling technique. I don't bother sealing these shells. The pens are quite permanent by themselves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Meer Auraknot duotangle

Meer and Auraknot are paired here. I tried to think outside the box to put them together but ended up with a similar tile to Laura's. So I instead went with a Renaissance tile so I could try to make it look a little like a woodcut. Shading is one of my favorite parts of tangling so I really enjoyed this. I used two different shades of brown colored pencils along with my white pencil.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


Abeko - What a sweet tangle pattern from Lynn Mead. For the first time using it I didn't get complicated by adding any other elements. I love how elegant it looks.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Knightstar two ways

Knightstar is the featured tangle this week. It is a fascinating tangle from Daniel Lamothe. You can find video instructions by clicking here.

I wasn't sure about it when I first tried it but quickly got sucked into it. Like many tangles there are several ways to do it - to make tangleations - so I ended up doing two tiles.

Like classic Knightsbridge, I used the checkerboard method to fill it in.

In this version I added additional lines.

This shows an early stage before the details and shading.

Finally, the string that I started with.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Striping or Stripping

Stripping /striping - I had to laugh when I saw that the focus tangle on my Facebook group was Striping but the typo made it Stripping. I couldn't get that picture out of my mind so I decided to play with it. I drew a string that reminded me of curvy unmentionables and stripped off the striping wherever it seemed I could.

I added a number of other tiles that have striping below. These are all older tiles that you may have seen posted on this blog before. Striping is a good way to add strong contrasts to any tile. 

Just a little striping in a small area.

Red and black striping

Striping as a way to add a tangleation to another tangle

Gold striping on a red tile

Purple striping

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.