Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spirals in a zendala inspired by Book of Kells

Spirals in a zendala inspired by Book of Kells

I recently took a class in Celtic calligraphy at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. It was taught by renowned calligraphy artist Denis Brown. I learned so much. Not just about calligraphy, but also about the Book of Kells and the three manuscripts that preceded it and influenced it. The Book of Kells is a glorious manuscript with wonderful illuminations, knotwork, and so many details. It actually is available online if you are interested in seeing it yourself.

After the calligraphy class I came home and wanted to do more. I went through my stash since I vaguely remembered getting some stencils from Jenny Perruzzi a while back. They were all influenced by knotwork. One of them was a stencil that was a spiral. I didn't think much of it when I first got it but now, WOW, it is the same shape as the spirals in the Book of Kells.

Below I used the spiral stencil and then added extra tangles. The colored picture above was done with colored pencils - and inspired by the colors I saw in the Book of Kells. Then I added the Latin words for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In a tiny space it was challenging to do proper Celtic letters.

Jenny doesn't have these stencils in her Etsy store right now, she's actually got her shop, Acadia Laser Creations on hiatus right now. But if you ask her .........

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Fall Zendala

I've been seeing several pieces done with colored pencil lately so I was inspired to pull out my colored pencils and go for one of my own. Thank you to everyone who inspired me!

This started with a small quilting stencil in my stash. Once I had the basic lines I added a few embellishments and a few simple tangles. Then I grabbed my Prismacolor colored pencils. I tried to pick colors that reminded me of fall leaves - but of course, when I added the purple, I kind of went out on a limb.That was fun!

I apologize for the lack of posts last month. I had a bit of a dry spell. If you have a dry spell too, please don't worry about it. Your mojo will come back when you are ready.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Rose Window

Shortly after the fire at Notre Dame, Jenny Peruzzi came out with a stencil based on the Rose window. Of course I had to buy the stencil and finally had a chance to really play with it. It's an intricate stencil and you can use the whole thing to make a big mandala or just use part of the stencil as I did here. Look at the picture below for the stencil itself.

First I traced the stencil lightly with pencil. I used my Inktense pencils in a somewhat random manner so I could get really strong color. I wet the pencil drawing carefully to blend the colors. I then outlined each shape with a gold gellyroll pen. The gold is hard to see unless you really enlarge the photo.

These are the colors I used.

The stencil is available through Jenny's Etsy shop - Acadia Laser Creations. It may not be in stock right now - contact Jenny if you are interested,

Thursday, August 29, 2019


At the last Prairie Tanglers meeting we were given a template for this labryinth. It was just the gray lines you can see behind the tangles. Each of us added color of our choosing. I used an assortment of blue and green Derwent Intense pencils. Then I used water on a brush to smooth and blend the colors together. I then started tangling on just the gray lines with a Tombow Monotwin pen. Sue Reading, who taught the class, cautioned us against adding additional color after the tangling as the penwork might bleed. However, the Tombow monotwin has a different type of ink so I was able to adjust the color to my heart's content. By the way, I can't tell you any more about the pen as all the small print is in Japanese. But it sure was fun to have that freedom!

You will see the tangles I used were smaller ones as the space I had for tangling was pretty narrow. Many of the tangles are mine and you can find the stepouts under the tab marked 'tangle pattern gallery'. Several other people at the meeting did their tangles in the larger spaces - it was interesting to see the variety.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

OH string with rounding

I saw a post on Facebook that used a continuous, loopy string. Auras were added and then corners were rounded. I don't know exactly who originated it but I decided to take the concept and run with it.

I used one of my colored zendala tiles and a blue micron pen. I used my tangle OH instead of one continuous string. If you look at the picture below you can see the OH was done three times. I added auras and the rounding where it seemed appropriate. That's the stage in the picture below.

It needed more though, so I added a few 'worms' with striping. It still needed more so in came Pokeleaf. Shading with colored pencils and some highlights finished it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

tangling on shells with color

Tis the season - to tangle on shells again. I started with just my black pens but then I was asked, "can we add color?" So I experimented with my Inktense pencils and this is what I came up with.

The one on the right is my first attempt. I used my IDentipen. I used the thicker side of the pen as the thinner side didn't show up well on the outer side of the shell. I then colored in with my Inktense pencils. I wet them with water and the color filled in nicely. Occasionally the water bled along the lines of the shell. So I added the lines in the background and - well, most of the lines that bled are hidden now.

The shell on the left was the next one. This time I used my Microperm pen and drew on the inside of the shell. As this side was much smoother, it took the ink better. When I did the color with the inktense pencils I applied the pencil only in small areas. When I wet it with my brush I carried the color into the other areas, thus giving me more of a shaded effect.

These are some of the shells I've done before. They have been on my blog before but I didn't want you to have to hunt to find them.These were done with a Microperm pen. (I think).

Happy summer!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

seaglass tangling

I love tangling on different surfaces. And with summer finally starting I was excited to find a way to do something new to me!

Seaglass is one of those things that is fun to look for on the beach. For those of you who aren't familiar with seaglass, it's bits of broken glass that have been worn smooth and frosted by the action of waves and sand.

Now I actually didn't find these large pieces on the beach. I was in a glass designers shop and they had a bin of glass pieces they had put into a rock tumbler. I was able to get a cup full of tumbled glass pieces for $4.00.  In the picture you will see three pieces - one that I didn't do any tangling on so you could see how it starts. I put a small circle of white paper beneath them so you could see through the glass.

I tangled on these with a Sakura Microperm pen. I find that this pen works on all sorts of odd surfaces so it's my go to pen for plastic too. I didn't add shading with a pencil - just a few small lines or stippling with the pen.

Have fun - and have a great summer!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Easter Eggs!

Easter will be here before you know it and there's not much time left for Easter crafts. So I'd like to show you my fast, easy, and cheap Easter craft. They are great for both Zentangle fans and kids alike.

Make a trip to your big box, hobby store and look for a Giga, oval, paper punch. (Bring a coupon for that store or find a coupon online) Then go over to the rack of poster boards and pull out the pastel colored sheets. Cardstock paper will work too but I really prefer the thickness of poster board, especially if you are planning to hang these up. Grab a white gel pen (I like the Sakura Gelly roll pens). You will also need colored pencils that will shade whatever color posterboard you have chosen. 

Punch out the oval shape from the poster board.
Draw one tangle per egg - and draw it BIG! I promise it will be easier and faster if you draw it big.
When the ink is dry add shading with a colored pencil.
Punch a hole at the top for hanging.

You can also do these with colored pens. Then you can shade with the colored pencils and highlight with the white pen and/or a white chalk pencil. The two eggs above use the tangle pattern Raphael by Sandy Hsiao.

Monday, March 18, 2019


HaWy - a tangle pattern from Holly Atwater CZT, is the challenge here. It's definitely a high focus tangle. It took me a few times before I got the hang of it - and it's still pretty uneven. The floral pattern was added to disguise the edges that were looking pretty wonky. But I'm glad I tried it!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Turning tangles with butterflies

The tangle keeps turning!

I thought I had done enough of my turning tangles but then I was shopping and found a butterfly punch. And it was on sale! So of course, I had to have it. My mom had a number of framed butterflies in her bathroom- and now they are in mine, so butterflies have always been very special to me.

I had fun playing with different color schemes. See the picture below to see what I did. Note that the picture below also shows the upper tile before I added shading.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

As the tangle keeps turning.

As the tangle turns - I've done more of these! And the meeting we had at my home produced an exciting assortment from everyone that attended. 

As I explained in my last post, these are done using two tiles, a paper punch, and a tiny bead in the center. I've added tabs to make them easier to turn.

This and the picture below are the same tile. Note that when the tabs are rotated you see another view of the tile below.

This one and the picture below are also the same tile, just rotated.

This close up shows how there are no mistakes in Zentangle. I punched a flower shape but the paper punch wasn't strong enough for the Fabriano paper. - It only punched through the outer sections of the shape. I was ready to throw it away but then I started to play with the tile and curled them up instead. Happy accident!

Monday, February 11, 2019

As the tangle turns

I had a fun class with Yvonne Westover a little while ago. She introduced us to a new way to play with our tiles with Brads.

I took her technique and came up with this little chameleon.  I used two zendala tiles. On the top one I cut out the animal's shape with tiny scissors. I added a branch for the little guy to perch on. On the second zendala I used my glitter gel pens in a variety of colors and an overall printemps pattern.

Attach the two with a tiny brad- and turn!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Valentangle puzzle

Valentangle puzzle. This uses 6 3Z tiles. It can be put together in a variety of ways. I really enjoyed doing this even though it kept me busy for a long time.

This is the string I started with - you can see the heart shapes at each corner

All the tangles in place. Yes, it took a while.

I decided to add some color using my inktense pencils. I stopped here and thought I was done but the next morning I looked at it again and decided to add shading in the black and white sections.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Valentangle 19 1

Valentangle is a Facebook group that has a series of prompts from now till Feb 14. All the prompts are valentine related. I'm going to try and play along.

This first prompt uses a fragment. We could put it together anyway we wished. When I play with fragments I like to make multiple, small fragments out of scrap paper and play with the possibilities. Keep scrolling to see how I played with it.

before shading

at first I thought I might be done here

basic fragments inked in place

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Zendala Moments 1

Zendala moments #1

If you have been reading my blog you probably know that I love using color and I love Zendalas. I used to participate regularly in the Zendala challenge that Erin at the Bright Owl used to put up but she has had to curtail those now. So when I saw a new Zendala challenge - well, WHEEEE!!

The Zendala Moments come from Annette. Her blog is in German but my computer automatically translates her page - although the zendala line work doesn't really need any translation.

Here you can see that I used the line work as a jumping off point. I did my own thing and didn't worry about 'staying in the lines'. I used a pink Micron pen on one of my handcolored tiles. I shaded with colored pencil and highlighted with chalk pencil.

More good news - I've been asked to teach at the Rocky Mountain Zentangle Retreat. And I will be going into detail about my color on color technique. It's going to be a lot of fun. Details can be found here. http://www.rockymountainzentangleretreat.com/ I hope I see you there!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Purple crazy huggins

This Zendala tile uses a Crazy Huggins idea that I first saw on Facebook posted by 
Susan Arnsten-RussellHuggins is one of the first tangles that I learned and I need to go back and use it more. When I saw how Susan Arnsten-Russell  had worked the Huggins toward the edge of the zendala and doubled the lines, I needed to try it myself.  She has the stepouts posted on her Facebook page.

Here you can see the colored tile I started out with. If you look closely you can see this tile has some goofs on it. I let water get on the back of the paper as I was painting it and it grabbed color off the front. But since there are no mistakes in Zentangle I used it anyway - and honestly, I can hardly find the problem in the finished tile.

Along with the purple background, I used a purple pen, colored pencils for shading, and a white chalk pencil for highlights.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

purple spundala

The Diva got a paint spinner for Christmas so she has joined those of us who have been having fun with these toys for a while now. I found this spundala that I did a couple of months ago but for whatever reason didn't post it. 

I actually started with one of my colored tiles that was a light purple already and used the paint spinner to add an extra oomph of color. The tangles came next. Then extra shading with colored pencils and highlights with a white chalk pencil.

Happy New Year!