Friday, 29 November 2013

Zendala Dare #81

It took me a little while to find the time to do this week's tangle - Zendala Dare #81 - but I got there in the end.

I'm surprised that the first one turned out as well as it did as I seemed to do it very quickly and without a great deal of thought last night as I was watching the television. I'd seen a couple of tangles I hadn't tried before - Footlites and Florz - so thought I'd have a practice. The individual 'beams' are not very well done, but I am quite pleased with the overall effect.

The second Zendala, I started with more care. I'd recently enjoyed doing Heartstrings as part of the 'It's a String Thing' weekly exercise, so included some more of those, along with Hollibaugh. Then I had to get off to bed. After seeing the children off to school, I finished the Zendala and am surprised that - to my eyes at least - this is a Zendala of two parts! The second set of tangles I used are very different - more light-hearted and open compared with the dense patterns I chose last night. I wonder if there's a reason for that? Do you ever finish something you've started in a different style?

Thank you Erin, I enjoyed doing this Dare very much!

Includes Footlites and Flores, Crescent Moon and Peapod...

Includes Heartstrings, Hollibaugh, Moonrocks, Henna Drum and Paradox

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thursday tangles

I'm delighted to say that the workshop I ran on Tuesday was well attended and well received. We had a great morning and they want more! Becky took to it like a duck to water - she only needed to see what the basic strokes were and she was off!!
Shame on me, we were so engrossed in what we were doing that I forgot to take photos. Next time, I will because the tangling world needs to see what our little corner of Andalucia is capable of...

And I've really enjoyed this week's 'It's a String Thing' from Adele at 'Tickled to Tangle'. Last week, I learned six completely new tangles and was delighted to see my tile on Adele's page on Monday this week. This is it:

It uses only tangles beginning with 'L' - and here, from the top, we have 'Lokomotive', then going left to right - Lace Curtains, which I did a bit wrong, Lacy, in the middle -very pretty - Longwood - very elegant - Looplopp - very versatile and Lanie - completely sweet! A good learning tile and some tangles I shall definitely use again.

I'm currently on with the Zendala Dare #81, which is a lovely one too.

This week's String Thing uses just Heartstrings by the amazingly talented Helen Williams, who is just BRILLIANT - check her out on 'A Little Lime' and be blown away by how she develops and deconstructs tangles to the most fantastic effect if you haven't seen her work before.

I just started drawing hearts and didn't stop until my tile was full - the most  'Zen' experience yet since I started tangling - I'm afraid I sometimes find I'm a bit too focused and am clenching my jaw - not very Zen! I didn't know how to get a corresponding highlight on my main red heart and would love to know any techniques for doing it. I ended up using a silver pen but it's not right....

Off now to finish that Zendala!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Diva Challenge #146

Oh and what a challenge this week from Laura on I am the Diva!

I really struggled with both Pea-nuckle and Well....I found them too unwieldy somehow. I really didn't know what to do with either of them!

Ah well, (no pun intended) at least I managed a 'go'. Here are two I tried...warts and all!

I don't think I'll do either of them ever again!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Quib and Quibbish.

I wasn't impressed with my own first attempts at Quib at all. I think the new tangle inspired some fantastic work from others and I seemed to like the ones which (like my own) have more than a passing reference to the sea, jelly fish and shells. Quib seems perfect for capturing a waving, moving, fluid sensation of movement.

I went into town today to buy some pens for my forthcoming workshop and decided to try the papeleria nearest to my daughter's school for the first time. I've been in all the others and am mainly underwhelmed by the choice. Although the choice here was definitely wider, the nibs were almost all 0.5 or greater and I wanted something really fine. In the end, I was pleased to find some pens that had a fine nib - with a thicker nib at the other end! Two for one! And she had them in a few colours too - not exciting colours but she said she could get more. So I got those too.

When I came home, I set to on Quib again and came up with something I like a lot better than yesterday's efforts, even though the colours are not good. (The Drupe in the top corner was a practice with the pens... )

And then, because of Drupe and because of the colours and because of the positioning on the paper, I thought I'd run it through the BeFunky website to crop and reposition it.

This to fade out the tacky colours....better I think.

Or better facing this way...with brown tones?

Or even better...Sepia tones! (Sepia is Spanish for squid, so very fitting I think!)
Not sure if it's cheating really. Probably is. But I'm really pleased with the different effects.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Quib - Diva Challenge 145

This is a new tangle called Quib and some folk have done really wonderful things with it, judging from what I've seen over on Laura's blog,  I am the Diva. I'm very envious of some of the entries to the weekly challenge as Quib is both a simple and yet very sophisticated tangle and there are some great examples of both. I tried my hand at one of each - in my own way!

I will, in time, master this one as I do like it very much. So much to learn from what others have done but here are my two first attempts!

This made me think of a jelly fish...lying on a sea 'bed'!
And this one uses my favourite metal tube....I started too high on the paper to be able to 'capture' my 'quibs' at the other end as they came blowing out of the end of the tube. Also, I didn't spread them out quite enough, so distinguishing one from the other was difficult as so many of them are quite dark....I live and learn!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Zendala Dare - Emergency Zendala 3

Poor Erin over at The Bright Owl has a lot on this week and hasn't been able to supply her addicts with a new Zendala to complete. However, luckily for me, new addict that I am, she had an emergency supply!! How brilliant is that?

I chose number three which was quite unusual - for some reason, I'm not able to show you how it looked before I put my pen to it but if you follow this link, you'll see it along with a great set of instructions for Solow and a rather delicious-looking recipe!

Anyway, I struggled with it dreadfully. I realise that last week's attempt was beginner's luck - I did all three templates without even thinking and enjoyed each one immensely.

This was difficult! I don't know why, it just was. I'm sharing my only showable attempt anyway. Why was it difficult? Has anyone else tried it? Advice from you experienced tanglers, please!

To be honest, I find it really creepy....Is there something strange going on in my subconscious?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A workshop!

Oh I'm very excited. Although I haven't been doing Zentangle for very long, I'm very enthusiastic about it and - being an ENFP - can't keep my enthusiasm to just myself...I long to share it! A number of people locally have seen my tangles (or had them thrust in front of them..) and some have expressed an interest in learning how to do it for themselves. At first, I felt concerned that I shouldn't try and show anyone how to do something I hadn't yet mastered myself. There are Certified Zentangle Teachers out in the big wide world, who undergo courses and then run workshops ...but.....thinking about it, I am never likely to be able to take one of those courses. They're held too far away and I don't have the funds to attend.

In the meantime, I feel it will be quite safe to start 'small', not tread on any toes, and spread the word myself in my own town. So next week, I have gathered together a few enthusiasts - including a real live artist (the lovely Steffi) and an illustrator - to do a 'Tangle' workshop. It may be Zen, it may not! I will, with their permission, share how it goes in a future post.

In the meantime, I've been practising my own favourite tangles in the smaller, Zentangle tile size. It's been good fun and whilst I'm not utterly delighted with any of them, I feel I learn something with each one and certainly enjoy the process. Where I have known the official name of a tangle I've used, I have included it in the caption. Otherwise, the tangles are my own version of things I've seen others use. I am working on improving my knowledge!

This is mainly Betweed and Beedz

Here, I have used Betweed again, Crescent Moon, Feathers and I'm not sure if the 'tresses' one has a name or not.. The shapes at the top have a name but I always think of them as 'Moomins'...they are my own version of whatever is the official pattern.

Here, I use Pokeleaf, Drupe, Beaded Lines and Tipple in amongst the pebble shapes. The seashell shapes probably have a name but again, I don't know it.

Oh dear - not a clue with any of that Nzepple in the top right hand corner? If I find names, I'll come back and amend these comments....

On the left, that is definitely Hollibaugh, PokeLeaf across the top and Huggins down the right hand side. Rick's Paradox - simple triangle only is along the bottom. The column, the snail and the pebbles are my own versions of whatever else might be out there...

This is Verdigogh! I must learn to get the rolled back paper right...Two are not so bad but this bottom right hand corner is rolling the wrong way! How did that happen? There's some Tipple hiding behind three of the corners - couldn't tell you what's in the four

There - away now to try one of this week's challenges and to prepare for my class next week....did I mention that I'm rather excited about it?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Diva Challenge 144 - A Bug's Life

When I saw this challenge from Laura on I am the Diva, I thought it wasn't for me. I did my first Zendala challenge that Erin put out and it felt quite comfortable...and challenging. But drawing bugs...I didn't quite get it. The only bug I like is a ladybird and several people had already done wonderful things with them. When I stopped to think about it, I could see the appeal of lacy-winged types, like dragonflies...but I felt overly challenged by getting the shape of it all right.

So I did something very obvious...a spider web, just to see how it turned out. I actually felt a bit silly - a grown...nay, middle-aged woman, sitting at the dinner table drawing a spider's web but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. Couple of silly mistakes for you to find if you feel like it...but hopefully, you'll feel 'drawn' in to my spider's inventive little efforts. Great fun! And yes, it took quite a long time but I was enjoying Mary Beard's 'Meet the Romans' series as I worked. And I decided to give colour a miss - it didn't seem necessary to this drawing and would probably have detracted from it. (I just didn't know where to start with colour!)

Thank you Laura - I enjoyed this one very much in the end and my spider isn't too preditory, honest!

Monday, 11 November 2013

I dared!

In the Zentangle and other tangling worlds, challenges and dares are issued. Sounds rather formidable but it's really just one way of stimulating creativity.

I am in awe of some of the results of these challenges and in a number of the blogs I follow - see my sidebar on the right - you'll see both the challengers (who always give it a go) and those who take up the challenge.

I haven't yet dared to do one but today I'm feeling brave. Erin at The Bright Owl has been putting out Zendala Dares for some time - she's up to 80 this week and I decided to have a go. I chose a Zendala rather than a pattern challenge as it's the first time I will have used a template to tangle. And it was great fun - so much so that I did three... There were two sheets of paper to print out - the first held two smaller copies of the template dare and the second sheet held a full A4 size copy. I couldn't resist.

This is about the size on the template. I made it 'busy' and it has just two patterns that are not official and so have no name as far as I know. The squirly one in the outside shapes is one I've drawn since I was at school and is a fairly universal doodle.

This is the second one - also about this size on the template. This has 'Betweed' in some of the centre triangular parts whilst the other centre parts have a little 'Huggins' adaptation in them. The outside shapes have stripes- no explanation necessary and a little Mooka. Actually, seeing it here, I rather like it!
And finally. I had a go at a large size and really put some effort into Paradox in the centre, with Hollibaugh, a version Crescent Moons and something I think I made up in the other...though it started off as Nzepple...and then a few Cruffles...who can resist a Cruffle?

I'm so glad I dared. Am off to try and post this link onto Bright Owl's page....

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Four Evening Pieces

I have felt strangely scared of doing more than practising new tangles in the past week or so. When I first began making tangles, I was delighted with the results but recently, I've been less impressed with what I've done. Does that mean I am more critical or less inspired...don't know.

But I enjoyed doing four tangles yesterday evening and whilst I am still not overjoyed with all of them, I have to say, the process of producing them was definitely worth it. I feel considerably more inspired now and will keep on trying.

This is me, giving it a go...

Apologies for the slightly out of focus edges, I think I could have scanned this better but it was in a bigger book that overlapped the edges of my printer....
This one is the first I did and I was practising 'Paradox' which you can see (a bit blurred) down the left hand side and the cubed effect of Cubine - which is great to do - and at the bottom, the spiky leaf and berry tangle is called 'Verdigogh' and reminds me of Christmas....more anon! There's also my first bit of Hollibaugh.
This is another curate's egg of a tangle. I was trying to do some clever paradox tangle through the middle - which sort of worked, but not perfectly. As I continued, I realised I wanted a sort of pathway effect - hence the stones along the bottom - and then thought perhaps a compass tangle - I chose 'Drupe' - might look good in the top right hand corner - but it lost something in the execution - artistic ability, I think!
I will try the idea again at some point and make the compass look more like a compass.. 

Now in this one, I felt the mojo was working a little better. 'Fengle', the star tangle is notoriously difficult to keep symmetrical, so I didn't bother to try. The curly rope pattern is one called 'Cruze' and when I added a few spheres, I thought it had quite a celestial appearance. And I rather liked it all together, even though I still need to practice 'Cruze' to really get it to work well.

And finally, the 'Verdigogh' that made me feel a bit Christmassy just had to be done in colour. I wanted a fairly simple background, but managed to mess that up a bit by missing my links somewhere in the middle....hence the rather ugly 'stumps' at the bottom!
Not can't do it just have to try and make it right - perhaps I could have got it 'righter'...all good experience!

Friday, 8 November 2013


I have yet to incorporate 'Paradox', which is an original Zentangle pattern, into anything freeform yet. It has taken me a while to try this one as it has always looked so incredibly difficult.

Well, I feel I have got the hang of it now and just wanted to share my sketchbook page where the pattern eventually came to life. I was rather excited!

You can see my first few attempts at the triangle didn't work. But then I got a rhythm going and my concentration held...and I did triangles, squares and even a hexagon, a septagon and a cube!! The circle was beyond me but then it only has one side....I ended up LOVING the tangle and am away to try and incorporate it into a proper tangle.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Paisleys and Divas

So far, I've worked small. Zentangles are usually done on small, square tiles - about 3 and a half inches square. This really focuses the attention and you can achieve some incredible things on this little bit of space. However, I've recently had the urge to do a single tangle bigger.

This one is a paisley shape - originally a droplet-shaped pattern from Persia or India. It became popular in England when it was brought to Europe by the East India Company - in the form of beautiful Indian fabrics which had the design block printed on them. The name 'Paisley' is from the town in Scotland, where the pattern was used to produce fabric locally. I have always loved its complex internal patterns and it has always been of interest to doodlers and artists - particularly those who create designs using henna.

I tried a few in my last picture and really enjoyed completing them. This paisley fills almost an A4 page and is the biggest single pattern I've done. I can see where my lines are far from perfect but it was a great piece to work on whilst watching a bit of television the other night!

As we were watching a series from a few years ago - ROME - I decided to do another single tangle in a bigger form than usual. This is based on a tangle called 'Diva' and was great fun to do. It's not hard to be pleased with the effect and all it really takes is the patience to draw one line after another.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Tangles for Christmas

Hot on the heels of making cards came the idea of making tangles into Christmas cards! My take isn't very original but my first attempt was a couple of cute trees with some little tangles inside them - very simple.

I was pleased with the effect of the watercolour crayons.

After that, I was sketching some 'cruffles' - another tangle that I really like doing and which seemed to lend itself to Christmas decorations. This was only ever intended as a sketch but my mum liked it so much she asked for some cards to be made from it. I saw some similar lettering on Pinterest and copied it. I keep using this style now as it's simple and effective. That lovely red paper I had was coming into its own too!

Then I saw a very complex poinsettia design somewhere - possibly on Etsy - and took the idea and simplified it and then painted it in watercolour crayon.

The really cool bit was running it through BeFunky's website to ring some changes - especially as Mum wanted lots of cards!

Firstly, I brightened up the original....

Then I toned it down to neutral colours - I went on to add gold and silver accents to this and loved the final effect

This one looks all blurry but is meant's also in some great autumnal colours.

And this one adds some blue/green effects and makes the leaves really stand out.

I then decided on a couple more designs based on trees.

This one is as simple a tree as can a red pot with a gold star.

And my final design so far this year is again inspired by one I saw on Pinterest, but amended to my own level of skill (!)...that is, very simple indeed, but rather sweet.

As I said, my mum was happy to take all that I'd made when she went back to England but I have done some good quality photocopies and have made a few more to add to the card collection....

Tangling in November

It's early yet. But I've discovered already that it's possible to really dislike a tangle - to think it's wrong - to feel the creativity of previous pieces has evaporated...

Why would this be? Well, I think partly it's because I haven't just 'let it happen'. I've started out with an idea and tried to make it work. And that seems to stifle the creative juice a bit - because I'm not an artist, I'm someone who enjoys being creative.

Anyway, here are some of the things I've done this month so far.

 This one was a sort of half-hearted attempt at a 'challenge' - not sure where from - to do a tangle with no straight lines and using only 'organic' shapes.

I thought snails were quite a good choice as they are very organic and have no straight lines...but mine are a bit uninspiring and look to be perched precariously on top of a pile of feathers...I also included my 'moomins' and 'mist' which looks a bit like dots coming from wiggly lines...and a background of undulating shapes. I think I have located the problem I have - that of the perching snails - but I used a string background and didn't really think about composing. Oh's just not good!

Despite some definite flaws in technique, I much prefer this picture.

This is really just a combination of some of my favourite tangles of the day....the shells down the left hand side in the bottom centre right...the black ribbon and the black Mooka are rather nice. The column that goes from bottom left to top right is distinctly odd and the lantern string, although quite nice, isn't sure if parts of it are transparent or not....

But overall, one that I rather like...and

And it formed the basis for the next one I did where I tried harder to get a sense of depth and layers...
The paisley shape is a new one as is the pretty little button and ribbon string down the left side. There is a lot of shading on this one - at first I thought it was heavy handed but seeing it again, I think not.

More October tangles

Back to black and white
And really falling in love with the curled feathers, the pearls and pebbles, the poke-root and pansies. And that black and white 'Cat in the Hat' stripe....always reminds me of Dr. Zeuss!

I went back to England in the middle of October - travelling back there with my mum, who had been visiting us. My enthusiasm for tangling inspired her to have a go and as she was drawing, she kept giggling. I told her it couldn't be funny - there was no right and no wrong in Zentangle so why was she laughing? She showed me...and I couldn't help laughing til tears rolled down my cheeks at her attempts. Truly awful but awfully funny!  Later on, when she'd gone to bed, I 'tweaked' what she'd done and left it for her to take home. I don't know if she knows I changed it but she seemed much more satisfied with her work the next morning...

This one I did on the journey to England...
Tangling on the flight was a brilliant idea and both trips passed by in no time at all. I had to keep looking out of the window on the return flight because the day was clear and I could see Spain set out below me ....looking remarkably like a lot of tangled patterns!!

This one too I managed to finish before we landed
And this one I drew on the return journey. I was sitting next to a very nice couple so we ended up chatting once I'd finished. I like the star but the pearls didn't end up with quite the right effect - or the effect I was looking for...

And I also drew on some lovely dark red paper that I'd had for a long time. You can't see the detail very well but it was beautiful to draw on!

It took a lot of work but I was pleased with the result.

October tangles

Time to open up the notebook...I started using Pinterest and found lots of patterns, tutorials and ideas there. Some mornings, over my coffee, I sit and sketch - usually very roughly - some of the things that take my fancy...

Here's a selection from October...

Some inspiration from Joanna Fink here...

Trying - and failing several times - to get the curled feathers right! Looks like I gave up on the Paradox...still haven't mastered that but am going to!

 I think the top tangle comes from one called 'Zinger' which is a lovely one to draw - and I followed a YouTube tutorial on how to draw a Celtic knot. The triangle was obviously too complicated for me...

And from the same YouTube sitting as the Celtic Knot - these are definitely Maria Thomas tangles - the Aura Star and Mooka...a delight to draw as it's just one line!

Now LeeAnn Denzer is a genius - her drawing and art work is stunning. If you are at all interested in what can be achieved in the name of tangling, check out her website. I am always in awe.
I enjoyed spending a bit of time on 'bracelet' here - the difference that shading makes was just beginning to dawn on me....

And another heroine of mine - Helen at A Little Lime. She loves to deconstruct patterns and is wonderful at sharing her work via brilliant and inspiring tutorials.  I don't know where the little bud tangle comes from at the bottom right of the sketch page but it's another one I enjoy including.

A whole load of inspiration here - sadly, I didn't name them so can't give my thanks and recognition.
The stick in a coil is great fun to do and I went on to use 'Seaheart' in a card using colour that I sent to my friend, Janice, in France. 

And here is W2 - possibly one of my favourite ever tangles - so clever and such fun to do. And several attempts that didn't work!!
It's a nice thing to have my sketches - seeing that some things do need to be worked on to get right and seeing where all the inspiration came from.