I recently received the following question about our latest Project Pack:
“I've been doing Zentangle only since April, and I have done a lot of the traditional black ink on white 3.5" or 2" tiles. I have followed the Zentangle Primer Vol 1 book and many YouTube videos of yours and other CZTs but have never done a project pack. I am still new to Zentangle. Do you think it would be ok to dive into project pack 21 or would I be better off going back and doing other project packs before it? I guess I'm asking if project pack 21 is for more advanced tanglers?”
Zentangle Project Packs are designed for all levels of tanglers that have some experience with the Zentangle Method. The lessons use common Zentangle language and techniques that would be better understood with some prior Zentangle knowledge. In the beginning we started with basic concepts, and though not in order of difficulty, it does seem that our Project Packs have thematically become more sophisticated over time. With that being said, there are some Project Packs that offer more basic instruction and exposure to fundamentals of the Method than others. We try to vary the themes throughout the year and seek out ideas that tanglers might be interested in exploring.
Many, if not all our project packs, have multiple underlying themes which overlap. For instance, there are some that feature materials, but we wrap a little bit of philosophy into each lesson. Or we start with philosophy but wrap a new technique or skill into the lessons. It is this intersection of artistic technique and Zentangle philosophy that is ultimately where the value lies.
When I review the collection of our Project Packs, there are a few Project Packs that offer more to those who are new to the Zentangle Method. If I were to select the best Project Packs for learning tangles, I would recommend Project Pack No. 04 and No. 10. Both offer fun ways to learn individual tangles in their basic forms. If I were to choose the best Project Pack to introduce you to different tile shapes and paper surfaces, I would choose Project Pack No. 02 which offers a taste of many of our different tile shapes and colors as well as accompanying pens and pencils. If I were to recommend Project Packs that bring focus to Zentangle philosophies I would suggest Project Packs No. 06 and No. 14.
We have Project Packs that feature themes that take a deep dive into a specific collection of materials such as No. 01 with Black tiles or No. 12 with Renaissance tiles. Some Project Packs work thematically around a surface or a specifically curated collection of tools, such as No. 07, No. 08, No. 11, No. 17, and No. 18. These Project Packs usually feature lessons that are independent from one another and are not sequential. In other words, you can do some or all of the lessons in the series and they can be done out of order. These are great opportunities to progress from working on white tiles and you can learn a lot about different materials and techniques specific to those tools and tiles.
Then there are Project Packs that are more thematically tied to a technique or project. These include ones like No. 05 that features Zentangle Cartouche, and No. 15 that works with letter forms and alphabets. Project Packs No. 09, No. 13, and No. 16 also guide us through fun tiles that thematically work around a style or technique that we as artists can get all tangled into. Each of the project packs leave you with another tangling skill to take with you and integrate into your practice.
In 2019 we began a series of Project Packs that work with our concept of Zentomology®. These include Project Packs No. 19, No. 20, and No. 21. They all focus on learning the different categories of tangles, their characteristics, and how they work with each other compositionally.
If you were to ask me if there was a Project Pack that is not a beginner experience, I would have to say Project Pack No. 19. It has been, thus far in our series, the marathon of Project Packs. It is also my favorite one and the one I would recommend to any avid tangler. You can get lost in this project for hours and hours of tangling bliss. It challenges, inspires, and requires quite a bit of tangling stamina. It leaves you learning about many different tangle categories, how to build composition with tangles and works you through sophisticated shading techniques. And it leaves you with a very large and impressive piece of artwork!
We really do believe that all our Project Packs can be approached by tanglers of all abilities.
- Will some people need to watch a lesson a few times? Perhaps they might.
- Will there be challenges or mis-strokes here and there? Perhaps there will be.
- Will each and every tile or composition created be unique? You bet they will be!
Project Packs as a whole can be approached just like any other tile, one stroke at a time. Take it slow, enjoy your pace and embrace your Zentangle practice. Have faith in yourself as an artist and give yourself some room to explore and go in different directions.
Finally, to answer the specific question asked, "Is Project Pack No. 21 for more advanced tanglers?"
My response would be, “not necessarily.”
“Should you try Project Pack No. 21?”
The answer is, “Yes”. If you have any introductory exposure to the method, you have enough experience to do the Project Pack. Work at your own pace and embrace your work. More importantly, do it the best that you can. It is your journey, not anybody else’s. Following along as the videos are released is fun and the energy is supportive. It is exciting watching it all unfold. You can always watch a video lesson first without tangling and then watch it again and tangle at your own pace. It is magical to see what others are creating along with you, and you can always choose to take your time on your own work but still follow what others are doing.
Our Project Pack series unfolded almost accidentally and has unexpectedly grown into something we both love and cherish. We never envisioned that we would get this far. Here we are, 21 packs later, and things have evolved in a very exciting way. We have learned and been inspired by all of you and thank you all for supporting us and tangling along. If you are also new to the Zentangle Method, I give you an encouraging, “Go for it!”, any Project Pack is possible, one stroke at a time!
Which Project Pack inspired you the most? What did you learn from that Project Pack?
Let us know in the comments below. We will be giving away something special to 3 winners, names picked randomly. Winners will be announced in our next blog.