This is not the first time that I write about strings. The role of the Zentangle string on my tangled artwork and the overlap and metaphor it takes into my daily routine fascinates and inspires me. I love the way a Zentangle string offers a suggestion of a direction I could go, but doesn’t demand or restrict the way I respond to it.
When we got our Zentangle Journals in a few years ago, I was trying to decide whether I wanted to start with a blank one or a pre-strung one. At first I was thinking that I wanted a blank one. But then I thought about it a bit and I changed my mind. Of course I could have had both but I wanted to really dive into and focus on one first. I had started many tangled journals before but never really attached myself to any of them.
I was thinking that the strings might be great prompts to keep me going. I was inspired to start filling my journal. Over the years, have noticed this thing with people and their sketchbooks and journals. Many of them never get filled. Why is this? Maybe it is a daunting task. Maybe that is why people love working on tiles. Maybe it is thrilling at first and then we lose interest. My Mom showed me a trick a few years back. When you start a new sketchbook or journal, open to random page in the middle of the book and start there. Who says that you have to start on the first page and continue on in consecutive order? Once you fill one page you can continue to skip around here and there. It is not a story so there is no need to go in order. You can always date individual pages as you go for historical reference. With this approach your journal slowly becomes full in way that doesn’t leave you obligated to fill every page. So why not dance that dance with your journal work as well. Once you get in the groove of meandering around the pages, you get to choose which path to take next. With my pre-strung journal I like the randomness of choosing a page with a suggested string on it or perhaps working on a blank page. Maybe I am in the mood to tangle something more structured like focusing on a tangle step-out and exploring all the variations. My favorite part about the pre-stung journal is that all those delicately pre-strung lines disappear when my tangles magically transform them. And then I like to take some of my favorite tiles and artfully mount them to some of the pages. I love the variation all these approaches add to the whole.
Life isn’t so linear either. There are so many experiences and relationships branching off in different directions and overlapping here and there. There are times in my life where I feel like things are going on the straight narrow, other times where they seem to laser beam over one another and other times when things seem to go full circle. I love pulling out a metaphor in this process. I start to ponder if there are other things in my life that don’t have to be done in the order or the way they have always been done. Sometimes in life things need to happen out of order because that is what happens or that is what makes sense. Once I saw things under this new light … I felt empowered and honored to make these choices in my journey instead of letting them be made for me.
Like maybe tonight I eat dessert before dinner?
I have been dancing around the pages of my journal for a while now that I didn’t even notice it was practically full. Oh, yay! … Time to start a new one.
See more pages from my journal on the Zentangle Mosaic App using the #mollyhollibaughstangledjournal
Red Teague on
I love the way, like me, you find so many profound wisdoms in the Zentangle process that carry through into life. I love the idea of jumping around in a journal. That really helps to break up that sense of imposed order. I too have one or two abandoned journals, or ones I’m frozen about even starting. Maybe this post will be the one that shifts my block!
Jem Miller on
Sue Leslie CZT on
Molly, thanks for your timely advice. I just received my prestrung journal in the mail from Zentangle HQ and your blog has inspired me to jump in and try something different. I have my beloved journal from CZT30 and I really enjoyed adding the tiles and my teaching notes but it’s not quite full yet either so more opportunities there too!
Jane Goddard on
Molly, your Mom is so smart. What a brilliant idea! And look at you, finishing a journal!! How cool is that! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to try this :-)
Donna Jacobson, CZT on
Some months ago I finally started drawing in the blank sketchbook/journal I received at the first zenAgain. It had been sitting on my shelf being beautiful, but kind of useless! I’ve been jumping around the pages somewhat, but also filling it more or less from front to back. I’m doing some water-media so I want those pages separate as they get wrinkly. I’m having a lot of fun, and it will definitely get filled. :)
Margaret Bremner on
Kate Ahrens CZT IX on
Life isn’t linear… brilliant Molly!
Like Heidi, I too will pick up a journal at the June CZT and I look forward to filling it’s pages -
Heather Moffatt on
DM Smith (bakayaro onna) on
Karin Godyns, CZT20, on
Victoria Fletcher Smith on
What a beautiful idea ! I am still working with the Journal I received at CZT31…Now I will pick random pages !!! Your book is beautiful….“Dance The Dance”..!!
Sharon Jerkovic on
Carol Lee Parry on
Leslie Hancock on
GOOD INSIGHTS ON STRINGS AND COMPLETING JOURNALS – THAT WAS HELPFUL!!! THANK YOU!
Annette Chittenden on
Thank you for this post, Molly! Like Jan Brandt, my pristine Zentangle journal sits waiting for my first stroke. I won my journal some time back from one of your giveaways. I cherish its beautiful cover and divine paper, yet still am so afraid I’ll mess it up! Ok. I’m beginning with a pre-strung page; the first one I turn to will be my “Page One”. Again, I appreciate your gentle encouragement.
Kellie May on
I used to work in my journals front to back and mark the start and end date on the inside front cover. Then I got my magic journals! The large one I skip around in and the small one is front to back. Not sure which one I like the best but it is fun to break the rules (as if!) and skip around! Now to find my pre-strung journal and work in it some more.
Terri Young, CZT 16 on
Jodi Ballenger on
Ginger White on
Dear Molly … Your post has come to me at a perfect time. (Of course it has! That’s how it is with Zentangle. :D ) My pristine pre-strung journal has an honored home in my studio. It’s been waiting for me to honor it with my first mark for a long time. Thanks to this nudge from you, the time has come. <3
Jan Brandt on
Thanks for sharing these little moments as they inspire me. I will grab one of my partially filled journals tonight and happily flip to a random page!
Kim Kohler on