Our Zentangle journey's are not linear. We go up and down, forward and backward and sometimes all over the place. Some days we push limits, boundaries and explore new ideas and techniques. Other days, we stick with the tried and true and the comfortable.
If you tangle often, you may find that you go through phases of different tangles, styles and techniques that you focus on for a period of time and then you move on to something else.
In this blog series, we will periodically share some of the tangling trends that we, here are Zentangle HQ, are currently excited about.
Over the past few months, Martha and I have taught two workshops that dug deep into working with just black, white and shades of gray. We utilized Sakura's Micron gray pens and played with Generals sketch 'n' wash pencil. I really fell in love with these tools and how they create layers and textures. I love the shading process of tangling and the gray pens really compliment the graphite. In addition to all the gray tones, I love to go back in at the end with the black Micron and finish it all off with General's charcoal white pencil. I am sure I will return to playing with color soon but for now this seems to be my go-to palette of choice.
We all have our daily habits, small moments of activity, nourishment, or pause that if missed, the rest of the day goes haywire. Habits, whether good or bad, eventually evolve over time. What once was a morning jog has become a morning coffee walk with the dog. In the past, I used to try to set aside a specific time to tangle each day and when I did, it felt wonderful! But when I didn’t…it felt like I had somehow failed. Recently I decided on a different approach. Like a lot of people, I spend most of my workday in front of a computer. I've shifted my “habit” of making a special time and place for tangling to always having a tile (or two) in progress right at my side. I’ve found that by adding to a composition throughout the day, I can draw inspiration from many types of influences. Toggling from screen to paper and back again gives me a sharper perspective of my work and leaves me with both a feeling of accomplishment and creativity. Having a tile that is an ongoing project has really allowed me to tangle truly unplanned with no expectations other than to enjoy the process.
Maria turned me on to this technique as a way to add subtle graphite shading. Instead of placing the graphite with the pencil directly on the tile, place a large area of graphite on a separate piece of paper using the side of your pencil. Then rub that area to load your tortillion with graphite and use the tortillion to transfer the graphite to the tile. This gives you more control, particularly if you want only a hint of shading. Remember, you can always go back onto your tile to add more graphite with your tortillion or with your pencil. I like to use the back of a tile because the texture "holds" a lot of graphite, at least at the beginning. Once you've gone over that area with your tortillion it smooths out and you'll want to load up another area like on the tile in the picture. The reason for the blue tape is my tortillion started to unwind and it was still in good shape.
Oh! I wish I could tell you, but I can't.. not yet! I have been completely consumed with the materials in Project Pack No. 18 and while I would love nothing more than to share with you all right now, my lips are sealed until August 12th!
Share with us in the comments what your current favorite tangle, trend or technique is and we will choose a commenter at random to receive a Zentangle Project Pack No. 18!
It’s training my brain in sooo many ways, I’m already seeing benefits. I LOVE creativity so to have a whole community of like minded and humble (so so humble 🙌) people to learn from and share with.. is absolutely priceless! I’m learning to trust the process and tell myself.. no, that’s not a mistake, keep going. Currently, I’m obsessed with drama tangles. I love the inking & shading process. While inking, I can really get into that Zen place.. while shading, I can see the piece coming to life. ALL SO REWARDING! ❤️
Bonnie Kenney on
Eilee Boylan on
jennifer matthaei cottrell on
To me, the most important tip is no mistakes. If I haven’t made a “mistake” in a pattern, I sometimes purposefully alter it in some way. I also have grown to appreciate when a line or stroke isn’t uniform. I like that my finished Zentangle art is clearly drawn by hand.
Jessica M on
I am new, so I am still doing black on white, but the other day I tried adding color for the first time. I am on welfare because of illness and therefore have almost no disposable income, so I was very happy to find Zentangle doesn’t have to be pricy to enjoy.
Milla Struer on
Thanks for sharing the tips! Lately I’ve really enjoyed going back to the basics with white tiles and black pens. Classic Zentangle is so relaxing.
Barbara Langston on
Lately I’ve been exploring Reticula and fragments….especially Crazy Reticula. I love trying new ideas and “what if I try this?” Sometimes it works great, sometimes not, and that’s ok!
Kim Turmel CZT36 on
Veronica Hodges on
Blythe Nicassio on
Rosemary Bogan on
Rosemary Bogan on
Tangle/trend/technique: my current trend is incorporating tangles in new venues. I’ve created tangled posters to decorate large, wrapped gifts; made ‘gems’ and sewn on costumes; tangled on large bones; and on tissue paper n then turned it into faux rice paper. My next project is to create tangled items (leaves, river, clouds, animals) fir my grand daughter’s felt board.
Nancy needler on
Joan Mitchell on
I think my all-time favourite is Rick’s Paradox – so simple to learn but with so many possibilities for variation.
Donna Ritchie on
Holly C on
Sometimes, when even taking out a blank tile seems too much, I pull out an unfinished tile from a pile or open up to a not-quite finished page in a notebook and add some strokes to what’s in front of me. No pre-thought, no planning but just the simplicity of watching ink flow onto paper. Before I know it I’m in another world.
Margaret Clark on
Cadent has always been my go-to favorite, but I recently found a tangle called Saturday. I’m loving it!
Nancy Wilcox on
Carol Roenbaugh on
My July Tangle group was canceled, I have PP 18 ready to go for Aug. 12. But it was still July, so I finally framed some Mosaics from other project packs and now deciding where to hang them. Have reorganized my supplies & binders…..I’m ready for Aug. 12. Meanwhile I’m tangling in blacks and grays. Might get that stretch & wash out and try some of that for a week.
Johnifer Baker on
I love it all but I keep circling back around to the original black pen, graphite pencil and tortillion. Simple but sophisticated and elegant at the same time. Those are my most satisfying tiles.
Jo Diamantes on