It’s been a long time coming, but with a slight push from CZT, Sue Clark, I finally finished my illuminated letter from the workshop she hosted at the end of April. I have to say with everything in chaos in my life/house the pressure of doing a ZIA kind of got me on this one. I’m not quite 100% certain this is done, done. But it is done until the move is over and I’m settled in Alexandria for sure. I’m kind of feeling like I need something more in the background in the upper left. Something open and light like the n’zeppel perhaps? We’ll see how I feel once I unpack it.
I was a bit unsure how to shade vitruvius, but I’m pretty happy with my decisions to outline the squares with graphite and then darken the center and the very outside.
We got to use Sue’s Fine Tec metallic watercolors at the workshop. Because part of the draw to Zentangle for me was doing letter work like this those watercolors are going at the top of my post-move wish list! They were so easy to work with and the result is much closer to actually gold leaf than any other gold pen or paint I’ve worked with. I was even able to layer a bit to create some shadow and highlight!
I used some Japanese pearlescent watercolors on the poke leaf. I like that it gives some sheen to kind of blend with the S, but it lets the gold take center stage.
Sue just posted everyone’s letters here. I highly encourage you to go check them out. There is such a variety in styles and they are all inspiring and gorgeous!
I had to do this week’s Zendala Dare of course. Who could miss the 100th one?!? I ended up doing a lot of riffing on this one, just letting the pen do what it wanted. As a result there aren’t actually many tangle patterns in it. Though the oblong b’tweed outlined only with graphite kind of makes me think of pine cones. I’ll have to remember that when winter rolls back around!
I can’t wait to go look at what everyone else has done with this great template!
I used Strathmore’s Toned Tan for this one. It isn’t quite as warm of a tan as the Zentangle tiles so I’m not as fond of the sepia on it (the colors of this photo are a little off since it was photographed under a lamp instead of natural light). I do like the finish though. It isn’t quite as absorbent so coloring is easier, but there is plenty of tooth to shade and highlight with graphite and white charcoal. I am still a bit meh about this one. I don’t feel like my Weave was free form enough and as a result it looks sloppily executed instead. Cate things I’m on crack. What say you?
I also ended up putting in Mysst which I just haven’t been happy with using myself yet. I’ve seen examples of other people’s work using it and liked it, but I have yet to like my own stuff using it. I do however love Stickers! What fun!
Yesterday was dedicated to finishing my Sunday Smackdown #3. This is a sneak peek of it in progress. I completed all the drawing last evening, but I’m still on the fence whether to add any highlighting and shading. Cate says to post it everywhere and frame it and hang it in our living room once we’re moved. We’ll see. It would suit our furniture in a way… I’ll likely post another shot of what it looks like now on Instagram (fiberfool) at some point today if you’d like to ring in on whether I should take it further or leave it as is.
I think I’m done with the first toned gray zentangle inspired art piece. There is a good bit of open space in the lower left yet that has me slightly unsettled. I did end up adding Sunup Sundown on the ribbon and did fairly extensive shading. I need practice on ribbon work though. But Sunup Sundown could very easily become a mac & cheese pattern for me. Loved it!
I’ll be back soon sharing my finished Coffee Filter Zendala and the how-to for my response to Sunday Smackdown #3.
In an odd bit of synchronicity, Sue gave us some info on chiaroscuro which I had just read about in The Witch of Painted Sorrow by MJ Rose. I’m in love! With both the technique and the book 🙂 Although so far I wouldn’t call my use of highlights and shading particularly bold. I need to work on that.
There are some marked differences between the standard tiles and the Renaissance tiles. The paper seems to have less sizing, making it super absorbent and somewhat delicate. You really need to have a light hand when inking and shading. You also need to make sure you haven’t recently applied lotion (see top tile for evidence) or use a bit of paper towel between your hands and the tile. I’ve actually put a paper towel in my Renaissance kit.
I decided it would be a good idea to practice what we learned on my own so I did another renaissance tile last evening. My thoughts on mixing N’Zeppel and Nymph didn’t work as envisioned. A good lesson to just jump in and let it flow rather than planning, eh? I also think a sanguine charcoal pencil might be a good addition to my Ren kit. The shading on the feather could be more effective with that instead of graphite. Bunzo was also a challenge due to the absorbance of the tiles. The brown darkens as you go over it so you don’t get very even coverage when coloring large areas. All good lessons. Despite that lengthy list of nitpicky things I do still like the tile over all.
Cate and I both brought home pre-strung Renaissance Zendala tiles so you may see that popping up as a Sunday Smackdown at some point in the future. I’m anxious to throw some red into the mix too. I loved Sue’s Renaissance Zendalas she had on display in her studio and classroom space that used red.
Have you worked with the renaissance tiles before? Do you have any tips to share?
I feel Helen Williams’ weave really shines on its own. Plus, it requires enough concentration (I messed up in a few spots if you look closely) that it seemed best to jump in and keep it simple. I added a bit of tipple as a finishing touch.
If you are struggling keeping the top grid and bottom grid straight when doing Weave I’d highly recommend taking it large and work on a 3 X 3 dot grid. I actually got through this one without messing up! Plus it gives you room to add in additional tangles for a tangleation 🙂
Finally to have really explored Weave I felt I needed to use it in a tile where it wasn’t nearly the only tangle. So I pulled out a tile from last weekend’s Zendala class that I had prepped with a stencil from KalaDala and got to work. I started with the isochor-ish and striping, then riffed the flower in the center and did the black pearls to cover up some dots I placed to help with the flower drawing. Next I put in the nekton as the backdrop for the flower and the twisted rope border, then I did the triangular cadent and weave. I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about it overall. Though I am glad to see I was able to successfully complete a smaller, accent of weave. I really wasn’t convinced it was possible so from that aspect this was a successful tile!
Cate, where are your Weave experiments? Or has Narwal taken over your tangling life?
I started my Zendala Dare #97 tile last night. I finished the shading this morning while I made whole grain pancakes with lemon ricotta and berries for our breakfast and put together a whole grain beer bread dough.
Because we do mass transport and that doesn’t run here in Fort Collins on Sundays we stay home all day. It makes it a great day to do food prep for the week like baking bread. It is especially so this weekend because we got 8-10″ of snow and it is still coming down. Walking or biking anywhere isn’t an option today.
At first I wasn’t feeling it with the template. But I took a deep breath and jumped in with Striping. I added perfs, then the rope-like border, then the Black Pearls for the small “drops” seemed the right answer. It took a bit for me to figure out what to fill the rest of the background with, but I settled on Shattuck and Nekton. I’m pretty happy with it considering I was hesitating on the template.
Anyone else think they spend more time on shading than drawing? I can’t swear by it because I’m often multi-tasking while shading, but it sure seems as though that step takes me longer.