Life has been pretty challenging itself lately so I haven’t been consistent in playing along, but an idea of this week’s Diva Challenge popped into my head over the course of the week so I sat down on Thursday and made this Renaissance tile. I was curious about a couple things:
How would Dex work in a circle?
How would using multiple colors of ink (in this case black, sepia and brown) helpcreatethe dimensionality of Dex?
For me, there is just something magical about creating a chiaroscuro tile, whether it be an official Renaissance tile or on the toned gray tiles from Strathmore. Add the highlights and everything starts to really pop, but then add the shadows and it has more dimension than you ever imagined. I’m quite pleased with this tile!
Ever since the Renaissance tile class with Sue I’ve been a woman obsessed. There is just something about working on the mid-tone papers, be they the usual tan of the official Zentangle Renaissance tiles or the Strathmore Toned Tan or Tone Gray. It seems as soon as you put white to them something magical happens and everything pops. I just love it.
All of that said, I’ve not been overly enamored of shading the primarily brown tangles with graphite in all situations. So this week in the couple tiles I took time to make I played with using some colored pastel pencils in place of plain graphite. I picked up three Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils from my local art supply store in 283 (Burnt Sienna), 192 (Indian Red) and 225 (Dark Red). I haven’t really used the dark red because I haven’t yet played with adding in some red ink on my Renaissance tiles just yet. But you’ll see both of the other colors in each of the two tiles of this post.
Have you played around with shading with other colors on Renaissance tiles? What medium did you use, pastels, colored pencils, markers?
As Cate and few of you know, my day job involves working with the suite of Adobe programs so I’ve itched to make zendala templates almost since I put the pen to Zentangle tile. While my last string challenge, the first Sunday Smackdown, was kind of Zendala-like I didn’t quite feel it was a Zendala. This week’s however is definitely a Zendala or mandala if you just want to color it.
There was no real inspiration behind this one. I just started playing with various shapes on my art board in Illustrator and flipped, rotated, duplicated and tweaked path points until I liked what I had.
You can download the template file here. In it you will find sizes to fit both the square and round tiles from Zentangle as well as to fit a full sheet of cardstock or paper.
Below you can see what I did with it on the first try.
I opted to use a 4″ Strathmore Toned Gray artist tile. The round tile template fits on them, though as you can see I can’t center it on the tile without the outline to guide me 🙂 I have really fallen in love with adding in both highlights and shadows and it even makes my mac ‘n cheese patterns semi-challenging since I have to figure out how to do the highlighting.
I will likely give the template another go at some point this week to try move away from my first instinct to paradox and b’tweed everything. No promises to use a white tile though 🙂
I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s interpretations of the string. Be sure to post a link in the comments here if you use the template so we can all see!
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?