Sunday Smackdown #9 – Zendala Template Again!

Kristi's Zendala Template fro Sunday Smackdown #9.
Kristi’s Zendala Template for Sunday Smackdown #9.

I know, you are all super surprised that I’m issuing a Zendala template Sunday Smackdown. I can’t help it. I love to nerd out with Adobe Illustrator! While I use Illustrator for work frequently, it isn’t often in this type of manner so I still get to learn some new things that no doubt will help my daily work and have some fun and support  my hobby at the same time.

As usual, I have a 2-page PDF available here. You will find the template sized for standard Zentangle tiles, Zendala tiles and full sheets of printer paper/card stock.

On this one I tried to keep it helpful, yet not stiffling. As I created it I had many different ideas pop through my head depending on what lines I left as is and which I ignored and where I maybe added lines. I think that means I achieved my goal. I also have a thought to try use this as a template beneath a round Gelli plate. I’ll post my method for that later in the week if it works as I’m envisioning.

When you’ve completed your ZIA and posted it somewhere, please come back here and share a link to it in the comments. We would love to see how you interpret the template. A credit line linking back here for the template so others can play along would be greatly appreciated as well.

Now, go tangle!

Diva Challenge Duotangle Renaissance Style

Diva Challenge #217 duotangle of Dex and Bunzo on a Renaissance tile in Zendala form with black, brown and sepia microns, zenstone, and pitt pastel pencils for highlights and shading.

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:

  1. How would Dex work in a circle?
  2. How would using multiple colors of ink (in this case black, sepia and brown) helpcreatethe dimensionality of Dex?
    The evolution of my Diva Challenge tile for this week. Upper left is just inked, lower left is with the highlights in place and the right side if a close look at half of the finished tile with both highlights and shadows in place.

    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!

Ready for Sunday Smackdown #5?

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.

Here is the Zendala or Mandala template for the 5th Sunday Smackdown. The PDF includes full sheet, and the official Zentangle tile and Zendala size.
Here is the Zendala or Mandala template for the 5th Sunday Smackdown. The PDF includes full sheet, and the official Zentangle tile and Zendala size.

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.

Zentangle Tile 2015-092, a Smackdown Sunday #5 Zendala on Strathmore Toned Gray tile using the chiaroscuro techniques used on the traditional Renaissance tiles. Patterns include pearl, purk, striping, tippe, b’tweed, paradox and tipple.

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!

Sunday Smackdown #3 Results

Well, Cate, you did good! At first I was a bit frustrated that you had jumped right in with the Neocolors and used overlays with washes. I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what the heck I could do with my currently limited supplies that was different from that. Then Sue’s mention of her upcomiing gathering with the CO CZTs the day before popped into my head and I knew I had a bunch of unbleached coffee filters in my cupboard and no plan to move them. Plus, we had just finished the Renaissance tile class and I had sepias and browns and white charcoal on the brain. I didn’t want to use the crayons on it though because the of the brown tint (though that could be used as an asset too) and I was wanting to put the Renaissance class skills to use. I also knew I didn’t have any walnut ink on hand to dye them with. Then I remembered up in the cupboard there was also some really, really old flavored coffee beans that never got used and were well past drinkable. And thus my Sunday Smackdown #3 project was born.

Step 1: Brew up some strong coffee.
Step 1: Brew up some strong coffee.

Firstly I brewed up some coffee. I’d recommend brewing it at a stronger strength with a bit finer grind than I did. I just winged this step. You could even use left over coffee if you have some.

Step 2: Fold some coffee filters in various ways.
Step 2: Fold some coffee filters in various ways.

While the coffee was brewing I folded up a bunch of the coffee filters in different ways. Some I used binder clips on to ensure they held nice folds. My intention was for kind of a dip dye effect so I’d get patterns on the filters according to how they were folded.

Step 3: Immerse folded coffee filters in brewed coffee and let sit. The longer the sit the darker the dye.
Step 3: Immerse folded coffee filters in brewed coffee and let sit. The longer the sit the darker the dye.

Then I stuck an edge of the folded filters into the coffee and let them sit. I pulled two out rather quickly and they seemed almost undyed. I sprinkled some salt on one and some of the coffee grounds on the other. I didn’t want to let the filters sit too long because I was afraid they’d lose the effect of the folding, but since the first two I pulled seemed unaltered I let the others sit for a couple of days. To dry them I laid them out flat on cookie sheets.

You could hasten the drying by putting them in a low oven for 20-30 minutes as long as you keep a close eye on them.

Steps 4 & 5: Lay flat to dry. Then steam between two pieces of scrap fabric with a medium iron.
Steps 4 & 5: Lay flat to dry. Then steam between two pieces of scrap fabric with a medium iron.
Step 6: Tangle!
Step 6: Tangle! Use the folds or the dye lines or both as your starting string.

Once dry I ironed them. I placed a filter inside of an old tee shirt to protect my iron and ironing board. I set the iron to the lowest temp that allowed use of steam which on my iron was the cotton/poly blend. Then I pressed the heck out of them. The folds did not completely disappear. Even the nearly undyed ones have fold lines on them.

Using the fold lines like a starting string I put a pen to paper filter and started drawing. This was my first freehand drawn mandala. It was quite the experience. I did a lot of finger measuring to set landmarks for the patterns as I progressed to try keep things somewhat symmetrical. For me the beauty in mandalas is that symmetry. The base filter for this zendala is the one in the upper left corner of the photo of the filters.

One thing I noticed was that the more I added to it the less you could see the inconsistencies! They are still there, though I suspect they pop out at me more than anyone else. It does make me think I’d really enjoy using Genevieve’s Dot Mandala Templates. It was really enjoyable to let the shapes appear as I progressed, but my tendency for precision would really like some solid landmarks to work from.

In the meantime perhaps I’ll make myself paper dot templates in Illustrator to trace to make sure I’ll use something like that enough to justify shipping costs. The coffee filter is light enough a light box is probably not even required to transfer dots or a string to it. Or perhaps I’ll do an asymmetric tangle on some!

I should point out that due to the nature of what a coffee filter is there will be bleed through so be sure to work on top of scrap paper. Also, the ink will bleed and feather a bit. One can use this to your advantage, but it is good to be aware of. You need to keep strokes moving. The slightest pause will cause a thicker spot in your lines. Overall though I really enjoyed working on this piece and am looking forward to working on another of my filters soon.

So, anyone else going to join me in tangling on coffee filters? I’d love to see your coffee filter tangling whether dyed with coffee or watercolored or whatnot. Leave a link in the comments if you give it a try!

Weekend Zentangling

Zentangle Tile 2015-070 with Oof in progress.
Zentangle Tile 2015-070, in progress featuring Oof for the Square One: Purely Zentangle Facebook Group.

I had such a great time with the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus pattern last week that I jumped right in this week. Oof is the pattern for the week and I thought I was using it on Friday, but I went off of memory and drew my first arcs the wrong direction. I ended up with a fun tangleation, though I’ve neglected to photograph it.

The really completed Zentangle Tile 2015-070
Zentangle Tile 2015-070 Square One: Purely Zentangle focus on Oof. The tile stared at me until I went back and added more.

So I tried it again on Saturday morning as I sat in the coffee shop at the south transit center waiting for my bus to have lunch with Cate and take Sue Clark’s Zendala class. I finished the tile the following morning, or I thought I did. As I sat and sipped my coffee the tile was mocking me for being too flat and dull so I added in more. But, if Instagram is any indication, less was more in this case. Oh well!

Zentangle 2015-071 zendala
Zentangle 2015-071, the first zendala from Sue Clark’s zendala class featuring striping, printemps, diva dance (waltz) and black pearls.

For our first zendala we used an official tile and these great stencils to set the symmetric string.

Zentangle Tile 2015-072, the second zendala from class.
Zentangle Tile 2015-072, the second zendala from class featuring zander, meer, pepper, knight’s bridge and n’zeppel. Then, because I can’t pay attention in class and ended up breaking up more sections that I was supposed to I popped in some copada.

I had to finish this one the next day as well. This was a pre-strung zendala tile and Sue demonstrated how the string can really just be a suggestion and you can divide more etc. While I knew that, I’m not certain I would have done it to a zendala all on my own. I’d be afraid of messing up the symmetry I think. But it worked out. Although I couldn’t manage to divide every other section so I did them all and added in an extra pattern – copada.

Sunday Smackdown #2 in the sketchbook.
Practicing for my Sunday Smackdown #2 in my sketchbook.

Because I put the finishing touches on so many tiles on Sunday morning and I was pretty worn out from Saturday’s craziness I just started doing the step outs for Weave in preparation for my Sunday Smackdown #2. I found doing the step outs helped me solidify keeping the “top grid” and “bottom grid” straight. I highly recommend it!