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’m a little late on the whole Sunday Smackdown thing this week. Actually, I’m so in my head with all the moving stuff I’m not even clear on who should be issuing the challenge or what type it “should” be. But, while I’m the one posting, let’s consider this one to be indirectly issued by Cate, okay?
You see, when she picked me up to attend Sue‘s wonderfully generous Illuminated Letters workshop on Saturday (more on that later in the week/month) she had a birthday goodie bag for me. In it were two books meant for journaling and doodling in – The Skywriting Journal and The Walls Notebook. I had first seen glimpses of The Walls Notebook in Alice‘s Instagram feed. When I did some digging to figure out what this mysterious “wall book” was that she kept talking about I ended up at Amazon and noticed there were other themed books as well.
It was such a surprise to get both books (plus some other miscellaneous goodies)! The workshop was so inspiring plus the lure of new toys and I came home and tangled some more! This time in the Skywriting Journal. I’m procrastinating on working on my letter because I don’t currently have a good place for “quality” tangling. The dining room table is covered in glassware of various types and my desk in yarn and sewing supplies – both for sorting/packing/donating. All of my tangling has been happening in bed, the one room that doesn’t look like it has been hit by a hurricane.
Then yesterday I saw that the Stacked and Tangled informal challenge was to use words. Words and stacked tangles seemed natural for the brick walls of The Walls Notebook. My friend, Amanda, gave me a necklace for my birthday that is a perfect mantra for this trip around the sun that is full of new challenges – Be Brave and Keep Going. It seemed like a perfect coming together of elements.
It’s a work in progress. The sky one may be as well, I’m not yet sure. One thing is for certain – tangling in books is fun! And I may just end up doing that to some encyclopedia pages as the wonderfully creative and energetic gals at the workshop on Saturday spoke of after I mentioned having a not quite complete set of my grandparent’s encyclopedias and being uncertain whether to move them.
So, please join me in the fun and do some book tangling this week! Use a journal like I’ve done or an old book. We’re not strict around here, so feel free to collage a book page onto a tile and then tangle over the page. It doesn’t have to remain in the book. Share your book tangle links in the comments below so we can see what you’ve done!
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 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.
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!
For our first zendala we used an official tile and these great stencils to set the symmetric string.
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.
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!
If you haven’t yet seen the Square One Facebook group, you should check it out. I haven’t played with their focus patterns before even though I’ve been a member for over a month because they are very strict on submissions being official Zentangles and not ZIAs. Since I do most of my work on 3″ Bristol squares rather than the official 3.5″ Zentangle Tiles I’m technically doing ZIAs.
But this week I pulled out one of my few official tiles and played with the pattern of focus for the week – Bunzo.
This was my first time making a concerted effort to morph from one pattern into another. In this case, N’Zeppel into a tangleation of Florz. I think I could use some practice on that, but over all I’m quite pleased with the tile. I think I really got great dimension in my Bunzo between the sparkle and shading.
I enjoyed the pattern and the results so much I also used the pattern on my ZIA tile last night. I didn’t like that one so much last night.Meer ended up looking kind of eel-like I think. Then I got a bit heavy on my ornamentation of Flux. After sleeping on it I think it is growing on me. Which is pretty normal for me. The organics I whine about are now some of my favorite after time has passed.
The patterns for today’s exercises were a little more to my liking. I had already worked on putting Flux on a curve so this was really good practice.
I had carried around the template for last week’s Zendala Dare, #96, at The Bright Owl since Erin posted it. It really resonated with me, but I never got the opportunity to work on it until last night.
I think I’m in love with Zendalas! I’m not surprised. I’ve long been interested in mandalas, even created some digitally with my photographs in the long, long ago before I was even a very good photographer. I’m also thinking that in addition to Zendalas appealing to my preference for order and symmetry in design they are kind of uber-Zentangle practice. You get multiple layers of repetition – the strokes making up the patterns but also the repetition of the patterns around the mandala form.
I scribbled pencil on the back of my print out of the template and then traced the template to transfer pencil markings to the tile. In the process I learned it really doesn’t take that much pressure to transfer 3B lead. If you look closely at the tile you can see a set of lines I chose to ignore — they are indented! I pressed a bit too hard, LOL!