In With the New Year

I’m not setting any resolutions or goals for 2016 per se. I may over the course of the next week or so settle upon a word or phrase to serve as a mantra. Then again, I may not.

What I do hope will happen is that I will find my creativity once again. All the craziness of the past few years with DH finishing up grad school and our moving from Colorado to Virginia has sucked a lot of energy out of me. Yesterday’s “You’ve got memories to look back on” on Facebook was three solid of years of saying good riddance to the previous year. That’s not good.
2015 did end on a lot of up notes. We sold our house without much drama (aside from getting it emptied from a distance) on December 1st and came out the other end able to erase all the debt from grad school/under-employment, improve the living situation (our first non-futon mattress was delivered a week ago and I’m hopeful will help my body and mind), upgrade our 9-year-old laptops so I can take on more design jobs, and still have a bit of a savings account again. Without paying both a mortgage and rent we will be able to save money each month once again instead of living paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve had very little time and energy to devote to any sort of creativity on a regular basis and I’m hoping to change that going forward. It may not all be Zentangle or even ZIA, but I’m thinking a good bit of ink and maybe some watercolor work. I also want to work on creating art on my iPad so when my body is not wanting to play my creativity still can. If you have any suggestions of apps (I have the Adobe ones, Paper, Procreate and Skribl) or YouTube channels to check out, please let me know! I do know tangling will still play a significant part because I really have to embrace letting things flow and Zentangle is an effective exercise for that.

So, in the spirit of being creative on a more regular basis I made the following last night. In bed. In a dearly lit room. While watching X-Files as DH and I have been scrambling to get caught up to have it all watched before the revival later this month. I have say, living out here has brought a whole new dimension to watching the show!

 

I created a string in my unused 5×8″ Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal using 2016, then tangled in it using b’tweed, flux, tipple, fescue, mooka, a variation on purk and whatever those fan-like things are called.

I did the drawing in my watercolor art journal I ordered a month or so ago and hadn’t used yet thinking I’d watercolor after, but I’m not so sure if I want to watercolor it now. What do you think? Maybe I should try my hand at digital coloring? My string was inspired by Sue Jacobs and her tile she shared. Can you spot the “2016” in there? I think my tipple kept it a little more distinguishable. I did waffle over whether to so obviously cut the piece in half, but ultimately decided to go for it. I have to say I still hate my mooka though. *sigh*

Happy New Year to anyone still following along! I hope 2016 is everything you wish for and more!

Day 6 and I only finished Inktober #2…

Inktober #2
Spheres with Disc Inktober Zentangle #2 featuring cadent, gneiss with purk and paradox, kozy, cruffle and black pearls.

It is day six and I only just finished my second tile.I’m full of excuses. It really boils down to not finding a groove yet. I have a hard time taking time to do my own things when DH is around and he has every other Friday off which happened to be this week. We also are lacking in the lighting department because lamps are bulky and expensive to move across the country. With the nor’easter this weekend and 11 straight days of cloudy skies things were just overall very dark in our apartment despite an abundance of windows. I’m also just slow. I laugh whenever I read that Zentangle is a 15 minute process. I don’t even get all the patterns inked in 15 minutes when I know all of them well. Then on Saturday I was felled with some sort of odd malady which I was still cautiously recovering from on Sunday.  I still don’t know what the cause may have been. Too much gluten?

This tile is a prime example of shading saving the day. I freehanded all the circles so things are wonky and I am way out of practice on spherical grids and cadent so when I started there I was already quite unhappy with the results before moving on to the gneiss/paradox/purk tangleation. I kept at it a bit adding black pearls, kozy, and cruffle to the mix (see below). Some rush jobs greeted me when I logged on after my tangling and breakfast hour so any further work was stalled until this morning. I much prefer to shade in natural lighting anyway so it was probably for the best that I didn’t revisit it last evening after work. Plus it gave me that oft advantageous “distance.”

Inktober Zentangle #2
Inktober Zentangle #2 sans shading. You can see a lot of wonkiness and it is pretty uninteresting. I almost passed on doing anything more with it, thinking it unsalvageable.

The shading masks my wonky cadent and it’s definitely not round “sphere.” And overall it just brings more dynamics to the piece through the dimension and layering it creates. I think really the shading is some of what I love most about the tangling process, yet when I first started I neglected that step for a few weeks or more! So sad! As has become usual for me, I used three different leads in my shading – 3H, HB, and 3B to help develop more realistic shadows.

After yesterday’s rush jobs I’m hoping to carve out the time to at least ink a third tile today, but we’ll have to see. Then this evening is the monthly handcrafters group at my library so I *may* tangle there. I’ve brought my basic kit with me every time but always end up knitting because it seems easier to visit with others while knitting than tangling.

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!

Weekend Tangling

Renaissance tile zentangle using chiaroscuro.
Zentangle Tile 2015-080, my first renaissance tile using black and brown micron, graphite and white charcoal on knight’s bridge, purk, bales, and indy-rella.

 

Cate and I spent Saturday afternoon with Sue Clark of Tangled Ink Art again. This week, the class was on the Renaissance Zentangle Tiles.

A renaissance tile without the shading and highlighting.
Zentangle Tile 2015-081 before adding highlights and shadows with the graphite and white charcoal.

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.

My first solo renaissance tile zentangle.
Zentangle Tile 2015-082, my first solo attempt at a Renaissance tile featuring feather, n’zeppel, nymph, bunzo, flux, tipple and black pearls.  

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?