Wednesday, 19 August 2015

the long and winding road

The last time Sharla Hicks visited the Diva's place I ended up learning loads of news ways to work with FluxThis time - not only has she encouraged me to develop my appreciation of curved tangles - but also the wonders that can arise when working in a series.

It's all too easy for Zentangle to become just another box on today's tick list.  Especially when one is trying to make a tile for this or that 'challenge'.  Sometimes they are the perfect kick-start.  But all too often they become constrained by themselves and possibly overshadow the finer point of Zentangle. Which for me is about getting lost in the doing of it - picking up the pen with no plan and being surprised every time by what I end up with.

Working in a series encourages you to limit your parameters - and thereby expand your horizons.  It's about having only a vague destination in mind, and getting thoroughly, blissfully lost along the way.

I decided to focus on Unyun (by Carole Ohl) as it has both an S and a C curve.  Previously I've only used it in its basic described form, as so

which is fair enough but I wondered if it could do more.  After a little bit of playing about in my sketchbook I found three different looks that I wanted to try out on tiles.  I did these quite quickly on fairly smooth white paper, as these are just practice pieces in my view.  I took scans at various stages in the drawing so I would have a record of how they developed.

[click to enlarge]  The top row shows basic outline drawing.
In the lower row I have darkened certain areas and thickened lines.

Smooth white isn't the most amenable paper to shade but still - here are the finished pieces. 

The reverberating one - this makes me think of a sound wave,
with echoes spreading out from the initial noise.  Two rows
of Unyun, mirroring each other, and then aured
and intersecting the auras as it expands.

The crazy one - like eyes and mouths in a hall of mirrors.
  I pencilled 3 initial lines and placed Unyun against them,
but then reversed the direction of the C curves.

The lacey one - I see ruffles around the necks of old Queens,
or piped icing around a cake.  Two double rows of basic Unyum,
darked in the centre. 

Each significantly different while still retaining the essence of Unyun. And even better, I'm brimming with more ideas to try out, which I'll add here once they see the light of day.


  1. What a great post! thanks so much for sharing your process of exploration. I'm guilty of checking challenges off the "To Do" list;-)

  2. That middle one is really pop art, very 1960's retro. (I remember it the first time round, so it struck a chord with me.) I like the way you have experimented and found such different looks with one patterns. Nice work.

  3. What a wonderful series on this one lovely tangle! See, you really read the directions! I especially love the "crazy" one. Excellent, excellent work!

  4. I love your series! Reminds me of fun house mirrors. You have given me something to try. Really cool.

  5. I love the crazy one 😊 brilliant series

  6. What a nice pattern with lovely variations!

  7. I love it, gave me a 70's flashback
    Lee Darter

  8. Thank you for sharing your process! I love the way you tackled the challenge and really explored the pattern!

  9. Very cool series! I love seeing how one tangle can be so diverse. My favourite is the crazy one - so cool!