Wednesday, 24 July 2013

making and breaking

I was feeling a bit reluctant to return to the page after the last disastrous ATC – but I found it was much like most disciplines, sticking with it and practice do pay off. 

Today I find myself wanting to break the rules again – just like when I started overlapping my tangles before we were taught to.  I was like this at school, joining my letters together before we were taught how – making a mess of it, but knowing it was coming and eager to evolve. 

And I feel like the string contains me, or not the string perhaps but the border.  I look at some of the designs on the official Zentangle blog and they look borderless, perhaps even stringless.  A little image in the middle of the tile or spilling off the edge.  And so today I break the rules and tangle right to the edges – 

Today’s tangles : Vega - this is a great looking tangle – a strong and supple looking snake that can wind its way wherever it wants.  But I found it so hard to do.  I spent ages practicing and it’s fine as long as the curve is relatively straight, but the minute the bend becomes too bendy the pattern falls apart.  Thankfully a quick Google tells me that quite a lot of other people find the same problem!   Purk – fun to do and adds a nice sense of dimension to a tile – it really seems to jump out of the page and appear as if you would feel its weight and texture if you could touch it.  When I draw it I feel like I’m making Fabergé eggs.

Today’s tile makes me think of gypsy table cloths and vines taking over dilapidated painted caravans.  Of nature trying to fill every available space not yet claimed by man.

Monday, 22 July 2013

whether the weather

We are introduced to the concept of tangleations on Day 7 – the idea of making changes to a tangle to alter it subtly but significantly.  This turns a relatively limited palette of tangles into a far wider, perhaps even endless array to choose from.  It also helps to alter a tangle that doesn’t quite work into one that does.  In addition it allows room for a bit of individual imagination – this takes a step closer to real art, when you can feel like you are creating something new.

After filling a page of my sketchbook with various tweaks on my handful of learned tangles I embark on the second ATC –

and that’s where it all goes wrong.  Nothing comes out as I hope it to – everything feels awkward and looks wrong.  I finish, with a sense of dissatisfaction, and shove it away with little more time than it takes me to sign and date it.

When I come back to it a few days later, I realise I didn’t jot down my customary few lines having finished.  This was the one that got away – that held it’s hand up and flounced out with a ‘no comment’.  This is the one that I’ve taken against. 

Looking at it now I can’t tell up from down, and not in a good way.  It defies gravity.  It’s vaguely sea-based, pebbles and waves – but man-made too – structures attempting and failing to hold back the tide.  Strange thundercloud loops and little bits of lightning and a string of black beads that cast a deep shadow. 

And then I remember that the day I made this tile was hot and humid and we were waiting for storms that we didn’t know yet were coming – it seems I’m forecasting the weather within my tiles.  And realising this I come to like my tile a little more!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

flux capacity

Day 6 of this strange journey brings us to one stroke tangles.  These feel relaxing to make and using them seems to sink me further into the calm place that the act of Zentangling suggests is possible.

For every day when I struggle to see any progress I’m making I have a day when I notice areas of gaining strength.  I am getting better at filling the space.  Loosely allowing one tangle to cover another, and tying the whole together into a pleasing form.

Today’s tangles : Amaze – which looks like the surface of a brain and fills background space well.  Mooka – which are those loops which could be ears or paperclips.  Tricky to get right, but very versatile.  Flux – leafy vines which work great as borders, or bands to break up patterns and cast lovely shadows beneath them as they pass.

The tile I made today is my favourite so far – 

I wonder if the books I’m currently reading (Beacons and Edgelands) inadvertently influence the tile I made, or perhaps just my interpretation of the tile?  It looks like a battle – like nature reclaiming from man.  Roots breaking the surface.  Vines tangling girders.  Beauty in decay.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

hint of a glint

I’ve started using a #2 blending stump for smudging the pencil shading instead of my finger – and have found it very effective – much easier to control the shading, to move it where you want, and smudging the pencil it really makes it look smoother and more natural.

In Day 5 of One Zentangle a Day Krahula introduces the idea of sparkles.  These are a way of enhancing our images.  They are meant to be little spots of caught light and are achieved by lifting the pen as we draw. 

In today’s ATC (Artist Trading Card – a rectangle shaped piece of paper instead of the square) I’ve put sparkles in my Knight’s Bridge and also into my very wobbly Printemps waves.  I’ll admit that beyond this day I’ve struggled with sparkles a bit, and only remember to use them when I actively remind myself.

My image looks like a bird rising from the seas, or hanging down from a tree.  A bird stuffed full of bubbles of bright ideas or gassy responses.  A bird with a beak sealed by a curse - pledged tight to utter not a word.  A bird with concrete curls for hair - living beneath an insect's nest, each cell set to burst.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

say hello to the waves

I continue to do things my own way.  Not just copying but adapting, looking and taking in but interpreting too.  Not just the pattern but the process.  Some people seem to view them as casual throwaway creations but I want to take time with mine.  I want them to look cared for. 

I decide I want to round the corners of my tiles.  Today I like my darker blacker lines – I think they look cartoony!

Today’s tangles : Ischor - which I really struggled to get the hang of, but once I do it has a satisfying sense of texture to it, almost like the soft peaks of a whipped dessert studded with tiny berries.  Printemps - this is a lovely one to do, but tricky to get looking perfect.  Easy to get carried away and end up with messy spirals, but done right it really looks like waves, albeit those in the background on a theatre stage – ready and waiting for the puppets to perform!    

I start to break away from the idea of a square, leaving more white space on the tile.  Today’s creation looks like it should be held.  Like it could move of it’s own accord.  In one place a strange one winged butterfly has settled.  In another cartoon waves roll endlessly across a paper sea.