Friday, 23 March 2018

a visit to the dark side

I've long considered white pen on black tiles the weak link in my Zentangle chain.  I love how it can look in the right hands, but I was never truly satisfied with my own results.  And because I wasn't satisfied I rarely tangled using that combination.  Every now and then I would try a black tile, and admittedly my results improved a little over the years.

The sum total of my black tiles from 2016-2017

That last tile came closest, and I posted it here last October.  At that time Zentangle HQ released their Project Pack #1 videos to celebrate the release of a new finer white Gelly Roll 05.  I felt that the finer pen might be what I needed but I had to wait a while for it to reach the UK.  In the end I had to contact my favourite online pen vendor and politely request they stock it!

Since my pen arrived I have set aside a little time each week to try a black tile.  I've reminded myself throughout about the core values of the Zentangle method - taking time, appreciating the opportunity, the tools.  I've worked slowly and deliberately, but also without planning.  White on black is different than black on white.  The ink moves differently, dries slower.  Highlights and shadows rewrite the rules.  Even making images of the finished tiles is more challenging.  But I think the results are worth it.

Not a tangle - just a pattern based on a top a woman
in the background on a new story was wearing!

Fili - tangled during a rare fall of snow, mid February

Bands of Mooka, filled with Shattuck, with a touch of Flux

Simply Molygon

I'm not sure I believe that practice makes perfect - who wants perfect? But practice makes my technique stronger which makes me enjoy the process and the results.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

bathing in the purple rain

Particulars - fountain pen loaded with Diamine Damson ink,
black pigment pen, coloured pencil, graphite
 On Monday 12th the Google doodle commemorated the birthday of William Henry Perkin - who stumbled across a consistent purple dye while working to better understand quinine.  I've always been fascinated by these unintended scientific discoveries, and I've long had a soft spot for purple too.  So in the spirit of Perkin, this week I worked on a couple of challenges using purple ink.  I also tried to channel the spirit of wild experimentation - trying new things, not planning, just following instinct.

Joey gave us a ribbon and a pinch of Poke Leaf to start with, then invited us to finish her tile.  The Pokes are a lot like Mooka to me.  I love the way they can look in others hands, but struggle to find one of my own that I like.  But I stuck with Mooka, trying it many different ways and I have a couple of variations that I now draw and am happy with.  The Pokes took longer - but I think this week I may have found an approach to Pokeleaf that I like - adding a few auras on each side - it seems to give it a bit of bulk which I prefer.   The finished tile reminds me of something quite old and elegant - possibly the cover of a Victorian lady's journal, perhaps one where she notes the changes in her cottage garden.

Particulars - watercolour tile with two green brush pen lines.
  Purple Copic SP pen.  Coloured pencil, graphite.
I switched to a more controllable pen for my contribution to the Diva's Challenge - this week featuring one of my favourite tangles, Verve.  I thought it would be fun to let the tangle break free, hence the twists and points and bumps it's showing here.  There really seem to be endless variations to those winding auras.  I could have happily filled the entire tile but thought a bit of breathing space would be welcome.  It looks quite lively, like a mutant species is spreading and taking over.

I like the way that although the materials I used differed between my two tiles, the colours were similar which gives a pleasing sense of harmony.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

showing my workings

It's been a while since I aired my dirty laundry in public - otherwise known as sharing pages from my sketchbook!

Sketchbook pages are interesting places - the place where the rawest materials are held.  Where ideas form and fall apart as often as they evolve into something that will take the leap from the sketchbook to the tile.  Pens are tested, colours considered.  Old tangles revisited, new ones met.

My sketchbook pages have changed a lot since I first started tangling, when they were orderly and sparse, tiny little squares with neatly drawn tangles within them.  A couple of years ago when I shared a few on here they were starting to get a little darker and more disorderly.  Now they are a sprawling mass / mess and as much as I'm tempted to keep them to myself, I love looking at those belonging to other people, so it only seems fair that I share mine.

These are the four I've filled so far this year.

Points of interest - a trial run of my idea for IAST #225 which actually ended
up smaller as a Bijou.  Rediscovery of the wonderful Exis tangle.
  An interesting variation of Bales (top-right)

Points of interest - Dublin, which I could have hours of fun with.
  A few tangles that I like a lot but haven't yet used - Irradial,
Zigzag Track and Dollpin.  And a test of a few new pens / colours.

Points of interest - newly discovered treasures Floid and Wavlin.
  The ever challenging Mistura.  Tying myself in knots with Elven and Buckled Up!
  Triangular Hollibaugh and fragmented N'Zeppel.

Points of interest - new ways with String Rose.
  Scraps of tangles featured in recent challenges.
Vivi - which seems like it could come in handy.
  A possible new tangle - to work on. 
And playing around with Pokeroot in ink.

And that's all for now!