Wednesday, 26 June 2019

you've been framed

One of the things I love about the wonderful world of Zentangle and its inspired art is the way that techniques you learn build on one another. 

I've previously shared the fun I've had making Zen Buttons - and earlier this year I noticed Debbie Moss Colton's Zentastical 3D frames - which use similar principles of shading to add dimension, but take the result in a subtly different direction.

Alice Hendon made a PDF with Debbie talking through the detailed steps of how to make her frames.  This PDF is shared freely in Alice's inspiring Tangle All Around Facebook group.  But you might be able to get the gist of how to do it from my photos and descriptions.

Some colourful tiles are a good place to start and I coloured mine this time using the bleeding tissue paper technique.  I had mixed results when I first started using this way of adding colour, but I think I've finally got the hang of the amount of water needed to make it happen.  Not too much, not too little!  Also, the paper of the tile impacts on the result.  As you can see on the ATC shaped tile the colour spread was very different - smoother and more washed out.  I decided to not use that tile for this technique, but tucked it in my stash for another time.

Colouring the tiles using Spectra tissue paper.
Make sure you use some robust paper for your tiles so they don't break down
with all the work you will do to them.

Once my backgrounds were dry I tangled a border around each tile - I decided it would be fun to work with 3 different shapes for my frames.  We are invited to add touches of additional colour to the frame once the ink is dry.  I did that in on two of my frames but not on the other.

A double band of Zander - with touches of blue on the bands.
A single Cruffle suspended by Beadlines in the middle.

Debbie encourages us to make the frame the star of the show, so try to choose open tangles to go in the frame.  I like spacious tangles so choosing wasn't hard for me.  I decided to add a Cruffle to each tile too, to further pull the set together.

A time-consuming but worthwhile border of Stikz -
with a minimal Arukas / Cruffle centrepiece.

Once I'd done some basic shading of the tangles in the middle, I started work to add dimension to the frame.  Lots of darkening at the edges, smoothing, blending, adding more.  I used a number of products to achieve this - watercolour, graphite and black coloured pencil.  I worked quite instinctively, adding more until I felt I was happy with the look.  On the first two tiles I also added a band of white chalk, but didn't do that on the square tile as when I started to add it I felt it covered the tangling too much.  Sometimes you need to follow the rules to the letter, and sometimes you need to listen to yourself when you know something is or isn't quite right.

A Remo frame, with spiral Barberpole and a hanging Cruffle.

I like the way the frames really do develop a sense of dimension once you shade them.  It's more apparent in the flesh, the scanner struggles to capture it well.  The tiles also feel a bit like windows to me - they frame a view onto a tangly treat beyond.  And despite adding lots of darkness to each tile the colours seem to shine more brightly.  I had great fun tangling these tiles and hope you feel Zentastically inspired to try them yourself!

Monday, 17 June 2019

six-sided celebrations

Today is a special day.  It's the anniversary of my very first Zentangle tile.

Back in the summer of 2013 I bought Beckah Krahula's One Zentangle a Day book, cut up a handful of thin white postcards, grabbed a 0.4 non permanent black pen and a pencil and tangled my first tile.  Two days later I tangled my second - and I haven't stopped since.

I blogged about my early exploration here - although I confess that I didn't start my blog straight away.  Initially I made notes on my tangling progress on pen and paper and only started the blog a couple of months in and then typed up my notes!

From little acorns - Static, Crescent Moon and Tipple

Everything I hoped Zentangle would bring me has happened.  My tangling has grown in confidence, ability and imagination.  I've explored different shaped tiles, different pens, a multitude of colours whilst never losing the love of basic black and white.  I've connected with people from all over this weird and wonderful world.  I've felt full to the brim with Zentangle excitement and also basked in utter calm as a tile takes shape at the end of my pen.

Mighty oaks - Drupe, Drawings and Aquafleur

Apt that six years on my current obsession is the six-sided delights that Marguerite Samama calls Relaxagons - which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.  Moving on from getting to know the tile, Marguerite invites us to explore the hexagon shape using tangles which can benefit from greater space.  She offers example and suggestions and I tried this with three different tangles.

Firstly I worked in black and white on one of the delicious hand made Relaxagon tiles, cut from the same Fabriano paper as the Zentangle original white tiles.

Drupe with added Beadlines and Fescu

Then I coloured a tile using the watercolour pencils included in the kit.  Not only are the colours perfect compliments to each other but their quality is wonderful - they mixed and mingled so well.  

Drawings - usually reminiscent of birds, this looks like something
more at home beneath the waves. 

I prepared my final tile by masking using thin washi tape and then smooth blending some blue Distress Ink.  When I removed the tape the hexagon was divided into all sorts of interesting shapes - which I began to fill with Aquafleur.  Disaster struck in one section of the tile - I lost track of which ribbons I was filling and it all started to unravel!  A few moments of despair where I considered ditching the tile - then the 'No Mistakes in Zentangle' motto came to mind and I grabbed a black Posca pen and covered over the mistakes.  When it was dry I went back with my white and gold pens and if I hadn't told you, perhaps you might have thought it was my intention all along!

I've been tangling Aquafleur fairly regularly over the years -
but I noticed one day that it didn't feel quite right, and when I checked
I'd drifted a little in how I tangled it and so the inward twisting spiral
had disappeared.  (Here's an example on a similarly masked tile)
It's worthwhile going back to the step-outs from
time to time in case you've drifted and need to find your way home!
Or else just enjoy your drift and call it a tangleation!

Thank you for sharing my tangle-anniversary with me.  Thank you to those who have been with me since almost the very start, and thank you to those who've joined me through the years.  Thanks for your encouragement, inspiration, and company on this tangled journey.  Here's hoping there are many more tangled adventures in the years ahead!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

playing games in the rain

I'm now officially in the Summer portion of my year long seasonal tangling project or Inklings as I call it.  Midsummer's Day is next week - but the temperatures have been stubbornly low lately and this week we've had high winds and lots of rain.  I'm not complaining - the plants and soil need it - but I'm not deterred from working with more traditionally summery colours either!

I prepared my tiles using Distress Inks in 3 colours.  On each tile I used a blending tool and gently built up smooth colour all over the tile, darker at the edges, lighter in the middle.  Using a stencil I then added a section of one of the other colours.

Sinking into summer - Alice Hendon recently blogged about her Line Dance
tangle.  It's a great one to tangle - simple and deliciously repetitive.  Shading
takes it to another level and there's scope for embellishment too.

My choice of tangles was mostly dictated by those that have come to my attention over recent weeks, and that I haven't yet worked with, or those I wanted to try again.  There was no greater planning involved and yet somehow I tangled a very cohesive set of tiles.  One reason they work well together is the similar colouring and background.  But the other is those black vines that appeared on every tile!

Stars and Stripes - with pleasing similarites to Romancy and Clob
Checkmate (Jody Genovese) is a joy to draw and shade. 
I added a handful of Helen Williams' Seeing Stars too.

I often add black details as I come to the end of a tile.  To me they feel like the finishing touch, and help to give an extra layer of excitement to a tile that might look a little flat.  Sometimes I might use perfs, or some Fescu or Beadlines.  There's official terms for this I think - to do with contrast and value maybe.  But to me it's just instinctive.  Is there enough black, white (or colour) and grey?  If not, add a bit here and there till I like it more!  These vines also help to connect different areas of a tile.  They can be vines, or ribbons, or long Fescu.  They can break out into an area of negative space, without completely filling it.  They can also cover over any little wobbles or slips I'm not happy with!

Dark and disturbing - Saatin (Nadine Roller) is one of those tangles,
deceptively simple and yet with so much potential for variation.
Blind Membranart (Tomàs Padrós) is another stunning fusion of organic
and mathematical and just begged to be envined!

Lately my black ribbons and vines are not content to merely wrap around or between other tangles - now they want to go through!  And who am I to stop them.  Just as summer days are sometimes cut through with rain, so the brightest tile needs its shot of darkness.