I took a zentangle class at www.noagallery.com/ a month or so ago. It was the first class I’ve taken since college! I loved the class but experienced a bunch of fits and starts when I tried to zentangle on my own. First my hand was all crampy and did not enjoy holding a pen for that long. Then I had to do a search for the paper I wanted to use. In the class we used little squares, which is a common practice for zentangle. I wasn’t comfortable with the small format size. I think I was looking for a long-term piece, something I could return to again and again and not have to start with a new little square each time. In zentangle, one normally uses just a black pen of the marker variety (fine point and archival ink) and a pencil. The pencil is used to initially draw some boundaries (they call them strings because you create a squarish shape and then divide it up with these strings or lines) and ultimately used for shading. This shading can contribute to some very fine three-D effects.
I snuck out to an art store and bought myself a large high quality pad of tag board. It is smooth enough to take the ink lines without bleeding. I then unburied my “art pen” which is a fountain pen designed for drawing. I am a big fan of fountain pens in general. I own about three really good ones that I use regularly. So it made sense that I would want to draw with real ink and pen if possible. Turns out this pen is great for these doodles and it works great on the tag board. Success! I also bought a set of colored pencils. I had bought a set of fine-tipped color markers before I took the actual zentangle class but found no success in using them (although I now plan to revisit that option now that I have gathered more information having to do with my personal relationship to zentangle). Back to the colored pencils: I tried a zentangle on the tag board and started putting down some color BUT it wasn’t working. It wasn’t singing. I let it sit for a day and then threw it out. That’s my way of dealing with failure: get rid of it!
And then this weekend THE BREAKTHROUGH. I got all warm and cozy in bed with NPR, my ipad and a little zentangle book I had bought that fills in the alphabet with zentangle designs. It’s a good reference book to use on the fly. I decided that my format would be a series of squares and rectangles. It’s good to establish such a framework. At first I was thinking I wanted to fill in fish shapes or turtles, but the squares and rectangles created an easier starting point. I started doodling. Then I bravely took out my set of 24 colored pencils and I started filling in the doodles. But more importantly, I started shading the doodles with the colors versus applying just solid colors. It worked! I couldn’t stop. My hand only got tired after about three hours. My sister had advised me to not grip the drawing instrument so hard. When you are having fun that is easier to do. When you are tense and frustrated, that pen gets gripped like a weapon.
This is the result:
|Colors in real life are much brighter|
Next I want to experiment with gilding, paint, markers . . . anything that brings color to this very fun art form. And then, of course, I am going to turn them into bead patterns.
Hope your New Year has begun on a creative foot too!