Category Archives: Certified Zentangle Teacher

Principles of Zentangle® Series, Part 2: Unknown Outcomes

It’s hard to narrow down which one of the principles of Zentangle® are my favorite. Each time I sit down to write about or mention one of these principles I find myself exclaiming, “This is my favorite! I love this one!”

Really, each one serves its purpose in our Zentangle practice. And each principle supports another and relies on the others. Our deliberate focus on each stroke of the pen leads to unknown outcomes, and unknown outcomes lead to abstract characteristics (another principle I’ll cover soon). This scaffolding of principles and ideas in the Zentangle method and theory are what make it so unique. I think Rick and Maria knew this as they were learning and outlining the method!

But, this is also the hardest one to teach in my classes, since we are all completing the same tangles together it’s hard to explain that we do not have a predestined outcome, even though I’ve already picked a set of tangles and a string to use. In a normal, private setting we would sit down to complete a piece of Zentangle art, without any previous ideas in mind. Luckily, the mosaic shows us that we can accomplish different outcomes using the same strokes!

The idea of unknown outcomes takes the stress or concern away that often comes with making decisions in our art. Which figure to draw? What perspective? What medium? No, instead we sit down with our pen and paper and let the pen make the decisions. Maybe we want to try out a certain tangle, but even with some preconceived ideas in our mind, the process of the Zentangle method often takes us places we hadn’t planned on going! The method is kind of like a map and “Choose Your Own Adventure” activity combined, only executed in tangles and strings.

If you feel you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into tangling on your own, or allowing the pen to lead the way, I have an idea for you! Take a list of your favorite tangles (and include some new-to-you ones!), maybe 10-20, and assign a number to them. Then you can grab one die, or several dice (affiliate link*), or even a Dice Rolling app (for Android), and roll a number. Whichever number is shown is the tangle you’ll complete? Same number rolled sequentially? Do that tangle again and play with the scale or auras or embellishments.

Luckily, my husband is a tabletop gamer and I have tons of pretty dice to choose from! 😀

 

The string is also a way that we attain those unknown outcomes. The crazier and more abstract the string, the more possible outcomes! Try to let yourself go when you’re creating your string, adding swooshes and slashes. Remember, you don’t have to use the whole string, you can combine sections of the string, or leave entire sections blank. The string helps to break up that blank piece of paper, to put some initial marks down. You are not required to abide by the string! Push the limits, tangle outside the lines. It’s OK, it’s totally allowed 🙂

When I first started tangling, I tried for awhile to create preconceived ideas. To make something that represented something else. To be inspirational and outwardly creative. Quickly I became discouraged, intimidated. I find this is true among a lot of new tanglers, so if that’s you, it’s totally normal. But, get back to the basics and don’t worry so much about what you are going to create when you tangle, just tangle!

Tiles all tangled within 72 hours of each other. Each with a weird or non-square strings, or no string at all

So, don’t fret. Remember, there are no planned outcomes in Zentangle, no mistakes. If there is something keeping you from tangling on your own, the best thing you can do is to… DO IT! You’re totally capable of it.

If you’re still not sure where to begin or how, message me on any of the social media platforms I use. I will respond and I am happy to help! If you’ve taken one of my classes before, remember you can join my Facebook group! Send me an email and I’ll send you an invite if I haven’t already. I’m here to help if you need it 🙂

Leave me a comment below, new tanglers let me know what you struggle with, veteran tanglers share your best tangle-y advice!

Cheers,

Sarah

* Affiliate links allow me to share products I stand behind while receiving compensation from Amazon, this helps me with expenses related to managing my blog. The products do not change in price for you, and I will only use affiliate links for products I actually use and recommend! I will also let you know when I’m including an affiliate link. If not otherwise noted, the links I include are not affiliate links but instead links to other bloggers, artists, resources I have found helpful, or products I use and like but do not receive compensation for. 

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New Students, New Inspiration!

I love introducing new people to Zentangle®….I love even more when they didn’t even know about Zentangle before they showed up to class!

No pre-conceived notions about how they won’t be able to do it, just fresh curiousity about something they know hardly anything about. And, there’s an amazing thing that happens in every class, with almost every student– the comfort in knowing, discovering, recogniizing they’ve encountered these patterns before. I love seeing that recognition in students’ faces.

That’s what happened with my first Zentangle experience. In a new experience, I found soemthing comforting and creative, and releasing.

I did things a little differently than I normally do… And I was granted the opportunity to do so because my classes were unusually (fantastically) small and intimate (read: totally awesome). I was able to teach some extra tangles that I don’t normally teach AND give my students the opportunity to follow their intuition and embellish their tangles with only a little bit of direction and coaching. There were so many unique outcomes, I was totally amazed!

I absolutely loved seeing what each person came up with! Their ideas infused me with new inspiration. You new tanglers keep me going!

I also received a lot of great requests and ideas  for future classes. So, now I am going through those requests to plan and schedule more classes!

Some options include:

  • Magical Mandalas: how to construct them and apply Zentangle-inspired patterns to create beautiful mandalas.
  • Beyond Basics: practice drawing your own string, layering tangles, and complete more tangles that might seem complicated!
  • Couples Night: We’ll cover the basics and a little more, as well as complete tiles together by trading off or trading strings.

I am also going to be doing a giveaway challenge in the coming weeks. Make sure you and your friends are subscribed so that you don’t miss out on any updates! It’s going to be a really fun virtual event!

So, if you were in my classes, and you’re reading this, thank you for the fresh infusion of inspiration and for being AMAZING students!

If you weren’t able to make it these past few weekends, I hope to catch you at my next class!

Leave me a comment below to tell me about your first Zentangle experience.

Cheers,

Sarah, Zen & Zin

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Ups and Downs, Tangles All Around

This week has been full of emotions and ups and downs. I’m riding on the high of having taught new students over the weekend, but also dealing with that weird post-stress slump that tends to lead to lower productivity. It’s always a balancing act 🙂

Dark and drizzly days sometimes lead to dark and moody tangles….

…next day!! So much SUN!!!

…and then, the next day! Crazy thunderstorms!

Rainy days lead to playing with Dingbatz!

In exciting news, my tangle Scallamp is featured on The Diva’s Weekly Challenge. It was super exhilarating to wake up Monday morning to emails and notifications full of people trying my deconstruction out. I love seeing everyone’s renditions, and I’m still working my way through everyone’s posts! I even played with the tangle a bit more this week, too.

A string for a Scallamp-y tile

Scallamp and an abundant amount of Joki (have I mentioned I’m pretty much obsessed with Joki???)

Scallamp in a Dingbatz frame

Scallamp and crazy Huggins on a black Zentangle tile

Scallamp on a black zendala

 

In less exciting news, my fellow CZT Lily is experiencing an heartbreaking loss in her family. It’s never fun to learn that someone else is hurting so badly. As a Zentangle community, there’s a project to complete tiles with her tangles, using a heart string, and penciling words of encouragement, which will then be mailed to Lily.

It’s one of the many things I love about the Zentangle community, the fact that we’ll band together to hold each other up when we need it. Check out the Square One Facebook Group to see what everyone has come up with.

So, check out The Diva’s challenge this week, try out Scallamp (and let me know when you post it!), and keep Lily in your minds as you tangle and create. There is no such thing as too many positive thoughts, prayers, good vibes, or good energy that you can send to people in need.

Cheers,

Sarah, Zen & Zin

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Prepping for Classes…Yahoo!

Preparing for upcoming classes is so exciting…and a wee bit stressful. I love putting kits together and updating my class outline. Handouts are fun to make, too.

 

 

But, I spend the majority of my time wondering about my students! I get so excited to teach new people and introduce them to Zentangle®. I hope they’ll love it as much as I do.

I then start to think of my first Zentangle class. My mom convinced me to go with her, and one of her friends (now someone I also call a friend) joined us. Learning Zentangle was like discovering a new color (I think Maria at Zentangle HQ said that, too!). I had always loved coloring books and doodling on the side of my exam papers in school, but I couldn’t find the door to opening more creativity. Zentangle did that for me.

My first ever Zentangle tile, recreated this past fall! Almost 6 years apart

 

So, every new class, I hope I show at least one person to that door, behind which lay hundreds of creative possibilities.

 

Cheers,

 

Sarah, Zen & Zin

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Tips for Staying Inspired!

It happens to the best of us. It’s a sometimes terrifying feeling, convincing us that we may never get it back. What will I do without it?

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What am I talking about? INSPIRATION. Or, lack of it. Also known as a creative block. It’s actually happened to me so often that I’ve started to notice the signs, and take measures to keep inspiration coming. And, now, it’s also not so terrifying anymore.

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A blank page

So, what’s the fix for lacking creative juice or inspiration? I have a few ideas to share with you! Try them out, even if you’re rich in inspiration already! If you’re not a Zentangle artist, this post can still apply to you! And, I highly recommend trying Zentangle to help keep your own inspiration flowing!
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If you’ve never learned Zentangle® from a Certified Zentangle Teacher, or at all, please check out my upcoming classes! I am currently teaching in the Portland, Oregon area and on Skillshare. I’ll be adding more classes to Skillshare very soon, and if you’re in a neighboring state to Oregon and want to learn Zentangle, reach out to me and we can set something up!

1. Be Open To New Ideas… ALWAYS

Whether it’s a new tangle pattern that shows up in your feed but is a little intimidating or some crazy Pinterest project, try it out! I’ve recently been playing with a new spirograph and with the Echo Lines concept by Eni Oken. Before I got Eni’s book, I had been playing with auras a lot, so I was happy to add another tangleation to my repetoire. I have a tendency to hoard collect books and lessons from other Certified Zentangle Teachers and artists, so that when I run out of inspiration, I can whip out a lesson and learn something new!
Shameless plug here… Last year I joined Skillshare, initially to help me learn Photoshop and other graphic design software. Then, I branched and started learning other forms or art and techniques. It’s pretty amazing! I even starting teaching for them! Check it out here. Learning new skills, even if not directly related to Zentangle®, help keep that inspiration fresh!
I also love the Travelling Tangles Project. It’s like pen pals for tangling! Check out the Facebook Group here, or start your own art-sharing group!

2. Change Your Environment

If you’re always creating at home, your studio, or even your office, try some place different. I love to go to bars, cafes, parks, even libraries to get some fresh scenery. A bonus to changing your environment is that you won’t be distracted by the normal everyday things! Instead, you’ll get to see new people, new plants, new patterns and architecture…the list is long! Getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to refresh your inspiration.

I recently went to the worst place on Earth laundromat. Instead of reading old editions of donated magazines, I took my kit and sketchbook with me! I had so much fun, even though I was doing a chore I normally dislike!

Tanglin’ at the ‘mat

I also went to my favorite donut and chai shop (Seriously, if you’re in Portland GO HERE). And lo and behold! I was inspired by their dishware and carboholic delights donuts! I’d been here many times before, but I happened to have my kit with me and my brain was open for inspiration! Tangle away, I did!

Made-fresh mini donuts with a Meyer Lemon and Pear butter? YES PLEASE! And that design is so simple, but so eye catching!

3. Pick a favorite, add a twist

When I’m feeling stumped or out of inspiration, this is something I’ll often do. Pick a favorite or often-used tangle pattern, color, or activity. Do it over and over and over again, adding embellishments, playing with scale and overlap, making little tweaks. See where this takes you. I’ll often find myself coming up with other ideas while doing this, and I’ll store them in my mental inspiration bank for later!

Printemps, printemps, printemps!

4. Change your tunes

I love to listen to music or audiobooks while I’m creating. It helps me stay focused on what I’m doing, instead of letting my mind wander to all the other things I could/should be doing (like those stupid chores!). I love apps like Spotify and Amazon Music, they make it super easy to find new music. Try a new genre or a new artist. I like to go for really obscure stuff when I’m looking for new music, it awakens the inspiration nicely!

New-to-me music, weekly!

5. Join the art/creative community

I may be a little over-zealous when it comes to social media. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Mosaic, and Twitter. Instagram happens to be my favorite. Not only do I share my art and promote myself there, I get to build relationships with other artists, see what they are creating, and talk about new/old/fun techniques. You’re not plagiarizing if you happen to be inspired by something someone else is doing.

I’ve started doing some live videos on Instagram myself (check out the social media buttons on the right side bar to follow me), and actually doing the videos gave me inspiration. There’s a little bit of pressure to keep tangling, so it puts my inspiration reserves in overdrive, which is exhilarating!

Comment below and let me know how these tips worked for you, or add some tips of your own!

Cheers!

Sarah, Zen & Zin

 

Some tangling I did while live on Instagram last weekend

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Quick Update – Super Excited!

Hey Tangle Friends!

Just wanted to shoot you all a quick update, because I am super excited….

:::drum roll:::

I am offering two classes at the end of April! Both are Zentangle® 101 classes, but each has a different atmosphere. Check out the events below and get yourself registered!

These events are in the Portland, Oregon area, so if you’re not here, share with your friends. Or, maybe get crazy and come up and visit! 😉

I should have another post up this week, but I couldn’t wait to share!

Cheers!

Sarah

Zen&Zin

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It’s Been Awhile!

Being silly in the passenger seat

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a fun, productive, interesting, and adventurous 2017 so far! I have been super busy myself with making art, teaching classes, and travelling! The year kicked off with a bang with four awesome classes I taught for three different groups, I also created a lot of fun art for my DesignByHumans and Redbubble stores, as well as commission work! Then, my husband and I made the 1,200 mile trek back to Portland, Oregon!

Tangling away

  The calm before the storm

Tiles pre-stained with coffee and tea leads to amazing student tangle work

 

I’m now ramping up business and hoping to start offering some public classes in Portland and surrounding areas. Tangles on the Oregon coast, anyone??? If you have an art studio, winery, or coffee house that you LOVE going to and think would be a great place for a Zentangle class, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to set something up!

My class workspace

The classes I taught in January and February were SO fun! We did Zen Gems and feathers, stained tiles, beginner’s lessons, and some more advanced techniques for returning students. It was really neat to see some returning students and how far they’ve come in their confidence to complete patterns, or see the patterns and have that “Ah-ha!” moment of understanding just how simple the steps really are.

Beginners class tangles

Feather gems and intermediate tangles

I think my favorite classes will always be beginner’s and first-timers. It warms my heart to see people who didn’t believe they had creative or artistic talent take pride in the tiles they completed. Zentangle® is always about the process and the method first, artwork and artistry last.

Such talented tangle artists my students are

In December I was hired to complete a commission project, my clients wanted their first names in a tangled piece and then a bigger piece with their last name. I decided to do their last name in a mandala…it turned out AMAZING!

Close up shot of mandala inking

Which is good, because it took me 40 hours to complete that one piece…it would have been a bummer if my vision didn’t turn out…ha! I’m offering prints of this commission, with your own last name of course, in my Etsy shop. Check it out if’d you like your own!

Tangling on watercolors

I am so excited to be back in the Portland area. Since we’re travelling in our motorhome full time, we are popping back and forth between the Oregon Coast and Mount Hood areas, with stops in between, too! Both locales give us the option to pop into the city pretty easily. I’ve already visited a few of my favorite places and some friends, too!

The Brave Little Toaster taking a break in Bend Oregon

I’m really looking forward to the coming months and hope to share some exciting updates with you along the way! Let me know how your year is going so far in the comments!

Cheers!

Sarah, Zen & Zin

 

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How Do I Support Artists?

I have received a lot of questions lately from friends, family, and strangers, about how they can support me and other artists they know. Some folks don’t have the funds or the space to buy art from us, or they just plain don’t know where to start. So, I thought I’d share a guide to help those who want to support artists like me. Some of these things will be specific to me as an artist, but it will still help you determine how you might support your own favorite or local artists, and can also apply to musicians, dancers, and entrepreneurs.

Keep in mind that artists don’t necessarily have the luxury to make art all day, every day. Instead we’re working on our accounting, maintaining households, bugging people on social media to like and follow them, and trying to find additional streams of income. Many even work full or part-time jobs in addition to working as an artist.

So, how can you support your favorite artist?

LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

Money and exposure go hand-in-hand and are the best ways you can help an artist. If you don’t have money (Welcome to the club!) or room in your budget to spend, you can still help your favorite artist! Sharing the artist’s social media posts and telling your friends and family about the artist, what kind of art they make, and how they can purchase that art. Exposure leads to the possibility of future sales. If you know an organization or an art gallery that might like to show a new artist, give them a referral!

REFER, REFER, REFER!

For Certified Zentangle Teachers™, like me, we also appreciate folks who take our classes and refer their friends to take our classes. We’re also interested in new venues to teach at, so if you know a venue that would benefit from a Zentangle® class, let them know about your favorite CZT!

Buying an artist’s designs is also a great way to support them. You’re not only contributing to their piggy bank, you’re also showing the rest of the world their art by displaying it. It’s also a great confidence boost for the artist to actually make a sale. Many towns and cities hold art nights and art walks, take the time to attend these events and talk to artists. Many times you can even buy small prints of their art as a way to support them. Every little bit helps.

And, here are some ways you can support me specifically (Many artists have the same streams of income, so check out their websites and social media to see how you can help them):

  • Connect with me on social media and share my posts! When you interact with your favorite artists on social media, you increase their exposure! This means we have more opportunity to sell our art and products to more people! So, please do not hesitate to like, comment, share, and subscribe! Every social media platform gives you the opportunity to “Turn On Notifications” so you can be notified when we post!
  • Subscribe to my newsletter! This allows me to communicate with you directly and know that you’re receiving the message 🙂 Plus, it means you’ll further stay connected and know when I have new products, classes, or artwork available!

 

 

  • Buy my art. This one seems pretty straightforward, but if you buy art you’re not only financially supporting your artist, but hopefully your friends, co-workers, or family members will see the art and want to buy some, too!
    • Great reasons to buy art – birthdays, holidays, graduations, anniversaries, baby showers, bridal/wedding showers, retirements, good grades, promotions, new homes. Basically, any time you might give a gift, give art!

  • Etsy – buy art, supply kits, and coloring books! Favorite my shop and share it with your friends!
  • Design By Humans – buy prints or wear clothes with my designs on them, I gain a commission, you look g
    reat, and your friends mights be interested in wearing cool art, too! (Are you starting to sense a pattern here???)
  • Coloring Books – buy my coloring books!
  • YouTube – YouTube allows artists to monetize their videos, so please subscribe, watch, like, comment and share to help us earn a few extra bucks. Plus, who doesn’t like watching fun videos?

 

 

 

  • Skillshare – I’ll be teaching on Skillshare this year, so you get a chance to learn Zentangle on your own time! Skillshare teachers earn a commission, so make sure to recommend lessons you liked!
    (Skillshare IS a paid subscription-based program, but it is
    cost-effective and you can learn more than just Zentangle!)

 

  • Order a commission! If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind, custom art the best option is to order a commission! Contact me directly to let me know what you have in mind and I can provide you a quote.
  • Give me money…. ok, not really…. maybe…. but if you’re feelin’ it, go right ahead 😉 (But, I’d rather make you art and trade it for money!)
  • Book a class – Contact me directly to book a Zentangle class for you and your friends! If you know a local business like a wine bar or cafe that wants to hold art classes, refer refer refer!

  • Tell your friends! Direct referrals are always the best way to gain new followers and potential customers.

 

If you’ve made it this far through the post, thank you for taking the time to consider how you can support me and other artists! As a token of my appreciation, here’s a coloring page that you can print out and color!

Support Artists Free Coloring Page

When you’re done coloring, take a picture and share with me on social media or email me to show me your creation (info@zenandzin.com)!

Cheers!!

Sarah, CZT, Zen & Zin

*THE ZENTANGLE® METHOD IS AN EASY-TO-LEARN, RELAXING, AND FUN WAY TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES BY DRAWING STRUCTURED PATTERNS. IT WAS CREATED BY RICK ROBERTS AND MARIA THOMAS. “ZENTANGLE” IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ZENTANGLE, INC. LEARN MORE AT ZENTANGLE.COM.

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What’s So Great About a Certified Zentangle Teacher Anyway?

As you peruse this website and my social media posts, you may start to ask yourself, Why Zentangle®? You may wonder why not hundreds, but thousands of people are so drawn to this method, this art form. And why do so many choose to learn from a Certified Zentangle Teacher. I mean, it’s just doodles and lines and circles, right? Right.

RIGHT!

The simplicity behind the Zentangle® method* is what makes it so great. And once you start you realize it’s not JUST doodles, but intentional strokes of the pen, it all starts to make sense. It is abstract, too, so you don’t have to worry about making things right or perfect. It’s all about the process.

So, why do you need to learn from a Certified Zentangle Teacher, like me? You don’t. There are tons of wonderful books, blogs, and Facebook Groups to help you learn on your own. But, I can nearly guarantee you won’t enjoy learning alone as much as you will with a CZT and with your closest friends. There is camaraderie that takes place when you learn with your friends and develop new skills together. And the CZT is there to help guide you and encourage you along the way. I designed Zen and Zin Parties so that you could experience the learning of Zentangle n the privacy and comfort of tor home and with your favorite people. It is just that much more fun!

So, why am I writing this?

It’s been a rough week for me. I’ve been uninspired, unmotivated, and even a little stubborn against trying to get out of my own funk. I couldn’t find it in me to do ANYTHING-no tangling, no journaling, not even coloring. And then someone sent me a picture of what they did this week in their weekly get-together. Beautiful tangles. I could see the passion coming through in their strokes and I was excited and inspired again, because I had a part in their journey.

It brings me joy to see my “alumni” get together after the party has ended to continue to learn and grow together. I get to see friendships strengthen, confidences grow, and creativity blossom over and over and over again. How cool is that?

whyczt

As a CZT I am here to help you learn and grow. And I am learning and growing right long side you. Even though I am “certified” it doesn’t mean I’m perfect, knowing all the names of patterns or how to do them. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days or that I am always happy with the results of my tangling, regardless of how great the process was. It doesn’t even mean I get every stroke right or can teach anyone better than another CZT or better than they can each themselves. It does mean, however, that I am committed to learning, to growing, to making mistakes, and to help you do the same!

So, come learn with me and enjoy the world of Zentangle!

Cheers!

Sarah, CZT

*The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

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