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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
So, every new class, I hope I show at least one person to that door, behind which lay hundreds of creative possibilities.
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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???)
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!
When you’re done coloring, take a picture and share with me on social media or email me to show me your creation (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
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.
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.
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?
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!
*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.