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Principles of Zentangle® Series: Part 1: Deliberate Focus

Zentangle® is a lot of fun and leads to a lot of special and beautiful outcomes. But there are so many principle aspects of Zentangle that make it so incredibly unique from other forms of art and meditation.

One of those principles is the idea of deliberate focus. This concept centers on the goal of creating one stroke at a time. Every time you set your pen to the paper you should focus on that one stroke or line you’re creating at that very moment. You may know in the back of your mind that you are completing a certain named pattern, but at that very moment all that matters is that one line.

In doing so you allow yourself to slow down and enjoy the moment. The act of tangling becomes less stressful because you are not worried about perfection or how this line may affect another. You’re also allowing room for creativity and possibility. Possibility leads something wondrous.

So, next time you’re sitting down with your tile and your pen, focus on that one stroke. Watch how the ink spreads across the paper, how it interacts with other lines you’ve already put down. Focus on how you’re holding the pen, what it feels like in your hand. Notice the texture of the paper and how the pen travels across it. Take a breath between strokes.

Pretty neat, huh?

Give it a try and let me know in the comments what you experienced.

Cheers!

Sarah, 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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Quick Mandala

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No Mistakes…Really

I want to take a few moments to expand on the Zentangle® concept of “No Mistakes.” When I first mention this in my classes, I always feel it necessary to expand and explain that “No Mistakes” means that you are incapable of making mistakes, not that you’re not allowed to make mistakes.

Uh, oh. Inktastrophe!

 

It breaks my heart anytime I hear someone disparage their art or their tangles. It shatters my heart to see people rip up their work. No!!! Don’t ever, ever, ever throw away your work. Put it aside if you must, come back to it another day. But don’t throw it out!

When we say there are no mistakes in Zentangle® it opens up the space for MORE. More ideas, more patterns, more possibilities. I’ve run into issues a thousand times…I missed a step in the pattern, I did too much of a step, or I just plain didn’t like the composition. I’ve even had mishaps like spilled ink. Stuff happens.

My Sakura Micron took a few too many bumps down the road while travelling. The ink came pouring down the barrel (slow-mo style). I used the edges of my tile to clean up what I could, got a big blob in the middle of my tile….and kept tangling away. I love the grungy look this mishap created!

 

So, I have three suggestions when you make a mistake run into a bump in the road. First, you can draw some Bronx Cheer over the spot, or fill in the area completely with ink, then go over in white gelly roll (or any gelly roll for that matter!).

Guordgeous was not my friend that day. So, I took some sparkly black ink and covered the whole thing. Then, used a sparkly gelly rolly to add a new pattern in the dark area. Boom. I love how this one turned out!

Second, you can put the tile away for another day; I’ve done this often and it works like a charm.

I originally did not like how this tile was forming. It started with the top right fengle-mooka piece. I put it away for months. Picked it back up and added some embellishments. Voila, happy with the results!

It’s even possible to run into issues with the pattern YOU created. This one just wasn’t working, but I finished it. Worth it!

Third, you can just.keep.going. This last suggestion is often the hardest to execute, but I’ve found that in the end I don’t see the mistake, but a beautiful piece of work!

 

Remember, the mistakes, mishaps, and troubles we have while being creative are what make us better artists, better people. We also become more intuned with our inner muse. When you’re in one of my classes, or another’s class, try not to compare your work to others’ as a way of confirming you’re “doing it right.” We’re all following the same steps, interpreting them differently, and executing unique and beautiful pieces! Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help, as a teacher I will do everything in my power to help you! If you need to email me after class, go ahead! I’m here!

 

But…

 

Don’t.

 

Tear.

 

Up.

 

Your.

 

Art.

 

Cheers!

 

-Sarah, Zen & Zin

 

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A 2016 Reflection

Wow! I cannot believe it is already 2017 . Oh, wait, yes I can. 2016 was a wild year, it went by so quickly yet SO much happened. My husband and I fulfilled our dream of living and travelling full-time in our RV, we plan to continue to do so in 2017 with just a slightly altered travel schedule (i.e. not travelling coast to coast and back in 4 months!). We’ve also both committed ourselves to growing our craft, he’s a writer and I’m finally identifying as an artist!

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I’ve grown a lot in 2016 from figuring out what I want in life to realizing I can make my own decisions as I go. I’ve really started to feel like an artist and have given myself the permission, time, and space to learn new techniques and further my Zentangle® practice. I think this has really helped me as a teacher too, as I am more connected to the art and the method than ever before.

I even finished my Master’s degree in Adult Education and Training!

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I also learned that, as an artist, I have a lot more opportunities than I previously realized. I’ve started to partner with some different companies and I hope in 2017 we’ll see a lot of awesome projects come out of those relationships.

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Adding my artwork to products on Design By Humans! Click on the picture to head to my store!

I am also focusing more on supporting other artists whether its buying their art, or donating to a GoFundMe campaign when someone is struggling. What goes around comes around and I love to help other artists when I have the opportunity to.

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The first of many coloring books available on Amazon and my Etsy Store! Click on the picture to head to my Amazon products!

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This year has also been a tough one on me personally, as well as for my husband….and I know it’s been extremely difficult for a lot of people everywhere. And while the challenges have really tested the strength of my faith and my resolve, they’ve also strengthened me and remind me why I do this…why I love and teach Zentangle, why I create art, and why art is so important. In a year of uncertainties and emotional roller coasters, art has helped us all get through. It’s soothing, it’s expressive, it’s escapism. Art is awesome that way!

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So, join me in 2017. Support art and the artists than share their craft. Take a Zentangle class. Buy an original or order a commissioned piece of art. If it’s me you’d like to support, yay! If not, I hope you have a local artist you’d like to support, they’d sure appreciate it!

Here’s to an amazing 2017! Cheers!

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More Fall Inspiration…with leaves! And Free Coloring Page!

This week the Diva (#289) challenged us to include some leaves in our tangles. I went outside, and luckily I’m in Michigan right now, and found some beautifully colored and uniquely-shaped leaves to inspire me.

First, I took some photocopies of these leaves so that I could experiment.

I tangled on color and black-and-white photocopies… The colored ones turned out better I think. Here’s a collage of those:img_20161017_164648

This black and white photo copy worked out well, I tangled in Metallic and Glaze Gelly Rolls from Sakura. I love the stained-glass look achieved in the top left corner!

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I then traced the outlines of a couple of the leaves and used them as a string to tangle within.

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I also attempted to use them with my Yupo paper and alcohol inks…

 

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…it didn’t work but the in-process pictures look pretty neat 🙂

 

This challenge (combined with some insomnia) also inspired me to work with more floral and organic tangles and doodles…which led to me starting a new coloring book. I was “adult coloring” long before the fad set in, and coloring is what led me to Zentangle, so I still hold it near and dear to my heart. I also love that tangling has given me the courage to try my hand at designing and drawing my own coloring books. I have one in my Etsy store already, and now I have two more in the works.

 

Here’s an example of one page, feel free to download it, print it, and color it. Please don’t redistribute, but share a link to this post with your friends and share your colored masterpiece by posting it on Instagram and tag me @zenandzin_czt or post onto my Facebook page to share! Or, post on your own blog and comment with a link back here! 🙂 I just want to see what everyone comes up with!

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Cheers!!

 

Sarah, CZT, Zen and Zin

 

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Scallamp Step-Out and Deconstruction

Hi, friends!!

Here is the deconstruction/step-out of my pattern “Scallamp.” I’ve also included a video I shot of myself tangling this pattern with some filler possibilities! Leave a comment to let me know what you think and if you have any questions!

Scallamp was inspired by a lamp I had from Ikea. It tall and had a paper shade with papier-mache-like strips spiraling around it and vertically. It was pretty trippy! It took me a year of playing with the lines and curves to come up with something that was easily repeatable and met a lot of the requirements for a tangle pattern.

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Always Learning and Growing!

As a Certified Zentangle Teacher I am constantly learning new patterns and techniques to bring to you, my students! This week I was introduced to a lovely new pattern and I have been obsessed with it. To boot, it was also part of The Diva’s Weekly Challenge. I have not participated in The Diva’s Challenge, something has always come up or I’ve been distracted, so I am really excited to participate this week!

I encourage you to check out her blog, she’s pretty amazing 😉

So, here’s what I’ve been working on for Weekly Challenge #287

blue-dreamcatcher fall-dreamcatcher

red-dreamcatcher black-n-pink-dreamcatcher

I am really excited about this pattern and its applications. For those of you in my Alumni group on Facebook, be expecting some new videos coming your way showing you how to use this pattern and how to fill it!

You can find stepouts to Dreamcatcher by CZT Daniel L. here

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Until next time!

Keep calm and Tangle On!

Sarah, CZT, Zen and Zin

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