Finding a Rhythm, Even When The Beat Is Off

Hello from my safe haven to yours. I hope you are staying sane, healthy, and positive! And if you’re not, feel free to let me know. I am happy to be a sounding board or to keep you in my thoughts and send positive vibes your way.

We’re about 10 or so weeks into *this* and I feel like I’m starting to finally find a groove, or at least some contentment. That doesn’t mean I’m not internally freaking out on the regular, but at least that’s become a little bit more predictable and I can see it coming.

My Tangle Mashup – Diva Dance/Guordgeous AKA Guorgeous Diva or Dancing Guordgeous.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been truly relieved to have my Zentangle practice to fall back on and have an outlet for creativity. I’ve also still been baking like crazy, but it’s a more physical thing for me to do that feels productive, which is nice!

I’ve been playing a lot more with materials I don’t use on a regular basis. My Sakura Gelly Rolls are having their moment in my household. I have white ones, pastel ones, Moonlight, Moonlight Greys, Neon, Souffle. Funnily enough, I don’t have a single black one! But, I have a wide variety, collected over the years, so it’s about time I put them to good use!

A sampling of my rather large Gelly Roll collection

Having discovered how many of these things I have, not to mention the surplus of other random art supplies, I thought it would be a good idea to use up what I have and really pair down my art supply cache. Using the Marie Kondo adage “Does it bring you joy?” – I have to really consider which of my art supplies I am using, which ones I need. If I’m not using them, why? Is it because I don’t like them? Or, do I just not use that kind of media? Things to ponder in this day and age!

So, I am going to use up what I have – what doesn’t get used will get donated or given away to friends and family, to hopefully bring them joy instead! 🙂

A Dancing line of Guordgeous!

Back to my point of finding a rhythm. Using these Gelly Rolls has somewhat opened the flood gates for me. Because I’m “playing” with them, I have allowed myself to just go with the flow. I don’t try to make something extravagant or amazing (which I usually try not to do, but, hey, I’m human!).

And what’s come of it is a little bit of an obsession with this thing I call a Tangle Mashup – where I combine the techniques or key pen strokes of the patterns Guordgeous and Diva Dance. It’s so fun! And oh so relaxing.

The neons make it a little blinding, eh?

Doing these tangles over and over have allowed me to find that zen-ful rhythm every time I sit down. And, each time, something new and wonderful happens! A little curve there or a little orb there completely changes the entire composition!

This is obviously the same across all Zentangle pieces, right? But it never ceases to amaze me the world of possibilities in just a simple little line of ink.

I’m really excited for the next month as I get to introduce a new group to the Zentangle Method! My online class at Madison College starts next Tuesday and I can’t wait to meet my new students. I am also creating fun content for my Patrons.

There’s still time to register for my Madison College class – and you don’t have to be in Madison, since it’s online! You can also work with what materials you have at home, so there’s no need to go out and buy more if it’s not possible for you.

And, of course, you can sign up for Patreon at any time and get access to all the previous months’ content! I just finished publishing May’s content and I released a class on using small marks or tangle patterns as TEXTURES! SO FUN!

Don’t feel blue!

What’s your current favorite tangle obsession? Or, have you found another fun hobby to keep you in rhythm during this time? Leave a comment below to let me know 🙂

Until next time!

Cheers!

Sarah

Tangling in the Time of Pandemonium

First, let me say that I hope you are doing well – that you are in a safe place, that you’re healthy, and have something or someone to keep you sane.

Second, I have been putting off writing a blog post because ::gestures at everything::

All of our inboxes and social media feeds have been bombarded, swamped, and otherwise hijacked about news about “it,” how to tell if you have “it,” here’s 1,000,000 free resources to help you keep from getting bored or to stay productive.

Ugh.

I’m tired, I’m stressed, and I am seriously scatterbrained. I’ve never been the type of person to forget why I went into a room – but now I am full on going into a room to do Activity A and end up starting Activities X, Y, and Z….only to remember Activity A like 4 days later.

Choosing tangles is easy with a tangle dodecahedron

At the very least, I have Zentangle®. And oh, thank heavens for that! There have been so many times in the last 6 weeks that I have needed a breather, or something to keep my hands busy that didn’t involve stress-inhaling Hot Cheetos or shame-guzzling Apothic Dark wine by the bottle. I still do both those things, maybe just in smaller increments. But, with my Zentangle® practice I am able to force myself to focus, to steady my nerves, and create something beautiful. It’s help redirect a frenetic energy into a calmer one and to help me get back on track with work (I’m working from home, which should be the greatest thing ever – it’s not! Likely because it’s not exactly voluntary).

Is it 100% effective all of the time?

Of course not! But it does give me something tangible to hang on to and I am certainly not worried about getting bored. It also helps give me a sense of community. There are so many other tanglers out there that I am acquainted with solely because of Zentangle. We are all sharing our experiences and our art and it helps to have that thread of connectivity to the real world!

More fun from my Zoom tangle sessions

I am also still holding my Tangle Hangout Sessions on Zoom – almost weekly (I had to cancel tonight because I had too many things to do that I kept putting off-and here I am doing one of them! If you would like to join – just shoot me an email and I’ll send you the link (if you’re reading this as one of my mailing list subscribers you can just reply to the email)! I am also randomly popping onto Instagram Live to do some tangling – thought that’s a bit more sporadic and I haven’t do so in a week or so. But, in any of these sessions I so enjoy seeing everyone’s faces and comments. It gives me something to look forward to every week (and a great way to keep track of which day it is!).

April showers bring May Mooka flowers, right?

If you’re at a loss as to what to do – whether you’ve done Zentangle or not – just take a pen and a piece of paper and draw a line, then another next to it, and then again. Keep doing that – slowly and making sure to breath. Focus on each millimeter of ink to paper and keep going until you can’t anymore. I promise – just taking that simple action and repeating over and over again will help you reset and feel a little bit better.

Leave a comment or send me an email – tell me how you’re doing and how you’re coping. I love hearing from you!

And, hey, if you’re bored or need some extra Zentangle-y instruction and coaching – come join me on my Patreon!

Cheers!

Sarah

Hello 2020!

It’s hard to believe we’re in a new year and a new decade! Time flies by faster every day it seems.

I’m not super into Resolutions, but I usually like to take the first few weeks of the new year to reflect on the things I want to continue doing in the new year, or things I want to improve on. However, this year I am kind of hitting the ground running so I don’t have as much leisure to take my time!

I have multiple classes coming up here in the Madison, WI area. The first is at Revel DIY Craft Bar, which I am super excited about! These ladies have been killing it and are really doing something successfully that I had thought about doing a few years ago – creating a place that people can go to do a little crafting in a chill environment. Their projects are totally accessible and not terribly expensive. I’ll be teaching an introductory level class there in mid-January…and hopefully it’ll be successful enough that we can add more workshops in the future! If you’d like to sign up click here

I am also going to be teaching at Madison Area Technical College in February! We’re starting off with a 3-week series of Discover Zentangle®. We’ll go through all the foundational areas of Zentangle and create a really nice base understanding and hopefully create some new Zentangle enthusiasts! You can sign up here

But, back to resolutions, or the lack thereof. Because I don’t have a lot of time to reflect and plan this January, I’m starting to feel just a touch overwhelmed. I have a lot going on between preparing for classes, normal work responsibilities, and chores and whatnot that need to be done at home. Not to mention having fun and creating art for the sake of creating and having fun!

A zendala I did with my mom over the Christmas break. We followed along the Zentangle 12 Days series on YouTube

What I’ve found that works for me, and maybe it will work for you too, is to focus on one or two things that I can actually control. They can be small things, or big things, but make sure they’re manageable. Last year, I started to focus on what I was eating and making sure to get out and go for a little walk every day. That turned into some amazing changes for me! I started feeling better, getting more active, and my confidence went up – all super helpful things when I also decided to get back into my degree field and find a new job.

This year, there are so many things in the air! With the loss of my Skillshare platform I am really starting to feel the anxiety from that, but I am also really excited about teaching the aforementioned “brick-and-mortar” classes. I’ll also be taking on new responsibilities at work. AND, I have my Patreon now which is a lot of work especially in the beginning stages where I need to plan AND produce content fairly quickly! I feel like my mind looks a lot like the Zendala up there!

A couple of commission pieces I did for a friend. A little out of my comfort zone, but fun to create and I am really happy with them!

So, what are some things that I can focus on to maintain a little control when life is crazy? I’m not sure yet! I know one thing I want to do is to do more meal prep. Eating healthy is great and mostly easy to do, except it’s a lot of work when you have a million other things to do. So once or twice a month I will do a big meal prep session so I can focus on other things the rest of the time.

I also want to do one creative focus this year. I think I will start participating in one or two challenges per month so that I am not too overwhelmed, but also making sure that I am keeping up my own art practice!

The great thing about my un-resolutions is that I can adjust them! If they’re not working or they’re not meeting my needs in any way, I can change! There’s no failure here, no mistakes, just a redirection. A tangleation, you might say 🙂

So you’ve made it this far and I appreciate you reading all my ramblings. I hope you’ll try out so un-resolutions. If you need a creative outlet, please consider my Zentangle classes – if you’re not in Madison I have my Patreon that will be a great resource!

So, here’s to 2020 and letting small changes have big impacts…. or something motivational like that 🙂 And if all else fails, just put your pen to paper and get your tangle on!

Cheers!

Sarah

Returning to my tangled roots

It’s been almost 9 years since my first experience with Zentangle®.

It’s hard to believe it’s been that many years, especially when I look back and realize I had no idea how profound an impact that experience would have on my life.

*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.

I was a recent college graduate, working in my first “real” job (I’ve since learned that all jobs are real!), and floundering a bit in my personal life. I needed a hobby, an outlet. Something creative. I liked to color in coloring books, but was starting to feel it just wasn’t enough. But, I didn’t know how to draw or knit or build anything.

My mom mentioned one day that we should try this Zentangle thing. What the heck is it? Doodling? Drawing? I didn’t really understand, and I was really quite skeptical. But, mom offered to pay, so hey why not? (Also, I love my mom and love spending time with her, so this was just an added bonus).

Leading up to that first class I did very little research, I had seen some “Zentangle” things and was already feeling overwhelmed. I even had a co-worker, who was wonderfully artistic, show me her “Zentangle” art she created just from looking at pictures on the internet. What the heck! I’ll never be able to do that! That’s so complicated. So, I started to worry.

Fast forward to the day of class. We got to the stamp shop it was taking place in. Mom’s friend joined us (someone I consider a friend myself now too!). Class started and something flickered inside me. As class went on I was more and more amazed! This is so fun! This is so simple! I wish I had this all my life! I found out the CZT was teaching another “intermediate” class that afternoon, so I signed up for that too! By the end of the day I had 6 hours of class time under my belt, a bag of supplies to take home, and a fire burning brighter than I’d felt in a long time. A Tangler Was Born!

My very first tangle! I’ve saved it all these years and love showing people where I started.

Looking back, it really is amazing. I had no idea that this little thing would turn into such a huge part of my life. I’ve obviously since become a Certified Zentangle Teacher myself. But I also now consider myself an artist. I’ve tried different mediums, I even took a Drawing 101 class at the community college and drew actual things! I still prefer abstract – more for the flow process, it’s easier to relax when I’m not trying to perfectly capture the shadows in a still life picture.

More than anything is that Zentangle has brought so many wonderful people into my life. I’ve been able to share this love of mine with people all over the world through social media. But I’ve also taught classes in-person, attended workshops, and joined communities that gather around this silly little thing called Zentangle.

So this week, when one of the handful of ways I share my classes and inspires other just dissolved before my eyes, I was heartbroken. But, I cannot dwell, I have to move forward. So I’ve decided to go the route of Patreon. I had considered this platform months ago but decided to stick with what I knew – oh how life has its own plans! This platform allows me to set up several options to be accessible to students, both financially but also personally! I want to watch my students grow and be able to communicate with them regularly and offer more content than just Zentangle, but more Zentangle-inspired things like drawing spirals or mandalas, or using watercolors. I have a lot of content lined up, on top of re-packaging and sharing the content that I had shared on Skillshare. I also plan to have some Sip and Tangle live video sessions, too. It’s great to be able to do everything within one platform!

So, I know I’ve posted a lot this week, and you’re probably tired of all my ramblings : ) But, I hope you’ll come check things out on Patreon and continue on this Tangled Adventure with me!

My first tile – revisited!

All new Patrons in December will receive a 30 minute Tangle Intro video where I revisit that very first tile I created in my first Zentangle class. I’ll muse about my experience but also show you step by step the Zentangle method and how to create the tile as well!

Until next time!

Cheers! – Sarah

Searching for that “it” factor

It’s that time of year again when I realize I am truly awful at regularly blogging! What can I say? I prefer drawing to writing and other responsibilities!

Mental Health day from work turned into drawing a lot, a lot, a lot of lines!

I’ve spent this year trying to identify my creative aesthetic. What do I love doing most? What do I love most about others’ work? What pushes my creative buttons, inspires me to continue on? What makes me go “Oh, I love that!” or “How can I do that myself?”

A lot of this introspection and observation also reminded me of my Dynamics of Psychology in my undergrad program. While the first half of the class had me scratching my head and questioning everything I had learned about psychology thus far, I’ve realized years later that what I didn’t seem to learn in that class left an impression on me. Without getting too sciencey and breaking my own brain trying to explain, I’ll explain a little about what I absorbed from that class.

Fractals are everywhere. Repeating endlessly to eternity, forming the fabric of the existence of everything physically tangible. How it relates to psychology? I dont quite remember, but they’re pretty! And they consist of repeated lines and patterns. Sound familiar?

Fractals in kale!

And, humans and other living creatures will continue to behave a certain way until they approach an event or stimulus that causes them to change their actions or way of thinking, even if minutely. That small factor can completely change their lives both immediately and forever. Kind of like the butterfly effect, but not really. Again. Repeated behaviors, linear until they’re not.

Hmmm… brain broken yet? Mine is a little!

So how does this relate to my art and Zentangle practice? Let’s go back to my journey to discover that “it” factor.

It comes down to auras. Repeated lines. Echos. Halos. Vibrations. Rings from drops of water in a puddle. The steam rising from a pot of boiling water. Rays of light emanating from the sun and the moon and the stars.

So what if I just draw a line and aura it over and over? What if my pen gets bumped and now that line is no longer perfectly straight? Aura that new silhouette, that’s what!

And so, I set about to intentionally focus on auras in my work. Sometimes a border, sometimes wiggly lines over and over and over.

So now, a technique introduced to me by the Zentangle Method has woven itself into my life and my creative work in a way that I can only explain as revolutionary.

Am I being dramatic about a silly little concept? Probably. But for me, this epiphany and exploration has been really grounding and a great wellspring of creativity for me.

A 9x12ish canvas painted with super matte black, and tangled on with white ink

So, do you want to learn how to harness the power of the aura? I have just the thing for you (you saw this coming, right?).

Yep, I have a new Skillshare class available! I had every intention to publish this class 3 months ago, but life and excuses, excuses.

As always I am giving my email subscribers a free access link and a 2 months free link – use whichever you prefer! Skillshare does require an account, but if you’re just using the free access link you shouldn’t need to enter any payment information. If you decide to use the 2 free months, you will need to enter payment information. But, I know for a fact that it is SUPER easy to cancel your subscription and Skillshare doesn’t make it difficult or give you a guilt trip for doing so.

Free Access Link: https://skl.sh/2qOyUTQ

2 Free Months Link: https://skl.sh/2QThdxc

If you can leave a review, you’ll have my eternal gratitude! And I’ll have your feedback to use to improve or keep doing what I’m doing!

Examples from the Auras class

I hope you’ll enjoy!

Summer is winding down…

Ha! As soon as I said I might start blogging on the reg, I should have known that was a lie. Summer is now winding down, and it’s my favorite time of the year: fall! and my birthday! At the beginning of summer I started a new job. It occurred right after my last post and it’s been a whirlwind summer ever since! I’ve actually been working two jobs as I stuck around and helped my old employer out while they found a replacement. I love my new job and everyone there is amazing. I hope to stick with them a long time and grow in my adult education background.

I’ve also had a lot of fun this summer. Ted and I took a bus down to Chicago and had some amazing deep dish pizza followed by a trip to WNDR museum – super fun and super Instagrammable. My mom came to visit, which was so wonderful and so needed! We went kayaking, which I’ve never done before but can’t wait to do again! I showed mom around Madison…now I’m looking forward to my BFF’s visit next week for my birthday! I love my birthday, and even more so here in Wisconsin because the weather is always amazing — not hot like it was growing up in Phoenix! We’ll get some kayaking in as well as a little Ice Age Trail light hike, eat some good food, and catch up!

I have been working on another Skillshare class the past few weeks. Since I’ve been working with auras so much in my practice recently, I figured I might as well find a way to share my approach with the world! It’s funny timing, too, because Zentangle HQ also released their Project Pack series that featured a lot of auras. I find it curious how so many tanglers seem to be on the same creative wavelength. If you haven’t checked out Zentangle’s videos yet, I highly recommend them!

If you’ve followed me on Instagram you’ve seen me playing with a lot of fun art supplies and techniques. I recently picked up Blackest Black acrylic paint from Culture Hustle and it’s gloriously black (read the amazing back story to this pigment here). I painted a canvas with it and I am currently working on tangling over it in white with one of my fountain pens. I was really excited to discover a white fountain pen ink, and I think it’s really going to increase my white on black tangling productivity–as well as help me reach my goal of using all/mostly sustainable and renewable art supplies, one less thing to throw in the garbage! And, it’s going to look awesome! I haven’t decided yet if I will sell it or keep it, I guess it depends on how it actually turns out!

So, as summer comes to a close, keep a look out for my next Skillshare class! It’s going to be thorough and include several different completed tiles. I’ll also start working on my next class – white on black!

A peek at my upcoming Skillshare Class

I have received a few reviews on my older Skillshare classes that have mentioned the video and audio quality. It’s been something I have wanted to go back and change for a long time, and as time goes by I think it becomes a more glaring issue… but that happens when technology is constantly updating! So, I have high hopes too for going back and updating my older classes over the next few months so that the videos are shot with more modern technology 🙂

Until next time!

Tangle.Sip.Repeat.

-Sarah

It’s been awhile…Updates and New Class!

So, it’s been a hot minute since I updated my blog. The last year has been, to say the least….interesting. A little bit of a dark period for me, if I’m honest. But, I feel like I’m coming out of the tunnel now. I’m refocusing and getting my ducks back into a row, even if that row is a little uneven and chaotic still.

Good news is, I just hit the publish button on my new Skillshare class! This one is a lot of fun and I put a lot of work into it, so I hope you like it.

Can you do me a favor and check this class out? It would be most helpful to make sure this class gets off the ground as soon as possible. I’ve included a link here, so the first 25 people can access the class for completely free! Once you’ve watched the class, if you could give it a thumbs up and maybe even a review to let me know what you think? It would be immensely helpful! And, you’ll have fun doing it! Click here to access the class

This class is the first in a series I’ve dubbed “Becoming a Confident Tangler.” I want to share my “wisdom” with you about tangling and getting to a point where you feel comfortable tangling on your own. In the past I’ve always said that practice is key when it comes to Zentangle®, but I know that just doesn’t cut it for most people. So, here’s to making something tangible to help you become confident and independent!

So even though it’s been a rough year, it hasn’t stopped me from tangling and drawing. I’ve been really inspired by Peter Draws in the past few months, and his style has helped me realize a few things about my own style and what I enjoy most about different patterns and how I compose my artwork.

Enoying a cold brew and tangles/doodles at Barrique’s

I’ve also been thinking about ways I can reduce waste. I use a LOT of paper and pens and other art supplies. But I thoroughly enjoy the tactile aspects of pen and paper, so I’ve been researching and trying to find ways I can use traditional art supplies with less waste (without going digital).

What I’ve found so far, and it’s become a bit of an obsession now, is fountain pens! Infinitely reusable, with infinite ink possibilities. Many pens are pieces of art themselves (most are WAYYYY out of my budget, too!), and the inks are gorgeous. The pen in the picture above I was able to purchase used (reduce! reuse! recycle!). I’ll share more of my fountain pen finds in future posts, too. I also found an option to replace white gel pens, which I love to use on black paper, and this is the Isograph pens. They have a white ink that is really lovely and you can achieve super fine lines. A little expensive at first, and a bit of maintenance is required. But, a great way to reduce waste!

I’ll update more in the next few weeks. Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this! I hope you enjoy the new class, and if you have any requests/suggestions for my future classes, please drop me a line!

Take care!

Sarah

On Following “The Rules”…

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying this extra day to rest. I wanted to share something near and dear to my heart, the reasons why I love Zentangle® so much and credit it with my creative awakening. I’ve included here some wonderful words by CZT Sandy Hunter on the “rules” that separate Zentangle® from other forms of art such as doodling or line weaving. Here is a link to the post, I hope you take a moment to check out her site, it’s chock full of goodies!

 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

a post with no pictures.

“I don’t really care what the “rules” of Zentangle are! I’m not a rule-follower…it’s my art and I’ll do what I want!”
I see this subject get kicked around on Zentangle fan forums from time to time. I don’t normally engage because I don’t really feel like handing angry people a stick to beat me with, but it’s hard for me to see something so inherently good and useful be misunderstood. So, I want to try to explain it. Please bear in mind that this is my own point of view and I’m not representing anyone else.
Books and Pinterest and YouTube videos are all wonderful sources for patterns for doodling/tangling/patterning/line weaving…. but all of those words are used interchangeably, and that’s where the conflict arises. The confusion seems to come from the fact that that people will refer to any intricate piece of line art as a Zentangle, because they think that’s just the latest buzzword for ‘that thing I was already doing years ago in the margins of notebooks’.
It is possible to place identical drawings side by side where one is a doodle, and the other is a Zentangle. The reason that’s possible is because the art itself does not make a drawing a Zentangle. The art is the byproduct of the complete mental immersion in the process of ‘tangling’. It all depends on where your mind is when you do it. If you’re in this for the art, these guidelines don’t matter one iota. Doodle/draw/sketch away. But if you’re craving a temporary, effective escape plan from pain, grief, or stress (or you just need a mental break) read on, because this information just might come in handy one day.
Yes, the rumors are true: there are guidelines (they’re just roads to a destination, really) with Zentangle. And they don’t exist to crush your spirit. Think of them as stout little pillars that work together to support a single purpose: to refocus the mind. Zentangle is mindfulEvery guideline exists to make that complete mental immersion possible, and sustain it. That’s no easy task in a fast-paced culture (with a constant barrage of distractions) like ours.
#1: The first step in starting a Zentangle: a border and ’string’, drawn lightly in pencil.
Reason: The pencil line, or string, creates sections to draw within. The string line is merely a suggestion and a place to begin. It is drawn lightly in pencil so that it will disappear behind the ink that follows. Some people have never faced a blank piece of paper and been intimidated and overwhelmed by it, but for those who have, something as simple as having a place to start is a huge relief and can easily mean the difference between success and failure.
#2: Zentangles are completely abstract.
Reason: This eliminates the preoccupation with whether something looks ‘right’. If it’s supposed to look like a bird but something about it doesn’t look the way it should, that is what you will be preoccupied with. This actually eliminates a whole bunch of other mental hurdles that go along with drawing specific things, e.g. proportion, placement, what goes around it, etc.
#3: Zentangles are drawn only in black ink.
Reason: This keeps the tangling process as right-brained as possible. To keep the focus on the repetition of the patterns, the slow, deliberate drag of the nib across the paper, the ink soaking into the paper in its wake. With color, decisions must be made: Paint or gel pens? Or marker? How many colors? Which ones? Where do I add them? Do they work together? If you start to add color, that is what you will be preoccupied with. And limiting drawing materials can inspire creativity in surprising ways.
#4: Patterns should be created by drawing repetitive strokes… structured, non-representational, and easy to draw in a limited number of steps.
Reason: The goal is to focus on the strokes of the pen used to create the pattern, and the controlled breathing that happens along with it. The primary goal of drawing a Zentangle is not to draw complicated tangle patterns. Some people are in it for the Zen, some are in it for the art… and there can be a pretty big difference in the way it looks. Which brings us to…
#5: No planned outcome.
Reason: This aligns with minimizing decision-making. Relaxing into the process and just letting a Zentangle unfold as it appears line by line is calming, and it’s fun to see all those little nuances coming together here and there when opportunities present themselves.
#6: Paper, or ‘tiles’, are 3.5 inches square.
Reason: Zentangles are designed to be finished in a short time. They’re friendly. They’re manageable. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something beautiful from start to finish in one sitting. The small size also makes it portable (Doctor’s waiting room? No problem. Two-hour wait for an oil change? Yes please!). And because it’s small, it’s easy to turn, making drawing in one direction over another more comfortable.
#7: No using stencils, rulers, or graph paper.
Reason: In short, there is no zen to be had in the preoccupation with perfection. There’s a certain joy in letting the pen wander without being confined to a grid or rigid space. Imperfection makes art more interesting… embrace it! Also, see #2.
“It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.” -Edmund Burke
#8 No erasers.
Reason: Anything that interrupts the drawing process is going to create a shift in focus. Then it becomes less about drawing those slow deliberate lines and breathing, and more about fixing/changing stuff. Just keep drawing and let it evolve. Get comfortable with the idea that mistakes can be turned into something good and unexpected (and exciting!).
If you’re not a rule-follower, it’s ok. Not following these steps does not mean your line art is in any way bad or wrong; it just means it’s not technically a Zentangle. I’m a CZT and 99% of what I draw isn’t technically Zentangle… I’m here for the art too. It’s good to know the difference, but don’t let it be a label and keep you from enjoying the journey.
• ❃ • ❋ • ❁ • ✿ • ✽ • ❀ •
Thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to join me here,
where I frequently share artsy things that inspire me,
invite tanglers to share art,
crack silly jokes,
and offer up the
occasional
tangle
prompt.
:oD

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. 

Challenges and Focus

It’s been a nuts-o week here at Zen & Zin. Lots of things in the works (more news to come on that in the next few weeks). My Zentangle® practice has kept me sane and mostly centered as I weave my way through everything.

I even squeezed in another Scallamp tile 😀

The Diva’s Weekly Challenge this week was a focus/study on the pattern Molygon…a pattern I adore and use A LOT, especially in pieces bigger than the traditional Zentangle tiles. I appreciated having this challenge this week since I was making SO many decisions in my business and personal life, having the decisions made for what to focus on in my Zentangle practice made life a lot easier. And, as you can see, I had a lot of fun!

I tangled these molygons in my Shizen Design Faux Leather Journal. The paper is a lovely smooth black and the faux leather is creamy. It’s easy to tangle in since the cover is so flexible. I then used my Prismacolor Colored Pencils (*affiliate link) to make them glow! I love that Prismacolors show up so deliciously on black paper!

 

I have also been playing with the 14 Shades of Grey method (available for purchase again after May 15th). The CZT that came up with this method did so by exploring the boundaries of what can be done with traditional Zentangle materials. I LOOOOOVE the effect it gives, and I totally have a new appreciation for graphite!

So, if you’re experiencing a similar time in your life when too many decisions make your creative time a little more dubious…find a weekly challenge like The Diva’s or even the Square One Facebook Group. Take that challenge and do it over and over and over. You’ll gain the benefits of having that time for yourself, renewing your energy and focus, but taking the work of decision-making off your own shoulders!

Leave a comment below, let me know, what’s your go-to Zentangle pattern or other creative outlet?

Cheers,

Sarah, Zen & Zin

* 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.