Saturday, October 15, 2011

Zentangle fixer-uppers

Of course, there is no right and wrong way to draw a Zentangle. One of my favorite parts of drawing tangles is how mistakes can be turned into beauty. It's a great metaphor for life, I think: if you know the right techniques, even ugly ink blots can be turned into some nice Bronx Cheer :) So here are some of my favorite techniques for fixing up various Zentangle problems.

I. Lines that meet - take the time to draw slowly, one stroke at a time. You're not in a hurry! If the strokes don't match up anyway, two of my favorite ways to camouflage are using "camo-dots" or by starting with thicker lines:

II. Fully colored spaces - if you like including black space in your tangles, then take the time to color it in fully (honestly, this is my Zentangle pet peeve!). Having a good pen with a lot of ink is important. Usually I outline a space with a normal pen and then color it in with a thicker one:

III. Paper and pen choice - this is as simple as using high- (or, at least, decent-) quality materials, and taking the time to test out pen to paper before you begin drawing your Zentangle. Of course, occasionally a bleedy pen or one that is about to run out of ink is just the one you need for a certain effect!

IV. Scale - related to pen choice is scale. On a large piece, by all means use the thickest Sharpie you can find. But if you're working on a small piece, try a finer pen. I once received a Zentangle ATC similar to the one I've done below. It took me all of 5 minutes to complete, and 3 of those minutes were searching for the pen. In my humble opinion, this is not a quality Zentangle, and I would barely consider it an ATC:

V. Smudges - usually if I smudge or smear a Zentangle, I just set it aside and start a new one. I have an envelope full of scraps that are great for other projects. But sometimes, you can't just start new. For example, I was recently in a round-robin Zentangle project where I started a tangle and sent it on to four other people, who added to it. Somewhere along the line it aquired several big finger-print sized smudges of... wine? coffee? blood? I don't know, and maybe I'd rather not know. Anyway, it ruined a lovely Zentangle and it was very disappointing. So here's a couple of my favorite ways of hiding smudges of any color:

Use some Bronx Cheer or Squidoo:

Using this little guy. I don't know if this an actual Zentangle pattern or something I made up - if it has a real name, please let me know in the comments:

Here's my round-robin Zentangle with one of the smudges:

One idea is to recreate the single piece of tangle within that string that is smudged:

And then glue it on (it's not actually glued in this picture, which is why there is a shadow):

Or, create a more visible patch for the smudge using a different shape or color. In the end, this is what I decided to do about this tangle. Since there are several smudges that need to be covered, I'm going to go them all in blue circles, and it will have a neat bubbly effect:

Monday, October 3, 2011

I, J, K Zentangled letters

Numbers 142, 143, and 144 are the next three letters in the Zentangled alphabet series:

Of course, I stuck to using only patterns starting with that letter - some Inapods and Intersections, my new favorite Japonica and some Jitterz, and Kandysnake and my old nemesis Keeko. Like the others ones, the letters are cut out and the black is the backing.

141 - message ATC

A "message ATC" for the swap with the same name. Another really cool idea for an ATC - take an ATC and attach pages to the back of it to make a little mini notebook.

Zentangle Sampler ATCs

Zentangle Sampler ATCs. This is just a great swap idea and these were a blast to make. I can't wait to see what I get in return!

Numbers 136 to 140 in the count.

Make a picture ATCs

I guess this is actually nine ATCs, so numbers 127 through 135. They're going as a set for this Make a Big Picture swap. The original swap was for feelings-themed ATCs, hence the theater masks (and I just realized that the bottom left ATC is twisted... nuts). But the swap hostess never showed up to assign partners, so I started my own swap.

By the way, did I ever say something crazy like no more Zentangle ATCs? You guys don't remember be saying that, right? Good... let's agree to forget that :)