Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Certified Zentangle Teachers are a creative bunch.  Almost everytime I check our private FB board, there is a new style being demonstrated, a new class or kit being sold.  I especially like the latter and have had good fortune in the quality of the classes I've ordered--Delft Tiles, Twisted Rope, Radial Blossoms Radial Zendalas, Zen Gems, Echo Lines. I've been working my way, slowly, through two more classes, CharKat's Creative Insanity Celtic Knots and Tints on Tan's spring kit from (for which there is no page anymore), which was the first kit I bought and probably the hardest.

The trick about Tints on Tan's kit is that you utilize just a few colored pencils to create all the shades that make the project beautiful.  I don't work in color much, so I practiced a few times.

This second tile, on a regular 3x3" square, is a quick and miniaturized version of the final Tints on Tan project.  I'm not quite happy with my colors yet, so I haven't attempted the final project.  Still, it's something to aspire to and I'll keep practing my colors.

I had more success with my initial forays into Celtic Knots.  Here, the hard part is laying down the "string," which requires concentration and an eraser.  I don't usually like to be so meticulous--I rarely use stencils or compasses or rulers in my Zentangle--but I do like the effect.  And really, what is the different between my laying down gridwork myself versus tangling a complicated pre-strung tile (which are obviously usually created with compasses and rulers)?  Neither is the true Zentangle meditative, no preconceived ideas, no rightside up, no measuring way.  And that's okay.  I'm not a purist (honestly, most CZTs aren't.)

I wonder what my next project will be?

The Lull

Sometimes, I have a lull in my practice.   If we're out of town, if we're busy with things here at home (like the beginning of the school year), if I'm focused on another project like a crocheted blanket for charity, I don't practice Zentangle everyday.  But sometimes, none of those things are happening, and I still feel stalled.  I've just come out of such a period.  After the beginning of school, I started and stopped several tiles, just dissatisfied.  Not in the flow.  Did I have a preconceived idea of how I wanted them to look and couldn't accomplish it?  Maybe.  Was I trying to follow a new Zentangle trend that wasn't a good fit for me?  Sure.  Was I rushing the practice just to say I'd done my tile for the day?  Yep.

And so I gave it a break.  I didn't tangle for a couple of weeks.  I didn't worry that I wasn't tangling.  I just let it be.

Now, I'm back.  One of the ways I find to get out of the doldrums is to pick a tangle and use it repeatedly in various ways.  Sometimes I focus on my "comfort tangles," the ones like printemps and crescent moon, that I've drawn from the beginning; sometimes I add a new one to my repertoire.  I've done this now a few times, with joki and waybop.  Another trick is to go back and do a basic tile, the first tile I learned--a "z" string with printemps, hollibaugh, crescent moon, and florz.  I also change pens--from an 01 to an 08, or the opposite--or change tiles, from square to Zendala or Bijou. I don't try to learn new techniques or tackle something big.  Tangle, shade, repeat.

Here are some of the tiles I've been working on in the last few days as I find my way back.