Friday, 16 February 2018

all the small things

Sometimes I run out of time and energy to do all the things I want to do - don't we all.  Sometimes I don't get to tangle a full tile for Adele's wonderful It's a String Thing challenge.  But this year I stumbled on an idea, a little stepping stone to bridge the gaps between the chances to fill a full tile and send it to her.  And those stones take the form of Bijou tiles.

IAST #225 and #227

I've done it four times now, and as well as feeling like I'm not missing out on the fun, I'm realising just how charming a Bijou can be.  It's opening my eyes to the fact that when I commit to working with a certain sort of tile I get to know it better, it's quirks and endearments.  And I'm regularly stunned at just how much I can fit onto one of these little treasures when I put my mind to it!

IAST #229 and #230

Who knows if it's a habit that will stick - but for now it's working!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

purple fingerprints

I knew I wanted to draw the other day, but I didn't know what I wanted to draw.  Too many choices, too many pens, papers, tangles, decisions, doubts.

So I just started playing.  First off messing about with what was within reach.  Then recalling that I'd long wanted to try tangling with an ink pen having been regularly inspired by the wonderful blots and beauties by Michele Wynne.

I often write with coloured ink so in my pen pot at this moment I have a good quality fountain pen containing grey ink.  But I didn't want to risk damaging that nib on rough paper!  But I also had a cheap pen filled with Diamine's Damson, and a Herbin rollerball with a Ruby Red Kaweco cardridge in it.

So that's what I used, on an A6 rectangle of Khadi paper.  Some Mooka, some Dublin.  Lots of water, lots of mess.  Some discomfort that I didn't have as much control as useful, but also the liberty that comes with that.  Once it was all dry I went back in for the shading and highlights, and a little bit of black Printemps down the sides - and felt more in my comfort zone.



And I love the finished piece - I see rain-wrecked bedrooms, vines claiming the spaces broken-hearted lovers have long vacated. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

a touch of blue

Around this time last year I blogged about my recent festive tangling project.  I'd chosen a handful of tiles and tools in a limit palette and worked with nothing but those over the Christmas and New Year period.  I really enjoyed limiting my parameters and have repeated the process a number of times throughout the year.

I decided to do the same this year, but limited things even further.  I had a small stack of bright white tiles of pastel paper, my usual tangling kit (pen, pencil, tortillion) and then added one extra - a Koh I Noor Polycolor pencil in Cobalt Blue that I'd bought as a single, but hadn't yet used!

The only other rule was that I wouldn't spend time looking up patterns, challenges etc.  It was just me and my imagination, away from screens and sketchbooks - drawing whatever came to mind.


And the results were quite surprising at times!  Tiles started to form that seemed a bit of a departure from my usual style, but in a most pleasing way.  Now for a little journey through the tiles - I've tried to label tangles where I can!

Drawings and Arukas and also a few bands of nothing I can name!


Tiny Toodles on a Florz-type grid with Baton filling the gaps.

Swirls of something like Snag,
cradling Fluxecho and two stretched Cruffle.

Flux surrounding Dex, dropping into Cubine.

Locas tipped with Springkly with Florz between.

A band of Kuziem, some auraed Toodles and Printemps.

So that's my tangle activity for the past couple of weeks.  Time now to dive into the new year, with all the colours and twists and turns, highlights and shades that it will bring!

Friday, 22 December 2017

farewell for now

It's time for my last post for the year.  I've been to all sorts of places tanglewise this year - plenty of new adventures and old favourites.  And what better way to end than a fusion of the two.

This tile has been sitting quietly on my Leftovers Pile since Adele's 95th String Thing Challenge - way back in the summer of 2015.  Who knows why I got no further than I did.  Who knows what waylaid or distracted me or stole my time.

Forgotten but not gone

But the hint of the frame that I'd started to draw on that square of repurposed packaging seemed a perfect place to lay a section of new official tangle Rumpus.  A touch of festive colours, a touch of white chalk, some graphite and a few dots of silver paint and there it is.

This one asked to be viewed at an angle!

Summer meets winter, old meets new, forgotten meets newly found.  As this year nudges up to the next thanks for sharing it with me, and until the next one, take care.

Monday, 20 November 2017

burning bright

I'm finding myself increasingly drawn to working on series of tiles.  There is something both comforting and inspiring about having a fix set of variables - pen, paper, colours - and then nothing but the tangles need to change.  I find that limiting choices makes me more inventive.

I've done this a couple of times before - working in grey, honey and green - but this time I grabbed a frightfully bright orange paper and wondered if I could tame it into elegance.

Orange pastel paper / black ink / white gel / white pencil / pale green brush pen / graphite

And I think I did.  The subtle hints of green help to break up the orange.  And then of course I dabbled with the new official technique of Tranzending.  To be honest I wasn't too sure I liked the look of it when I first saw it.  It looked like a way to 'mess up' an otherwise appealing tile.  But then I played about, adding a little hint here and there and it started to make more sense.  As you can see through the course of these 4 tiles I got more adventurous, using a larger and more complicated section of Tranzending each time.  It takes a bit of thought in my mind, to work out how it can be brought in to compliment rather than obscure what's already there.  But I think it's an interesting way to add another dimension to our tiles.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

all the leaves are brown

This week the Diva asked us to work big. For me one of the joys of Zentangle is its small size, but I thought I'd allow myself to grow at least a centimetre here, a millimetre there.

I worked on a piece of khadi paper - a rather uneven surface but a pleasant change to work a rectangle rather than a square. This piece measures 11 x 16 cm. I decided to work all in colour, using Faber Castell Pitt Pens in sepia, sanguine and orange. I used two sizes, a 0.3mm and a jumbo 0.7mm!

I expected to find that the thicker pens felt uncontrollable, but in some ways they were more manageable, and less liable to show my wobbles, especially on the bumpy paper.


I had a moment when I'd finished the three stems of Aloha when I wanted to stop, leave the paper with nothing but this delicious minimalism. And perhaps I'll revisit this design, and stop a little sooner, but for now I carried on.

I added an orange Printemps background, which I then coloured over with Distress Ink (Frayed Burlap). Some shading with sympathetic coloured pencils and graphite, a few white highlights and there it is.   True to the rules of Zentangle I turned it round once I'd finished, to view from all directions and far preferred it upside down!


A snapshot of autumn. The last leaves are still clinging to our trees, maybe later than usual this year, but one committed wind and they'll be gone.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

half way between here and there

I haven't tangled much of late.  I've been busy with other things - mostly a 6 week creative writing course that I'm coming to the end of.  I've loved it, but I've missed the other things I love too, including and especially tangling!

I'm having a couple of weeks downtime starting now, but after that I hope to be back with more regular posts.  I have plans to play with a few tangled ideas during my downtime. 

Tangles used - Vega / Mooka / sort of Fescu

But before I go.  A farewell-for-now tile that I made this morning, prompted by the Diva's invitation to try white on black.  I find it so hard to make something that I'm happy with, but I'm persevering, and every time it gets a little bit better.  I think the thickness of the white gel pen after the Micron is the shock, so I'm very much looking forward to these thinner Gelly Rolls hitting the UK shores - no sign of them just yet...