Posted in Zentangle

 In the Mail…

Originally published in February of 2017, this post keeps ending back in my drafts folder with no explanation. I have published it twice before but it seems to get returned to drafts after a few days. Nothing here should interfere with copyright laws, I can find nothing offensive in the post, and I employ my own photos. This is basically a book review of several publications. If it gets flagged by someone, I would greatly appreciate a note of explanation.

If you know me, then you know I get “little kid surprised” when I get something special in the mail, even if I ordered it and was expecting it. Sometimes I think that I order online so I can open a new package– like every mail delivery day is my birthday. Thursday was no different. I received a bunch of art supplies in the mail–Sakura pens and pen brushes, tons of practice tiles, Chai Latte, and a book! I thought the pens would top my excitement meter. It turned out that it was the book that sent the excitement rating off the chart.

The book is Yoga for your Brain, by Sandy Steen Bartholomew. Published in 2011, it is an “older” Zentangle how-to book, but it’s ideas are fresh to a novice tangler like me, and the author Re-defines Zentangle in a fresh and awakening manner. It looks like a book I will turn to over and over for years to come.

What makes it exciting? This isn’t just any old how to tangle book. Ms. Bartholomew shows you how to see like an artist and tangler. New patterns are all around us if we just take a moment to see them. Sure, we look at stuff all the time. But are we seeing potential patterns to tangle? The author demonstrates how she came up with tangle patterns during a “whirlwind tour.” And she shares her secrets with the rest of us–all while providing lots of instruction and helpful tips on aspects of tangling. 

This book is not the author’s first book on tangling. It’s the sequel to Totally Tangled, my copy of which should reach me from Amazon by the end of next week (I live in the Caribbean and we get our mail through a mail service once or twice a week). If you are completely new to Zentangle® and the Zentangle Method®, your most cost-effective book is the Zentangle Primer, by Zentangle founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. At almost $50, it’s a little costly, but I learned about its value after spending three times it’s price on other books (see my post, “Growing Into Tangling,” here). The Primer is available on the official Zentangle web site. I don’t know yet if Totally Tangled is the next best book for the beginning tangler. I continue to recommend Beckah Krahula’s book, One Zentangle a Day, available online from Amazon, as the second-best “first” Zentangle book. 

Since Yoga for your Brain book was published, Sandy Steen Bartholomew has had other Zentangle publications. She has a writing style that tells you what you need to know in very concise language that gets right to her point (and your pen point) quickly. Tons of illustrations–from step-outs to project ideas–make it almost picture-book simple to understand and follow along, yet it is packed with information on tangling techniques, creating your own tangles, and projects that are both crafty and artistic. These make the book as useful to professional artists looking to add Zentangle art to their work as to all the talented crafters and newbie tanglers out there. It is under $13 on Amazon, so it’s an investment that won’t break your budget. But the small price hides a wealth of ideas and tips, making the investment a great opportunity, especially for your artistic growth. 

Until next time, Happy Tangling! 

Posted in Zentangle

Inspired to Create

Inspired by Yoga for Your Brain (see earlier post, InTheMail), I created a new tangle. I don’t have a picture of the photo that inspired me, but I found it while looking through a magazine in the doctor’s waiting room. The article and photos dealt with an architectural dig in Central America. I was surprised to find a tangle pattern among the ancient artifacts!

It was two days before I recorded what I saw as a potential Zentangle pattern. To my eye, it functions best as a grid or border tangle.

My new pattern, Stonework.

 This picture shows a hurriedly drawn grid with a few minor differences in the basic pattern–shading, rounding, rotation. I think it might also work well as a background pattern, but we’ll see what I come up with. 

If you want to try it, here is the step-out. Stonework step-out

For me, I start diagonal ovals and rounded strokes with rounding off the corners. Part of the reason is that my astigmatism causes distortion of lines for me. It is easier to connect two points than to try to figure out where to start curving–I am almost always wrong when I try to guesstimate. In drawing the smaller oblongs, I start with the longest, basically doing the same thing as for the diagonal with the rounded ends. The rest of the row is just elongated C’s, followed by a circle. Finally, I either round (fill in) around the ends or shade. 

When the pattern is used in a grid with rotated diagonals, the effect can be flower-like. As a border, the patterns can all go in the same direction, or the direction can be rotated. In corners, the pattern can be “mitered,” especially if the horizontals and verticals are drawn in different rotations. 

Before creating the step-out and naming the pattern, I checked through all the patterns in TanglePatterns.com’s latest e-book catalog (2017) called Presenting … The Tangles. To the best of my ability to discriminate, this tangle is unique. Two or three patterns might be roughly similar, but none share more than one characteristic with Stonework. One pattern has stacked oblongs, but they are all the same size. Another pattern has a diagonal oblong, but no vertical or horizontal ones. That’s as close as other patterns came to this one. 

Please let me know if Stonework is the same as another pattern. Zentangle is an international community, and not all countries share tangles. I have seen tangles on various web sites online that are identical but share several different names. At the very least, I would like to share the names of the patterns for cross-reference. 

If you use this pattern, please leave a comment and a picture or link to where it is posted. Thanks!

Happy Tangling!