Monday, January 19, 2015

ATCs for Regina

Each year, Regina ATC and the MacKenzie Art Gallery collaborate on an annual display and trade of ATCs from around the world. 
"This year, the theme is “Place, Process, Collecting” — how does where we come from reflect in our work? What processes do we use to create art? How does what we collect inform what we make?"
The majority of the ATCs I make are the good parts from larger artwork that wasn't working as a large piece. I do a lot of houses (and other buildings) so I'm submitting cards with a house theme, trimmed down from something larger.

The deadline is April 6, so if you'd like to join in there's plenty of time, and more information here.

Here are the six cards I'm sending:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winners of Cubine tiles!

A-a-and... the four winners of the Cubine tiles a-a-a-are...
Bette Abdu, of the United States, and one of the first ever CZTs.
Cathrine Nicols, a CZT in Canada
Rachel Inbar, who lives in Israel
Linda, who is one fine teacher
They have been e-mailed and when I receive a mailing address the tile will be on its way.

THANK-YOU so much to all who entered the give-away and who left suggestions of other tangles to be "and then some"d. Your ideas are much appreciated.

If you didn't win this time, don't worry, be happy. I'll do this again!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

CUBINE, and then some - a tutorial

Cubine is one of many 'official' Zentangle patterns. Maria Thomas' drawing steps for Cubine are here, as well as a photo of the inlaid wood that inspired it.

With most tangles you can be rather easy-going with the shading, but there are a few where you want to stay in the lines. Cubine is one of those. Take care shading.

And then some #1 - SCALE
I generally make the small black square about one quarter of the original large square. One of the simplest ways to vary the look of Cubine is to change the size of the small square, the black 'hole'. You can see the difference below: medium holes, small holes, and large holes.
If you use large black squares you can create 'windows on the stars' by leaving some tiny white circles.
Try very gradually changing the amount of space given to the black squares and you have a gradation. It almost looks as if you're moving past it. See the tile at the top of this post for another example.

And then some #2 - ANGLES
Try drawing your grid so that one set of lines is closer together at one end than at the other, and the pattern seems to be nearer and farther.
And then some #3 - ADD A FRONT
Something I really like to do with Cubine is to add an extra corner. It gives the whole pattern a 'front'. Here I've added the corner in the upper left before continuing with Cubine as usual. Below it is a tile where I've used this idea a couple of times.
Cubine monotangle, some with added 'fronts'.
You can achieve an uninterrupted front by starting with a series of squares, instead of a square grid and adding extra corners.

And then some #4 - CURVY LINES
As with almost any square grid pattern, you can use curvy lines rather than straight ones. You can do straight diagonal lines in each square, but I prefer to curve the diagonal line a little according to the shape of the square. In this case, know that the diagonal lines will not be straight lines through all the squares. On occasion they may be almost frighteningly angled!
Here's a curvy square grid, the same grid with diagonal lines, and finished with Cubine.

And then some #5 - ALIGNMENT
One thing I've discovered with Cubine to make it look "right", especially if using curvy lines, is to make the sides of the black square line up with the sides of the larger, original square. The small black square should have almost the same shape as the larger square.
Here's the image above with (messy) red lines to show how the edges of the black squares follow the curves of the original curvy grid lines.
On the other hand (no mistakes, right?) you could do a right angle (90 degree) corner on the black square and achieve a slightly wonky looking Cubine - also cool.

Cubine with added 'fronts', with curvy lines, and windows on
the stars, plus a free-floating Cubine: a hole through
the white space - what fun!

And then some #6 - IN A CIRCLE
Cubine can be done in a circle. I've added a 'front' to these, but you wouldn't need to. The template for this design is CZT Erin Olson's Zendala Dare #31, which you can find here.

And then some #7 - TRIANGLES
Cubine can also be done in triangles, although it's hardly CUBE-ine at that point, is it? Here it is in a sort of Tripoli-style arrangement. Tripoli begins with a series of (more-or-less) equilateral triangles. This is a similar process to the 'uninterupted front' using squares, shown above in #3. The trick is to keep the 'holes' on the same side of each triangle; takes a little bit of thinking.
To achieve the look above, notice that there are only two 'fills' for the triangles. Simply alternate a triangle with one white band, and a triangle with two white bands, keeping the small black triangle on the same side of the larger triangle. Then I shade one whole white side of the triangles with two white bands, and only half the white side in the triangles with one white band. With any luck, this picture is clearer than 1000 words. :)

Finally, a give-away!
I'm giving away the four square tiles shown in this post. I'm also going to abandon my salad bowl and bits of paper in favor of digital technology, and use Rafflecopter for this process (*gasp*). Ta-da! I'm growing up! :)

There will be four winners, each of whom will win one of the four tiles featuring Cubine. The contest runs from midnight January 1 until midnight January 8. For those like me who are occasionally confused by such things, this means that anytime on January 8 is too late. The contest runs from January 1-7 inclusive.

There are two ways to enter:
1) Leave a comment on this blog post.
2) Tell me 1-3 other tangles that you'd like to see a similar post about. You can see my "and then some" tutorials on other tangles here: ParadoxKnightsbridgeCadent, and Munchin, so don't include those. ;)
I think this means that if you do both options you get two entries. No guarantees. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Overlaid tangles - a tutorial

Have you ever tried laying one tangle over another? I don't do it often, but it can have a wonderful effect, adding a textural element.

Here's a very simple example, Munchin over parts of Munchin. I've done it in the four corners here, but you could do this along one edge to increase the shading. It could also create a little variation if you end up with too many of Munchin's corners' gathered lines coming together.
I find that tangle patterns composed mainly of lines work best, although some small black areas are fine, and often a nice highlight.

This example is over-the-top, but it shows some ideas. Clockwise from the top: Dust Bunny over Dansk, Tri-dots over Printemps, Cheesecloth over Circfleur (center), and Tipple over Gneiss. For the sake of example, in this case I did the overlaid tangle using a 05 nib and the base tangle in 01.

Here's a piece that I hoped would look like a small creek or stream. I started with Tipple in ovals for the stones, then decided Roxi would be better for some of the larger ones. Then, a gray wash, and Tidings in white over top of the 'pebbles'. It doesn't have the effect I wanted; the water looks as if it's above the plants (I'll try again), but I learned some and it's a good example of overlaid tangles! :)

I've used this technique to lighten, or occasionally darken, an area in a piece of zentangle inspired art, usually in color. I seem often to use Printemps. It's simple lines, no large solid ink areas, but the lines are curved so the pattern isn't immediately obvious. Below is an example on a Renaissance (tan) tile of white Printemps over light blue Printemps.

Here's another example of Printemps over Printemps, this time using purple ink over blue and pink inks. The purple Printemps adds a little shading at the edge and in the blue spiral on the right.

In my experience, if you want the lower pattern to be recognized (sometimes it might not matter) the top pattern should have less to it than the pattern underneath. Here I used white Tri-dots - a very simple tangle - over pink Printemps, as I wanted Printemps to be recognizable.

I had done a tree on a tile and quite liked it, but it was too subdued (read: dark), even with some of the brighter colors I'd used. I added white ink, in simple lines, over each of the droplet shapes. In some cases it really disguises what was there originally, but that's alright. The color is still there, and it's much brighter. I did the same thing on the bands of the trunk. Not really a tangle over a tangle, but the same idea.

Finally, here's a piece where the sky is Printemps in medium blue, overlaid with Tidings in dark blue. I used little circles instead of ovals in Tidings and filled them with gold ink. Then I used Tidings again in the foreground to give the same texture as the sky, helping keep the buildings distinct.
Tangles: Flukes, Groovy, N'zeppl, Printemps, Romanancy, Tidings
If you'd like to try this, there is an abundance of tangles composed mainly of lines that could be used. My favorites seem to be Printemps, Tidings, Dansk, Sand Swirl, and Tri-dots for something very minimal. Tri-dots with a lot of Auras would work too.

Other possibilities could be: Florz, Tipple, Munchin, Cheesecloth, Groovy, N'zeppl, Tips, Zewm, Hibred, Indy-rella, Yincut... I'm sure you'll think of others!

With different colors it's easy enough to keep the two tangles separate as you're drawing. With black and white you might want to try two pen sizes, or change the scale between the tangles, or use tangles that are different in nature such as Florz and Sand Swirl.

Have fun!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The Diva's challenge this week is to try out a new tangle from Zentangle's Molly Hollibaugh, Arukas. Did you notice that Arukas is Sakura backwards? :)

I tried this tangle when it was first shared with the CZTs and wasn't terribly pleased with the Arukas parts. So I took another chance with it and I think I'm getting a handle on it. Here are my first two attempts, from a few weeks ago.
Tangles: Arukas, Lamar, Paradox, Tipple
In my next attempt I had fun trying a few other things with the basic Arukas.
Tangles: Arukas, Fohbraid, Tipple, a Black Pearl,
and a little hint of Aquafleur
My last attempt, and the one I like best so far. The string gave me a circle shape and one of the 'pods'. Being composed simply of lines, I think that Arukas needs some bold blacks (and whites) to set it off. Shading helps too. I realize that I always wanted to begin with a small central shape, but that it works better with a large one.
Tangles: Arukas, Pearlz, Sindoo

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Griddy or flowy?

(Griddy or flowy? Spell check doesn't like either!)

I'm back to doing a challenge again, finally! And we have an interesting one this week, from Sandy Hunter, CZT. As you know, some tangle patterns are based in a square grid while others are more organic and can grow in any direction. Sandy's challenge is to take one type of tangle and and do it the other way.

I've been playing with Cubine for another blog post so I thought I'd try that grid tangle in a random way.
Perhaps due to the string I used, it still was quite grid-y. I thought I'd better try again. I had a tile with a lot of pencil lines and a lot of tiny spaces. I thought, "If I can't get something random out of that, it's a lost cause." I think it's better this time.
I've been having a lot of fun with Aquafleur recently so that seemed a good organic tangle to try putting into a square grid. I used pencil shading only in the background.
Flux is a tangle that can grow to fit any space - another good candidate for a grid. The larger fluxes seemed too white so I alternated filling them with either a spiral or a droplet.
I found it easier to put a flowy tangle into a square grid rather than the other way. This is a terrific way to come up with some quite different looking patterns without busting your brain. Thanks Sandy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A flurry of Aquafleur

If you love the classic, original Zentangle, and you're on Facebook, and you don't yet know about the group Square One, you'll probably want to join. Each week there is a focus tangle. You can participate or not. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't have time. Recently, Aquafleur was the focus tangle, and I went a little crazy.

I've done this tangle before and it's definitely one of my many favorites. Back in January, when Aquafleur was first shared, it was the Diva's challenge and I did both a black-and-white and a colored version. You can see them here.

Here's the first one I did for the Square One focus.

 Some bubbles and ribbons and spirals showed up here. This is one of my favorites.
 Here are four more that I did next.

 This one amazes me by how symmetrical it ended up. This is another of my favorites.
Tangles: Aquafleur, Black Pearlz
Recently I blotted some spilled pink wash onto a tan and a white tile. It turned out that there were Aquafleur hibiscus flowers there!
Tangles, besides Aquafleur: Seljuk, Printemps, Tipple
I tried some Aquafleurs on a zendala tile, and used Glaze ink in the background. I find the dark Glaze inks can add tremendous depth.
You can find the directions for drawing Aquafleur in the Zentangle newsletter here.