Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Notan (sort of?)

For a while now I've been interested in the Japanese design principle called Notan, the judicious use of light and dark and the balance between the two. This can be a very equal, 50/50, balance, or you can be a little more liberal in its interpretation.

During Zentangle's Twelve Days of Zentangle in 2017, the 9th day's project involved splicing together two colors of tiles and I'm using that idea in the following examples. You can see a few more examples (using black and tan tiles) here.

To start, I take a black tile and a white tile, place one on top of the other, and carefully cut them apart. Here are two tiles. There are two others with the colors reversed.

Using the two companion tiles to the ones above, here are two completed tiles.
Tangles: Beadlines, Black Pearlz, Knightsbridge, MySwing, Tipple
Tangles: Adente, Pearlz, Prestwood
During InkTober this year, one of the prompts was 'breakable'.
Tangles: Cracked Windows, Rain
Another prompt was 'double' and Notan is a kind of 'double'. Also, I doubled it and did two, one in only black and white and one bringing in color. On the colored one I used metallic inks on the black paper.

I find this a fascination process, and shortly I'll show you some pieces using this method with houses as subject matter (you know me and houses!).


  1. These are all so striking. The contrast gives immediate impact. And makes think of Wonderland chess games. The Myswing one and the leaves are particular favourites.

    It's funny, I'm preparing tiles for a different sort of Notan post, I'll link back to this when I write it!

  2. What a wonderful share for us! I, too, am fascinated by Notan & I'm going to try this very soon. You always make tangling so interesting & I never tire of seeing your art.
    Congrats! on the shoes. Someone will be stepping out in style in a Bremner Original.:)

  3. WOW! I'm also experimenting with such tiles, but I have not tried them with two opposite tiles - thanks for the inspiration. Maybe you want to watch my first try?
    Greetings from Germany Gudrun

    1. I checked out your Flickr page, Gudrun. Wonderful work!

  4. Beautiful examples of the Notan principe, in which we can see clearly your hand, I'm fond of this kind of drawing too.

  5. I love the last two. These are awesome.