Saturday, January 31, 2015

My First Raz

A random act of Zentangle is a little piece of art that is left in a public place and will hopefully brighten someone's day when they find it.
It's a gorgeous Saturday morning here in San Francisco and my neighborhood cafe (or my studio annex) was hoppin' at 7 am. Yes, I am up and out of the apartment that early on my day off.
Anyhoo, I've been trying to stay focused on the task-at-hand: working a Valentine inspired embellishment to my new tangles and reworking some old ones.
I have a Dud pile. I never throw anything away and I've used some dud tiles to practice new coloring techniques and shading. 
A few months ago I started transitioning some work out of my sketchbook and onto the tiles (I use Bristol vellum pads and cut the pieces to size & round the corners) and I didn't always have my Zen going, giving up in frustration or abandoning some pieces out of sheer boredom.
Fast forward and now I'm looking back on some of those pieces and trying bring them back to life by playing with contrast and adding a little red.
I just joined the RAZ facebook group so now I'm leaving my first RAZ at the cafe.

Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments=D

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TangleBomb Thursday

Diva Challenge #202
A Duotangle
Patterns: Copada & Chebucto

My schedule is all over the map this week, but it's been a productive one, thus far, tangle-wise. Perhaps not my best efforts artistically, but the journey has been rewarding and that's all good.

First up: I am the Diva's Weekly Challenge #202: use only two tangles, hence, DuoTangle. Copada and Chebucto are two lovely patterns by Margaret Bremner at The Enthusiastic Artist (where there are some great tips on moving patterns around corners). I've noodled around with Copada before but Chebucto is new to me and I had some trouble with it. I'm really bad with precision and lean toward the organic and embracing wonkiness whenever I can get away with it. This one? well...I wasn't super thrilled with the outcome. I ADD'd my way over to "That's New to Me", the weekly challenge set forth by SuzyMosh Creations where we are to use patterns we've never used before. Up this week is the letter "U". The Tangle Patterns list of "U" patterns is pretty small and a couple I've already tangled with (pun intended). This is what I came up with:

That's New to Me Challenge
"U" tangles
Uni, Up & Down and Upholstered

Upholstered was pretty much a hot mess but that's the way I roll somedays. I went back in with the color much later, after I'd gone and done this:
It's a String Thing Challenge #77
String #77
Patterns: Heartrope, Heartstrings, Heartvine and Luv-a

Not to be stopped, I went off on a Valentine's Day inspired tangent and pulled out the red marker. The plan (of the moment) for the next two weeks is to go red, black and white and create a bunch of Valentines that I'll either give out at work or leave around RAZ's (Random Acts of Zentangle). It'll depend on how many I get done. I may also go back and re-work some duds. 
Anyhoo, I went back and did this:

Diva Challenge #202 redux

This brings up a question I hope some of you will answer: What do you do with your tiles? 

I've only been at this a few months and I've got about 150 tiles. I was thinking of laminating some and saving them up for little gifts or making coasters, which I have no idea how to do. 
I just discovered the RAZ facebook page and like that idea as well.

Here's this weeks challenge from Made By Joey:

Challenge 45-Try your hand at tangling
patterns used: Chebucto, Copada, Crescent Moon, Wud, Sanibel & Paisel

Thank's for stopping by. Your comments and ideas are most welcome and appreciated.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Square One: Purely Zentangle ~ Rixty

Rixty + Pokeleaf + Zinger

Square One: Purely Zentangle is a facebook group whose mission statement, so to speak, is to get back to the basics of Zentangle. Each week one pattern is chosen for us to delve into without the enhancement of color (neither paper or medium) using a 3 1/2" square tile. Simply: frame, string, draw, shadow & sign.
The pattern of the week is "Rixty". I can't say I was too crazy about this one at first but it's growing on me. This photo was gray scaled after I forgot myself and picked up my rust micron to draw Pokeleaf then continuing to go rogue with blue zingers. 
I find myself, from time to time, not knowing when to stop, but such is the beauty of the journey through Zentangle. When I think about it, I'll stop, take picture, send it to my computer and take another look and carry on (or not) as I see fit. Then if I screw it up I've still got the previous version.
I really just wanted to focus on shadowing viney lines. I saw some really great shading on some of the submissions so far, but something is telling me to continue on with this one.
Here's some shadow practice. Practice being the definitive word.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That's New to Me & It's a String Thing~ TangleBomb Saturday

Vano, Verve, Voxter, Vigne & Veezley

This tile is for "That's New to Me". Each week we are given the perameter of  a letter of the alphabet and seek out a pattern that starts with that letter that we have never used before. This was a fun challenge but it took a while to get here. From the get-go I wanted to used Vano as my string. I love the shapes. 
We are only required to use one pattern. I get ambitious and over-do and as usual I spend a great deal of time noodling around on the internet looking for ideas and inspiration but mostly I'm just procrastinating. I love all of the different challenges there are out there, focusing on different themes and pulling me out of my comfort zone. I'm also a bit OCD/ADD so I will keep at something and if I make what I believe to be some egregious mistake (that no one else would even notice) I will start again. Other times I've got 2 or 3 things going on at the same time and bounce around without giving each one the attention it deserves.
I don't have internet at home for a very good reason: I'd never leave the house. So, I come around the corner to my favorite cafe, fuel up with coffee and surf the net, draw, write and edit pics.
Currently, the challenge within the challenges is to get each one completed, blogged and submitted. Saturday is a deadline for a few, so here I am playing beat the clock. This is the second time I've done this. Maybe I should call this TangleBomb Saturday.

This is my submission for this week's "It's a String Thing" Challenge:

string #76 
patterns used: Fjord, Trumpits & Oolo

oohhhhh this challenge really vexed me. Once again yanked out of my comfort zone with a string I had the most difficult time wrapping my brain around with these patterns, none of which I've ever used before. It's all good though.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Diva Challenge #201 for Moebius Syndrome Awareness

The Moebius Syndrome Foundation logo
decorated with "Wud" "Heartstrings" & "N'zeppel"

This weeks challenge from I am the Diva is to raise awareness of Moebius Syndrome, a rare disorder that affects 1 in a million people. The Diva, Laura Harms has a young son with Moebius Syndrome.
She describes his condition as a congenital nerve disorder that effects cranial VI & VII nerves that control the lateral movement of the face. There are delayed developmental milestones that include eating & feeding, low muscle tone, club feet and low tolerance/resistence to virus, among others.
Moebius Awareness Day is January 24 and we're using the Moebius Syndrome foundation logo as the string for this weeks submission.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tea at the Museum & Motley "Joy"

I had a leisurely afternoon at the museum cafe today so I got busy with "joy", the pattern of the week for the Made by Joey challenge. I'd never seen this pattern before and this is my first time posting to her challenges.
I'd just intended this piece as an exercise when I started it, practicing on a throwaway piece of textured cardstock, trying out different variations within the given string.  I started turning the tile around and the string reminded me of a motley pattern, the patchwork pattern from the Commedia del'arte Harlequin costume.

Then the textured paper seemed to be in need of color. Such is the journey of never know where it's going to lead you.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy (and not so happy) Accidents

Square One: Purely Zentangle
Pattern of the Week: BB
Other patterns used: Pots 'n Pans and Zinger

This was an oddly successful doodle and the best example of why these challenges are so inspiring.
I was not too thrilled with the pattern of the week. I've seen it here and there but I don't think it gets used much. With so many great patterns out there, it seems pretty boring.
When the challenge appeared last week I was so impressed to see so many great takes on this pattern. My first attempt:
I though it was ok. Not great. I was about half way through it when I got a really nasty cut right down the back of my middle finger of my right hand from the jagged edge of a broken heavy glass tumbler that was left in what was apparently a recycling basket at a house I'd just started dog sitting at. I'd already gotten the "BB" part of the tile drawn and was planning to fill in the remaining space but then my finger was all bandaged up and all I could manage was a clumsy attempt at shading.
In the meantime, I perused all of the other submissions.
There were so many fantastic pieces out there and several that added vine or leaf patterns and that's what gave me the idea of a potted plant on top of a stack of books. I could not wait any longer and it all materialized quickly. 
Pots 'n Pans just happened to be the first step out (found at ) I'd drawn in the new pattern journal I'd started a couple of weeks ago:
Zinger seemed like the natural companion to the goofy look the tile was taking on. I used a Rapidograph technical pen to fill the black areas on the pots 'n pans and proceeded to smear ink all over when I was nearly finished, hence the stippling.
Anyhoo, I hesitated posting it because it was so messy but decided what-the-heck.
It got over 200 likes and many wonderful comments.
That's what I love about Zentangle. There are no mistakes and many happy accidents.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Another Diva BiZentennial Offering

Diva Challenge 200 number 2
and a petal-y pattern I can't remember the name of but thought was 'nzeppel when I first saw it.

I pulled this tile from my reject pile to practice some water color, then whilst dog-sitting at a friends house this weekend I found this placemat that I'm loving as a background. I kinda like it now so decided to submit it even though the Diva has surpassed her goal of 200 responses to the challenge.

Friday, January 16, 2015

It's a String Thing Challenge #75

string #75 using patterns: pokeleaf, ennies, echoism & bales

They don't call these challenges for nothing. This weeks submission was particularly challenging for me as there were 4 patterns to work into a curvy string. This was my third attempt. I'm not totally crazy about this one but I had a couple of rejects already and time was running out.
It's all good though. This is the beauty of the challenge as you learn more from your mistakes than you do from success. I find that trying to get just the right balance of tone, structure and organic within the confines of a string the most satisfying part of the journey when I get a piece that's an improvement over the last one. This was my second attempt:
The only thing I liked about this was the Echoism. My first attempt was pretty dreadful and disappeared somewhere.
It's all part of the journey. I've been having a bit of fun working on my shading and while digging through my old art box I came across a tool called a Colour Shaper. I have no idea where I got it (I was in art school 20+ years ago), but along with a super soft 6B graphite pencil I've managed to step away from the smelly Prismacolor colorless blender for a while.
The color shaper (on top) has a soft rubber tip that allows much better control of the soft graphite and produces a feathery edge when you drag the tip outward as seen at the outer edge of the flower template and along the aura of the pokeleaf on the tile. I was inspired by a really cool drawing I found on the Zentangle Facebook page and sorta copied the template to practice on. 
I like using the 6B pencils as you can vary the pressure as you draw to get a heavier deposit of graphite in corners you want in darker shadow.

I've only been at this blog for a couple of weeks now and I just want to thank you all for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comments. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Diva Challenge #200

This is a celebration of the 200th challenge by I am the Diva. That's huge! This is only the second challenge I've submitted to (on-line that is) but the Diva challenge is the number one reason I started this blog.
I've been lurking around Diva for months and it has inspired me in so many ways.
This week's focus on the Square One: Purely Zentangle FB page was the pattern 'Nzeppel. I did not lie when I said it was my favorite pattern. So here's more 'Nzeppel.
Challenge #200 asked me to use my "mac & cheese" (I love this!) pattern in a monotangle. In other words, use my favorite go-to pattern. Only. No borders...the tangles should push right to the edge of the tile and lastly, to incorporate the number 200 somewhere.
This was fun.
I'm experimenting with color. I'm using red and sepia Micron pens and some Prismacolor pencil using a Prismacolor colorless blender.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Diva Challenge #199

This week's challenge from I am the Diva is to use the pattern "Hitched" . I've been lurking around that blog for months now and  have yet to submit anything. So I'm gonna give this a shot. 

Once a month the Diva issues a challenge she calls Use My Tangle or UMT for short. She picks a pattern submitted by one of her many followers and fellow CZT's (Certified Zentangle Teacher). This pattern comes from HeidiSue. Here's a link to the steps:

This pattern proved to be much more challenging than I thought (which is always a good thing) as it forced me to slooooow the heck down. I tend to get a bit ADD and restless. The steps are very simple but the composition can get out of whack quickly if you're not deliberate. 

Other patterns I used are "Arukas" and a little "Printemps".
I used a Sakura 01 pen and the shading is done with a 90% warm grey Prismacolor pencil and smudged with a clear Prismacolor marker blender.

I find that I like to photograph my tiles on the cover of my sketchbook. I took this pic around 8am and liked the way the sun reflected off of the surface of the book. My photography is super low tech. I have a crappy cell phone cam and send my pics to Photobucket. The only editing I do is crop and sharpen the crappy cam blur.

Here's tile #2:

This was actually a rejected tile I'd started for this challenge. I'd screwed it up at the overlap. Meanwhile, I was inspired by one of Lily's Tangles and rescued this to practice some color. Not great but I figured it was at least a keeper. 

I used Prismacolor pencils and a white paint pen.

my new pattern journal

I had a little splurge yesterday at one of my favorite stores.

 Daiso, the dollar-fifty Japanese version of the dollar store. I found this dotted grid notebook I thought I'd give a try. There is some bleed. Gotta see if I can artfully work around it.
I'm also working more on this weeks Square One challenge as it's my favorite pattern-nzeppel. I use a blending technique I learned in art school using prismacolor pens and pencils. The colorless blender is great but it also emits a noxious odor. I avoid using it at the cafe when I'm in a more confined space.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Square One Challenge: Nzeppel

Nzeppel with Tropicana & Wud

This weeks challenge was fun. Nzeppel is one of my favorite patterns. I love it's simplicity and dimension as well as its versatility-grid or no grid.
I had already started a string for this tile, exploring my current obsession with "Tropicana"...

.., a pattern I came across while pursuing T patterns for the "That's New to Me" challenge. 
I was also inspired by Lily Tangles sharing her steps to a gorgeous piece that started with the pattern "Wud".
This piece sort of complicates the perameters of the Square One challenges which is to focus on one pattern in a simple format but this is how I roll.

Friday, January 9, 2015

"That's New to Me" ~The First Challenge

Challenge #1-T tangles
I chose:
Tropicana, Tripoli, Telis & Tortuca

This begins a new tangling journey and what fun it is! "That's New to Me" is the new weekly challenge put forth by Suzy Mosh Creations. The objective is to try something new given the perameters of each challenge. I got a little ambitious here by trying not just one but 4 new patterns. 
Tropicana was a great discovery. I already had Telis and Tripoli stepped out in my pattern journal but I've never used either in a finished piece. I love using swirls and spirals as fill ins but I've never used them in a grid pattern before (Tortuca).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's a String Thing Challenge #74

Lealad, Twizted & Kiss

This was a wayward start to this weeks "It's a String Thing" challenge.
I've had all three of these patterns in my sketchbook yet I've never explored them beyond my step-out pages. I started a tile last night but I was having trouble arranging them into the string so I finally gave it a rest and went to bed.
At the cafe this morning I pulled out my sketchbook and practiced the patterns some more then I felt ready to have a go at a tile (I'd finished my first cup of coffee). I'd forgotten which challenge I was doing and forgot the string. It's a little overworked in places and I wasn't very happy with it at first but it's sort of grown on me.
Then this came about...

 "It's a String Thing~Challenge #74: string 74 with Lealad, Twizted & Kiss

I recently unearthed a set of Rapidiograph technical pens I've had since grad school. I got one working and I find the larger nib sizes to be great for nice solid fills but the ink needs a minute to dry. I ended up with an ink blob in the middle of everything, hence the dark shadow as my attempt to hide it. It's all part of the journey.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Challenge Me Monday...

...and playing catch up.
Monday is my day to chill. It's my day off and my day to spend a leisurely morning at the cafe with my coffee, computer and sketchbook. This is my comfort zone. It's also my procrastination zone, my black hole of Pinterest zone. This is where I chase after inspiration.

The artsy blogosphere is chock-full of challenges to inspire my creative juices. "It's a String Thing" is a great one for me. I have a love/hate relationship with strings. I absolutely love their purpose in getting pen to paper and vanquishing the sometimes intimidating blank page, but often I find them constrictive. I tend toward the organic and I'm inspired by pieces that "think outside the string", where you know it's there but it dissolves into the piece.
Then there are times like this where I just have to embrace the string and challenge my fear of graphic boldness, like my intro pic above:
It's a String Thing Challenge #73 puts forth the patterns "schway" & "paradox" using string 68
I've yet to submit any piece to "It's a String Thing" as I keep missing the Saturday submission deadline.
Here are some pieces I have stored up. I'm putting them out here now so I can commence with new challenges and find my post rhythm.
This is the first attempt at challenge #73. It represents that trend I seem to have developed of similar but different initial attempts. I've got to break this one out of the box.

 This was a Square One: Purely Zentangle challenge. The pattern is "Indy-rella", those stripey-wormy pods. Not one of my favorites and it took me a couple of attempts to get here, but I kinda like it.

Another Square One: Purely Zentangle challenge: use the pattern "crescent moon", a I love this pattern.
This next one was the first Square One Challenge I submitted to-"Ing" was the pattern of the week.

This next one was a challenge from "I am the Diva" a while back. It was to use your non-dominant hand. In this case I drew this with my left hand. Jeez this was awkward. It wasn't until I was finished and started to photograph it, when I turned it around and saw this creature inside. I like this.

This next one is String Thing challenge #71 using the pattern "Arukas" with string #69.

Next is a Square One challenge using the pattern "Ahhh". The other pattern  "Tootle" happened to pop up on my email news feed that day as someone had commented on it. I was instantly smitten. I'd never used either of these ones before.

Alrightythen...let the games begin!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

pattern of the week:xyp

Over at my new favorite facebook page, Square One: Purely Zentangle, I've been lurking then drawing and lurking some more.
This is just the back to basics approach that I need to reign in my Zentangle least that's the plan and I can't say that I'm always successful but I try.
I just posted this as well as this one:
After a few weeks of challenges I've noticed a pattern of my own developing. My first two tiles tend to look very similar, then my third seems to open up a new direction.
These were my attempts at first challenge for "Gneiss":