taking ideas from landscape into abstraction

It’s day ten of the virtual book club. At least it is for me. The rest of the bunch is on day sixteen already! I think my visions of catching up with the group won’t come to pass. There is this issue of working during the day, and then this other issue of sleeping at night. I tangle in between.

Anyway, day ten is interesting because we get to explore some of the concepts of creating landscape (and a sense of spatial depth). I think my tile is getting there, with distance represented by reducing the scale of the patterns. I didn’t push myself to use higher contrast and delineation of form in the foreground, and less contrast and more gray in the distance. Another day, another tile.




Tangles I used in this tile: shattuck, vega, tipple, echoism, finery, and flukes.


it’s all black and white

It’s going to take some practice for me to enjoy working on a black Zentangle tile. When I draw tangles that are usually black lines on a white background in reverse, it feels as though I am drawing an X-ray. So, I challenge myself to use tangles that have contrasting positive and negative areas, and that helps. Here’s my tile from day nine in One Zentangle a Day.




I used knightsbridge, vega, purk, flux, and rain tangles.

drawing out depth

Beckah Krahula gives a quick tutorial on shading to create the illusion of depth in day eight of One Zentangle A Day. The information is good, and some knowledge and recognition of the way light and shadow can be used to represent form can be quite helpful in creating Zentangles. I think some basic drawing exercises would really help beginning tanglers understand the effects they can create on a tile. And practice. Lots and lots of practice. That’s what makes the shading part of the Zentangle process so enjoyable.

Here’s my tile for day eight. Also enjoyable: getting to use purk and vega. I also tossed in some crescent moon (a tangellation), printemps, knightsbridge, and striping.


You can follow what other people have created for day eight here.


If Zentangle is a metaphor for life, then tangellations represent all of the new ways we can do things. Even a small change can revitalize. On day seven in Beckah Krahula’s One Zentangle A Day, she urges us to do something different with the same old tangles. Here is my tile, with a new look at knightsbridge in one area and nipa in another.


I also used hollibaugh, flux, shattuck, and isochor. Have a look at other interpretations at the virtual book club.

anything is possible…

…one stroke at a time. It’s so true, and amazing to watch: people, who left their crayons behind at kindergarten age, that pick up the pencil and pen of Zentangle, and very simply and easily begin to draw beautiful tableaus.

I never stopped drawing (and no one told me I couldn’t draw), so it is an amazing thing to see and hear the emotions and thoughts that occur as people (re)awaken to their inherent ability. I’m not usually able to identify specific things to be grateful for, and then gush over them in thankfulness. Who am I thanking? is the unanswered question. However, the opportunity to bring the one-stroke-at-a-time idea to people is an exception.

Those are the thoughts that occurred to me as I ventured into day six of One Zentangle A Day, practicing what author Beckah Krahula calls one-stroke patterns: amaze, mooka, and flux. Amaze is the one tangle of the bunch that I’ve found you can actually do without lifting your pen. Mooka is possible, if you don’t cross the tendrils over each other. Flux? I’m not sure why Beckah calls it a one-stroke tangle. A single leaf, teardrop, or apostrophe shape can be made in one swoop, so maybe that’s it. I do like to make more than one, and to add the central curved line that makes it look leafy, so I guess I’m a two-stroke flux drawer.

Here’s my tile. Some tipple found its way between the leafy shapes, too. I figured it was okay, since I can draw a circle in one stroke.


make it sparkle!

When you learn Zentangle, you learn the wonderful language used to describe different elements. There are names for each tangle (sometimes with a story to go along), and names for drawing concepts. The language surrounding Zentangle enhances the overall understanding… and it’s fun!

I first learned how to add sparkle by watching Maria Thomas demonstrate zander on the DVD that comes with the Zentangle kit, but didn’t learn the associated word until she showed us the printemps tangle during CZT training in Providence this past September. It is a great way to add little spots of light to your design.

We’re exploring the addition of sparkle to tangles on day five of the One Zentangle A Day virtual book club. A big plus for me: being prompted to use the isochor tangle, another one that I hadn’t tried before.


In this tile I used printemps, isochor, crescent moon, nekton, jonqal, hollibaugh, and poke-root. Amazing how many tangles can fit on a little tile… and there’s still some interesting white space left.

visual depth

I suppose that cake would still be cake without frosting. Same way that Zentangle tiles can be done without pencil shading. They’re good, even delightful at times. But the sweet, buttery, thick goodness of using graphite to add depth and define form adds a whole new dimension… literally!


I used jonqal, festune, tipple, shattuck, nipa, poke-root, and a little bit of fescu to create this tile. Then, as Beckah Krahula suggests in the Day 4 section of One Zentangle A Day, I chose an imaginary light source and shaded accordingly.

I like the results, even though I’m not completely sold on shading as if there is a light source present. That, to me, removes some of the immediacy and intuitiveness of the process.

year of the snake

Today, morning came all crackles and ice.

Despite a week of balmy 20s— and even a couple of breezy near-40-degree noon jaunts to my favorite downtown Milwaukee deli for a mixed green salad, winter decided that it’s not quite done, here in Wisconsin, today. It’s COLD OUTSIDE!!

My tile for this week’s diva challenge was ready and waiting for me to snap a picture, transfer the image to my computer, open it in Photoshop and adjust lighting, contrast, and saturation (I try to get images as close as I can to their true state) and then write a few words here at crafthatchery to share with you.

But, I had to attend to another bunch of details first. Today I was expecting students! Right here, in my little art-house, a daughter and her mom were joining me for an afternoon of Zentangle. I had to vacuum up the remains of the week (some crumbs, lots of cat hair, and a bit of ash near the stove), crank up said stove to produce some warmth,  and get ready for their arrival. Oh, and the bathroom was in dire need of a going-over.

Linda, Marilyn and I had a wonderful, focused, and productive Zentangle session. Little did they know, and little did I realize, until later, that they were participants in the very first, real-life, crafthatchery happening. I’ve led other classes, but not here, where I feel crafthatchery resides. Thank you, Linda and Marilyn!

And what does my Saturday routine have to do with the year of the snake? this week’s challenge? Well, just about everything. You see, it’s all connected. For one, the Chinese new year began just before Valentine’s day on February 10. According to a Chinese culture site, this is what is in store for us in 2013: steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create. The snake is enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined, and collected.

Wait… were they talking about Zentangle? I mean, really, those were the ideas we were talking about in today’s class!

And so, here is my tile for the challenge. It’s my personal celebration of this new year of focus, discipline, and creation.


overlap, repeat

It’s day three of One Zentangle a Day, and I’ve tried festune, another tangle that has always fallen into the “maybe later” idea pile. It reminds me of pin cushions, or a sea of umbrellas. It fills up an area pretty quickly and has a lighter value. Not a bad little tangle. Hollibaugh is an old favorite, and poke-root is the only one that Maria Thomas drew from actual plants. They all overlap, and when repeated, give the impression of depth, especially when you add shading.

My tile contains the three tangles introduced in the chapter, plus static and a tangellation of knightsbridge.


If you want to feast your eyes on what others are up to in the virtual book club, go here. Lots of different interpretations… makes me want to tangle all day.

pattern as tonal value

Day two of the One Zentangle A Day virtual book club was a fun one. I had never used The nekton tangle before, because it seemed like it would be difficult to bring all of the directional line elements together. It’s not as regular and organized as keeko, but it has a nice quality all its own. I’m glad I finally tried it. The matching-up of the areas actually happens fluidly and organically, without the confusion I was expecting.

Another new experience was consciously altering a pattern to show depth. Larger pattern parts and lines drawn farther apart appear lighter and closer to us. Smaller objects and lines drawn closer together look darker and farther away. While I have done this before without really thinking about it, now I did it purposefully. It’s a nice thing to have in my mental toolkit. I don’t think I will spring it on beginning students, but it’s great for giving tiles and tangles a little more impact.


Tangles used on this tile: knightsbridge, tipple, nekton, fescu, crescent moon, and static.