Thursday, August 25, 2011

Something about Assunta

This week's Diva challenge was to use the new official pattern Assunta.

This is a rather fun pattern. :)

And apparently, I have water droplets on the brain.

Drawn in black micron pigma and copic grey on my medium sized rhodia dotpad, then shaded with graphite.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A bit of Tombow trials

I decided to give up on integrating the Tombows with tangling for a moment (not forever, no worries!) and do a bit that was nothing but the Tombows from the start. Well, and some black micron for a couple of lines, but I don't think that counts. ;)

Having seen one of Marie Browning's pieces on the Tombow blog, I homed in on some water droplets that she had in one corner of the piece and decided I wanted to try some water drops.

Here is the result. :)

This isn't what I would consider a completed piece, but some others apparently do. :D

This was done in my pocket-size watercolor moleskine. I used 3 shades for the most part, plus lamp black for some shading and a middle cool grey for the rest of shading. Most was colored directly on the paper (where I do wish I could eliminate the streaking... though it works on this particular one), but in some areas (like a few of the droplets) I did use the technique of coloring onto a plastic palette then picking up the color with the blender brush. I also used the blender brush to try and smooth away some of the harsh lines in the droplets.

I'm going to try another water drop piece a little later, incorporating what I learned on this one and some techniques I've been seeing online.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Challenge 35, tile in a tile

This week's guest challenger is Margaret Bremner, who challenged us to create a tile within a tile.

My first attempt didn't get beyond an underpainting. I was trying to use my tombows to create a watercolor background, but I just couldn't get into the finished background for tangling. So I grabbed a 3.5 square instead. (Not an official tile, just a square on bristol smooth that is the 3.5" size).

This one went much better. :)

This was drawn in black, three different browns, grey and sepia, using the micron pens and the triplus fineliners, then shaded with pencil

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More patterns from the Sistine Chapel

In response to a challenge on the ZIA yahoo group, some of us spent some time exploring a VR 360 of the Sistine Chapel and looking for patterns. One of the ones I found, minect, is on a previous post. Here are three more.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How about a few new patterns?

Two of these came from artifacts I saw on the TV show Pawn Stars. It greatly amused my friend when I went "wait, I need to pause that... that needs to be a pattern..."

The third came from the floor of the Sistine Chapel.

Why these names?

Pask is P for Pawn Stars and ask for a flask -- that was the item the pattern was on.

Laf is from Lafayette, because the pattern came from a piece of fabric featuring that historical figure, again seen on Pawn Stars.

Minect is totally random. Literally. It was one of the random 'type this word to post' so-called words and I thought it was catchy. ;)

Challenge 34, part two

After another trip to Texas Art Supply (dangerous store!) and more Tombows (love these markers, even if they aren't archival), I decided to do the other half of this week's challenge. As a reminder, the challenge was to either fill a curved string with straight line tangles as I did on the first piece, or fill a straight line string with curvy tangles.

This time, I went the color route.

I used a neat geometric design I found on Sandra Strait / Molossus' blog, put a border around it, then went with some delicate patterns to give the Tombow colors just a little texture.

I also decided to experiment with the tombows on those vellum ATCs that I had set aside. I didn't like them for my pattern cards as much as the bristol smooth, but they're perfectly fine for actually working on. As expected, it took the pen better than the watercolor ATCs do, the markers weren't as easy to blend, but overall it worked out. At least, I think so.

It probably would pop even more if I tried some graphite to shade, but I think the paper's had about as much as it'll take.

Lines are done in either micron pigma or triplus fineliner. Anything fill is done in Tombow. Very little was colored straight on the ATC. Most of the coloring was done by loading the blender brush with a color and letting it fade naturally.

For those curious about color choices, I used 055 and 062 for the yellows, 885 for the red, 245 and 173 for the greens, 452 and 493 for the blues, and 947 for the brown.

But this ATC resulted in not one, but two 'products'. Or, perhaps I should say, one and a half. Or maybe even two and a half, if you consider a color test piece to be a product.

I know sometimes it's very handy to see another person's sketch book, even if it's for nothing but color samples. So, here's the ATC I used for testing. I wanted the material to be the same as the finished piece since I hadn't done much with the combination of media.

And the "half"? That would be my brush-cleaning ATC. Something my mom mentioned about some interesting designs she's gotten just on the scrap she used to clean her brush made me decide to use yet another ATC to clean the blender brush on. And, sometimes, the full color brushes when I was testing out the colors and trying to decide whether to go full saturation or with a loaded blender brush.

When my actual piece was done, I spritzed the blender scrap and now have another colored background to tangle on.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Trying out the Tombows

After all the rave that Tombow markers have been getting, I decided to pick up a set off Amazon and try them out.

One set led to two. Then to a trip to Texas Art Supply, which we all know is DANGEROUS.

I'm now approaching 50 of the things, and am hooked on these markers. Even if I haven't been able to find the right ZIA to use them on yet...

I have, however, made a few color cards (for me and for mom... yes, I've gotten her hooked too) and some ATC backgrounds using various techniques. Most of these were done with the 'color on plastic, spritz with water, then press paper to color' method. The yellow-green and teal was done by coloring directly on the ATC then using a water brush to spread it.

The color pinwheel uses both tombows and watercolor pencils. It was colored on the paper then spritzed directly on the paper. I got things just a wee bit too dark on that one, and the water was too heavy. When I tried dabbing it with a paper towel, I ended up with a very pretty paper towel and next to no color on the outside. Attempts to fix have ended up with just more mess, but maybe it won't be so bad when I tangle on it...

Regardless of my adventures and misadventures, I really like these markers. I can definitely see why people rave about them.

Week 34: Opposites Attract

This week's Diva challenge is another guest challenge by Christina aka stART. This time, we were to either draw a curved string and fill it with tangles made only with straight lines, or draw a straight line string and fill it only with tangles that are made up of curvy lines.

I did the first one, using the smaller size of my rhodia dotpad so I'd have an easy grid for the fills.

This was done in micron pigma, anywhere from 02 to 005, and using a 9 and 6 b lead to shade. And if no one's seen the pattern used in the rightmost curvy section, the zigzag, I'll write up steps.

The rest of the patterns include seljuk, trigon, screen, avreal, zedbra, Cockles 'n Mussels 'n Clams, yincut, winerax, and w2

Friday, August 5, 2011

Precious Pendrills

Rick and Maria over at released a new pattern this week called Pendrills. So, naturally, that's our theme this week in the Diva's challenge. :)

I also got a new book this week, Time to Tangle with Color by Maria Browning. And furthermore was inspired by some recent ATCs that Margaret posted at Enthusiastic Artist. And, Sandra at Life Imitates Doodles keeps posting her experiments in watercolor.

Between the three, I decided to try my hand at the various watercolor pencil background techniques. I used my favorite method to color the background of a 3" square for the Pendrills challenge.

This was done on bristol smooth. The background was painted using a water brush that I ran over the pigment of fuscia and teal blue derwint inktense watercolor pencils then painted on the paper. No, this wasn't watercolor paper. Yes, it did work. Yes, it did pull (melt? Wash?) away some of the smooth surface of the paper. I taped the square down to my drawing board using artists tape, and then let it dry, and tried not to soak the paper with the brush. It was very slightly warped when it was dry, but by the time I finished drawing the tangles with the micron pen, it had pretty much flattened back out again.

Also of note was how different it was to draw with the pens on the bristol smooth after it had a layer of watercolor pigment on it and had been wet. It definitely changed the grain of the paper, but it worked rather well I thought for this particular piece, and it wasn't objectionable at all to me to draw on.

When the tangles were done, I shaded just the "azalea" of the foreground, then added highlights with my sakura glaze pens and used the fuscia again to enhance the color in the petals of the flowers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Organization and Resources

Sue Jacobs recently posted about her methods for organizing her patterns, and the question has come up before in various blogs and groups. It came up again in the Zentangle Inspired Art yahoo group. And, I've been meaning to share the techniques I decided upon for a while now.

This seems like a good time. :D

First off, I subscribe to several sources for notices for new patterns. Some of them are:

Molossus / Sandra Strait over at Life Imitates Doodles keeps a pretty good eye on new tangles being released. It helps that she's a (the?) moderator to the Freehand Doodle Patterns pool on Flickr. :D

Those that she misses are usually picked up in Genevieve Crabe's Weekly Roundup at Amaryllis Creations / Tangle Harmony

Usually, by the time they appear on another wonderful resource, Tangle Patterns, I've seen them on Sandra's or Genevieve's lists. But not always.

Of course, I haven't even hit the official resource, the Official Zentangle Newsletter. Any new "official" patterns that are released over the web are released in their newsletter.

And these are just the online resources. Don't forget the various books out there. I can highly recommend any of Sandy Steen Bartholomew's Zentangle books, or Maria Browning's Time to Tangle with Color. Those are the only ones I've gotten so far, and they're all wonderful even just to flip through and look at for inspiration.

So, once you have *located* the patterns... then what?

Books are easy. Set them on the shelf within reach of tangling. :D

But what about the online patterns?

What I do first is save the steps to a directory on my computer. I also have subdirectories for my own patterns and creations, and for images that inspire me, and for potential future pattern references. I then use Google's Picasa to view the images (though I've recently realized that it doesn't pick up on the png files that I've saved, or the gifs. Those, I've had to print through windows)

When I get either a pattern I really want to print now, or a multiple of four, I'll print them four to a page. That's what I've found to be the best compromise between number on a page and ability to see the steps. I tried nine to a page at first, and that was too small on too many patterns for me.

I then put the printed patterns into report covers with easy slip-on binding. I like that better than trying to punch holes in them and put them in an full big binder, because it's easier to flip through for me and easier to just grab one of the mini-books (6-15 pages each) and run out the door when I'm going to mom's or the doctor's. It also makes it very easy to remove a page once I've drawn out all of the patterns on that page.

When I finish making a pattern card (which I'll detail a little later), I'll make a check mark next to the pattern I just drew out so I know I have that one in my cards. Sometimes my cards show steps, but usually it's just the finished pattern. Once I have all four patterns from a page on cards, I'll remove that page and set it aside to give to mom for *her* collection. If I need to look steps up again in the future, I've still got the digital copy, but usually I can remember how to do them by looking at my card.

As for these cards... they're ATCs, with the pattern square a 2 inch square. I use Bristol Smooth for the cards, and always use black (with occasional red or maybe a touch of sepia for variation) microns. Except on rare occasion where I've forgotten the pattern name, I try to include both the pattern name and the designer on the card. Noting the designer name makes it easier for me to direct someone else to that pattern, gives credit to the steps that were used to create that particular pattern, and allows me to note who some of my favorite pattern designers are so I know to watch for theirs again.

I've tried some of the other types of ATCs, vellum and watercolor most notably, but didn't like their textures or how the ink went down quite as well for a reference card. I do use the other materials in actual projects, but not for my pattern collection.

I keep the pattern cards sorted into deck boxes. Right now, I've got them in one box for the official patterns, one for "borders, bands and lines", one for "grids" (patterns that are best done on a grid), and two for anything else. But I'm going to have to expand the grids to a second and the "catch all" to a third before long. Right now, all the patterns in the boxes are sorted alphabetically by first letter, but that's not going to stay that way for too long.

The idea behind the pattern cards was to be able to mix and match patterns easily, hold them up to each other to decide which ones to use, and even to shuffle them and that way randomly select a handful. I've done all of the above.

(Side note, you may notice my other use for ATCs and reference... my materials reference cards. Those I have on a key ring and have punched holes in. Though the card that is up on that one is my graphite card, I have samples for all of my pens, gel pens, and some of the pencils. My intention is to eventually have cards for all my colored pencils and watercolors, too. But that's another project...)

Originally, the pattern cards were meant to be portable. And they are pretty portable. But I'm up to around 500 cards now, and that's not nearly as quick to flip through as I originally intended. And with well over 1500 patterns out there, it's only going to get worse. :)

So, enter yet -another- organization project. My pattern reference -book-.

This project I've mentioned before, and it's still ongoing. I am up to the letter "i" now, but I already failed to leave enough space for all my patterns in some of the letters... so I'm going to have to either make *another* book, or go to the other side of the pages. These are done on a moleskine japanese fold-out book. Each letter has anywhere from 1 to 4 pages, with 15 squares on a page. Each square is just under an inch square, except the letter box, which *is* one inch.

And this is going to be a long project, considering mom wants one too.

These little samples aren't meant to be major examples, but quick reference to decide on patterns to use on projects. It's also a lot more portable than my entire collection of pattern cards.

Hope this helps some of y'all who are trying to decide on your own organization system. I'd love to see what y'all use. :D