Mooka Feather

I recently decided to take more online classes, thinking I might as well broaden my horizons while spending so much time at home. I will soon be taking a memoir class with some fellow writers from my Novel Writer’s Group. My memoir is all over the map right now, and I need to find a focus. Hoping the class will help with that.

I have also been taking a number of Zentangle classes lately and enjoying them very much. I took a Circus Banner class from Eni Oken. She is an excellent teacher, and I always get a lot out of her classes. I also took two classes from  Laura Marks.

The first was a class where Laura showed us how to tangle over a photograph (see prior post). I can imagine that I will use these techniques to decorate many future photos. Then I attended Laura’s class called “Mooka Feather.”  The word Mooka probably needs a little explanation.

Mooka is a well-loved tangle pattern that looks like this.


Here are five Mookas of different heights, facing in different directions. Mooka is a tangle pattern that I did not enjoy at all, never included in my work, and did not understand why everyone loved it so much.  Whenever I tried to include it in a Zentangle, it always looked awkward, never pretty or graceful like other people’s Mookas.

In this recent class, the teacher, Laura Marks, fixed my problem in the first five minutes of the class. She showed us how to draw the tangle pattern. She started at the bottom, and drew an upward line for one side of the stem. Then she drew a circle at the top, which I think she called the “head.” The key point for me waswhen she demonstrated how the little head had to lean forward on the stem and that the “neck” where head ends and the line makes a sharp angle before it heads back down, that little angle had to be very close to the other side of the stem. Mine had always been far away, making big fat ugly stems, and that was my problem. From that moment on I have been loving Mooka. Amazing how a little guidance changed my attitude towards this tangle pattern.

Mooka was invented by Zentangle founders Rick and Maria. Over time, doing classes and projects with them, I realized that Maria loves Mooka and will use it at the drop of a hat.

The tangle was created because Rick and Maria admired the beautiful posters of the French artist Mucha (pronounced Mooka). They especially liked the way he shaped the strands of hair in his subjects, like this:

So, the Mooka tangle pattern imitates these lovely shapes in Mucha’s posters. We Zentanglers sometimes like to reduce all tangle pattern names to their simplest phonetic spellings, hence Mooka. These simple names help me to feel comfortable with new patterns.

The course I was taking from Laura Marks was called Mooka Feather. She explained that the idea was to draw a feather, and that one could draw leaf or branch shapes to fill out the feather. But she loved just using the leaf shapes of the tangle pattern Flux.

Here is my Mooka Feather.

I had such a good time doing this.

I colored the Flux leaves with my new set of General Brand Pastel Chalk pencils. They are very nice to work with, kind of creamy and smooth. I was planning to use watercolors, but Laura, wise teacher, warned me that a nice sharp pointed pencil would be much easier than trying to paint the tiny spaces of the stems with a wet brush. That was good advice!

I only used three colors, the blue for the Mooka’s with a white highlight, then a simple red and a brown for the feathery leaves.

Laura suggested we add some white highlights with a Gelly Roll pen, and then a few Fescu tendrils for the final touch.

I plan to continue to take Zentangle courses. I hope to share more of these  experiences with you here in the future.

3 thoughts on “Mooka Feather”

  1. It’s beautiful and I love the tips. It’s funny how small bits of info make such a difference. TY Mary Helen.

  2. My Dear Friend, I love hearing about your life, all that you are doing. I am in wonder at how much you take on and how deep you go. If I didn’t have music and playing out (not much of that until April), I might likely be a Zentangler- such fun ! I just got my second jab, and expect you and I will meet again very soon. Love you lots, Carol

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