This is my latest Zentangle, just finished today. I created it taking a class with the wonderful Zentangle teacher Eni Oken. She guided us through, step-by-step. Her main video for this course was almost 2 hours, and it took me about ten hours of pausing frequently and coming back day by day to complete the drawing. I have to say, they were ten very happy hours!
As you can see, the initial drawing was a challenge. But Eni is very clear, and the video was easy to follow. We initally drew in pencil. We divided the paper into a grid that was 6×6, i.e., 36 squares. To accomplish that, we first drew a center horizontal line, and then a center vertical line, crossing in the middle of the paper. Now we had to divide those lines into 6 parts so we could make our grid. I was impressed that Eni had us take a piece of scrap paper and cut it to exactly half the width of our tile (2 inches). To divide that into 3 equal parts, she just said to just fold your scrap paper into thirds and use the folded paper to make marks on your tile. I found that a very easy and creative solution to what could have been a complicated math problem. Thanks Eni!
Once we had a penciled grid, we were ready to draw. We startdin the center with a 4-leaf flower in an eight-sided shape. Fun! I love the center of this mandala. Then we moved outward, doing the next set of triangles all around, then the next, and so on. Different patterns for each set of triangles. The black outermost triangles and squares were my idea, and I think they are probably a little heavy for the rest of the design. Oh well. Caution, human being at work.
Supplies recommended by Eni Oken are always interesting to me, as I learn about new materials. This project was drawn on a 4″ square paper rather than the standard Zentangle 3.5″ square. The paper Eni recommended was hot pressed watercolor paper. I had an old d’Arches hot pressed watercolor block that I had forgotten about, because I had used only cold pressed paper for many years.
Cold pressed paper is bumpy and is typically preferred by watercolorists. Wet paint glides on easily over the paper’s bumps without any untoward behavior. Watercolor doesn’t mind bumps, and the texture of the paper is beautiful.
On the other hand, hot pressed paper is smooth, and therefore it accepts all different kinds of media well, especially colored pencils and other media that don’t like too many bumps. So it was fun to use paper that I hadn’t used in a decade or three.
Eni asked us to use fine line markers. I had forgotten about the LePen brand, which used to be my main pen for all forms of writing and note taking. Eni had us get a set of Marvy LePen Fineliners. They were a pleasure to use. Nice colors, fine lines. I got a set of eight, but now wish I had sprung for the set of sixteen.
Most of the black lines are done with a Micron PN, slightly thicker than the Zentangler’s usual Micron 01. (PN stands for “plastic nib,” if you are interested in such things!)
After drawing with the Micron PN, we next drew highlights with white graphite pencil, Eni emphasizing that it should go down first, before other media, as it doesn’t like going over other pencils or pens. She had us draw with the PN first, then apply the white graphite.
The white number 10 Sakura Gelly Roll pen is a wonder. It is especially great for making the playful, somewhat 3-dots all over. I read that Sakura Gelly Roll was the very first gel pen ever! I use gel pens exclusively today, for writing, shopping lists, anything I write, so I was impressed by that fact.
One really unusual thing about this design is the borders. Zentangle most often uses black line borders, but Eni chose to use white borders with black lines going across, making little rows of rectangles. I thought this border treatment made the borders jump, making the overall design much more dramatic than it would have been otherwise. The wider, white borders are truly effective.
As we worked on each little square, we shaded with dark colored pencils and added some color with the fineliners.
I’m grateful that there are online Zentangle classes like this one. I have fun, and I get to study with wonderful teachers. And then I can blog about it all!
As always, your comments are most welcome!