My tangle patterns:Contour, Spot, Beedit, Pikrust, and Fatkro-Learn to shade zens

 had a ‘Du-u-h!’ moment the other day.

There are frequent questions about shading in various zentangle/zendoodle forums, and many people ask me specifically about the shading that I do, using pen.  I’ve thought long about writing up instructions, but it didn’t seem right for zens.  I never think about my shading.  I’ve done it for so long, and it’s great fun, because you can go all Escher and baffle brains.  But, if you don’t know anything about shading, going in, then it’s a complex subject.
How can you zen while worrying about light direction, the 7 types of line, distance…well, it hit me.

These are zens, right?  You learn them by doing.  Molly Hollibaugh’s Strircles started me in the right direction.  I created two tangles, Contour and Spot, that incorporate very basic shading.  They can be done standalone in a space or incorporated into other tangles.

Put simply, Contour is a series of slightly slanted lines, roughly even in length and spacing, that follow the shape of another line.  It’s easier to see than to explain, so I’ve contoured some lines.

 Note how you can vary the look: by only contouring one side instead of all around; by drawing Contour through a line instead of along it; by contouring inside a line instead of outside.

Here is an example of the official tangle Keeko that has been contoured.

Warning:  Do NOT get hung up on making Contour lines exactly even.  Close enough counts in Horseshoes, Hand grenades, and Contour.

Spot is actually a highlight rather than shading. It is a light spot surrounded by a graduation of darker tones. You lay down solid black/color on all sides, and gradually get lighter by feathering the black/color.  You can use Contour to feather, or a smudged pencil such as you commonly use with zens.

You can vary the look by the amount of light versus the amount of darker tones. If you are using color or working on a colored background, a white gel pen used at the lightest point really makes Spot stand out.

 Here’s a dull gleam.

Here’s a bright shine.

Here’s a spot-light.

Here’s an example of both Contour and Spot, using the official tangle, Striping.

I used Contour for shading but you could also use a pencil to shade instead of drawing the lines.

Now, here’s a couple of other new tangles that incorporate Contour and/or Spot.

…and, just because the Pikrust spots reminded me of a fat bird, here is…

Whew!  Is that enough?

Let me know if you are interested in anything more like this, and I’ll listen to my brain to see what it comes up with.

Jennifer Maestre’s pencil art

pencil urchin
Originally uploaded by jenbutt

I’m one of the luckiest people in the world! I just received one of Jennifer Maestre’s pencil urchins!

I’m always amazed when I see her fabulous creations, and her urchins are darling. That’s your first impression–then you are awed when you realize see the skill that went into making it.

I won’t rave here too long–your time will be much better spent looking at her art for yourself. She has pictures posted at her flickr site, her web site (you gotta see this site), and her etsy site.
Go forth and be amazed!

My tangle pattern-Pickerel

I’m dedicating this pattern to Margaret Storer-Roche. Her blog, Waterblossms, is a delight, and her art inspiring. She’s a wonderful friend to all. Her love of all things cactus is well-known, so when this pattern sprang to mind, so did Margaret!

My tangle patterns: Stonebridge

If you are using the string method, the lines between your sections are meant to disappear.  But the main rule of zentangling or zendoodling, is that there are no rules.  So if the mood strikes, and you just want to do something between sections, Stonebridge is the tangle for you.  It’s dramatic, it’s easy, and it’s adds a sense of depth to your zentangle.

Sandy Bartholomew talks about her upcoming book

Sandy has finished the first draft of her book, and…wow!  I mean…wow!  To summarize her post, 52 pages, over 100 NEW tangles, and under $20 dollars.  It should be out in May.  To read the full post, go here.

My blog was hacked!

I couldn’t get to my blog for the last couple of days because of malware directing me elsewhere.  I apologize to anyone who’s been trying to log in and couldn’t.  I hope it wasn’t a contagious virus!  I think it came from the RealTime counter gadget I added, so if you have similar problems consider removing that gadget.

Got a zentangle kit? Would you tell me about it for a review?

I’m intending to do a review of the Zentangle kit, and I’d like to hear from people who have used them.  I’m interested in knowing what you liked or did not like.  Please let me know what level of experience you had before starting to zentangle.  This isn’t to judge your answer, but to help me break down my review for beginners, intermediate and experienced artists. I feel each will get something different from the kit.

Thank you for any help you give me.

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