Thursday, 5 October 2017

Zentangle Again

Another day feeling poorly with my ME… just when I thought I was getting better this week! It seems to happen when I don’t actually have to do anything. I’ve obviously been overdoing things a bit “lately and as soon as it gets the chance, by body says “REST!!”

My lack of art has been getting to me recently, so today I got my iPad and Apple Pencil out and got back to tangling! I’ve been adding quite a few Zentangles to my Pinterest album over recent days and it’s got me fired up again to do some.

Rick and Maria, the inventors of the Zentangle method of drawing, recently uploaded a video with two different tangles interwoven, which was a new idea to me.

I was so taken with this that I thought I must give it a go. Rather than being tempted to follow what Rick did too slavishly, I deliberately didn’t watch the video again straight away, but did my own thing to see how I got on.

The two tangles are Paradox and Diva Dance. When I first started, I really struggled with Paradox and it always went wrong – I couldn’t seem to get my head round it! So I abandoned it, but I thought I really should get to grips with it and I think I’ve finally got it! Diva Dance was on my “to do” list, so this was a good opportunity to try my hand at both of them.

Here is my first effort (with only a memory of the video).

Paradox and Diva Dance 1st Attempt

I got the basics of Paradox right, but didn’t follow Rick’s instructions to make each one a mirror image of its partner, so it’s a bit random and chaotic. I added quite a bit of shading and a different “front end” to the design and it ended up looking like some weird deep sea creature!

I decided to watch the video again and try and follow Rick’s instructions a bit better. If you go to the end of the video you can see his completed version, and compare it with my take.

This is the black and white version.

Paradox and Diva Dance B&W

Doing the Paradox sections as mirror images does give the “gingko leaf” effect that I was after. Even with the shading, I didn’t think there was quite enough contrast between the two tangles, and the woven effect didn’t show up too well, so I decided to add some colour.

This is the final result. I added some spots to enhance the watery effect of the Diva Dance.

Paradox and Diva Dance Colour

I am quite pleased with this result.

I drew these on my iPad Pro, using the Procreate art app. It’s great because you can work in layers, and save the different stages as separate images – I tend to save the black and white version of my drawings, which I can then colour again and again to get a different effect.

In my first version, I drew the Paradox sections first, and then simply drew the Diva Dance over the top, and went back in with the eraser tool to give the woven effect. This is the lazy way! It could not be used when drawing in the traditional way with pen and paper of course, so for my second attempt, I followed Rick’s directions on the video and built up the two tangles simultaneously to get the woven effect, so that I could learn how to do it properly.

I hope any Zentangle purists out there aren’t throwing their hands up in horror, but there are definitely advantages in using the iPad Pro for Zentangles – working in layers enables you to put the string on the first layer, the actual Zentangle on the next, then the shading, and finally any colour. You can delete the string layer if it shows on the final drawing, and it’s very handy working in layers because if you make a mistake with the shading or colour, you can erase it without damaging the actual Zentangle. You can also zoom in for fine detail, and tidy up any careless pen strokes along the way. Drawing on the iPad takes as much skill as with pen and paper – more, in some ways, because even with a screen protector, the iPad doesn’t have much tooth and the Apple Pencil moves a little more freely on the surface than a pen on paper. It’s also not quite so easy to turn the drawing (or the whole iPad) as it is with a paper tile, as you work. Apart from being able to overlay lines and erase them to produce a woven effect, there aren’t too many shortcuts, and anyway if there were, I wouldn’t use them because the whole point of doing it is to enjoy the repetitive strokes, building up the pattern step by step. I do use the Paintstorm app to start my mandalas, though, because it has a nifty tool for repeating what you have drawn by a selected number of times around the circle, and this gives a nice even result, and takes a lot of the hard slog out of it – you do still have to draw the designs and I always colour each section individually on a separate layer.

I have made a Zentangle tile template on Procreate, and saved this. When I want to do a new drawing, I duplicate this file and work on the copy, so the template is available to use again and again. It is the standard 3.5 x 3.5 inches square and consists of the four layers mentioned above.

Procreate has just undergone a major upgrade and there are all sorts of new features I have yet to discover and try out. As far as I can see, there is now the ability to choose what sort of “paper” background to work on, rather than just a plain background colour – there are various textures etc. I am looking forward to trying some Zentangles on tan paper with a bit of texture.

I particularly like the ability to do Zentangles while I’m out and about (waiting for a doctor’s appointment, etc.) – I always take my iPad with me and I don’t need to take paper and pens.

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