|Ready to Zentangle|
I'm still a little on the slow boat to recovery, more upright but still not for very long at a stretch. Spending some time with my Zentangle supplies was the perfect answer to my need to be doing something creative today. Perhaps you remember, I succumbed to purchasing a pack of "Official Zentangle Tiles" (under the excuse that they now come in tan). Time to break them out and see what all the fuss is about (that's them on the right) and also try out a new tangle based on a spiral (referenced in my little notebook on the left.
I may be a visual artist, but I really like to hold a thing in my hand, feel it, heft it and closely study it from all sides to really understand what's going on with it, something you can only partially do from a written description or a picture. From there I can make better decisions about alternate choices and substitutions. I'd read about the advantages of these official tiles, and then what I could use to make my own, but I don't know enough about papers for that information to mean much. I just had to get my hands on the real thing.
I won't try to describe the tile except to say it wasn't what I expected, so I'm glad I purchased the pack. I can tell you that the paper in these tiles is made by a three hundred year old Italian paper making company called Fabriano. "Tiepolo" is 240-lb weight with a woven texture and is used by printmakers throughout the world. It is a beautiful thing to draw on. I didn't notice it so much with my micron sepia pen, but when I added the shading with a terra cotta prismacolor pencil, I could not believe how the paper pulled the pigment off the pencil even with the lightest touch. I've tried different kinds of paper for my colored pencil experiments, all leaving me in different stages of disappointment. What little I've done with the Tiepolo makes me believe good results with colored pencil are achievable!
As for the actual Zentangle I completed today, I'm pretty lukewarm about it. I didn't get the original spiral shape down quite like I wanted, and I'm not terribly keen on the tangle (called finery) I choice to fill it with. The smaller spiral works better for me. I hesitated to use Mooka in the spaces around the outside, as I hadn't had much luck with it in previous drawings. However, I did like how it worked here. Surprisingly, I was not overly inspired by working on the tan paper in spite of thinking that I would be. I'd done some sepia pen Zentangles on white paper that I really liked, so it was a surprise not to like this as well. One does have the option, though, of adding white graphite accents on the tan. I'll have to give that a try. And of course, I could also go back to a black pen and see how I like that effect on the tan.
Here is the back of an official Zentangle tile. Again, I'd read about adding the two lines to the back of homemade tiles, and I couldn't get a good sense of what that was about. It's a place to sign and date your Zentangle and add any other information you might like. I've been doing all my Zentangling in sketchbooks of various sizes so I've only been putting my mark with the date under it next to the finished Zentangle. It's a nice touch to be able to add this information on the back. Another feature of using the tiles is the ability to easily turn your work as you draw, and I must admit, that's a real advantage over Zentangling in a notebook of any kind. However, I did feel more pressure to produce a "good" design rather than just let the process flow unplanned. If I make my own tiles, there shouldn't be that block of preciousness as I subconsciously calculate just how expensive each little tile is.
To view directions for drawing "spiral" and some better renditions of it, see this Zentangle blog post on Spiral Love.