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Feel free to print, share or use my tangle patterns. However, you may not alter or use any other images in this blog without express permission from myself.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Occasional ATC #ATC # #Watercolor #Zentangle

For a couple of years, I was heavy into ATC trading, and did hundreds of them (I never do things in half measures, lol).

Eventually, I got tired of the small format, keeping track of trades, and paying postage so, as most  do, I moved on--to Zentangle.  Occasionally, though I find an unused ATC card, and decided to use it.

This makes me think of a temple or adobe-type dwelliings.  Maybe the building in the background is where the temple staff live.

Thursday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

How to draw tanglepattern Alaura
Ben Kwok template-Jellyfish (must belong to Facebook group Ornation Creation)

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Journal With or Without Words

How To Draw a Straight Line Without Smearing With Watercolor
Courageous Corrugated Cardboard
How to Make an Eerie Tale Mini-Album

Free seat in 28 Cards in workshop
Blick "Fall for Art" $25 Gift Card Giveaway (Facebook)
Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a Free Book-Ultimate Body Art (must be a member of the Art Colony)
Tangle Stitches and Zentangle pin cushion Giveaway with Zentangle Quilt label art (for more information about the book, see my review from earlier this week)

 The Autumn Issue of RubberStampMadness is OUT!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The MorgueFile-Free reference photo gallery #MorgueFile #ReferencePhoto #photographs

Have I ever brought the Morguefile to your attention?  It's a site where people can upload photographs for artists to use as a reference without expecting credit or payment.

It's a easy to use site, tons of photos of purt near everything, and it's free!  You'll see a row of buttons near the top.  Make sure Morguefile is selected, because the site is linked to other sites where you can buy photos for use.  WARNING: This site is addictive.  Did I mention the tons of photos? I could get lost for hours, and am tempted to download everything!

I found the reference photo for this fella, who has I painted in watercolor on Kilimanjaro Natural, Cold Press.

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Tangle Patterns: How to draw CURL
Stuck Up

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Play Mixed Media Layout

Painting Realistic Animals: 4 Key Tips for Painting Fur
File Folder Art Journal How to Tutorial - video
Make your own stamping plate

Pigma Micron Giveaway-59 Piece Pigma Artist Gift Set
Imagine Crafts/Clear Scraps Blog Feature-Prizes all week (Facebook)
Graphic45 giveaway- $35 prize pack of Time to Celebrate Scrapbook collection

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Journal52 Prompt-Week 34: Alphabetical #Journal52 #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling

Now I know my ABCs!  An idea for this prompt came pretty quickly, though it didn't work out quite as I'd planned.  That's pretty common, lol!

For those interested, my process is written up below.

Before I start the process, I thought I'd explain a couple of the concepts that I used to help in my decisions regarding colors and the supplies I used--temperature and Opacity vs Transparence.  If you're familiar with these, just jump right to step 1.

Temperature: I was going for an icy look, but think I achieved more of a neon glow.  This is partly because of the temperature choices I made, using mostly cool colors-greens, blues and purples.  But the cool colors are all on the warmer end of the cool spectrum.  Confusing?

With color, temperature refers to how hot or how cool a color seems to be.  On one end you have fire, and on the other end you have ice.  Reds, yellows and oranges are considered warm and blues, greens and purples are cool (you'd think it would be 'hot and cold', but the color terms are 'hot and cool').  However, it gets tricky because some pigments are never pure.  Some reds tend to yellow and some to blue, so you might have a cool red.  But a cool red will probably still be warmer than warm blue. Then you have the neutral or earth colors, the browns and grays which can go either way.

One of the prevailing theories is that warms colors seem closer, while cool colors are more distant.  Many artists prove this isn't always true, but it is something to keep in mind.  More importantly, you can give a composition, a layout, more cohesion by having both cool and warm colors with one or the other temperature being dominant.  Cool is dominant in this journal page, the metallic brown being the only really warm color.

Opacity vs Tranparency:  I chose white for my ABCs because it is opaque.  I chose the colors I used for the background because they are transparent or translucent and would allow the stamped background to show, and provide contrast for the opacity of the white.

With pigment (vs light) the main thing that causes opacity is white.  The more whit in a color the more opaque it is.  There are other factors--watercolors are inherently more transparent than oils or acrylics, for instance, but all three still have some color that are transparent or opaque (for the purposes of my explanations--translucence and semi-opaque are more or less the same thing).

A color that has tranparency--is transparent--can be seen through.  It can be as clear as glass, or translucent, where you might see text or other color underneath, but it is shadowy and indistinct. An opaque color completely covers what is underneath.  If you cover a blue with a transparent yellow, the blue stays the same or changes very little.  If you cover a blue with a translucent yellow, you get a green because you still see some blue as well as yellow, and the colors mix visually.  If you cover blue with an opaque yellow, you get yellow, even though the blue is darker.

The Daler-Rowney Graduate Acrylic paints I used in the background are extremely transparent. They also have a metallic sheen which seems to up the feeling of warmth in the color.

So enough of the tricky stuff, lol.  The steps I took were actually pretty easy.  That's often the way it is. If you know enough about your mediums, so you know how to choose, the steps are easy.  If you still screw up--as I did somewhat here--you can switch gears easily enough.


1. I have this alphabet stamp sets that I picked up cheap somewhere.  I left them in their box, inked them up and then turned my journal page-side down onto the inked set.  That made it easier than trying to stamp individually or keep the stamps from falling out, if I turned the box upside down.

At this point, I wasn't sure what mediums I would use so I used StazOn, a solvent based stamp pad.  It works well with almost any medium except alcohol markers like Copics or Sharpies.

I did know that the stamped characters would be covered over, so I didn't worry about getting the images perfect.

2. I chose Daler-Rowney Graduate Acrylic paint (Metallic Green and Metallic Brown).  I chose these because they are very transparent--see how well the stamped characters show through.  I also picked one that was cool and one that was warm.  As soon as I put them down though, I realized both were warmer than I expected (my mistake--I use these a lot and should have known).  Easy enough.  Instead of icy I went more for neon.

3. After penciling in (you can see the indentations from the pencil) and then outlining with a Pigma Micron pen, I used Antique White acrylic paint to fill my ABCs.  I chose a white that had a touch of yellow (warmer) and that seemed to complement the metallic brown in the background.  If I had still been trying for icy, I would have picked a zinc white.  Zinc white is more blue than this antique white and more opaque than titanium white.

4. Before the Antique White had time to try, I began added some Sky Blue.  I mixed it with the white on the page.

5. I used the same blue to paint the shadows, and then added a metallic purple from Folk Art, that is more opaque than the Daler-Rowney Graduate.  Again, I mixed the two colors on the page.  At this point I let the paint dry.

6. Once the paint was dried I did some detailing using a Turquoise Copic Doodl Pack. I used the BG13 Mint Green Ciao Marker, Turquoise atyou Spica Glitter Pen, and Multiliner Pen in Gray to add some separation between the ABCs and their shadows, and to pick out some of the stamped characters in the background.  I didn't use the BG10 Cool Shadow Ciao Marker.  It's very light and very transparent, so it wouldn't have shown up.

7. I hadn't drawn the shadows very well, and I wasn't happy with them.  I thought I'd try making them darker and change their shape a bit, so I used a Faber-Castell Big Brush pen (Cold Grey III).  These are India Ink fabric-tipped markers with a wide tip.

8. I still didn't like the shadows.  It came to me that I could obscure the shape.  Even though I had moved away from the idea of ice, I decided to go with part of my original idea.  I added more of the Antique White in swirls, like frost coming off of ice.  In real life, the frost would break up the shadows, so that gave me an excuse to blur them.

9.  I quit taking photos at this point, because I was adding a little of this and a little of that.  I played with the direction of the brush-strokes and making the shadows seem lighter by darkening the area around them. I'm still not completely happy, but after 2-3 tries, it is always best to walk away for a week or two.  I may come back and play some more, or I might find I'm quite happy after I forget the vision I had in my head to start with.

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Ben Kwok template - Hamster (must be a member of Facebook Group Ornation Creation)

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
 Kids Art journal prompts
Prompt #1126 Visual Prompt of the Week – Wheels

Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues
Easy Acrylic Skins with the Gelli Plate & an Art Journal Page - video

Scrap Addict's Attic-100,000 Page View Giveaway
VLVS & StencilGirl Blog Hop-win $25 worth of rubber from VLVS! and $25 worth of stencils


Monday, August 25, 2014

Review of 'Tangle Stitches for Quilters and Fabric Artists' #JaneMonk #Zentangle #TanglePatterns

A while back, Jane Monk,, a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), contacted me and asked if I would like to review her book, ''Tangle Stitches for Quilters and Fabric Artists: Relax, Meditate, and Create with Rhythmic Stitches'.  Of course I wanted to!  But I had to admit that I don't sew.

So while this book is obviously aimed at the Zentangle® enthusiast who is also a fabric artist, I'll be reviewing it from the standpoint of someone who is primarily into the paper arts.  So let me flesh that out a little bit.  I did do a little embroidery when I was young (centuries ago!).  I don't remember the stitches, but can pick them up again pretty quickly.  The sewing machine, however, is my mortal enemy.

I did a mock-up of the Journal Cover project. I'm not showing my results for fear someone will look at the photo and not read my mock-up explanation.  I wasn't actually trying to make a journal cover.  

My aim was to evaluate the quality of the instructions.

I've gone out to buy supplies for a project in the past, and then ruined them because I couldn't figure out what to do.  So for this evaluation, I worked quick and dirty, hand-sewing only, and used supplies I had available-watercolor paper, yarn and a bookbinding needle, instead of the supplies that Jane recommends. I just wanted to see how far I could get, and how confused I would get.  I didn't really expect my mock-up to succeed.

Sure enough, the large needle and thick yarn perforated the paper as though I were doing a cut-out.  I switched to bigger stitches and just did squares after that.  The paper wasn't flexible enough to turn inside out completely but it was good enough to tell me what I wanted to know.

Jane's instructions were clear enough that I was able to:

  • figure out how to do the necessary stitches by hand\
  • measure the paper to fit
  • put the pieces together properly
  • decide which tangles would work best for my needs

My cover did fit, though it was very tight where it hadn't quite turned all the way out.  It looks like I ran over it with a lawn mower, lol.  Having said that, I actually think I could make a nice journal cover using paper, if I used a different thread and needle, and expanded the measurements a bit. Rather than adapting, though, I'll buy the right supplies if I decide to try again.

Meanwhile, I went the traditional route and made a Zentangle-Inspired drawing using some of the tangle patterns in the book.

So, what about the person who doesn't sew at all?  What about the fabric artist who doesn't tangle? Does this book have enough of interest for both?  The answer to that would vary according to mileage.

Let me list some of the features:

  • there are forty-one tangles--some traditional and some of Jane's own tangles (see list of tangles below)
  • it's light and sturdy enough to carry on my travels
  • has beautiful photographs
  • makes a great coffee table book as well as a tangle reference
  • doesn't quite lie flat, but will stay open
  • is printed on high quality paper

Much of the Zentangle information in this book is standard, such as the basics for creating a drawn Zentangle tile.  Many of the forty-one tangle patterns are traditional ones that have been included in other books and online.  But the book also includes many of Jane's own patterns, which even experienced tanglers may have never seen.  The book has enough basics for the newest of newbies, and eye-candy to delight the most experienced.

Even with my limited sewing skills, the information on sewing seemed straight-forward, and I never found myself going 'huh'?  With each project, Jane gives measurements for a specific size or tells you how to measure. The book also includes a formula for resizing.  Instructions are brief, but heavily illustrated with photos and are easy to understand (they were for me, anyway).  The tangles she uses in each project are identified within the instructions.  Any stitches that must be done by hand are illustrated.

I've listed the chapter titles and the names of the tangle patterns below, and that may help you decide if this is a book you need for your library.

Cover: Paperback
No. of Pages: 128 pages
Size: 8.9 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 1.1 lbs

Introduction: What are Tangle Stitches?
PART ONE: The Basics
     Tools for Drawing and Stitching
     Transferring Designs to Fabric
     How to Draw with Tangle Patterns
     Tangle Patterns
     Tangle Stitches for Longarm Machine Quilters
PART TWO: The Projects
     Pin Cushion with a Twist
     Bag Tags and ATCS
     Quilted Names
     Hand-Stitched Journal Cover
     Felt Jar Covers
     Mini Quilts
     Tangled Trio Table Runner
     Tangled Nine-Patch Quilt
     Quilt Label
About the Author

The Tangle Patterns (patterns with an * are Jane's)
Crescent Moon, Rick's Paradox, Msst, Chartz, Echoism, Pokeroot, Zinger, Printemps, Sedgling, Berries & Leaves*, Tortle Flower*, Quilted*, Mooka, Mooka Pods*, Nouveau*, Fern*, Fescu, Flux, Pipeflower*, Pokeleaf, Ennies, Jetties, Bumper, Knase, Slates*,Shattuck, Rivit*, Scrumble*, Onomato, Eke, Meer, Static, Cadent, School*, Bones*, Schway, Rain, Peeks*, Strata*,Truffs*, Squid

To sum up: The book is softcover printed on high quality, durable paper with beautiful photography. It is light enough to carry around, though a bit large for most purses.  It would make a good coffee table book as well as a reference for Zentangle patterns, and a sewing project book.  It's a pleasure to flip through.  I really enjoyed seeing what Jane had made, and I might try some of the projects for real.  Or not.  Either way, if I were looking for a Zentangle book, I would consider this one.

You can see more of Jane's work at Jane Monk Studios.