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Monday, January 16, 2012

New Tangle Pattern -Raisin8s, and a Review of Carole Ohl’s Tangle-A-Day Calendar 2012

The winner of the Tangle-A-Day Calendar is CowgirlUpCamo.

Description from the online store: This calendar is specially designed for those who love the Zentangle® art form. Each day of the year offers a space for creating Zentangle-inspired art. Use the calendar as a tool for some Zentangle relaxation time, a workbook for learning new tangles, or creating a visual art diary for 2012. Each month is lightly illustrated with just enough tangling to spark an idea. Each 8” x 5” page is printed on 60# cover stock that takes Sakura Micron pen with ease! 

Carole Ohl is a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) who has been in love with the Zentangle art form since she found it in 2009.  Zentangle’s philosophy of “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time™” appeals to her sense that everyone is creative and this process draws that creative spirit out.



The Giveaway-You have to get to the bottom of this post for the giveaway information and instructions.  Please read the rules before commenting.

Zentangle—if you aren’t sure what that is, check out my page ‘What is a zentangle?’ 

The Review:
Many of you, who are familiar with zentangle, know that CZT Carole Ohl is one of the leading ladies of that art form, known for her beautiful tangle patterns and artwork.  And you’ll understand why I’m excited to be doing a review of her Tangle-A-Day Calendar.  If you aren’t familiar with her, I recommend shooting over to her blog, but be sure to come back for the review and giveaway!

I purchased a copy of her calendar for this review, and she graciously donated one for the giveaway! I’m adding in a few pens, too, but more about that later.


The Look and Feel
Size: 8” x 5” landscape format.
Paper Weight: 60# cover stock.
Binding: Plastic Coil Binding

When I received the package holding the two calendars, my first impression was of the weight.  It was heavier than I expected.  It implied solidity, and this impression was confirmed when I had the calendars in hand.

The paper is a cover stock, which accounts for the weight.  It’s heavy enough to resist folding and tearing, but flexible enough that it won’t easily crack or tear if pressure is applied (as can happen to items that are stuffed in a purse, lol).  This is the same paper that Carole used for her 2011 calendar.

Some coil bindings allow the paper to shift too much, causing wear and tear so that eventually they work loose.  That won’t happen with this paper.  The hole punches are large enough to allow you to turn the pages easily, but the up and down shift is minimal.  I never say never, but given the sturdiness of the paper, even if you carry this calendar where it gets tossed and jangled, you aren’t likely to lose pages.

The surface of the paper is smooth, but not slick.  It’s bright but not shiny.  I worried that ink might smear easily on it, but the paper isn’t coated, so smearing is not a problem. 

The Layout: The calendar starts out with an idea and information sheet.  There are tips explaining how you might use the calendar and links where you can learn more about zentangle.

Each month begins with a Month-at-a-glance and some of Carole’s lovely artwork. From there the week is laid out 3 days to a page.  Each day has a 2.5” square with the day’s date printed in a large font, and the whole date printed in small font above that.

At the end of the month, there is more of Carole’s artwork.  Full-page art, in some cases.

Most of the page is printed with an ink dark enough to give structure to your tangles and is easily read. It’s light enough that you can tangle right over everything and it fades away. The exception is the month, printed with each day’s date.  The ink is dark and can be hard to absorb into your work, if you decide to do a full page tangle.



The Experience: When I’m doing a review, I like to challenge the subject.  The best way to see how well something performs is to make it fail.  I can’t say I managed to make this paper fail, but I did get a very good impression of performance.

On the first page, I used the mediums that I felt would cause the most damage, lol. 

In the first box, I used alcohol markers (Letraset Promarkers) which did bleed through.  I would have been amazed if they did not.  Paper makes a difference in how bright your marker colors are.  The brightness was above average, but not as bright as I would get with Bristol or coated paper.  The color was lighter on the back side.

In the second box, I used Peerless film Watercolor.  These are very intense colors, and I found the result to be about the same as with the markers.  Brightness is above average, but there is some dulling.  I expected buckling from the wetness, and there was some, but it was minimal.

The third box was painted in with water-soluble markers (Letraset Aqua Markers).  I was not able to spread the colors as well as I expected, and had to use more water, so the buckling was worse.  Still—it wasn’t bad.

I was easily able to tangle over all three mediums, with no feathering or pilling, so the wetness did not damage the paper.

When I tangled the back of the page, I was easily able to incorporate the marker bleed-through.  The buckling did not interfere with the flow of the pen, and, in fact, flattened out a bit by the time I done.

If you don’t mind bleed-through, alcohol markers will work on this paper.  I wouldn’t recommend it for watercolor, per se, but you could use it, if you don’t get the paper too wet.  In other words, use color that flows easily with a small amount of water, or use a water-soluble medium and just use water for small effects.


And I could hardly do this review without writing in the calendar.  And since the next most damaging medium I could think of was fountain pen ink, that's what I used.  It’s notorious for shading and bleed-through.  I tried four different inks, using a fine point, a medium point and a flex pen.

There was no bleed-through and only faint shadowing on the back.  I couldn’t even get the shadowing to scan, and it didn’t interfere with drawing or writing on the back.


I used a Bic Energel in the first box of the next page, because I’ve had problems with it smearing on other papers.  Even though I ran my fingers across the writing immediately, no smearing occurred.  Excellent!

My next pen was a Staedler Lumocolor, an intense colored permanent fine tip marker that often bleeds through or shadows.  This one shadowed more heavily than any of the other pens, but did not bleed-through.  I wouldn’t recommend it for this paper because the shadowing could be annoying on the other side.

Next up, was a Pentel Slicci and I chose it because it has the opposite problem.  The tip is a very thin, scratchy fine point with a light color ink.  As you can see from the picture, the writing barely shows.  I used it to tangle in the dates, and it’s beautiful, but it takes some work to get the color showing.

And for the upper portion of the page, I used Lyra Rembrandt colored pencils.  I was really curious to see how colored pencils would work, because the paper is so smooth. 
I put down three layers of color, but, as with the Slicci, I did have to work for saturation.  This could be a plus—you’d be able to get some very delicate coloration.  But it would take time to get brilliant colors, and you might not get as brilliant as you would like.

After I was done with the colored pencil, I closed the calendar and rubbed the pages around, and then set a heavy book on top for a few hours.  There was no transference of pigment onto the next page, which can always be a concern with unfixed colored pencil.

Traditional zentangle is done in black & white, usually with a Micron Pigma pen, and Carole chose this paper with that in mind.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t try it out. 


 Ahhh!  I do like color, but it’s nice to come back to the simplicity of black and white. 

You can see from these examples that the calendar works well for writing and drawing alike.  You can choose to incorporate the layout into your tangles, or simply ignore it and tangle all over the page.

And with zentangle, it’s important to visit tangle patterns.  

The traditional tangle pattern has 6 steps.  You use the boxes in a free-form manner and stay on one page, or use a two page spread with a box for each step.  I’ll be doing some more throughout the week, showing different ways that I’ve used the layout.


Today’s example is Raisin8s (a play on the name of the candy, Raisinetes).  This is a fairly simple tangle (or tangleation, if you prefer.  Others have created steps to similar patterns, including myself, lol).  I didn’t limit myself to one step per box, and used the layout of the page for notes.

This is a border tangle.  What makes it unique is the lacy effect that comes tying bunches of the ‘raisin8s’ together.  You can vary by changing the number of ‘raisin8s in each bunch.  Make every bunch a different number for a totally funky look or make each the same for precision.  Alternate the number for a little of both.  Change the way you fill the raisin8s, or change the width.  Alternate widths within the bunch. 

Draw as many as you want—they’re guaranteed calorie-free, lol!

Overall: I would tend to use this as a desk or office calendar rather than one that I would carry around.  It is durable enough, but a bit heavy. Your mileage may vary.  In the past my purses could have been used as demolition balls, but with age has come neck and back pain, and the need for smaller, lighter purses.

Whether you simply want a nice calendar or something specifically to tangle in, this calendar will serve the purpose.

I’m impressed with it.  Efforts were made to keep the price down, but it does cost more than some.  You can see where the cost was put into the quality.  If you are looking for a good calendar, consider treating yourself or a friend to one of these.

The Cons: Nothing is perfect, but imperfection is subjective.  The two things that bothered me only bothered me slightly, and might not bother you at all.

I’m a lefty, and I did find that the coil was in the way when I worked on the front of a page.  It was only when I drew at the extreme far left, so it didn’t intrude on my ‘Zen’ experience very much.  Right-handers may have the same problem when drawing on the back of the page. 

The coil also causes some difficulty when scanning.  The image can blur next to the coil, or it may be difficult to keep the page straight.  You can work around both, but it takes some effort.

I’m used to Week or Month or Year-at-a-glance calendars that always have the day in the same position.  Sun, Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs, Fri, and Sat.  If I look at the far left, I know I’m looking at Sunday.  If I look in the middle it’s Wednesday, and so on.

Most people would probably adjust, and learn to read the day.  I’m rather noted for not paying attention to things like that.  I know, sooner or later, I’ll look and assume a meeting is on Monday because it’s written in the second box, and I won’t notice the actual day. However, the easy fix is to write the day within the notation—Dentist Appt. Wednesday. 11:30.That way, I’ll see the actual day when I look for the time.

The Pros: This is a sturdy, well-made calendar designed to inspire tangling.  However, even if you knew nothing about zentangle, and had no desire to tangle, this would still be a good calendar.  Anyone would love Carole’s artwork, and there is plenty of room for writing appointments, notes, etc. 

The paper is a joy to draw on.  Carole tells me that her own preference is for a paper with more tooth, but I believe this is a great stock for the many.  It takes most mediums without smearing, feathering or bleed-through.  Shadowing, for even the heaviest ink, is faint and seldom interferes with writing or drawing on the other side.  You’ll be able to use a wide range of mediums.

Carole’s artwork is heavenly.  There are five full-page drawings that I’m considering framing and hanging on the wall, when I’m done with the calendar. 


The Giveaway (now Closed): One winner will receive A Tangle-A-Day Calendar, signed by CZT, Carole Ohl, two Pentel Sunburst White Gel Pens, and a package of six Sharpie Finepoint pens-Black, Blue, Green, Red, Orange and Violet.

Please read the rules.  They are simple, but must be followed or your entry will be voided.
  • Leave a comment on this post with an email where I can reach you.
  • Only 1 entry per person.  I’m running this giveaway at both of my blogs—please only enter on one of them.  All Duplicate entries will be eliminated from the giveaway.  If you accidentally comment twice, email me at LifeImitatesDoodles and I’ll remove the duplicates.
  • If you don’t wish to leave an email in the comments—copy your comment post, paste it into an email and send it to me at:  lifeimitatesdoodles[at]gmail.com.  
NOTE: Many people are having problems finding the comment button.  I'm not sure if it is with this blog or my Wordpress blog.  At any rate, you can try my other blog to enter or just send an email, and I will add a comment (so I can get a count for the random generator) and enter you.  Sorry for the inconvenience.


I hate to be so insistent but I had a giveaway where two people claimed to win, and it was very upsetting because I didn’t have an email I could use to validate the correct winner.

Contest Ended.

Each comment will be assigned a number, and the winning number will be chosen by random generator.  The first number drawn will be the winning number.

If you don't want to wait to see if you won, you can purchase one of Carole's calendars at Greyden Press.

Good luck, everyone!