Friday, October 30, 2015

Proportions of a Face in a Rhodia N°18 dotPads #Rhodia #Exaclair #Giveaway

This drawing reference was done in Rhodia N18 dotPad. I'm currently hosting a giveaway for Exaclair, Inc. and giving away NINE of these dotPads. If you would like to enter, please visit my blog post here.

If it has been a while since I drew something, I'll often make a reference for myself to remind myself of the basics.  This one was done as an example for the giveaway and review I have going, but it's the kind of thing I do.  I'm odd that way, lol.

I seldom keep these.  Similar drawing references abound on the internet and in books, so the intent isn't to keep them for future use, but get me drawing the subject I'm interested in, and bring back what I already know.  If it's a new subject, it's a way to help me keep the information in my head (pun intended, in this case!).

DotPad paper is great for drawing these.  I'm not worried about the proportions being perfect, and I don't want to fuss with rulers.  The dots get me close enough, and I can count off dots to get my sizes. I could do the same with graph paper, but with all the proportion notations, arrows and directional lines these references get messy.  Dots help keep things clean and simple.

I hope I've given you some helpful ideas this week, and good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Problems Commenting on my Giveaway Post?

A few people have contacted me letting me know they've had problems commenting on my blog posts.  If you've tried to comment to enter my current giveaway, (sorry U.S. only), for a chance to win one of nine Rhodia N18 dotPads, please copy the words:

Rhodia N18 dotPad

...and paste them into the subject line of an email and send it to me at LifeImitatesDoodles [at] gmail [dot] com.  I'll enter you into the giveaway.

This isn't a second way to enter - please only use it if you have NOT already entered.  Thank you, and I apologize for any inconvenience.  Blogger does what Blogger wants, lol.

Using the Rhodia dotPad for Calligraphy Practice #Calligraphy #dotPad #Rhodia

I practiced my calligrapy in a Rhodia N18 dotPad. I'm currently hosting a giveaway for Exaclair, Inc. and giving away NINE of these dotPads. If you would like to enter, please visit my blog post here.

This practice sheet was specifically done for the purpose of creating an example for the giveaway and review of the Rhodia dotPad, but I've often used dotPad paper for similar practice.  Sometimes, I'll use a ruler and pencil to draw the slant lines to help keep my pen at the correct angle, but most of the time I don't.

I like the dots as a guide to keep my characters the same size while writing, and afterwards you barely notice them, and can just focus on how well the letters are formed.  However, they can also help you determine if your slant is wrong and that's when I start drawing those slant lines, if too many are wrong.

I used an Itoya calligraphy marker, and three fountain pens in my practice.  The Itoya has a fabric nib, while the nibs in the fountain pens were a broad, a medium, and a flex.

The Clairefontaine paper is smooth and a pen flows across the page without dragging.

In this practice sheet, I'm playing with three different versions of the Uncial character set.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Orange-Arc: New Tangle Pattern in Rhodia dotPad #Zentangle #TanglePatterns #Rhodia

I drew this tangle pattern step-ou in a Rhodia N18 dotpad. I'm currently hosting a giveaway for Exaclair, Inc. and giving away NINE of these dotpads. If you would like to enter, please visit my blog post here.  

See more information about the paper below.

I did this tangle pattern step-out as an example for the review and giveaway I'm currently hosting for Exaclair, Inc.  

I used Copic alcohol markers for the background, and about 75% of the color did bleed-through to the back.  That is to be expected--alcohol markers bleed through almost anything except very thick paper and specially coated ones.  

Pigma Micron pen was used to draw the tangles and the step-out except for the red ink.  I used a Hi-Tech C gel ink pen for that.  Neither of these inks showed through or bled through to the back.  However, the smooth quality of the paper was very nice with both pens and provides a very bold effect.  

Some people do have a fondness for the sound and drag that you get working on a paper with more tooth.  They might miss that when using this paper.

I like using a dotGrid when I'm drawing a step-out.  When you draw a step-out, you are repeating the each line of the pattern several times. It gets difficult to keep each repetition the same size, at the same angle, and directly lined up with the other steps.  A dotGrid helps me line things up, and keep them similar, but the dots fade away to the eye once the step-out is done.

When I'm just tangling and not trying to show how a pattern is done, I tend to ignore the dots.  They are light enough that I can do that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review! Nine Rhodia N°18 dotPads #Rhodia #Exaclair #Giveaway

This month I'm hosted a giveaway for Exaclair, Inc, and they, generously, gave away nine Rhodia N°18 dotPads!  I received one of the dotpads for purposes of a review and this giveaway.  I received no other recompense.  All opinions expressed in the review are mine.

Giveaway Closed

Today I'm just going to give you the Giveaway information and review the look and feel of the N°18 dotPad.  On Tuesday, I have a new tangle pattern step-out that I'll share.  On Thursday, I'll show my calligraphy practice on this paper, and on Friday, I'll share how I used the dotPad to create my own drawing reference showing the proportions of the human face.

Look & Feel
Binding: Top staplebound
Paper: Clairefontaine, White, 80g Vellum, ph Neutral, Acid-free, Microperforated
Ruling: Dot grid (5 mm), light violet-grey dots
No of Sheets: 80 sheets
Cover: Soft cover cardstock on front and back; heavier cardboard insert in back for extra support
Size: A4 / 21,0x29,7 cm / 8.3x11.7 in.

The first thing that might catch your eye about the Rhodia dotPad is the heavy duty staples and score lines along the top.  They give the appearance of a sturdy product, and indeed, the Rhodia dotPad is exceptionally sturdy.  Both front and back have a soft-cover, and the back has a strong cardboard piece to add stability and strength.

I'm using a photo from one of my other Rhodia pads because the staples and score lines show up better.  This is the orange color that five of the winners will receive, while the four others will receive black (because I got the fifth black one!).

Those score lines make it very easy to fold the top cover back and out of the way.

The paper is perforated just beneath that fold.  It's a micro-perforation, meaning you can barely see it. Nonetheless, it's very strong and the cover protects it, so it doesn't tear easily by mistake.  but if you start at the corner, and tug gently it separates without ripping.

The paper is vellum, so it has some weight without being stiff or as heavy as a cardstock.  It's silky and smooth with little texture, so your pen glides across the page. 

The dots look gray to my eye, but if I blow them up on the scanner I can see that they are a light lilac color.  It's very easy on the eyes and definitely less instrusive than a full grid.  I do know at least one person who complained they were too light for her old eyes, so keep that in mind if you need or prefer darker dots.  Graph paper might be better in that case, and the Rhodia pads do come with a graph ruling!

The Clairefontaine vellum in this pad is high grade paper.  I've been using it in my other Rhodia pads for three or four years now, and have found drying times are fairly long (as might be expected with vellum) but colors are bright, and in most cases, ink won't show-through or bleed-through to back of the paper. 

For that reason, it's fountain pen friendly, possibly the most fountain pen friendly paper that I've found.  My experience has been that only the wettest ink or paint bleeds through, and very little shows through.

If you want a pad for watercolor sketches, alcohol markers or markers that you blend with water then this wouldn't be the pad for you. The wettest parts will bleed-through, and the paper dimples somewhat.  The texture changes and the paper takes on a crinkly sound.  I actually like that sound, and do use the paper for watercolor on occasion just for that reason.  The colors are very bright and while it retains some dimpling, overall the paper dries without much curl.

It may be too smooth for some, especially if you work with pencil, colored pencil or pastels.  For some left-handed people, or those who are simply impatient, the drying times might be problematic.

Having said that, while I wouldn't use it primarily for pencil or watercolor, I've used both and been satisfied.  I'm also left-handed, and have developed habits that ensure that I seldom smudge my ink even though it takes a while to dry.  That's going to be a matter of technique and experience so consider your own experiences if you are also left-handed.

While appearing sturdy, the pad also has an understated quality about it, that make it a good choice for the workplace.  The only problem you might have there is people wanting to borrow the paper (or the entire pad for that matter, lol!).

I can't leave you without some example of something I've done.  I most commonly use the dotPad for tangling.  Be sure to come back on Tuesday, when I'll have a new tangle pattern step-out to share!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review 'Zentangle® Für Kids' by Beate Winkler #Zentangle #BookReview #ActivityBook

The latest book by Beate Winkler, 'Zentangle® Für Kids' is a German edition hardback Zentangle activity book with a strong circus theme.  Currently, it is only available in German, but may be published in English at a later date.  It's still worth looking at even if you don't speak German (I don't).

Although it is an activity book, the emphasis is on tangling.  While it's aimed at kids, it would make an fun introduction to Zentangle for adults.  It's easy enough for its target audience, but I think it would be entertaining for almost any age.

I apologize for the poor photography here.  The book is slightly too large (22.6 x 28.1 cm. (8.9 x 11.1 in.)) to fit on my scanner, and I had to back away to get a good clear shot.

Look and Feel
No. of Pages: 64
Cover: Hardcover
Binding: Sewn
Size: 22.6 x 28.1 cm. (8.9 x 11.1 in.)
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Language: German
ISBN-10: 3863554027
ISBN-13: 978-3863554026
Extras: Bookmark, Stencil

This is one of the nicest looking Zentangle books that I've seen.  It's a sturdy hardback in pastel colors that are still saturated enough to be striking and eye-catching.

The paper is high-quality and the binding is strong.  Even with the tug and pull and dropping it might encounter with children, the book should hold up well.  The trade-off is in weight.  It can hold up to travel, but might be heavy for some children.  Having lots of children's book myself (what can I say? I'm a child at heart, lol), I'd say it's average weight for a children's book of that size.

The book lies flat, so drawing and coloring is easy. The book can be folded back, though it won't lie completely flat in that situation.  But enough that you could reduce the size when doing the activities in a smaller space.

I tested various media and all appear bright on the paper.  There was a dot of bleed-through with the fountain pen and a little show-through with the watercolor marker and graphic liner, but all were so faint that I couldn't get them to scan or photograph.

The paper did pill a little bit with the watercolor marker when I applied water, and the color didn't flow well so I wouldn't recommend this book for watercolor or 'wet' media.  I was impressed at bright the color was and how strong the contrast was with the black and white.  This paper is pleasure to draw on.

I'm guessing a little with some of the content because I don't read German, but while I don't understand all the detail I think I'm getting the gist of each page.

The book comes with a fun bookmark, as well as a stencil sheet.

The stencil is glued to the back cover of the book, and can be used on the activity pages as well as for making tags on other pieces of paper or cardboard.

Out of the 64 pages there are 7 numbered activity sections plus one bonus activity.  Each activity is a double-spread (covering two pages), and each has a drawing that is circus-themed (elephants, tents, monkeys, etc.)  There are tips and prompts.  Sometimes you are given strings (spaces to tangle in), and the start to specific tangle patterns.  These are large pages, so you could combine everything to make a very complex drawing, or entertain yourself with several separate activities.

But out of 64 total pages, only 16 are used for activities.  For that reason, I'd qualify this as more of an introduction to Zentangle than an activity book, though it is easily both.

Step-outs for 25 patterns are given (including my own 'Beanstalk').  The step-out pages include clear easy steps, examples and tips. Most, if not all of the patterns can be found online or in other books.  It's a good collection though, and given the quality of the book itself, it's a good choice for a beginner's book or for those who would like the collection in a book that's a keeper.

Other pages include an intro to Zentangle, what is needed, how to get started, helpful tips and tricks, how to make a decorative tag, a Zentangle glossary, thank-yous to contributors & links to their blogs & websites, and an index for locating all the patterns in the book.

The pattern step-outs in the book are for:
Ahh, Beanstalk, Chemystery, Crescent Moon, Cubine, Diskbee, Eke, Fassett, Hollibaugh, Indy-Rella, Keeko, Knightsbridge, Laced, Nzeppel-Random, Onamato, Spiderman, Spoonflowr, Striping, Tripoli, W2, Wheelz, Widgets, Wiesenliesl, Winkbee and Zinger.

I did the first activity double spread.  I used an Ohto Graphic Liner to draw my patterns, and used the stencil to add some stars, Sakura Gelly Pens were used to color the elephant and Widgets included on the page, and my own patterns.  For the background, I used colored pencils.

There are a few specs on the back of the page where I really saturated the page with the graphic liner (filling in Striping and Knightsbridge), but nothing that could be picked up on the scanner.

The patterns I used from the book are Crescent Moon, Knightsbridge, Laced, Nzeppel-Random, Striping, Tripoli, Widgets and Winkbee

On the opposite page I filled in the strings that were pre-drawn.  I was again impressed with how bright the ink is on this paper.  It's excellent for bold and stark contrast.

The patterns I used from the book are Aah, Beanstalk, Cubine, Diskbee, Fassett, Indy-Rella, Spoonflower, W2 and Wiesenliesl.

This is a beautifully made book.  The content is fairly standard for an introductory Zentangle book, with fun illustrations and activities thrown in.  The high quality of the product and indexing make this a keeper even once the activities have all been completed.  

It would be a good book for children to learn, and also one they can look at once grown to revive fond memories, and perhaps renew an interest in a relaxing activity.

While there isn't a lot that would be new for a seasoned tangler, the activities would still be fun and they might like the book as a quality production with a nice selection of tangle patterns.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review-'Tangle It! Journal' #Zentangle #TanglePatterns #ActivityBook

The 'Tangle It! Journal' is a combined effort from Simona Cordara, Alice Hendon and Ina Sonnenmoser.

The back cover gives you some idea of what to expect: 

Look & Feel
No Pages: 150 pages
Cover: Soft cover
Binding: Glued
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
Weight: 8.8 oz.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1517410347

ISBN-13: 978-1517410346

The 'Tangle It! Journal' is a lightweight book.  The soft cover, size, and thin paper are designed to make the book an easy carry.  Although it's fairly thick, it's very flexible.  It would fit in larger purses, and some coat pockets.

The book is bound with glue, but my copy was glued very well.  I folded the pages back in several places with absolutely no problem.  No signs of loose pages or cracked binding.  I think this book will hold up well even for children or heavy traveling.  The downside to the binding is that the book doesn't lay flat, and though you can fold the pages back there is a considerable slope.  At times, it was difficult to draw or color to the inside edge of the page. The area lost was minimal though.

The paper is thin and there is some trade-off in show-through and bleed-through.  I tried a few different mediums to see how much there would be.

The paper doesn't like wet, at all.  It pills immediately, but if you use watercolor marker without adding water, there isn't too much bleed-through and surprisingly little show-through.  Wet seems to be the thing with all the mediums.  If you use heavy saturation, layering wet over wet, you get bleed-through.

Fortunately, there are a lot of markers and pens that won't cause much problem.  Using an Ohto Graphic Liner, I didn't find either the show-through or bleed-through heavy enough that I would skip an activity on the back page.  Some people might be disturbed, and it you think you might be one, I'd recommend trying your pens on the blank page at the back to see how it does, or to stay with pencils.

While some prompts encourage you to glue or tape your own photos, there are both photos and drawings in the book, from backgrounds to specific objects that are the subject of an activity.  Everything is in black and white though.

Although this would be a good book for anyone interested in tangling, I would characterize it as more of an activity book than a Zentangle How-to or Zentangle Reference book.  Although, the book has 20 new tangles, there are no page numbers or index listing so going back to find the steps for a tangle will be hunt and search (or you could make your own index.  I numbered the tangle pages and listed them at the front for future reference).

The upshot, though, is that this is a fun book for anyone, whether they are interested primarily in Zentangle or not.  The activities are based around tangling, but include coloring, and collage and photographs to use as a base for the activity.

The activities are more for teens and adults, though many would be suitable for children.  Examples of the activities are gluing a photo to the page and tangling a frame, tangling around the photo of a coffee ring (photo already printed in the book),  and getting inspiration from your favorite book.

There is an introduction, explaining what you'll need to use the book (though some of this is humorous), an explanation of patterns and tangleations, and then the book starts into the activities.

The new tangle step-outs are for:
Knights of the Round Table, Drakon, Power Ripple, Olim, Dropz, Kakti, Geerandola, Beadled, C-Lines, Heart Wrap, Shooting Star, Hooks, CircleBox, Coral, Steam-Gear, Ringz, Bow-Petal, Bubble Love, Patch, and Scrollup.

Tips on technique, such as shading, getting unstuck and more are salted throughout the book, and humor abounds.  This is meant to be a fun book that you can use to while away an evening at home, or to keep yourself entertained while waiting in doctor's offices.

For the purpose of this review, I did two of the activities from the book.  One in black and white and one in color.

This activity gives you an example of the photos from the book.  On the opposite page, you were given the steps for the 'Knight of the Round Table' pattern.  The activity page had a photo of a coffee ring, and you are invited to turn into part of the pattern, filled up with other patterns.

Tangles used from the book: Beadled, Bow-petal, Circlebox, C-Lines,Coral, Heart Wrap and Steam-Gear.

For the second activity, I chose a coloring page - an owl already tangled that you can color.  On the opposite page, you are given the same owl as template for you to add your own patterns.

I used colored pencils since I felt they would be least likely to obscure the tangle-work.  The color went down smoothly, with no streaking.

Tangles used from the book: Bubble Love, Dropz, Hooks, Drakon, Geerandola, Kakti, Olim, Power Ripple, Ringz, Scallop

The 'Tangle-It Journal' is a fun, easy-carry book that will be especially entertaining for tanglers, but would be of interest for anyone who likes activity books and prompts.  The lack of page numbers and indexing mean it isn't a reference book, but many of the prompts could be recreated again, using a blank journal or paper, so I think it's a keeper.

Compared to other activity books in the same price range, I believe the paper quality is comparable, perhaps a bit better, and the binding is better.

It is not a tangle how-to, but more a spur to creativity with a strong emphasis on tangling. I wouldn't buy it for someone as a book for learning Zentangle, but I might buy it for someone that I wanted to nudge in that direction.

The authors have set up a Tangle It! Journal Facebook Group., where you can share the pages you do and see how others have tackled the activities.

The Tangle It! Journal is available on Amazon, but can also be found it many other stores, both online and brick'n'mortar.

Other Reviews

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review-'Mastery: A Mission Plan for Reclaiming a Life of Purpose, Fitness, and Achievement' #Retirement #Fitness #Purpose

This review is more than a bit off-topic for me, but my brother Gary Scott, has co-written a book and I think its subject matter would be of interest to many of my readers.  

The topic of the book is planning for a sense of purpose and achievement in your life.  The obvious target audience are those who have retired or plan to do so in the near future.  But the book would be equally useful to anyone who is suffering empty nest syndrome, just graduating college, or facing some big change that leaves them wondering how to proceed with their life.

The writing is direct and easy to read.  The idea of a Mission Plan and goal is explained. Then you are given concrete examples of what such goals might be and steps showing how these goals can be reached. The goal can be as simple as setting up a daily jogging routine and keeping to it, or as complex as starting a new business that satisfies creatively while bringing in extra income.

Health tips galore abound throughout the book. These tips range from the fairly obvious to the unexpected, such as the importance of chewing properly, and how to do so.  

Myths about aging are explored, and you are shown that age doesn't matter nearly as much as you might think.

Best of all, in my opinion, the authors do not assume that everyone is the same.  Some people have goals centered around financial security, some focus on staying healthy, and some simply seek peace and enjoyment.  The book doesn't tell you what your goal should be.  It provides information to help you recognize your own personal goal, and achieve a sense of purpose in life.

If you belong to Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited you can read the book for free.  For more information, my brother has written about the book on his blog,

The Table of Contents
Part One: The Mastery

  • Manifesto
  • Something is Missing
  • What is Mastery
  • The Mission Plan
  • Resistance
  • Life is Finite (and Short)
Part Two: Getting Physical

  • The Fitness Mission
  • Hit the Road
  • The Art of Breathing
  • Get it Wet
  • The Strength Mission
Part Three: Peak Health
  • The Nutrition Mission
  • Less is More
  • The Power of Posture
  • Sleep
Part Four: Powers of Mind
  • The Fast Way to Slow Down
  • Muscle Memory
  • Intuition and Bandwidth
  • Zoning
  • Super Thinking
  • Super Reading
Part Five: The Anti-Retirement
  • The Power of the Pinnacle Career
  • Following Your Passion
  • What's Your Story
  • Staying Mission Capable
  • The Writing Mission
Part Six: Embracing the New
  • Do What? At My Age?
  • Technology
  • The Transformative Power of Travel
  • Missions Great and Small

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dusk in Line and Wash #Watercolor #Quiller #Strathmore

One of the other things that was to be practiced in the waterclass I missed was line and wash.  I decided to use the negative painting technique and I wanted to use color different than what I have been playing with.

I just used my imagination, and as soon as I put down the initial wash, I saw something totally different than I had intended, so it really wasn't a great fit for either technique.  Still, I used them and it didn't go too bad.

I hadn't intended to have a moon, but saw it in the wash, so I grabbed a kleenex and scrubbed out both the moon and reflection while the paint was still wet.  I used negative painting to create the tree line, and the clouds.

I emphasized the trees, clouds and water with the lines (done using Pigma Micron .03.  I also drew the reeds with the pen.

The colors used were from my Quiller palette - Richeson (Phthalocyanine) Turquoise, Permanent Orange and Magenta.  These three color are equi-distant from each other on the wheel and form a triad.  Brushes used were my Silver Black Velvet 1-inch flat and size 16 round.  The paper was Strathmore Aquarius II.

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

Zentangle Challenges The Daily New Tangle Challenge Pattern-Collections Daily Pattern Focus Zentangle All Around-Taking it to the Next L...