Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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

Beate Winkler's, 'Zentangle for Kids: With Tangles, Templates, and Pages to Tangle On' is a Zentangle activity book with a strong circus theme.  It's been out as a German edition for a couple of years, and is now available in English.

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.



Look and Feel
Specs:
No. of Pages: 80
Cover: Softcover
Binding: Sewn & Glued to cover
Size: 8.6 x 0.2 x 11 inches

Look & Feel
'Zentangle® For Kids' has a sturdy cardstock cover with wraparound flaps. The pages are sewn together and glued onto the cover.  Everything appears well put together, and I believe it will hold up to a beating.  The book can be folded back, though it won't lie flat in that situation.


The paper is thick and of good quality - better than I would have expected for the price range.  

Content
While much of the book covers the how-to's of Zentangle, and introduces step-outs for 25 patterns,(including my own 'Beanstalk'), there are 10 activity pages.  Each activity is a double-spread (covering two pages). Some have a drawing that is circus-themed (elephants, tents, monkeys, etc.)  Sometimes you are given strings (spaces to tangle in), and the start to specific tangle patterns.  Other pages are largely blank, with just a written suggestion to get you started.  

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 of patterns, 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.

The how-to's include an intro to Zentangle, what is needed, how to get started, and helpful tips and tricks.  Other goodies include pages of templates to cut-out, cut-out cards to tangle on and use for a memory game, 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, Spider-bee, Spoonflowr, Striping, Tripoli, W2, Wheelz, Widgets, Wiesenliesl, Winkbee and Zinger.

Examples
Zentangle makes use of 'strings', lines drawn to create separate sections to be filled with different patterns.  For my first example, I took advantage of a 'string' (the gray pencil-like lines) drawn up on one of the activity pages.  This is a fairly simple string, and a good one for beginners, useful for getting the idea behind Zentangle.  I used a stippling (dotting) technique and filled the sections with tangles Striping, Laced, Nzeppel-random and Winkbee.

The paper in the book is a good one for ink, allowing you to build up dark, bold contrasts or lighter hints of shading easily.



For the second example, I drew my patterns with a Pigma Micron Pen and colored with watercolor.  I used watercolor because it tests a paper really well.  Although, I didn't soak the page with water, I did use it freely, and added wet paint to wet areas as well as adding wet paint to dried areas.

Wet on wet is especially hard on paper not meant for watercolor.  Low-quality paper might warp, wrinkle, pill (cause tiny bits of paper to tear off), and often color will bleed through to the back.  I'm happy to say none of that happened with this book, except for a little wrinkling that flattened out overnight.

Another concern is the somtimes the print will run or smudge.  In this example, the rabbit and hat, and the circles and square frame on the left are part of the printed page, rather than my drawing.  Not a hint of smearing or fading of the print occurred.


For my last example, I used watercolor markers.  While not as likely to cause wrinkling or warping of the paper, marker colors often bleed through to the back of the page.  While there was a very slight show-through on the back, it wasn't even enough to show on my scanner.  It wasn't really even visible to the eye unless you held the page up to the light and looked for it.

Very good paper for kids!



Overall
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.

If you are interested in reading my reviow of the German edition, you can find it here.

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