Somewhere along the line, maybe while putting a lot of my craft supplies back where they belong, it occurred to me what I should do to improve my mood while making something pretty — I made a ZenTangle[tm].
ZenTangle is a meditative form of doodling, basically. There are a multitude of doodle patterns (and more being developed all the time by its fans) but they can all be broken down into 4-6 steps each. There’s a general system to it, so you can concentrate on making your designs on the not-very-griddish grid called a string. So your main choice is which doodle you’re going to put in each segment of your string. They look very intricate and complicated, but they can be broken down to simple elements. It’s involving and soothing and you wind up with a pretty piece you could frame or make into a card or whatever. And artists work them into their art — including quilters.
So now that I’ve given my decidedly non-official description, you should go check out ZenTangle.com and TanglePatterns.com. There are better descriptions of what they are, what they accomplish, useful info on materials, and tons of patterns broken down into easy steps.
The Pigma Micron .005 pen is what’s recommended for the fine detail, and that’s what I used. There’s also a special card of a specific size designed by the ZenTangle creators, which I did not use. I used a scratch pad made from high quality scrap paper, somewhere around 4″ x 6″.
I drew my borders in pencil, as well as the string (004 on the Tangle Patterns string list). I’m pretty new at this, so I started the piece with my favorite tangle, Cadent. It can look a bit awkward as you’re going along, but when you get the dots connected in both directions, it comes together amazingly. I didn’t look up the steps, just went with what I remembered, so it began a little rough at the bottom until I remembered how it went.
Getting started. The earlier in the process, the more washed out the pictures, so this one’s a bit overexposed.
Connecting the dots:
I just love how forgiving this pattern is. It’s a great pattern for actual aimless doodling, too.
The next pattern I chose was Henna Drum, which was on the first page of the TanglePatterns blog. Very pretty, but I got the petals a little too spiky. I think it will look great when I’ve had more practice. I threw in a couple more once I realized my problem.
The spiky ones.
So I added in a couple more blooms, paying attention to rounding the petals this time. In the meantime I’d filled another segment of the string with Beadlines. This is one of the few tangles without an actual diagram of how to draw it, because it’s pretty simple and apparent.
Aaaaannndd then I skipped a couple of steps, or photographing those steps, anyway.
Here is the complete tangle. I added filler to the henna drum segment, and added three more tangle patterns.
The total Tangles I used here were Cadent filled with Ahh, Henna Drum, Beadlines, Squid (upper left corner, maybe a little too cluttered with the spiral filler I added; it’s hard to see the pattern well), Clothesline (next to Squid) and Limpitz (smished between Cadent and Beadlines). Ahh is also very simple and so without a diagram, but the others have step-by-step instructions linked from their page on the Tangle Patterns site, so you can see exactly how I did what I did and occasionally variations. I advise browsing through the collection and putting together a Tangle. It’s very engaging and enjoyable.
I have done a tiny bit of incorporating these into art pieces — I made a set of coasters with needle-felted tangle patterns in very 60s feeling motifs — and I’d like to do some more.
For now, here’s today’s tangle from a different angle:
Cadent wants to be at the bottom, either way I tilt it. I think mostly because of the amount of real estate that it occupies here.
So…Funk eased. Project done.