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Monday, September 29, 2014

Blind Sting - Test Case

Fall has arrived here in Delaware not only on the calendar but in the weather as well.  This past weekend was really nice with highs in the low 80's but I think that was the last hurrah of summer.  The leaves have begun to change and there is no going back now.  If I were smart, I'd pull out warmer clothing now but I think I'll stay in denial a little longer.

The new week has brought a new challenge over at I am the Diva.  This week is to use a blind string, that is, to draw the sting without looking.  This string challenge always has me drawing in a kind of swirly lump in the middle of the tile.  My first try was really not useable.  Not only where there a lot of spaces, which isn't a problem really, but they were so small that drawing in them would be impossible.  So, I went at it a second time.  I should have been more willing to go wild and not worry about staying on the paper but I wasn't.  That's ok though.  I need to work on leaving some white space too.  I try to fill it all in every time so this string was good for me.

You see the pen I am using there?  I bought it in Italy this summer on our family vacation.  I have used it a little but I got it out to use today.  I have decided to participate in inktober and wanted to practice with the pen I am planning to use.  Inktober is a drawing challenge where you make up to 31 drawings in 31 days.  You can work a shorter number, check the link for details, but I want to give 31 a go.  Over the summer, I was cutting up some scrap paper to use as smaller tiles and/or test paper and ended up with some 3" squares.  I thought that I would draw on the smaller tiles and then group them together into a larger piece.  So far though, they have only been an idea waiting to happen.  So when the idea of inktober came to me, I thought, "Why wait? Let's do it now!"  And as October is just a few days away, I thought that I would use today's challenge as a test run to see how it would go.

The dip pen makes a nice thin line and covered over the pencil string well.  I am still getting used to having to refill my ink but it isn't as disruptive as one might think.  Sometimes I wait until I run out of ink so I have to go back over a little to keep the line even.  The design stayed pretty simple.  I wanted to work on curving lines as those can sometimes trip me up with the dip pen.

I was afraid that the slightly smaller tile size would be too small for me to work on, but it wasn't.  I haven't tried the even smaller Bijou tiles/size yet.  Maybe that is next.

But back to this tile,  I held close to the string but let the design run to the edge to let it feel a little less constrained.  I could have done more but I didn't want to over work the design and wanted to work quickly.

For the shading I used a new Prismacolor marker.  Color: warm grey 30%.  This is the first time I have had a Prismacolor marker and the first time that I have used a marker to shade a drawing.  I have used them on canvas though.  I like the pen and look forward to using it in the future.  It is nice to make a shade line and not have to go back and blend it out with a stump.  It is a different feel though and I look forward to exploring more.

I hope that you will join me in inktober.  It will be nice to have a daily challenge and the smaller size will keep me from spending all day drawing.  Not to mention increasing the likelihood that I will finish my goal.  You can follow my challenge either on my Facebook page or on instagram (@tinkertangles).

Have a great week!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Diva Duo

Every week I check in to Laura Harm's site for her weekly Challenge.  I don't always make it to the end of the week with a challenge completed. Often, if I manage to do the challenge, I don't always get it posted here.  Why? Laziness. But this week! This week I got it finished, scanned and am now going to post.  I'm on a roll baby!

So the challenge is to create a duotangle using only the tangles Diva Dance and Phicops.  I was happy to see these two tangles being used as I used the two together this summer and wanted to explore them further.  The idea was added to my idea list, but stayed there until this week.

As you may know, I created the artwork for a coloring app this summer.  You can read more about it here.  After finishing, I wanted to keep going with the coloring idea and made a book, which you can also read about  in the link.  Anyway, one page was a nod to zendalas with half zendalas covering the page. See the bottom of the image on the right.  While I like all the designs here, I really love the bottom one.  So, this was my inspiration for the challenge this week.

Wanting to separate the challenge from the coloring book, I chose to use tan drawing paper as a beginning.  I then used black, brown and a burgundy micron pen for the drawing.  Exploring colored paper is a lot of fun and I really experiment with the idea of white as a highlight.  I have a white chalk pencil that I use and it is really nice.

I redrew the phicops and diva's dance from the coloring book but then I was a little stuck.  I was really happy with what I had so far but the drawing didn't feel finished yet.  And as the challenge only allows for the two tangles, I wasn't sure what to use next or how I wanted to use it.  I opted for diva's dance and making it look different than I had used it before.

 The new burgundy pen is the outer layer and I like it.  On the brown paper it doesn't look as red as I would think, more of a darker brown.  I opted not to fill in the spaces in there and to me it feels like drift wood.  I used the chalk pencil to add a little highlight there.

I hope that you like this as much as I do.  I am really proud of the shading and highlights on the phicops.  I was thinking of it as a sea creature but then a friend said it looked like a meringue so now I'm conflicted.  :)

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Get Your Coloring On

Photo: Look, I'm in the App Store!
The app, Coloring Advanced Tangles launched this week in the App Store on iTunes.  I am pretty excited to share this with you.  There are two versions of the app, a paid and free version.  Both are pretty great, the free version has ads.  By clicking here, you can go to the store and download it today.

The app is really fun.  John Young, the app builder, did a really great job.  John built the app and I did all the artwork.  If you download it, would you please take a moment to rate it?

Coloring App ImagesI am also making available as a download, the images featured in the app.  They are 12, 6x6" images available as a PDF in my etsy shop.  I am offering them at the same price as the paid version of the app: $1.99.  Download them and color to your heart's content.

If you download the app and/or buy the images in etsy, I invite you to share them with me on my Facebook Page.  I would love to collect them in a folder to share with others (with your permission of course).

I really enjoyed creating the images for the app.  It was fun to draw with a different frame of mind.  While drawing, I needed to keep in mind that someone would be coming behind me to fill in the white areas with color and that I would not have shading to help me in popping out patterns to separate one from the other.  The fun thing that I discovered was that thinking of those things, did not keep the process from being "zentangle".  I can tell you that there is really something freeing and mindful in making the same pattern over and over again.
Tinker Tangles Coloring Book
Making these pages was so fun that after I finished them, I almost immediately started on a full size coloring book.  Naturally, you can also buy a copy of that in my etsy.  The book made it's debut this weekend at the Arden Fair in my area.  I can report that it was quite popular with people of all ages.  Not only is it fun to color, but a great way to practice shading.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, oh, and listening to my sales pitch.  I am really excited about the app and the coloring book.  They have been the work of my summer and I have had such a fun time.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New App and Contest!

Hello! It has been a while since I posted but I wanted to take a moment and share some exciting news!

Last month I was contacted by John Young of  John Young Apps to work with him to create a coloring app based on Zentangles.  John already has one app, Coloring Advanced in the app store and it's pretty cool.  Having never created coloring pages before, I thought that I would enjoy the challenge so I accepted it.

I created the 12 images in the app using my own tangle patterns as well as some of the official tangle patterns.  Once they were done, I scanned them and sent them off to John who then did the hard part/magic and created the app.

The app is complete and has been accepted by the Apple App Store and will be available on August 31st.  There will be two versions available, one is free with ads, and a paid version that has no ads and some extra color options.  All the images will be available in both versions of the app.  But before that happens, I have 5 codes to giveaway that will make the full, ad free version available to you before it is available to the world.  I have both versions and John's other app and I can tell you that the apps are fun and easy to use.

If anyone is wondering, I will not be making any money from this app.  It was John's idea and John's hard work to create the app.  I will however be offering a download of the images in the app through my etsy shop for the same price as the paid app ($1.99) should anyone wish to support me and/or like to color the images on paper.

So, now that all the talking is out of the way, now for the fun part.  Entering!  There are going to be 5 winners.  Each winner will get ONE code to open a fully unlocked and ad free version of Coloring Advanced App.  I am also running the contest on my Facebook Fan page, and instagram account (@tinkertangles).  If you'd like to enter there you can, but you may only win one time.

This contest is run on Rafflecopter and starts tomorrow.  I am not smart enough to embed the code here so, Enter here to win!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tangle Pattern: Vercut

Lately I have been working on decorating wooden boxes.  You know the craft wood kind that you can get at craft stores?  It has been a lot of fun and IF I get my act together, I'll do a post about it.  While working on the boxes however, I think I came up a new pattern.  If it isn't, please let me know and I'll take this down.  The "world" of tangle patterns grows ever bigger each day so I'm not sure if this pattern is already out there.

I am calling this pattern Vercut as it is a blending of Versa and Yincut.  It really is quite simple to do and steps 3 and 4 can even be combined as you are going along.  I did shading in the example, but as you can see in the box top, it looks nice without shading too.

Originally, I didn't create this as a grid pattern, well, I started with a dot grid.  After I started drawing the design however, I realized that I was drawing the grid in as I did steps 3 and 4, so I went ahead and drew the grid.

I hope you like it, and again, please let me know if this design is already out there.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Zentangle + Shrinky Dinks = FUN!

About this time last year, I got the idea to tangle some Shrinky Dink film and see what would happen.  I thought that it would be fun to make some medallions to string on necklaces.  When I am at Art and Craft shows, I find that pre-teen and teen girls are often very interested in my drawings but don't have the cash to invest in the pieces that they like best.  There are note cards and prints available at the table but honestly, note cards are a thing of the past for these girls.  Prints, well they will need frames.  The idea of the necklaces I hoped would be a good idea, the price point isn't too much ($12 at shows and $14 on etsy) and if I do say so myself, they are fun.  It turns out, that a lot of people like the necklaces notjust  the younger girls.  Each is an original piece of art, all are different, and even if I reused a template, it is unlikely that I would make it again in the same way.  One zendala medallion even inspired me to turn it into a larger zendala on paper.

Any of you that also follow me on instagram (TinkerTangles) will often see these pieces as they progress.  One of my followers there asked if I had a tutorial on how I created the necklaces.  I have been thinking that I should do a post about them and the request has led me here today.  So, I will do my best for you that are interested.  Hopefully this will be helpful.  Please let me know if I am not clear of didn't answer a question that you may have.

Many of you may remember Shrinky Dinks.  I LOVED playing with them as a kid.  Usually they came in packages with pre-printed designs that you then colored in with markers or colored pencils.  Those can still be found online and probably in some stores.  I use just blank sheets to create by medallions.  You can also find all of their products on their website.  There are a lot of choices there.  I may have to do a little online shopping as I only have 3 kinds.  I buy mine at Michaels.  There are 10 sheets in a pack and I get at least 4 medallions out of each sheet.  If you search shrink film on Amazon, you will find that there is another kind, I forget the name, but I have chosen to stay with a product I know.  Speaking of products that I know, let me tell you what I use when drawing these.

1.  Shrink film.  I use Shrinky Dinks Crystal Clear, Frosted Ruff N' Ready, and Bright White.

2. Pens/Markers:  I mostly use Sharpie MARKERS.  The Sharpie pens will work on the Ruff N' Ready as the back is really rough and can eat the tip of your marker.  The pens seem to hold up to that texture pretty well and doesn't bleed.  
I also use the Sakura Identi Pens.  They really work well and the double tip is nice so that different line widths can be made.  The drawback though is that the colors are limited to primary colors and black.  I like the color choices that Sharpy has.  
I have also used the Bic Mark-It but I am afraid that they fade over time.  So far I haven't had any reported issues, but I had one medallion that sat in the sun for a while and the darker colors faded.  Probably because of the fact that it sat in the sun, but I don't want to take any chances.

3. Paint Pens:  I use Oil paint pens.  Water based ones don't want to work as well.  I have used Sharpie brand, the Sakura Metallic pens and Deco Color pens.  For all of them I use the extra fine or ultra fine point.  I do have a few larger ones though.  I use those when I want to fill in a large area or cover the back in one color.

4. Cutting Tools:  I am lucky in that I have a Sizzix eclips that I have started to use to cut my film.  It is so much easier.  The machine is so great and cuts like a dream on the shrink film.  HOWEVER, you do not need to buy an expensive machine.  (A friend split the cost with me or I wouldn't have one.)  Before the machine I got a circle cutter.  Martha Stewart makes a nice one and you can adjust the size to what you want your circle to be.  Scissors can be helpful to trim edges or to cut squares and or cut around any particular shapes you are making.  Hole punch is also good to have around.  If you decide to create a medallion, you'll need a hole to attach it to the jewelry finishings. The size of a regular hole punch is a perfect size. 

5. Jewelry Finishings:  What you will need to make your necklaces, pins or earrings. I use very simple satin cord as a necklace and add a bail to the medallion to attach it.  There are some shrink art crafters out there that make some INCREDIBLE pieces of jewelry.  While their work is very inspiring, I am keeping mine simple.  If you already make jewelry, you might have all the stuff to make some impressive pieces.  

My first medallion. The outline, the tangles, adding color and the final product.

Now for the nitty gritty, making your design.  I first cut out my shape.  It is easier to start that way to me.  For the pieces that I am currently making, I keep the film to 4.5".  My circles are 4.5" in diameter.  Squares or other shapes can vary but I make a point to have my largest size 4.5".  Remember that your film is going to shrink down, so keep in mind what size you want your final piece to be when you cut your film.  A 4.5" circle shrinks down to about 1 3/4".  Some of you may be more math minded and can figure out the shrink down percentage.  I am not however, and just tried different sizes until I had what I wanted.

When it comes time to bake your film, I follow the directions that come in the package.  They say a toaster oven is ideal but I use my regular oven and have great results.  There are some that use a heat gun but I think that an oven is best.  In an oven, the heat is even and since they need to be in the oven for 3 minutes, easier on your hand.  A heat gun works great though if you have a problem area after shrinking and want to smooth an area out.  I bake my film on parchment paper.  The directions call for using a paper bag but I don't like the texture of the paper bags.

If you watch your film shrink is is both very cool and a bit scary.  When the film starts to shrink, it is going to flop about, curl around and has even been known to flip over!  Don't fret however and DO NOT yank it out of the oven.  Let your film stay in the oven the full 3 minutes.  It will correct itself and lay flat.  Only once or twice have a had a piece fold over on to itself and stay that way.  That has happened when I was trying to make a really small piece.  Sometimes, my circles come out a bit wonky,  I'm not sure why though.  By wonky I mean that it isn't quite round anymore.  More of an elongated circle.

Once your three minutes are up, you can take your piece out of the oven.  THEY WILL COOL QUICKLY!  I take mine out of the oven, lift the parchment and medallion off the cookie tray, and set the on the counter.  I place a smaller piece of parchment on the top of the film, and use a small book to press lightly down on the film.  (Don't use anything with a texture on it unless you want this texture pressed into the hot plastic.) This will help make sure the piece is flat.  That doesn't mean that even then the piece is totally flat but usually it is.  I have now decided what an acceptable level of wonky is.  You can also return the pieces to the oven, it will not shrink more, but it will make the plastic pliable again so if needed, you can press them flat again.

Now for some tips.
The photo above is the first medallion that I made.  It is on the Ruff N' Ready film.  First I trace/draw the outline or string.  Then I add my tangles and color.

Ruff N' Ready film.  This film needs to have all of the rough parts colored in.  You don't have to, but I don't care for the way it looks uncolored.  Cheap colored pencils work great for this film.  I use Crayola pencils.  You can layer your colors with this.  Just remember to do it in reverse.  The shiny side is the side you are supposed to look at.  Put down your color and add darker colors on top to create shading.  Highlights are going to go down first.  After these are done, I go back and add a layer of acrylic clear glaze over the rough parts.  It seals the colors so that they don't get rubbed off.

Crystal Clear Film:  You can draw on both sides of this film.  Create your design on one side and flip it over to paint sections to add color.  When you do it this way, the design on the front casts a shadow onto the color and gives it more depth. You can also use a marker to add color in your design like a coloring book.  Lighter color markers give the finished piece a light catcher look.

Bright White Film: This film will take the Sharpie markers and the Oil markers really well.  Sometimes after shrinking, the oil paint seems to sit differently on the film giving it a bit of an embossed look.  Markers are smooth.  If you want to be more traditional in bringing Zentangle to this medium, all you need is this and a black marker.

Pens: I have not been able to get micron pens to work on the plastic film.  I find that it wipes right off.  The same thing happens with the Sharpie Pens when drawing on the smooth film.  Sharpies don't.  The color can "puddle" at the end of a line though so you'll want to keep that in mind.  The puddles can help to add "shade" where you'd like it.  There are gray pens that you can use for shading but I haven't had much luck there.  For me, the lighter the color the better.  Colors will become darker and more intense when after shrinking so keep that in mind when choosing your color pallets.

A few examples of finished pieces:
Geisha Inspired Zendala

Starry Starry Zentangle

Different Zendala ideas

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dot - Dot - Dot - Dot - Dot

This week the challenge that Laura put forward is Pointillism.  I confess that I have never tried this style of drawing before, or at least, not that I can remember.  I guess maybe I have as the tangle pattern Rain Dotty is pointillism.  However, I have not tried to create a whole piece of art using just this style.  I really focused on the method here.  Trying to play with the dots to show more depth in some areas while little in others.  I ended up doing two for this week.  First I used an older micron on a square of watercolor paper.  I followed Laura's example a bit and kept things non-tanglely at first but later added more defined pattern.  After I was done, I went back and added a little pencil for shade in a few spots. After I was finished, I found more to the tile than I thought there was.  Some of the sections, blend one into the other to create a curved look that I certainly didn't plan.  As my teacher in college would say, it was a "happy accident".

Next I was drawn to give this method a try on canvas.  I took a blank black canvas board I have and used white oil pen with a white charcoal pencil for shade.  This one was really abstract.  I just started tapping away over a minimum of pencil string and this is what I came up with.
It reminds me of a shoe.  I'm not sure why but it does.  I am pleased with how it turned out.  What is it? Who cares?  

I will certainly explore pointillism more and keep it in mind while working on my pieces.