Hi and welcome back to another post on the Chrissie Murphy Designs blog. Today I’ll be filling you in on my latest tile, which I’ve called a Beachy Radial Blossom Tangle Tile…. this wasn’t what I had originally planned (you’ll read all about that shortly) so when I asked around for words to describe this piece, “beachy” is what was used. So Beachy it is!
So let’s get in and unpack my Beachy Radial Blossom Tangle Tile
Eni Oken Art Club
Just like my last post, the Radial Blossom has its roots in Eni Oken’s Art Club. Eni released the Radial Blossom lesson some time ago, but I only got around to doing it recently. I’ve been working my way through Eni’s back catalogue of lessons, and I was super pumped to launch into this one. Here’s my initial piece.
Radial Blossom’s is what I’d call a cornerstone lesson. If you’re intending to purchase one of Eni’s lessons (or even better, a subscription to Art Club), I’d recommend you look into doing this lesson as soon as possible. Understanding Blossom tangles, and how to create your own is great fundamental grounding for Zentangling.
Lately I’ve been thinking about patterns that I have been reluctant to tackle…. and why 🤔 Narwal has been one of them. Every time I have played with it in the past (I last tried about 3 years ago), it would be skewiff! It’s not a pattern that’s meant to be symmetrical, but even so, I could never pull it off comfortably. It was a struggle, so it was just easier for me to avoid it.
Now that I’m a bit older, more experienced and my confidence has grown, I thought I’d try it again. And I’m pleased to say I feel much more comfortable with it. It was perfect for this tile, because it really lent itself to being one of the branches for the Radial Blossom.
Contrast is what I looked at next. If I was using a curvy, pattern for the branches, I wanted a pattern with straight lines in contrast. And Hollibaugh fit the bill. It was contrast again, that led me to Printemps, Caviar and Jetties around the edge. I was looking for more of those curved lines against the straightness of Hollibaugh.
Tangle Recipe Card
Now that I’d formed and idea, I put together my Tangle Recipe Card. This is where I prepared a quick sketch of what I was thinking. I was also imagining it’s colour, how I envisaged it finished and I made some notes about it. I used a pastel yellow highlighter to indicate where I was intending to apply some of my shading as well.
Here’s what I originally decided to do. (I’ve added a link to the step-out for each pattern below as well. So if you’re not confident with drawing the pattern, the step-out from the artist who created it will really help you):
- Use Caviar deconstructed by Lori Howe as the centre of the Blossom and to be used in edge work. The centre was to be offset.
- For the branches, use Narwal by Sam Taylor, CZT with pops of aqua blue and pink as coloured segments. Have the sizes and shapes be inconsistent, so there’s a real organic feel to the piece.
- Use Hollibaugh by Zentangle (Molly) to fill space between the branches.
- Use Printemps by Zentangle on edge work with Jetties by Zentangle thrown in for additional interest.
- As I was after an aged look, I wanted to use Distress Inks as my base for colour.
- Remember me saying it never turned out as I originally planned…. well I had planned to apply the RENAISSANCE technique!! Notice my Tangle Recipe Card has me calling this my Renaissance Radial Blossom… But I completely forgot to Renaissance it! I was meant to alternate between brown and black Inks to create the renaissance look, but once I got into creating, I completely forgot about this and yes, I am shaking my head too. I am thinking I might come back and redo it again at some stage… but no promises.
Linework and Rounding
My trusty Unipin Fineliner 0.3 in black was used for all the line work and rounding.
I pulled up after this to apply some Distress Ink to the spaces in between Hollibaugh for my base colour. This is where I was intending that “aged” look to be born, but it never came off. Up close to the edge of Hollibaugh I used Ground Espresso, and I blended it out with Rusty Hinge.
For those who aren’t sure how to use Distress Inks like watercolour… Grab a snaplock bag and stamp your Distress Ink pad on it a couple of times. Then dip a small paintbrush (like what I’ve pictured below) into water and mix some water into the Ink on your snaplock bag. You end up with a mix that you can use like watercolour, but it’s not grainy and it stains beautifully!
And just like any painting, I had to set the piece aside to dry. It seemed like a good time to head upstairs and watch the Season 7 premiere of Wentworth, so I did! Hands up who else loves Wentworth 🙋🏼 It was sooo good to see Boomer and Liz again.
After the Distress Ink had dried, I came back to apply more linework in the form of detail to Narwal. I added some pearls and dashes, some simple ribbon treatments, and I applied some hatching to the edges of Printemps.
This is where I messed up AGAIN!! I went straight into applying colour!! I got about 20% of the way through it before I realised I hadn’t even started shading! Yes, I’m still shaking my head…
So I stopped what I was doing and used my grey Copic Markers in Cool Tones C2, C4, C5 and Warm Tone W7 to apply shading. I used the W7 for the areas that were going to be really dark, blending it out with the C5 and C4. Lastly the C2 was used to blend the marker (overall) into the white or water coloured backgrounds.
Back to colouring, I used the following Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils for this piece.
PC 994 Process Red
PC 947 Dark Umber
PC 907 Peacock Green
PC 997 Beige
PC 938 White
PC 993 Hot Pink
PC 1033 Mineral orange
PC 945 Sienna Brown
PC 1067 90% Cool Grey
PC 1006 Parrot Green
PC 996 Black Grape
PC 992 Light Aqua
To give you an idea how I worked, where a Narwal segment was blue, I chose Peacock Green (for the darker outer edge), a Parrot Green (for the mid tone), and Light Aqua (for the lightest area). This is the technique I use most of the time to shade all sorts of areas – 3 shades of similar colour – a light, medium and dark shade.
If you’ve used Prismacolor’s you’d know how waxy and crayon-like they can be. They can really dull your linework, so I think it’s important to go back over your linework after colouring. It sharpens your linework, but a word of caution here…. it’s at this stage that I have ruined many Unipins.
It’s important to regularly clean your pen as you do this. Clean it by running it over clean paper until the Ink reintensifies. You’ve got to nurse the pen through this stage, or you’ll be ruining them faster than you can purchase them.
Highlights and Embellishment
I finished the tile by applying highlights and embellishments using my white Signo Uniball pen and Kaisercraft glitter gel pens in coordinating colours. Applying some little dots and dashes as highlights and embellishments always seems to take your tile to another level.
My finished tile
And there it is, my finished zentangle tile, measuring 4in x 4in. I used a Strathmore Artist Tile in tan for this piece.
One more thing…
I was really disheartened with myself during this tile, because it’s not the first time I have headed full on into colouring without shading, or forgetting to re-Ink. I’m starting to get pretty cranky with myself about this as it’s happening a bit too often for my liking! It seems like I need an Order of Business… so I made myself one.
To put it simply, it’s a quick tick and flick to make sure I move through the creative process in the order that works best for me. I’m sharing it here because you might find it helpful too. Let me know if you do and I’ll turn it into a PDF and shoot it out with my next newsletter.
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Bless you my friend