Hi and welcome back to another Zentangle Creative Process Mapping post on the Chrissie Murphy Designs blog. Today I’m sharing how I created my latest tile, which I’ve called the Colour Island Tangle Tile. And yep, this is another tile where I just ran with it and accepted some things I couldn’t change. I’ve been having to do that a bit lately… and I’m sure the Lord is working all my mistakes into something that’s going to benefit me artistically one day. More on that below, so let’s get into it.
Let’s unpack my Colour Island Tangle Tile
Eni Oken Art Club
The technique I was attempting to follow is another one released by Eni Oken. Eni Oken has a great lesson on zentangling over a Distressed Ink background. You can find Eni’s lesson here, and it’s one of those lessons that will introduce you to some foundational principles of zentangling with colour. There’s a few of her lessons that I highly recommend as core studies for zentangle artists, this is one of them.
Brainstorming Ideas for my Colour Island Tangle Tile
With this technique, the ink takes on the role of birthing ideas. Whatever type of pattern or shape the ink produces for your background, is what will become your string. The shape and form of your tile is defined by whatever the background looks like. Knowing this, the only other idea I had was to ensure there was a smooth transitional flow in my tile from one tangle pattern to another. Not only did I want my colours to blend, but I wanted my patterns to blend too.
As I mentioned above, when my ink background was created, it had some areas and shapes that could be clearly seen for tangling. Other areas were not so well defined. I thought it sort of looked a bit like a map…
As you know, a map is made up of lots of parts… Countries, islands and continents are all working together to be a part of a bigger picture. Because I wanted my patterns to blend, I was hoping they would look like they were all part of something bigger too. To me, a map seemed like the most organic idea. I called my tile “Colour Island” (you can read why below) and I got to work at bringing out the map’s unique characteristics.
Tangle Recipe Card
My Tangle Recipe Card was put together after the tile was created this time. I’m not too bummed about that, because in these cases, it acts more like a reference card instead. It becomes something I can reference to remind me of the techniques I used and the struggles I faced. It’s a record of everything I learned putting the tile together. And it will be a source of inspiration for the future for when I’m looking for different ideas to try.
Here’s another useful tip: One of my most popular posts, was where I discussed the importance of having a reference catalogue behind you as an Artist. I think that a reference catalogue is a must, as it aids to your development as an artist. It’s also a source of creative inspiration when your mojo goes awol. If you missed this post, you can have a read of it by clicking here.
Here’s what I did with this tile
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:
- Have the main map components be conveyed by enhancing the shapes with the tangle technique called Zentwining by Lynn Mead. I took my zentwining a step further and applied some additional techniques I learned in Eni Oken’s Art Club. Eni’s lesson in Zentwining is here. The zentwined shapes convey a crazy road network that goes nowhere!
- Have Mooka 3D by Eni Oken form some of typographical elements of the map like hills and valleys.
- Use Pearls to represent rocks and smaller islands on the larger overall map.
- Zentwining, Mooka 3D and Pearls are all patterns with soft rounded edges, meaning there is no sharp lines to contrast. This helps the patterns to blend and flow into each other.
- The blue space created by the original ink background is an ocean, and areas of different colour within it are the islands. Colour Island is in this space and I named it that because I imagined it would have a 360 degree view of colour 😊
The Ink Background of my Colour Island Tangle Tile
Eni recommends using no more than three colours to make up your background as using more colours can turn your work muddy. I stuck with her recommendation and chose a Pink, Blue and Yellow ink for my base.
A while ago I purchased some Dylusions Shimmer Spray Inks. They looked incredibly intense and vibrant in colour, and that ticked all my boxes! So I bought three of them, and for this tile I decided to use Pure Sunshine and Funky Fuchsia for the first time. I also used my Peacock Feathers Distress Ink Pad which isn’t pictured below to make up the three colours I mentioned above. I sprayed the inks onto a snaplock bag and spritzed them with water. Then I layed my hot-pressed water colour paper over the top to soak up some colour.
When the inks had dried, I applied a few spritzes of Picket Fence Distress Ink (directly on the paper) and dropped some gold calligraphy ink over the top for additional shimmer. I used my Derivan Mattise Gold Ink for this and an eye dropper. Then it was set aside to dry again.
Linework and Rounding
For this tile I worked with my Pigma Micron pen in Sepia. I used a 01 size pen because it was all I had, but I feel that perhaps a 02 or 03 sized pen would have been easier. The 01 is quite fine, so I paid a lot of attention to rounding and line weight. More than I normally would anyway… and this took a lot of time. The larger sized pen may have helped in this regard.
Next I used my new Ohuhu Dual Tip Brush Pens (read my recent review about them here) to help blend out the linework even further. The Ohuhu markers were used over the sepia to roll back some of the linework. I also used them to prep the linework for the application of more colour. The Ohuhu Pens are permanent, and they needed to be because more water was coming…
Shading my Colour Island Tangle Tile
Shading….. sigh, shading and I are just not getting along lately…. if you’re one of my newsletter subscribers you would have received my most recent freebie, a PDF called “Order of Business”. The Order of Business is a checklist designed to help you keep track of the different steps you undertake when creating a coloured zentangle tile.
Remember at the start of this post I said that this was a tile where I just went with it and accepted things I couldn’t change? Well, even after creating my Order of Business checklist, I STILL forgot to shade this tile with my grey Copics! Aaaargh!!
I wanted to go back!
Yes, it’s incredibly forehead-slappingly frustrating, and I can’t tell you how much I wanted to go back to add my grey Copic shading. But, I had gone too far by the time I had realised I’d forgotten it. I had no alternative but to accept my mistake and to continue on. Now I’m just hoping that the more I continue to mess up and be frustrated like this, the less likely I will be to do it in the future! I’m faithful that the Lord will work all of these mistakes together for my good as an artist. And that I will benefit from them… it’s getting through them it that’s difficult.
So, I shaded with Distress Markers only for this tile…
So the only shading I did for this tile is as follows. Straight after applying the Ohuhu Permanent Markers, I reached for my Distress Markers. These are water based markers, and I chose darker shades that complimented my base colours.
I applied the marker and then used a waterbrush pen to lightly blend out the colour. It acts very similar to watercolour, but in this case, I was using it to shade. I applied darker coloured markers to areas that would be in shadow. When this was all done, my tile needed to be set aside to dry…. again.
Colouring and Blending
I used my Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils for this piece but I didn’t keep a list of the colours I used this time, I apologise.
I also wanted to try blending my coloured pencil work with a solvent. It is something I’ve tried previously, but it was such a long time ago, I’d never really gotten in to developing the technique. I began by by laying down a few light coats of coloured pencil, then I used a small paintbrush dipped in Mineral Turpentine to blend my colours.
The turps (acting as a solvent) breaks down the graininess in the colour and blends it out to be a much slicker and smooth looking finish. It removes some of the waxiness with Prismacolor’s as well. This allows you to add multiple layers of colour. Again, after each application, I had to wait for it to dry, before being able to apply more layers of coloured pencil. For my Colour Island Zentangle Tile, I applied up to six layers of colour on some of the Mooka 3D patterns!
Re-Inking Colour Island Tangle Tile
You know I’ve said this many times before, it’s really important to go back over your linework after colouring it. It brings back some sharpness and definition to your piece. I used my Ohuhu Dual Tip Brush Pens again to re-ink the entire tile. It was time consuming, but so worth it!!
Highlights and Embellishment
As usual, I finished the tile by applying highlights and embellishments using my white Signo Uniball pen and Kaisercraft glitter gel pens in coordinating colours. I always apply some little dots and dashes as highlights and embellishments and it seems to finalise the tile, ground it and make it pop all at once.
My finished Colour Island Tangle tile
So here it is, my finished Colour Island Tangle Tile. I used a piece of hot pressed Fabriano Aquarello Watercolour paper that I scored and trimmed in half for this piece. The hot pressed watercolour paper is smooth and perfect for ink and coloured pencil work. It can also take a tonne of water! The finished tile measures 10.5cm by 15cm.
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Bless you my friend