Friday, July 6, 2012

Zendala Dare #13 - Play with paper

Hello everyone!  I hope everyone had a fabulous week.  I was just looking over last weeks entries and they are all outstanding!  Every week I am more and more amazed at what everyone comes up with.  

This week I was pretty efficient and got lots of Zentangle's completed, as you will see in the Dare below.  I also had a family barbecue to celebrate Independence Day (complete with a homemade American flag piñata for my nieces and nephew.  Yah, I'm a pretty cool aunt), and managed to complete the Diva's weekly challenge.  

Since it is the first Diva challenge of the month the Diva chooses someone's original tangle and this week it was CZT Rho Densmore.  Rho unexpectedly lost her brother-in-law a few weeks ago and asked us to create a Zentangle using her original tangle Fiore di Pietro (Peter's flower) to honor him.  Rho plans on using the images to create a book of tangles to give to her family members as a memorial.  Rho, you have my permission to use this tile.  

Tangle: Fiore di Pietro

I chose to do this style of ZIA for a few reasons.  First, I had read a lot of comments from people about this tangle saying that they were having trouble getting the circles consistent.  I find that when I have trouble with consistency, I can usual cover those inconsistencies with embellishments so I wanted to  have a lot of options to embellish this tangle in many different ways and I find using geometric shapes to separate them is an interesting and useful way to do it. Second, I just love this style.  I have several ZIA's similar to this that I display in class and they are always a huge hit.  I know it's not very traditional but it's whole lot of fun!

I forgot to post last weeks Diva challenge so I figured I would throw it in here as well.

Tangles:  Kwiet, Printemps, Dragonair, Pystyl

 The challenge was to create a Zentangle that represented home to us.  I live in the beautiful wine country of northern California so I threw in a few bunches of freeform grapes.  I included Dragonair to represent our nearby beaches, Pystyl and Kwiet to represent all the beautiful flora and fauna, and Printemps because who doesn't love Printemps?

Ok, ok, I know you all love to hear and see what I am up to but I know what you are really here for....

Zendala Dare #13 - Play with paper

Like I had mentioned in a few previous posts, the first Zendala Dare of each month will now have an added challenge.  This weeks added challenge is to have some fun playing with papers you would not normally Zentangle with.  The only rule is that you cannot use traditional Zentangle paper or tiles.  You can use scrapbook paper, stationary, your brown paper lunch sack, or old gift wrap. These are just a few ideas.   It doesn't matter, just pick something different.

First things first, here's the template:

Even though we are not going to use Zentangle tiles this week I have included the usual sizes because everyone is accustomed to tangling with tiles that size.  Just cut your paper to fit whichever you choose.

I chose this challenge for a couple reasons.  First, I love paper.  I love the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it creases, and the way it sounds when you crinkle it.  You may be a little creeped out by my description.  I don't care.  I love paper so much that I am finally ready to put our uncensored relationship out for everyone to  see.  

Second, I have ALOT of paper.  Wrapping, scrapbook, origami.  You name it, I've got it.  I collect it and rarely use it so I thought this was a great excuse.  

Third,  I have often had a theory which I have now proven to myself at least that paper plays a much more integral part in art than we may realize.  The way the paper feels, the way it accepts the ink and graphite, how it holds up to shading, are all components of the end result of our art.  Even how the paper feels plays a part. If you love the feel of it that will come out in the completed piece.  But if the paper literally rubs you the wrong way, you may end up with something much less harmonious.  At CZT training Maria told a story about how her and Rick spent a whole day at a friends studio playing with pens and paper to find just the right combo for Zentangle.  At first I thought it was a little strange, but that story makes total sense to me know.  

When I decided on this challenge a few things became clear right away.  1)  I would want to complete several tiles.  2)  I would need to set some rules for myself.  I have a bad habit, especially when it involves art, to allow too many variables.  If you are going to try something new, sometimes it is important to try many variations but at least keep some parts constant.  A while back I wanted to created 4 - 6 pieces for a portfolio and show many variations on one style.  The problem was that I used lots of different pens with lots of different color papers and in the end I just had a mess.  I would have done much better to keep part of the project constant to create some type of consistency.  So when I embarked on this weeks challenge I decided to use any paper I wanted, but only use a black Micron 01 and grey graphite to shade.  This way I could truly see how the paper affected my Zentangles.  

This week I have completed four tiles and have documented my challenges, triumphs and defeats below.

Tangle: Rick's Paradox

This paper came from a scrap pack that you can buy at any craft store.  It was a pack of odds and ends used for card making.  I chose this paper because I thought the grey would be an interesting tone on tone study with the black.  It wasn't.  I like it but it doesn't do anything for me.  I started with Paradox on the outside triangles and after that I found the whole thing so boring that I figured only something as impressive as a Paradox monotangle could save it.  I also found that my usual image transfer technique did not work very well.  The paper had a little grain and didn't care for the graphite, maybe white graphite next time.

Tangles: Lokomotive, Courant, Worms

This tile was a surprise.  I have seen patterned papers used on a few blogs and wanted to try it out.  To be honest, I thought I would hate it but I really ended up loving it.  The white pattern had an almost waxy feel but surprisingly, it didn't mess with my pen.

Tangles:  Purk, Crescent Moon, Flux

I'm sad to say, this paper was a real let down.  I bought this paper from Dick Blick based solely on its color.  It was some type of recycled rough sketch pad and I bought it in a 9 x 12 inch size and also in some crazy huge format that is like 2 x 3 feet.  When it arrived I wasn't thrilled with the feel but tried it anyway.  It was coarse, it soaks up too much ink and bleeds, and it hates graphite.  Even while I was drawing I was secretly cursing it.  I tried to love you beautiful brown craft paper, but you and I are done.  It's not me, it was definitely you.  If you buy something from my Etsy store you can try it out for yourself because now I use it as packing material.  

Tangles:  Tipple, DL Sunray, Da'rough

This was far and away my favorite.  This paper came from the same scrap pack as the grey tile.  It's a beautiful chartreuse with tiny gold flecks in it.  Based strictly on feel I thought it might be too absorbent but it worked beautifully with the ink and graphite.  Since I was completing so many tiles one of the things I really tried to accomplish was to transform the template so each piece looked different.  I think I did a good job of it on the last two tiles but I think the shocking green colored really helped this one along.  

I can't wait to see what paper's you choose this week and how they work out for you.  Please leave a comment and make sure to link your entry below.

Have a great week and happy paper foraging!



  1. hey Erin.. Interesting challenge! I'll have to do this one after I get back from my trip this weekend since I don't know where any other paper is!!! Wait a sec... Any paper is allowed?? I'll reread it and if that's the case I may be able to do it today. :)
    Thanks again for all of your inspiring examples and also for the challenge!

  2. Your tangled ZIA for Rho is wonderful. I love the geometric shapes, and the way it goes right off the paper. Great variations too.

  3. Hi Erin.... Thanks so very much for the GREAT challenge... and believe me at the level I am at... it is a challenge in all respects... had a lot of fun with this one... will play some more later... Have a great week-end... Love, Light and Peace...Bonnie

  4. Another interesting challenge Erin! Good timing for me as I wanted to try tangling on blackout drapery fabric and this was great motivation to actually try it! Fun, fun, fun.

  5. very tender this mandala! I will make other...on other paper... promise ;)

  6. Love your tile you did for Rho and the Diva's Challenge. I think it turned out great, I might have to borrow that technique some time. Great job. Your zendala challenge looks interesting, if I can find time, I will give it a try. :)

  7. this one is fun! your 2nd tile - the yellowish one - the pattern on the paper lends itself to the design of your zendala very well - it compliments it. and i love that you use the 3rd paper for packing material - haha! at least it's not a total waste. your last one has several patterns i've not tried - opens some new possibilities in my brain :) so, thanks!

  8. Beautiful tiles!!! And thank you again for the dare! I liked to play with the paper :-)

  9. Your tiles are so different and so beautiful. I love your chartreuse tile very much. Thanks for the dare again.

  10. Thank you Erin for another great dare! I love all your examples - you are very inspiring indeed.

  11. thanks for a very challenging dare - your pieces are beautiful indeed :)

  12. Love this template and will probably use it over again! Thanks so much for the challenge, Erin!

  13. Erin, this was an absolutely awesome challenge. Talk about "thinking outside the box". I have enough scrapbook paper to open a store, almost; and I don't scrapbook anymore. So, now I've figured out I can use it for ZIA's, zendalas, even zentangle sized tiles. Woo hoo! Your pieces are all awesome. My favorite is the second one, where you didn't like the paper's performance. It turned out great, though! A special thanks to everyone who visited my blog; and for the first time last week, I made it to every single entry and left comments, except one, which link didn't work. Hugs; and have a great week!

  14. Erin, your paper experiment is very interesting. Tanks for the wonderful challenge.

  15. A great dare! I liked the challenge, even though mine wasn't quite the success I hoped. I do like this zendala template a lot and will probably use it again--although not with embossed paper! Your zendalas are awesome.

  16. Thanks Erin! That was fun once I found the paper I wanted to use. That was a nice twist. Speaking of twist, your tile all done in Rick's Paradox is wonderful. It must have been tough on your eyes.

  17. Thank you so much for these templates.
    I didn't use a decorative paper here, but I love the idea and I'm working on one now.

  18. I've posted two here, one that I did in my regular notebook, and another on a coffee filter, as a way of trying out some different paper. I think this is my favorite zendala so far. :)

  19. This one REALLY made me think outside the box!



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