Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Diva Challenge 186: Leaves

I love Fall! It's hard to bid goodbye to summer - perhaps even more than usual this year as I think about how much benefit it's been to both me and the older two kids to have them outside whenever the whim takes them. But the colors we get here in Oregon from late August clear through early November make up for it in the end. Usually I enjoy the season primarily through the lens of my camera, but it's fun to give it a try with pen, paper, and a little color!

I'm rarely much for poetry, but I always think of these lines from Elizabeth Barrett Browning this time of year:
 Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries

Alone the verse wonderfully captures Autumn, but I read it in context for the first time today and found even more to love. If time permits, take a moment and do so yourself!

Anyway, onto the challenge!

Like the Diva, I found a leaf in my yard to trace for my tile. We have a couple of beautiful small maples in our yard, but unfortunately they're far too intricate for these purposes. I'm not even sure what tree the leaf I chose comes from, but it hit the sweet spot of interesting enough to be a focal point but simple enough to actually tangle inside of.
For my pattern I chose "Vano" by Hanneke Sieben, just posted to TanglePatterns.com this week. My old favorite N'Zepple is in the background, and a couple of Bronx Cheers crept in as well.
I used watercolor pencils - Faber-Castell and Ikea's - for the color.

Honestly, I am having trouble getting a good photo: it really looks better in person color-wise. So here's the original version prior to adding color

It's still early in the week so there may be more leaf tiles before it finishes. Either way, enjoy the season, and may the blessings of its Creator be on you!

Yup, I needed to do a few more leaf tiles!
More watercolor pencil, a brown Micron, and finally sparkly black and white gel pen highlights. 
Not perfect, but I like it! 

And finally, 

OK, a little busy! :)
My inspiration was the leaf piles that will be decorating our sidewalks here in about 3 more weeks. I've taken many beautiful photos of the same, so I wanted to see if I could "ZIA" something like them. I started with the paint this time, then free-handed the leaves, and finally tangled them with grid-based patterns. As per usual, it looks better in person!

I have a feeling a few more of these may pop up before the season is done. Very fun stuff!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Diva Challenge 185: Phicops and DivaDance

This week's Diva Challenge is to use Phicops and DivaDance alone as a "Duotangle." 
I had to try Phicops the first time I saw it, a couple of months back: I think the 3D aspect is what initially attracted me, and I like the organic feel to it as well. I've also used DivaDance as a filler and decor element pretty much since I started in on this whole Zentangle thing in late spring. So this should have been a piece of cake. The funny thing is that I've had trouble doing Phicops from memory nearly every time. My lines always end up curving the wrong way, connecting the wrong points, and it looks awful. So I had to take quite a bit more care with this set of tiles! I also have never felt like I could get DivaDance to "flow" for lack of a better term: I always felt like those
bumps on the line broke my concentration and ended up sticking out and looking wrong. Someone posted a link to a YouTube video on the tangle, and it make a world of difference: I now can draw it without lifting the pen and it feels far more natural.
Anyway, on to the tiles.
Here's my first:

I used a spiral as my string - got inspired by a Shelly Beauch post I found via Pinterest. And I really like it! 
I thought about adding color, but I wimped out on this one. That's OK: I went nuts with it on my next series of three quick Bijou tiles.

Actually, I think I went a little overboard on the first one. ;) 
The second, which I just barely washed with a little blue watercolor, is my favorite, although I do like the orange background on the last one. In a change from my typical order of operations, I laid down the color first, waited (impatiently) for it to dry, and then tangled over it. 
Oh, all the color here is from my growing collection of watercolor pencils. I have just a couple of Inktense ones; the rest are actually from a $4 Ikea kids' set! 

Finally, I decided to try something really different

Here my goal was to make it appear that the phicops was lit from the inside. I am reasonably pleased with the result, which also looks a bit like I was inspired by the gradually changing leaves outside my window! 
The whole thing also reminded me of a pill bug or possibly a trilobite, which I decided to play up in my last Bijou tile:
I think he's kinda cute! 

All in all a very fun challenge, but I'm definitely ready to go back to the full stable of tangle patterns for a while now! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Diva Challenge #184: ING

I'd come across the ING step-out just a day or so before the latest Diva challenge, so I already had it on the mind and was ready to give it a try.
Here's  my first attempt, on a traditional 3.5 inch square playing field

For some reason, it seemed like my ING needed windows. It started out with just a few, but then they grew, and grew. I like it, although once I was done drawing I realized that shading was going to be a real challenge - one in which I'm not sure that I came out on top! 
The pattern was so geometric that it seemed reasonable to stick with its lines and flow into florz and - what is it, static? Honestly, the name for the lightning-shaped lines never sticks in my head since it's simple enough not to require a step-out for reference. 

The ING steps are simple enough to memorize and the shape is flexible enough that it then rapidly made an appearance on three Bijou tiles

I like them all for different reasons. On the first how the ING practically disappears among the static lines and paradox, but the whole effect has some real depth and interest. The second (on which I accidentally forgot to leave a border!) is really the simplest treatment of ING I could imagine, and plays up the folded-paper look. The last one was drawn in the semi-dark while watching a movie, and shaded only with pen. I decided to use it as a planter for some zingers and random leaf shapes, which leads me to my last tile, a clear tangleation of ING in which I tried making the lines curved instead of straight. 
Then, using the resulting shape as a string, I filled it up with some paradoxical roses and a few leaves before throwing in some cadent in the background. 
For whatever reason I grabbed my purple Micron for this one, and I admit I don't really know how to shade when I haven't used a black pen. So I did the hatch-line thing a bit, which I don't much care for... 
I'd probably like this whole thing better in black with some real shading! 

So 5 tiles later, I think I'm "ING-d" out. It's such a distinctive shape that it sort of takes over the tile and not always in a way I find super-pleasing. Still, it was a fun little experiment for the first couple of days of this week.