Saturday 29 October 2011

Tangling with Letraset

Doodles,patterns,zentangles,zendoodles..whatever you call them, it amounts to the same thing. Filling in shapes with patterns. The word 'zentangle' has been copyrighted, so I tend not to use that term.

 Instead I 'Tangle'....I love tangling, and in fairness I do sometimes end up in a tangle with them. Sometimes there are no 'zen' qualities involved as I get frustrated with a particular pattern, but on the whole it is very absorbing and relaxing. many 'tangles' are black pen on white paper, and stunning they are too, but I do love a bit of colour.

So here is my latest tangle..

I started with a freehand pencil drawing of a tree....ok so I know it's not like any tree you might actually see on a Sunday afternoon stroll, but it works for this purpose...and totally proves you do not have to be an artist to create a recognizable shape.

 For the circles I used bottle tops and lids....obviously you can use a compass, but you know household objects work just fine. Using a ruler I found the centre of each circle, this was just so I could plan out my patterns.

I inked the whole of the outline using a fineliner.

Then I started to colour each of the shapes using mainly Letraset promarkers with a few Flexmarkers used too. This was just a base colour, so I blocked in the shapes with just one shade.

Colours used:

Promarkers -
oatmeal - tan - khaki - meadow green - lime green - sky blue - lemon - blossom

Flexmarkers -
soft aqua - aquamarine

Next I shaded each of the areas, on most areas I used the same shade as the base layer.

extra colours used for shading:

Caramel - cinnamon - soft green - duck egg - cobalt blue - marsh green - rose pink

Once all the shading was done the tangling could be done.

I worked on the tree branches first and then the tree trunk. Then I filled in each circle one at a time. I used a 0.3mm fineliner for most, with a 0.1mm for the smallest areas.

Remember to vary the intensity , use both small and large patterns...use dense patterning but also leave more open areas to allow the colour to play its role. think about the shapes you have created and use your patterns accordingly. Note how the bands on the branches curve around to signify the curve of the branch. I also used mainly curving patterns on the foliage/flowers to give them a fluid more natural look.  If, say I had drawn a building, I would have used patterns with much straighter lines.

I hope you will give coloured 'tangles' a try. Get out your promarkers and flexmarkers and see how effective just a little shading can be.


  1. So pertty (I do mean that not pretty) perfect colour combo - must add it on to my things to have a go at list after such splendid instructions :)

  2. Can't believe the term zentangle has been copyrighted! I do love your tangle - very pretty indeed - you can imagine this style of illustration adorning childrens book pages.

  3. Your end result is far, far better than the black and white Zs I often see.More a piece of art than the usual doodles.
    Love Jo x

  4. Very cool looking- I think I need to try that!

  5. Love,Love,LOVE This!!! Am so going to try it out!! :D XXX

  6. Oh wow! Just bloody wow!!! That is amazing Darcy! I'm jealous of your zentangling xxx

  7. I haven't doodled for ages ....this has inspired me ...just need a quiet time to let the ideas flow. Your piece is stunning.

  8. Wow! Darcy you have convinced me to try tangling,love it.

  9. Hi Darcy! I followed you here from the FB group Mixed media art. :) Great blog you have. And I totally love what you shared on this post. I did not expect for this tree to end up looking this fine. :)

  10. This is without a doubt one of the MOST amazing things I have ever seen!!! I keep looking at it on Facebook, but seeing the development of it here is truly AMAZING!!!! xx

  11. you did a really great job..these markers are awesome. I just got set 1 and 2 and used them for the first time..I am new to this type of marker..looking forward to learning to use them.