Getting Started with Art Journaling

Recently, as part of my healing from betrayal trauma, I have started an art journal. Now I don’t work in it nearly as often as I’d like, but such is life as a mom of young children. It has definitely been a hugely therapeutic thing for me. I’ve shed tears more than once while creating. I also consider a lot of my digital art therapeutic journaling as well. Added bonus no messy supplies to get out and put away! There’s just something about working with actual medium on paper that is just so healing for me though. Maybe it’s because I’m a little less in control and there’s no undo button.

Getting Started with Art Journaling | The Muchness Mama | muchnessmama.com

What is Art Journaling

Art journaling is simply putting words and images together to express yourself. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. There are no grades. There are no rules. Oh wait there is one rule: there are no mistakes, just happy accidents (yes, I love Bob Ross). Simply use whatever speaks to you to give a visual aspect to the thoughts and feelings inside. Put aside any thoughts of what is right in art. Forget about focal points, color harmonies, balance, unity, or any other “rule” you’ve been taught. Just get your feelings out on paper!

Art journaling has been around since the dawn of time. In fact many of the great artists in history kept these visual journals. The British Library has actually digitized one of DaVinci’s journals and made it available to the public. It is quite fascinating!

Therapists have also found the value in using art to unlock suppressed memories and feelings. It can also help to heal trauma as you process through those feelings in a creative way. By processing using your physical body and incorporating both words and images you use your entire brain. The more of your brain that is activated during therapy the more thoroughly traumatic experiences can be processed. You don’t need a therapist to guide you through art journaling. All you need is a willingness to dig deep and be honest with yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a prompt and other times it’s best to jsut start makign a mess and see what happens.

Art Journaling Supplies

All you need to get started is a writing implement of some sort and a piece of paper. Don’t let a lack of art supplies hold you back! It is far better to do a simple pencil sketch than nothing at all. Of course art journaling is a lot more fun with some color, so here are a few of my favorite things to use.

For starters let’s talk about paper. You can use a basic notebook, but you’re going to be a bit restricted on what you can do with the flimsy paper without destroying it. If you just want to use dry media (pencils, crayons, chalk, pastels, etc) you’ll be fine with a simple sketchbook. If you want to use more paints, glues, and other embellishments you’re going to need a heavier duty paper. A mixed media book is a great choice. If you really love to work with watercolors then it’s even better to get a book with watercolor paper pages.

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Colored pencils are my go to for sketching. I really like that they are hard to erase. It forces me to accept imperfections and mistakes, and allows me to just think about creation rather than perfection. Your basic Crayola pencils that you can get at any grocery store will do just fine. I have also recently discovered and am loving Arteza. They’re a bit higher quality and still a very reasonable price. If you really want to splurge then Prismacolor is the way to go. Their pencils are super soft with vibrant colors that get great coverage and blend beautifully. 

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Watercolors are another fun medium to use. When you think watercolor you’re probably remembering those cheap pan sets from grade school that gave you pale washed out paintings on wrinkly paper. Watercolor is so much more amazing when you have good paints on good paper. For a decent starter set The Artist Loft pan sets are a bit better than the grade school stuff and still very budget friendly. If you want to step up your quality a bit then Sakura Koi, Arteza, Prima, or Kuretake are a great choice. Jane Davenport is another middle of the road brand price wise and I am totally in love with them!  The neutrals pallet is perfect if you want to paint a lot of skin and hair tones. If you really want to get the top of the line watercolors Holbein, Sennelier, and Daniel Smith are all highly recommended. If you want to start out with the higher quality, but still on a small budget you can get individual pans or tubes of the three primary colors along with white and black then mix your own colors. For painting on the go water brushes are awesome! If you really want a good brush at a great price I also really like my Winsor & Newton Cotman brushes.

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In addition to the traditional pan or liquid watercolors you can also play around with watercolor crayons, markers, brush pens, or pencils. There are so many fun and creative ways to use these that would be an entire blog post in itself! Some recommendations for pencils are Derwent, Arteza, or Faber-Castell. For crayons check out Neocolor, or Ranger ink. Sakura Koi and Tombow both make a great felt tip watercolor marker, and I LOVE my Arteza real brush pens.

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If you prefer more control and opacity then Acrylic paints are the way to go. For a simple art journal I haven’t seen a need for anything fancier than the bottled craft paints that you can get at any craft store or Walmart. If you want to do a finished piece to hang you may want to get something a bit nicer and more professional because of their light fastness.

[amazon_link asins=’B00ATJSD8I,B01EVJ8Q0Q,B077Y87WR9,B078CYM62J,B00ATJSD8S,B006X0TCNW,B001AXTY6W,B00889ZJLU’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’mymanmon-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9f07d1a7-a67e-11e8-9689-a30a8df638d7′]

Washi tape is so much fun! It is easy to reposition and you can get so many fun prints. I may have a slight addiction to washi lol. I like to go to Michaels craft store and check out their bin of individual rolls that are around 3 for $1. Here are a few of my favorite patterns on Amazon as well.

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There are so many other paints, pens, markers, etc. that this post would get WAY too long if I listed them all. Instead I’ll just put a few of my favorites in the product carousel below.

[amazon_link asins=’B0721NWG1S,B0779J4YGP,B01N34I4CV,B017A1BIUM,B0765CYR84,B01LRF5416,B0733W73QS,B0008G8G8Y,B009YZLKPQ,B002LJRKN8′ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’mymanmon-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2f7b3060-a67f-11e8-a77c-9dc2b528e06d’]

In the future I’m planning to do more detailed posts on each medium that I use as well as some great art journaling prompts. What other products are you interested in learning about? What are your favorite products for art journaling? Come join the Muchness Mamas on Facebook and lets chat about it! I’ve also created a Pinterest board just for Art Journaling if you’d like to see more tips and inspiration.

CreativeLive Mid-Year Sale: Save up to 50%!

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It’s no secret that I love CreativeLive. Since I first discovered them a few years ago I’ve watched hundreds of classes while they were streaming, purchased many, and even attended two as part of the studio audience. It has been such an amazing educational resource for me. Right now CreativeLive is having their mid-year sale where all classes are up to 50% off!! No coupon code needed, simply go to their catalog and choose the classes you want.

Shop Creative Live Classes

When CreativeLive first started they were really focused on photographers. No w they have five different channels; Photo & Video, Art & Design, Music & Audio, Craft & Maker, and Money & Life. They have classes on everything a creative entrepreneur needs. Whether you need help with business, marketing, or actual artistic techniques you are sure to find something useful. If you aren’t sure where to get started here are a few of my favorite classes:

Kickstarter for Photographers and Film Makers

This is one of the classes that I attended in the creativeLive studio. In this class Clay Hebert walked us through the steps to take before and during a Kickstarter campaign to ensure its success. He showed us some case studies on a few successful projects that he had worked with and showed us why they succeeded.

The Creative Newborn Photography Studio

This was the second class that I attended in studio and it was a life changer for me! Julia Kelleher is an amazing teacher and I absolutely loved her passion for teaching. Julia encouraged each of us to find a way to be creative and put our own hearts into our work. She encouraged us to try new things and find a personal project to work on. We got to watch her photograph a few different newborns as well as work on her own personal project exploring motherhood. She showed us the basics of creating a painting in Corel Painter as well as how she mounts her art prints. It was because of this class that I first tried digital painting which I LOVE and is now one of the staples of my business.

Photoshop Classes by Ben Willmore

There are TONS of classes a on Photoshop on CreativeLive and it can be hard to choose which one to purchase! I would highly recommend anything by Ben Willmore. I have watched several of his classes. He has an easy to follow teaching style. He explains things in a simple manner so that anyone can follow along. He doesn’t stop there though, he also goes into more advanced concepts and ideas. I have never failed to learn something new from every call of his that I have watched.

Brush Lettering Bundle

This bundle includes three excellent classes by Laura Worthington. Watching and participating in this class was probably the most fun I’ve had with a CreativeLive class outside of the studio. Laura started with the very basics of how to use the brush to create lines and shapes before moving on to letter forms. She then discussed how to think through and add flourishes and other ornamentation. From there the third class of this bundle discusses how to take a piece form idea through sketching to a finished piece.

These are just a few of my very favorite classes, but there are hundreds more that I have watched and enjoyed. Go check them out now while everything is on sale! You won’t regret it.

Have you watched any classes on CreativeLive? What were your favorites? What types of classes are you searching for? Please share and ask for recommendations in the comments. Let’s help everyone get their perfect class! 

Brush Lettering on CreativeLive-Class Review

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Yesterday I had the chance to watch three brush lettering classes by Laura Worthington on CreativeLive. Laura is a font designer and expert hand letterer. The classes were Brush Lettering Basics, Flourishes and Ornamentation, and Putting Together a Final Piece. Each of these classes can be purchased individually or you can buy the bundle that includes all three at a discount. I really enjoyed following along and doing the exercises along with the class, at least as much of the exercises as Miss Hannah would allow in between nursing and snuggling.

Brush Lettering Basics

Brush Lettering Class on CreativeLive| Smithsquad.com| Online educational resources| Class review
Practicing basic letters with my name.

In the first class Laura discussed the basic tools she uses as well as how to practice the basic strokes and letter forms. The brush that Laura used during the class and that she gave to the seven studio audience members was a Pentel Color Brush pen which can be purchased from Amazon or Blick Art. On Amazon there was also an option for a set of 18 different colors. She also had both regular and tracing paper as well as scissors and tape. When at home she also uses digital tools to refine and vectorize her artwork. I personally was using the Sakura Koi watercolor brush pens and look forward to also trying out drawing directly in Corel Painter, Photoshop, and Illustrator with my Wacom tablet.

After showing us her supplies she started doing simple strokes and shapes to help us get used to the was the brush feels. She showed the proper grip for both right and left handed artists as well as discussing how the motions were different from traditional writing. As a free download with the class she provided a paper with different lines indicating where the different parts of a letter should fall. She had us focus on light pressure on the upstrokes and heavy pressure on the downstrokes. After doing the basic practice strokes we moved on to doing letter forms, both lowercase and uppercase. The final project for this first class was to practice writing your name.

Brush Lettering Flourishes and Ornamentation

Brush Lettering Class on CreativeLive| Smithsquad.com| Online educational resources| Class review
Flourishing my name

After a short break we moved on to the second class on flourishes and ornamentation. When you purchase the class there is a free download of several sample flourishes that you can practice tracing to get the feel for them. After practicing some of these flourishes Laura had us work on adding flourishes to our own name. As a demonstration she did my name! First she drew the name and added some flourishes in pencil then when she was happy with the shape she went over it with the brush. My own attempts aren’t nearly as nice as hers, but it was definitely fun.

Brush Lettering Putting Together a Final Piece

Brush Lettering Class on CreativeLive| Smithsquad.com| Online educational resources| Class review
My work in progress, still have a long way to go.

The third class focused on how to create a complete piece of artwork with a short phrase. She had each of the students choose a phrase to work on and talked through each one with them pointing out which words to draw focus to and a few suggestions on how to do that. She then had each person to several thumbnail sketches of their chosen phrase. From there they chose a thumbnail and started drawing a larger version of their final choice. She cautioned that it often takes MANY tries to get to the final product. This is where she pulled out the scissors and tape and showed us how she would take the best parts from each attempt and pull them together to then trace over for her final piece. I decided to practice with the phrase “let your faith be bigger than your fear” which will become the focal point of one of the pages in my Pregnancy and Birth Coloring Book.

I have been trying to teach myself lettering from the book “Modern Calligraphy” as well as a few worksheets form “The Postman’s Knock“. They have both been EXCELLENT resources, but it was completely different to actually watch Laura doing the lettering and talking through her thought process. I think that my books and worksheets will be even more useful now as I am better able to apply what they teach. I am excited to continue to hone my skills with lettering and be able to offer it as a service to my clients soon.

Are you an expert or do you want to learn brush lettering? What are your favorite resources? I’d love to see some links to your work in the comments!

Unslumping Myself- A Day of Art

I’ve been in a major creative slump lately. I think more than anything it’s just pure exhaustion! The uncomfortableness of the third trimester of pregnancy and now having a newborn means sleep is a rare commodity. Thankfully last night I slept like a rock in between baby wakings. I have decided to dedicate today to being artistic.

I have three things I’m hoping to work on today. First I want to get some practice in on my Calligraphy. I have a coloring page all ready to go except for the words at the top. I want to write them in my calligraphy, but I need to practice the phrase a few times first to get it right.

Learn for a Latte Worksheet |SmithSquad.com | I got this awesome practice worksheet from The Postman's Knock |Learning modern calligraphy
One of my Learn for a Latte worksheets from “The Postman’s Knock”

The second thing I want to work on is creating at least one new coloring page for my motherhood coloring book. I told myself I’d have the whole book done by March 31st. Clearly that did not happen. I completely overestimated my ability to work on it. I didn’t really factor in the third trimester exhaustion and hormones when making my plans. Time to get back on the horse and get some new pages created.

mother and child colored pencil
The drawing that inspired the idea for my coloring book

Third I want to watch more of my Watercolor 101 class from CreativeLive and play around with the techniques presented. I have Derwent watercolor pencils, Sakura Koi watercolor brush markers and Simply Art watercolor cakes. I’ve enjoyed playing around with each of them, but frankly don’t really know what I’m doing. Watercolor is a new medium for me that I’m excited to get to know better.

watercolor-ballerina-and-bear-web
My first attempt coloring with the Sakura Koi brush markers

I’m hoping that by dedicating a day to being artistic, doing some things I’m familiar with as well as working on new techniques, I can get back into the flow of things where I spend at least an hour or two a day working on my art. I’ve got to get out of this slump!

What do you do when you are in a creative slump? Do you have any awesome calligraphy, coloring pages, or watercolor works to inspire me with? Share links in the comments so I can check them out!

Learning Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering

I have often admired those who could do modern calligraphy and fancy hand lettering. I remember trying it out when I was a kid, probably around age 10 or so, with my mom’s scrapbook pens. I wasn’t instantly amazing at it, so I decided it wasn’t one of my talents and didn’t try again. I have a really bad habit of doing that which I am trying to break.

 

As I’ve been learning more about Zentangle, watercolors, and expanding my art talents I decided it was time to give Calligraphy another go. This time I put a lot more effort into researching and I haven’t given up on myself after a few half-hearted tries. I can definitely see the improvement in my work and I’m excited to try additional pens and inks.

Beginning Modern Calligraphy Study Resources

Beginnign Modern Calligraphy Supplies | SmithSquad.com | Speedball pen | Nikko G Nib | Kuretake Sumi ink | water and towel
Here are some of the supplies I use

The first thing I did when I decided it was time to learn again was search for Calligraphy groups on Facebook. I love Facebook groups. They can be such a wealth of knowledge and are a great way to get instant feedback on my work. I was extremely fortunate to stumble on Melissa Esplin’s group specifically for her website calligraphy.org. I am totally drooling over her classes, unfortunately they haven’t been in the budget yet. I will definitely be taking them as soon as I can. I have found her free videos, blog posts, and supplies lists to be extremely helpful.

Asking for recommendations in these groups led me to purchase the book “Modern Calligraphy” by Molly Thorpe. This is an EXCELLENT beginners book. She talks about how to choose pens, inks and papers as well as how to create letters and has several different examples of various letter forms. I love that she encourages students to find their own style rather than simply copying an exact alphabet from others.

Learn for a Latte Worksheet |SmithSquad.com | I got this awesome practice worksheet from The Postman's Knock |Learning modern calligraphy
One of my Learn for a Latte worksheets from “The Postman’s Knock”

The other awesome resource I have learned from is The Postman’s Knock. Lindsey is an amazing calligrapher and puts tons of helpful tutorials, product reviews, and tips and tricks on her blog. She also sells worksheets for learning different styles/alphabets called “Learn for a Latte“. You can download and print a set of worksheets for only $5! She also has a few video classes ranging from $10-25. If you follow her on Facebook or on her blog she also routinely does product giveaways.

Beginning Modern Calligraphy Supplies

using an artist board to get a stable slanted calligraphy workspace | SmithSquad.com | Learning Modern Calligraphy |
Using my artist board outside. I love how I can take it anywhere!

When I found Melissa Esplin’s group I was directed to her list of preferred supplies on Paper and Ink Arts. I compared different sites and since they had the best prices and great reviews I went ahead and ordered each of the nibs on her list as well as some ink. When I bought the Calligraphy book from Amazon I also ordered a Speedball Calligraphy Kit. So far I’ve used the straight holder from that along with a Nikko G nib, and Kuretake black Sumi ink. These are the starting supplies that were also recommended on The Postman’s Knock. It was suggested to stay with one nib and type of ink as you are learning so that you have consistency. I feel like I have really gotten the hang of the Nikko G nib, so I am planning to branch out to trying a few of the other nibs that I have purchased soon. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with brush Calligraphy with my Sakura Koi Watercolor Brush Pens. One other thing that I have found VERY useful is an artist sketch board. I don’t have a great desk space and my kitchen table is a bit wobbly. Using the sketch board allows me to get a comfortable angle on my paper and a stable surface to write on.

A Desire to Inspire

One big reason that I have committed so much time lately to my own artistic education is the desire to inspire my kids. How can I teach them to follow their passions and talents with dedication and hard work if I am not willing to do the same? Watching me learn and persevere is every bit as crucial to their education as me encouraging them to learn. It is so much easier to lead by example than to try to get them to do things that I am not willing to do myself.

What are you doing to lead by example? What new studies or talents are you learning right now?

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Mother’s Day is only 6 weeks away on May 8th! Have you thought about what you are going to do to celebrate? Well let me help you out a little bit. I would like to give a few lucky winners my custom digitally painted portraits away as a beautiful Mother’s Day gift.

Each painting that I do is a custom work of art. You send me your favorite photo with up to two subjects in it and I will turn it into a painting using Corel Painter. I actually paint each stroke by hand with my Wacom Tablet, so this is just like getting a professional oil or watercolor portrait painted, without the added time of letting paint dry! There is also the added benefit of being given a digital file to print in the size and on the surface that you want as many times as you want. If you don’t want to take care of printing I am happy to do that as well, prices vary depending on size and surface printed on.

This is a photo I took of my daughter. Those beautiful eyes were just begging for a traditional oil painting style. The Prizes!

Grand Prize- (2) custom digital paintings, one for you and one for another mother in your life, delivered via digital download. You will have full rights to print or share/display as you see fit. Value- $325

Runner-up- 1 custom digital painting delivered via digital download. You will have full rights to print or share/display as you see fit. Value- $175

innocence|smithsquad.com|spiritual refugees|child of god|digital painting

There will be 1 grand prize winner and two runners up. I reserve the right to add additional winners at any time.

Don’t want to wait 3 weeks for the contest to end? Use code “ILOVEMOM” in my Etsy shop to save 15% on all orders! I have two listings; one for an oil style and one for a watercolor style . If the winner has already purchased a custom portrait they can choose to have their payment refunded or have an additional painting done.

cutom painted portrait giveaway|smithsquad.com|Mother's Day giveaway|Digital Painting

Please note that in order to guarantee delivery orders need to be submitted 2 weeks prior to the date needed. Most orders can be turned around in just a few days, but I require up to two weeks during peak demand.

Mother's Day Giveaway- win a custom digitally painted portrait|smithsquad.com|digital painting |Corel Painter

 

Enter Now!

Enter your email in the widget below for your required first entry. After that a few different optional choices for additional entries will pop up.

The contest will end on April 25th, so share share share and get your entries in!

[contestfriend contest=”855″]

CreativeLive, One of My Favorite Educational Resources

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CreativeLive is an amazing resource for creatives who want to learn new skills as well as entrepreneurs wanting to learn to create and grow their businesses. Each day they run several streaming classes. Some are live classes and some are rebroadcasts. Any of these streams can be watched for free. When you watch a live class you have the opportunity to ask questions of the instructors and participate in the chat rooms with the other students.

After a class has aired they are archived and available for purchase. If you purchase a class you can download the videos or stream them any time you want. You also often get access to freebies that the instructor has provided as a bonus to those who buy the class. Classes  are very reasonably prices, starting as low as $29. Also if you follow CreativeLive on Facebook they will often announce sales and specials.

CreativeLive started out geared mostly towards photographers. As they have grown they have expanded into 5 different main channels which are photo & video, art & design, music & audio, craft & maker, and money & life. They have classes on everything from marketing and sales to calligraphy and scrapbooking. They will also often run events such as Photoshop Week, where they will bring several instructors in to give shorter classes on one specific topic for an extended period of time.

CreativeLive|smithsquad.com|online education|distance learning|live studio audience|live streaming classes
The entire studio audience and crew after the Julia Kelleher Creative Newborn Photography Studio course. I’m the pink bumble bee 😉

One of the best parts of CreativeLive is the live studio audience. CreativeLive has recording studios in Seattle and San Francisco. Each class has a studio audience that is invited to attend for FREE! The only cost to the students is travel and lodging if needed. This is an amazing opportunity, as taking in person classes from many of these well known instructors would run several hundred or even thousand dollars! I have been blessed to attend one class in each studio location. They were both awesome experiences. The one on one talks with the instructors as well as networking with other students was invaluable. If you want to attend a class simply scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on “In the Audience”. This will take you to a page which shows upcoming classes and you can select which class you’d like to apply for and request an invitation to attend.

Overall CreativeLive is one of the best resources I’ve seen for creatives and entrepreneurs. If you haven’t checked it out yet do it now!

Have you watched a CreativeLive class or been in the audience? What was your favorite class? If you haven’t attended yet what is one class coming up that you are interested in?

 

Custom Painted Portraits

I believe that photographs are the art that preserves our memories for generations to come. As such I put all of my creative efforts into creating the finest art I can for my clients. Usually this means capturing the raw reality of the day in a truly documentary style. These are your memories. These images represent you. I don’t direct. I creatively capture the intimate reality of your special moments.

custom painted portrait|digital painting|canvas portrait

Every now and then, however an image just screams at me that it wants more. I don’t just see your hum drum every day life. I see an amazing beauty in the moments. When the soul of the subject speaks to me I owe it to them to create something amazing.

girl window pastel

This drive to create one of a kind art from every day moments is what led me into learning to use Corel Painter and Photoshop to create custom portraits from my photographs. I create so you can feel the amazing intimate beauty that I see in your relationships. I create so that your future generations will know how amazing that moment in time truly was. I create because I can’t silence the voice in me that cries out for you to understand just how awe inspiring your life is.Aly and Eli

Fine Art America

I have recently fallen in love with the site Fine Art America. It was first recommended to me by a friend in a Facebook group. I was impressed with the variety of high quality art available from many big name artists including Karen Sperling, Greg Olsen, and Sean Davey. Fine Art America specializes in museum quality prints and canvas of original artwork and photography. They have also recently added tote bags, t-shirts, and iPhone cases.

mother and child colored pencil

I have begun selling some of my own art and photographs on their site. My work has recently been featured on their zentangle tote bags for sale page and their landscapes art for sale page. I am really excited about partnering with Fine Art America to sell my art.

Serenity watercolor

I recently ordered my own Zentangle Serenity Prayer design on a tote bag. I am very happy with the product. It is very sturdy thick material and I know it will hold up well over time.

roosterw

As always I love to do custom orders. If you have any specific image in mind I would love to create it for you. Just send me an email (emily@emilyjphoto.com) and let’s collaborate!

What do you think my next art project should be?

Serenity Prayer Zentangle

What is Zentangle?

I have recently discovered and fallen in love with doodle drawings also commonly called Zentangle. This type of art has been around since the beginning of man, but has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity due to Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas giving it the name Zentangle and dictating rules to follow as you create it. Most artists, however, don’t really believe in following rules so we take what we can from the art form and then invent our own ways of creating. Most artists then call their works Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA) or simply just doodle drawings. One thing I have chosen to incorporate into my art is including my favorite quotes, sayings, and scriptures. I then tangle around them making beautiful motivational art that I can decorate my home with.

Benefits of Tangling

1- Meditation

The original intent of creating Zentangle was for meditational purposes. The idea is that as you concentrate on making the repetitive strokes necessary to create the fill patterns you are able to relax your mind and let go of the jumbled thoughts of the day. It affects my mind in a way similar to deep breathing exercises and has actually been called “yoga for the brain”.

2- Develop Creative Abilities

Anyone can begin creating ZIA by following the myriad of step by step instructions available for different patterns. Check out my Zentangle Pintrest board where I have saved many different patterns for reference. As you become more familiar with your favorite patterns then you can start to add your own embellishments and variations to make each piece uniquely you.

3- Increase Hand Eye Coordination and Spatial Awareness

The careful creation of each stroke can do a lot to increase hand eye muscle coordination. You can make strokes large or small. You have to match angles and align different strokes to create correct patterns. All of this programs the brain to be aware of spatial relationships. It is excellent for kids to work on their writing skills which can then hopefully translate into better penmanship.

4- Therapy

For me personally Zentangling has been wonderful therapy. Creating with permanent pens represents life; I can’t erase so I have to find a way to turn my “mistakes” into a part of the finished product. I also like to include my favorite thoughts, quotes, and scriptures into my work. This gives me time to ponder on the message of those words and how I can then apply them in my life. For many people doodling can be a way to process through their emotions of fear, anger, hurt, embarrassment, and more. It can also be used in addiction therapy by giving a patient something to focus their mind on as they are working on avoiding their triggers and cravings.

5- Increased Attention Span

Entangling requires concentration and focus. The repetitive strokes and patterns train the user to calm their mind and focus one creating their art. Often the act of doodling can increase a person’s ability to listen to a class or lecture going on as it draws their mind away from other external distractions.

6- The Finished Product

Of course the finished art itself is the number one benefit of tangling. Through the act of creating and sharing art self-esteem is boosted. A person feels like they have contributed to their community in a meaningful way. They also can be reminded of the other benefits they experienced while creating each time they look at the piece.

Resources

There are many good resources out their for learning the art of Zentangle. The first of course would be the actual Zentangle website. Here you can learn the story behind the creation on the official rules as well as get reference for many patterns to try. They even have a list of certified zentangle instructors if you’d rather learn form a class instead of by researching on your own. There are several great books out there as well. One that has been highly recommended in many of the groups I am in on Facebook (there are several of them so just search Zentangle then join the ones that appeal to you) is One Zentangle a Day by Beckah Krahula. This is a 6 week course that will teach you new techniques and patterns each day. For kids we have and love the book “Zentangle for Kidz” by sandy Bartholomew. This fun book is written comic book style and introduces children to the art of Zentangle as well as including instructions for several patterns. Sandy also has several other books and sets of pattern step-out inspirations cards. Many anglers like to use the cards when they are stuck not knowing which pattern to draw next. Simply pull out a card and use whatever pattern it instructs you on!

Supplies

The most basic supplies needed for Entangling are paper, permanent fine line black pen, pencil, eraser, and pattern references. I personally use Sakura pens and a set of Royal & Langnickel sketching pencils. I got the sets on both of these so that I would have a variety of options for line widths and shading capabilities. I also use Koh-i-Noor Woodless Colored Pencils and am planning to purchase the Prismacolor colored pencils for more shade variety in the near future. Many artists also love to use Copic Markers and watercolors to color their artwork. Many artists will make copies of their black and white line work before adding color so they can experiment with different options. I love to pull my tangled pieces into Corel Painter to play with with different colorization methods. I love that I can do many different methods on one piece of art by utilizing the technology available to me.

Serenity Prayer|Zentangle Inspired art|ZIA|Zentangle|Doodle

Here is an example of my most recent ZIA. I created the word art in Photoshop and printed it on regular white paper. I then created my line drawing with the Sakura pens. I scanned it into the computer and made a copy for coloring with colored pencils. I then pulled it into Corel Painter and did one copy with just shading and a second copy with various watercolor brushes. I had a ton of fun and now I can’t decide which one I like best! If you happen to like it prints of this and my other works are available on my Fine Art America page and Cafepress.

Do you like to create doodle or Zentangle art? I would love to see your work! Feel free to share your link in the comments so I can check you out.