Author Archives: tabbycattanggles

It doesn’t always work first time


It took me two attempts before I was satisfied with this dragonfly ZIA.   The first time round I chose a much too ornate and involved background which meant that the dragonfly pretty much got lost.  I started again and this time kept the background simpler.  I already visualised a monochrome background and a bright insect that would ‘pop’ from the page.  I shaded with graphite and then I began to colour the dragonfly with alcohol markers.

I bought a set of Spectrum Noir markers earlier this year as so many people on Ornation Creation seemed to recommend them.  I have to say that although I love how eaily they blend with each other, I’m disappointed with many of the colours which are not as vivid as I hoped for.  Also some colours are lacking from the range – there is no bright sunshine yellow, no Christmas red, no emerald green.  I coloured my dragonfly with shades of turquoise, lime green and lavender and waited for the ‘pop’.  There was none.  I wanted vibrancy and irridescence and wasn’t getting it.

So, I turned to my Japanese watercolour brush pens and finally got satisfaction.



Recent ZIAs


Shame on me – five months since my last post.  I’ve not been idle though.  I’ve been learning a lot of new tangle patterns, largely by following boards on Pinterest and I’ve worked on a number of Ben Kwok’s templates.  I wish there was a tool that enabled you to submit the shape that you wish to fill and then it would suggest a suitable tangle.  I always struggle with long thin areas and also narrow rectangular shapes. Here are a few of my recent works.

vajra72 lantern72 carousel72

Zentangle on a larger scale


Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been tangling on a larger scale than the traditional 3.5 inch square tile, and I’ve been working on A4 sheets of card.  I’ve learnt a number of new patterns, including Ragz, Kemble, Pubfleur and Trellis and have experimented with tangellations (variations).  The finished pieces will be cut into 10 strips  and fitted with a tassle to form bookmarks which I hope to sell at next month’s Reddish art festival.090515   May15

December’s Mandala challenge


Having done a couple of mandalas using Ben Kwok’s templates, I wanted to learn how to do one from scratch.

I started with a square and divided it in half horizontally, vertically and diagonally before dividing each of those segments into half again.

With a compass, I drew a series of circles from the mid-point, making the largest circle as big as the square.  From the centre point, I then began to construct my mandala, mirroring each element that I added.  This is the result.  You could divide your square into more or less segments for different effects (although less than 8 would probably be pretty dull).

Mandala1 72dpiOver the holiday, I returned to Ben Kwok‘s templates and tangled this violin.


Alive and kicking – just about! And playing with Japanese brush pens.


It has been almost two months since I posted to this blog, for a good reason.  In the middle of last month, almost 3 years since my major stroke, I had a mini stroke.  It absolutely knocked me for six and for several days I couldn’t draw at all because my right hand was shaking so much.  It really scared me, thinking that I may never be able to draw again.

At the beginning of the month, before this occurred, I tangled this macaw, using Staedler fine-liners  and some new Japanese watercolour brushpens that I treated myself to from Amazon.

macaw72The pens are wonderful, they hold a fine point so are good for detail, yet you can also cover large areas quickly.  They can be dipped into water to create lighter shades and blend beautifully.  As the packaging was in Japanese, I had to learn to use them by trial and error, but found it quite instinctive.

I had started this owl just before my mini stroke and finished it a few weeks later, once my right hand had resumed almost normal service.  Some of my lines are a little wobbly but I am satisfied with the result – again the brush pens came into play.

owl72And once I started drawing again, I could not stop!  So a few days later and again with the assistance of the brush pens, along came this festive bauble!

bauble72(2)I would recommend these pens by Acacia to anyone, so put them on your list to Santa or head over to Amazon and treat yourself now.


Aries, I am!


As an Aries, I was quite excited when Ben Kwok posted a ram as the weekly template in Ornation Creation.  With a zodiac themed greeting card in mind, I initially tried colouring it in shades of reds and orange but for some reason, it just did not look right.  I started again.  It was a dull day and the light was poor.  I was half way through patterning on the head when I noticed I was using a sepia coloured fineliner instead of the black that I had intended.  I decide to go with the flow and use a brown colour scheme.

I wanted the ram to look woolly and organic and chose tangle patterns that reminded me of wool and curls.  ‘Knyt’, ‘Sand Swirls’ an ‘Hypnotic’ were all new to me but I found some very useful video tutorials on Youtube.


Quite a Challenge!


elephan72tI chose this elephant template this week to tangle as a birthday gift for my mother as they have long been one of her favourite animals.  I had seen a number of very impressive attempts at it on Ornation Creation, but did my best not to be influenced by them.  It’s fair to say that it proved quite a challenge and I made a few false starts, especially with the ears.  The tangle that I used is called ‘Cayla’ and is new to me.    The plait around the border also proved quite difficult.  In the end though, I am pleased with the image I created and think it well represents these majestic and strong animals.

More Tangling with Templates


I’m totally hooked!  Every Monday I can’t wait for Ben Kwok to post a new template in his Facebook group, ‘Ornation Creation‘.  I also love viewing everyone else’s work and it is incredible how different the same template becomes in other people’s hands.  Here are a few of the templates that I have completed recently.  hummingbird72 MANDARIN72 peacock72 pumpkins72All of these images are available as greeting cards from my new store, Tabby Tangles.

There are no mistakes in Zentangle


It is said that there are no mistakes in Zentangle –  a comforting assertion but one that I found to not exactly be true when last week I attempted the weekly template from Ben Kwok’s OrnationCreation.  The maneki neko (lucky cat) refused to be lucky for me and I kept making mistakes – glaringly obvious ones (block patterns out of sequence being the most frequent).  I eventually completed on my fifth attempt, but am still not sure whether I like it or not.  I think my judgement may be somewhat soured by the battle I had just to complete it.  Hoping for greater success this week.

Maneki neko72Meanwhile, with Ben’s kind permission, I have sent up a new card store at Greeting Card Universe, where you can find all of these designs.  I will be splitting any proceeds between a number of different Stroke charities in recognition of how Zentangle has helped me on my long road to relative recovery.

Using Zentangle templates


Last week, when googling “Zentangle templates”, I was fortunate to come across the wonderful illustrator, Ben Kwok, and from there found his Facebook page Ornation Creation

Each Monday, Ben posts a new template for members to tangle ornately.  Last week, it was a butterfly.   This piece took me two days to complete and I chose a colour palette of healing watery blues and greens.  I was overwhelmed by the response – over 150 likes on Facebook!  I’ve never had so many before, not even learning to walk again after my stroke.


butterfly72Having greatly enjoyed this project, I’ve started working my way through the back catalogue of Ben’s templates, starting with this perky little flycatcher in ink and graphite.  I drew this on Monday whilst at Paint Box art club in Reddish.  It is attended mostly by pensioners who like what I’m doing but can’t quite understand why.  Zentangle means nothing to them and I struggle to find ways to explain it to them.