Tag Archives: Ben Kwok

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

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.


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.


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.