This week’s Diva Challenge was to explore Zentangle® through a different media. Yay! What a great challenge as I have been exploring dip pen and ink this week. Sketching with dip pen and even a stick – preparing for my upcoming trip and deciding which materials to take – those to leave behind (sadly). My packing for trips usually focuses more on the art supplies, books and music than clothes, food and accommodation. So a great opportunity to tangle with ink.
Such a fun way to work with tangles on the tile. The beautiful paper with its subtle texture ensured slow mark making. And timing the shading was an adventure in letting go of control. Trying to time just the right moment while the ink was drying (but not too dry) to allow the wet brush and water puddles to melt the ink and create shading was very enjoyable. I like the spontaneity of the finished piece. I can see areas where I would like to go back and add more ink and play a little more but I want to maintain the freshness – so tools down!
I have been discussing with students the value of keeping a sketchbook and have been sharing pages from my own in class. They offer the opportunity to practise with freedom. It’s not the final piece, which can sometimes add a restrictive dimension to the art making process. This is your private space and you only share should you feel comfortable.
I have so enjoyed peeking into other artist’s sketchbooks over the years and so in the spirit of sharing, I’m going to include pages from my sketchbooks at regular intervals.
Here’s a page where I had been exploring ink and the dip pen. Holding the pen right at the far end and loosely pushing it around the paper. Sometimes on its side or back. Light and heavy strokes. Not like holding a writing pen at all. On the left you can just see a little where I used a stick (twig) from the garden – no shaping of the end. Just dipped it straight into the ink bottle and pushed it around the page.
And then the challenge was announced. So I played with some tangles. Some worked with the pen easier than others. And I particularly wanted some that I could shade with the ink and not graphite. Just for fun. In the top right you can see where I dripped ink and water onto the page and then pulled the ink out of the liquid pool. Loved this. I could get some very fine lines with this technique but wasn’t sure how it would work on the more textured surface of the tile.
Really enjoyed some of these effects. Particularly the variation in the shading when water was applied to ink before it completely dried. However, go in too early and it melts into a puddle.
And in keeping with we ‘Learn by our mistakes’, I’m including the first tile that I created. While we all know that Zentangle® is all about the process not the results – I do enjoy a pleasing result! And this was going so well until I added Nzepple under the Purk. Too similar shapes and tones and I couldn’t see how to rescue it. So abandoned this one.
So I hope that I’ve encouraged you to pick up a dip pen, or even a stick and dip it into some ink. Lots of fun! I’m voting to take the ink (love the effects) but not keen to open a bag and find that it’s spilt all through my belongings. So the verdict is still out.