In my gallery are photos of several quilts I have made from Zentangle drawings. Zentangle (www.zentangle.com) is a recently invented art form that is a beautiful kind of structured doodling. In its simplest form, practicing zentangle requires nothing more than small squares of good drawing paper (stiff paper is best), a few good drawing pens, and a couple of soft pencils. Pigma pens are recommended but you can use many others such as ultra fine point Sharpie if that is what you have. Just don’t try to use a ball point pen.
These minimal supplies make Zentangle the ultimate portable art form. Put the supplies in an envelope, tuck them in your purse, and you can amuse yourself easily the next time you are stuck waiting for something or someone. The process of doing the drawings is very meditative, so it is a great way to distract yourself when life throws you one of those inevitable challenges that you must slog through.
Here are photos of some of my zentangle drawings. They look very complicated, but they are produced step by step in such an organized way that anyone can achieve success quickly. A lot of zentangle drawings are completely abstract, and that is what I did at first. I would show you those first drawings but I can’t seem to find them right now! For a couple of the ones below, I was experimenting with some more representational elements.
There are many Certified Zentangle teachers available to teach you this art (list at http://www.zentangle.com), but there are also books available. As a first book, I recommend “Zentangle Basics” by Suzanne McNeill. Suzanne has written many books about Zentangle; you can find them at your local art supply store or on Amazon. I will put direct links to some of the books at Amazon at the end of this posting.
Once a zentangle drawing is made, it can be turned into a quilt. A great book on this is “Zen Quilting Workbook” by Pat Ferguson. Suzanne McNeil has also a good book called “Inspired by Zentangle – Fabric Arts Quilting Embroidery”. The two photos below are quilts I made from designs in “Zen Quilting Workbook”.
All of these quilts are done by enlarging the design as desired, tracing the design on the fabric with water soluble or iron-away pen, creating a quilt sandwich, and stitching the pattern outlines by free motion. The fine detail lines and solid black areas are filled in with ink. The softer gray shading is done with pencil. Colors can be applied in many ways with paints or inks. Although the basic Zentangle form uses just black, white, and gray, many artists have extended it into various colors. And some lovely drawings and quilts have been done that are white or silver patterns on a black or other dark background.
One day I did an original graphic abstract zentangle design and used it for the pocket on a tote bag:
Check out my quilt, “Quiltangled Portland” in my gallery. There is also a photo of another quilt there from one of my original abstract zentangles. And here are the links to the Zentangle books I recommend above:
Zentangle Basics by Suzanne McNeil — well, I don’t understand why, but Amazon won’t let me link to this book. They sell the book, I just can’t make a link to it. You can go to Amazon and type in the title and you will be able to order it.
Zen Quilting by Pat Ferguson: Zen Quilting (DO #5375)
Inspired by Zentangle: Fabric Arts Quilting Embroidery by Suzanne McNeil: #5366 Zentangle Fabric Arts