Is It a Plan?

Day 25 in One Zentangle a Day presents one official Zentangle enhancement called perfs and a tangleation on Tagh called Taghpodz, created by one of the book’s contributors. Perfs are an ancient device used by Illuminators to call attention to an aspect of their illuminations or to decorate an illuminated letter. As for the tangleation Taghpodz, I can’t help wondering when a tangleation becomes an official pattern. Maybe when enough people start to use it in their work? 

The author provided an example tangle that caught my eye (see featured image), and I have been playing with it all day yesterday and today. One element modified the pattern Gneiss and placed Taghpodz into its “arms,” making the element look like a fancy folded handkerchief or a flower. I decided to plan my tangle in my sketchbook using only pencil, as I knew ink mistakes would drive me nuts. Then I started adding shading to the graphite drawing and almost destroyed my plan. Here is what I pretty much ended up with–all in graphite, with a note to fill in an area that was just too repetitive for the “plan.” I put plan in quotes because I have an almost complete tangle (except for that one area). 

When the tangle is re-drawn in ink on a tile, a bit of color will be added, followed by a wash to fill in the spaces. I added perfs to highlight the Poke Leaf motif, and used Taghpodz in the flower petals. The shading was stopped when the underlying design started to smear or vanish under the application of the tortellion (not sure about the spelling). I wanted a working, detailed plan to follow, not a distorted rough sketch. I wanted to test perspective and details without worrying about getting a final product on a first run. I may have gotten too detailed for a draft, but this is just a practice run. After a few attempts at changing perspective details, I will be ready to make a permanent ink and watercolor copy of this plan or a similar update. For now, the drawing remains a plan.

Unlike professional artists or Zentangle masters, it takes me hours to create a Zentangle or ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art), especially in ink. This graphite version took me several hours, including erasures and re-draws. That much time for a draft must mean I am either doing something wrong, or I am learning an art form that is not right for me. I read somewhere–possibly in this book–that anyone should be able to complete a tangle in about a half hour. I wonder how many years I will need to practice before I am that fast? 

Admittedly, part of my problem is that I am challenged, physically as well as temperamentally. The hand tremors add to the temperament, and the result is frustration. Since I can draw a straighter line quickly than if I take my time, that is what I do. But when it comes to curves, all bets are off. Why do I keep at it when it is so frustrating? Well, I started for the meditation aspect of the work. Within weeks, I realized that I would get no meditating done for some time. 

Why do I continue? I continue because I there are artistic elements that I have learned from this book that I have had trouble learning from other sources, including a live instructor. Also, there are things in the book that make me wonder enough about the source or the rest of the explanation that I have taken the time to investigate or think seriously about. The meditation aspect may not be coming yet, but other valuable thoughts and ideas have come instead. So, I continue. 

There are aspects of this book which I will probably never attempt–or not for a long time, anyway. For example, today’s lesson goes on to introduce, and encourage the use of, gouache. I don’t know if the art shops on the island stock gouache, which is thicker in texture and more opaque than watercolor (according to the book). I also don’t know if I want to invest in a new art medium at this point. Another medium introduced is alcohol markers. Good ones are extremely expensive, and all I can afford right now is the basic 4-piece set. The price of these is high enough on Amazon, and I don’t think I want to know how much the local shops would charge, assuming they stock them at all, or would be willing to order some. This is, after all, a tourist industry island, and local artists tend to stick to the stand-bys of oil, acrylic, and watercolor paints and supplies. The shops also stock clay and inks, but stay away from less traditional materials. So I need to plan very far ahead if I want to experiment with another medium. There is only so much I can carry back in my suitcase from my annual trip “home.”

Planning and frugality of resources is part of life for me now in a way I never had to worry about in the past–when I lived in the States. I had become used to shopping for anything any time. Price comparisons was a way of life to save money. Not any more. Shopping is a planned activity, and waiting for months until something is once more in stock is the way things work on the island. Prices on everything except booze, tobacco, cameras, and jewelry are “full”–no bargains or regular sales here. I almost feel like a frontierswoman waiting for the tinker or sundry wagon to make its annual trip to town.

The island has been, and continues to be, an adventure and ongoing learning experience–much like learning the art of tangling. There always needs to be a plan…

Happy tangling!



About DrEMiller

Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Home: Sint Maarten. K-12 teacher for 13 years (Special Education for 10 years); Post-secondary educator since 2002; Education consulting since 1995. When teaching, held teaching certificates in K-12 special education, reading specialist; and secondary social studies. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.
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4 Responses to Is It a Plan?

  1. Rajiv says:

    Wow. You have a fantastic blog

  2. Miriam says:

    It sounds like it’s all quite an adventure for you. I hope you continue enjoying, learning and creating. Warmest wishes. xo

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