Tangling and nature stoke creativity

I’ve been working fairly diligently the last couple days on my next page in my art journal. This one is definitely going to take some time to complete because it’s composed of pretty much nothing but Zentangles and mandalas. I’m filling a 9×12 piece of paper, and it is very detailed.

I needed the break that tangling provides. It really is quite meditative when I get focused in on repeating patterns and making them look beautiful all at the same time. I think this may be a great artist-block fallback for me to work on. And I’ve only just starting tangling so there are a million different patterns and techniques out there that I have yet to discover and learn.

I have three books I use as reference for my tangling:

I have more on my Amazon wish list that I’d like to have. As I’ve mentioned in previous post, I’m a huge proponent of using references and the more the better.

The first two books are actually workbooks of sorts with step-by-step examples on how to draw certain patterns and include large blank spots in them with which you can practice your own drawing. I know when I’m really in need of taking a break from doing art journal pages I will pull out one of those work books and just follow along. It’s really freeing – no pressure to create some amazing original piece that way.

Not that my art journal is supposed to be amazing and original. The point of an art journal in my definition is it’s a place to play and learn. But the graphic designer in me really wants to create finished layouts that have some sort of purpose to them. However, I allow myself mistakes and shrug and say “Meh. Oh well. That didn’t work.” and pat myself on the back for at least getting a design done at all… perfect or not.

But back to the original point of this post. I’m using this particular page of Zentangle designs as a means to be very meditative and relaxed in my approach with my art, and I think what this does for me is it primes the pump and allows me to push forward in future pages with different designs.

That said, the tangling isn’t always enough, either. I get dissatisfied and a bit crabby, to be honest, being stuck in my office / craft room while doing my art. I need a change in environment, as well, so that’s what I did yesterday evening just about a couple hours before sunset. I went to this beautiful little park area that had these nice gazebos surrounded by beautiful gardens with roses, lilies and snap dragons and did a little drawing there. I took some photos of the roses and lilies to use as reference images, as well. The fresh air, gentle sunshine and sounds of nature all around me really helped me feel inspired. I think I need to promise myself while the weather is still nice to get out of the house at least once a week or more when I’m working on something creative.

parkI realize some of my designs don’t really allow me to get mobile, like if I’m spraying inks and need to use my heat tool to dry the page. But even if a current page in my art journal isn’t mobile I can still take my little travel Moleskine with me and do some doodling with that.

There are so many amazing ways out there to stir the creative pot. If you’re reading, I’d love to hear your tried and true approaches.

Happy art-ing, folks. And hopefully I’ll have a finished layout to post here in a couple days! (The photo is a nice little teaser for you at least.)

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