“Zentangle Garden”

zengarden-1It’s time for another art journal entry! Yaaaaay (crowds applause!)

As usual, I had quite a bit of fun working on this newest layout. I had a couple goals brewing in my mind for this entry. Actually three goals total, and this one pretty much fulfilled them for me.

My first goal was to use a bunch of torn pages from books as the background base. I began this by using Postale tissue wrap paper by Tim Holtz. I adhered it to the page using Golden Soft Gel Matte (gel medium), and then proceeded to add additional interest to the background taking various torn sheets of paper from a text book, a couple fictional books, and the white pages from the local phone book, sticking them over the top of the tissue wrap.

I sometimes wonder why I do all this background work… or wonder why other art journalers do this, as well… and then cover it all up with paint so you can’t see all the interesting text and images in the background… because that’s kind of what I ended up doing. After I had all the pages stuck to the layout, I went over it all with a light coating of Liquitex white gesso, dried it, and then colored over all of that with Faber-Castell Gelatos in blue, yellow and green, spreading their pigment across the page by spritzing it with water then smudging with my fingers.

Although the majority of the middle of the page got covered over, the edges did maintain some semblance of opacity so you can see some of the text and images from the background work peeking through.

zengarden-3I took advantage of the Gelatos water-reactivity, as well, and did a lifting technique with them using some various stencils and a baby wipe. I just laid a stencil over the page and smudged the baby wipe over it to lift some of the color which also managed to help more of my base background peek through.

As a final touch for the background, I dripped a bit of Dylusions spray ink in White Linen and London Blue along the top and bottom edges of the page.

It was then time to work on my second goal, which was to draw a sort of garden with Zentangles. I went over the whole background with gel medium first, using a palette knife, to seal the Gelatos and make the surface more pen-friendly. Gelatos, while they’re interesting to work with, have a waxy sort of finish to them that ink pens do not like to write on. So it’s important to seal up the surface of your work with gel medium or gesso first if you want to do any drawing on it.

I think I will emphasize gel medium over gesso here, however, depending on your drawing tool. As I’ve mentioned (and cursed) in a previous post, clear gesso and Sharpie pens do not play nice together. I repeat: DISASTER. So. If you plan to do something similar, I would absolutely suggest gel medium over gesso if you will be using a pen similar to a Sharpie pen (or you’ll be very, very sorry.)

zengarden-2Once the gel medium dried (with a little help from my heat tool), I got to work just drawing (or tangling) away. Instead of my trusty Sharpie pen, I decided this time to try out a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen. I really feel like they both operate very similarly, at least in this particular use. If I were to do more of these in the future, I will likely stick with Sharpie pens as they’re a little less expensive.

There was a third goal to this action, as well. While I drew the image, I didn’t fill the entire layout with the design. I left a portion of the page open to leave the rest of the background work exposed to be admired. I also did this for another reason. You will likely see this image in a future project of mine, as I plan to scan this image and use it as a cover design for another coptic stitch journal. I wanted a cover design that would not be completely inundated with Zentangles.

You may see other repeats that look suspiciously familiar on future coptic stitch books since I feel some of my art journal layouts could serve as really great cover designs for books.

So there you have it. Creative book-binding mastermind at work. Everything has the potential to end up in or on one of my coptic stitch journals. Muahahahaaaa.

Hope you enjoyed the layout. Leave a comment below or like the page and share with your friends. :) Thanks for reading!


List of materials:

Canson Mixed Media sketchbook
Liquitex white gesso
Golden Soft Gel (Matte)
Tim Holtz Postale tissue wrap
Torn book pages
Dylusions spray inks in White Linen and London Blue
Faber-Castell Gelatos
Faber-Castell PITT artist pen
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