Last year around this time I participated in The 100 Days Project organized by Elle Luna. I'm back at it again this year. The 100 Day Project is simple. Pick one thing to do everyday for 100 days.
My goal last year for the project was to carve out a new routine for myself. I created all sorts of things during my time last year. As I followed along with other people's projects I found myself envying those with a hyper focus. I wondered what it would be like to experience the project with a narrow focus. So this year that's what I've chosen to do.
I've shared about Zentangle here on the blog before but I don't think I've talked specifically about strings. Basically a string is a light framework for drawing a Zentangle pattern inside the shape created. They're typically drawn in pencil so that once you've tangled with ink those light lines recede and become unnoticeable. The second thing to know about a string is they're meant to come out of your pencil with ease and without trying to draw something specific.
What I'm sharing with this project is a watercolor string that is actually very noticeable in the finished art. But in creating the watercolor line there is more randomness that occurs compared to drawing a line with a pencil.
I've created my "watercolor strings" a couple of ways. Note that none of those ways was taking a brush to the actual paper. I've dripped the watercolor onto the paper either using a brush or an eyedropper. You can make a bunch in one sitting to create a stockpile of pre-strung tiles.
— Start with full sheets of cotton paper or bond paper.
— Have fun creating color combinations while dripping your water colors on your paper. You'll need to tip the sheet to make the color run, creating your lines.
— Alternately you can water down acrylics instead of watercolors.
— Use a ruler and x-acto knife to trim out as many 3.5 x 3.5 inch tiles as you can. After they're cut they can almost fit together like a puzzle.
— Tangle to your hearts content
— Follow all the instructions in Method 1 but use pre-cut Zentangle tiles instead.
When looking at this pattern I can only think in the language of Pee-Wee Herman, mmmmmm foresty. Perhaps it's because while prepping some of the art for this post I watched the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas special. On a side note my childhood came into clarity and I never realized how much Pee-Wee influenced my life! So in honor of the remastered DVD release I'm calling this mmmForesty.
This pattern follows a very basic stacking structure and can be used many ways in your Zentangle art. My most identifiable inspiration for creating this is the traditional Japanese pattern of Seigaiha. MmmForesty is a pointed version of that structure. Because the basis for its structure already exists in our world I've just documented here its construction for use in Zentangle.
You've also seen mmmForesty here on the blog in use on my most recent Christmas cards. I'd really wanted to share the instructions before the holidays but ran out of time. Luckily it's still winter with many opportunities in the near future to cozy up with some tea and zentangle.
If you come across other uses of this pattern structure out in the world please share with me!
And if you're wondering what Zentangle is I've got you covered here.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and a lot like my Christmas cards will be arriving late in the mail. While my cards were one of the first holiday projects I made this season they're the last to make it out the door. I'm checking my list (and addresses) twice. Soon my holiday greeting and paper tree will belatedly arrive at doorsteps.
When designing this years card I kept in mind the limitations of my small table top letterpress. I also wanted to incorporate my calligraphy to illustrate the card. I knew I wanted to send out a folding Christmas tree so the design of the card evolved from that concept. Of course it should be presents for under the tree. I'm very pleased with how it all printed.
Have a wonderful Christmas! I'm hoping to have one more post before taking a little break to enjoy the festivities.