From Zentangle® to Silk Painting

Zentangle was the focus of the latest get together of the Piedmont Silk Painters, led by certified Zentangle instructor and silk painter Joanna White. The Zentangle Method is an easy way of using repetitive strokes to create beautiful structured patterns, from simple to very intricate.

The patterns are called tangles and require making specific strokes in a specific order which makes it different from unconscious doodling. 

We silk painters are always looking for new techniques to use in our work, and Zentangles, with all its drawing, is a good inspiration for creating line work on silk. 



Joanna started out by showing some of her Zentangle-inspired scarves. She then taught us a few of the basic tangles, which we did on small paper 'tiles'using just a pen and pencil.

These are my learning tangles, started in class and continued at home. The mistakes I made in these brought home the value of having rules to follow when drawing these structured designs! You really need to focus on what you're doing, which does make it quite different from doodling.



After a demo from Joanna, we  next used the tangles we had learned as inspiration for drawing with colored resist on scarves we had already painted with a background color. Everyone was free to come up with their own interpretations. 


This is mine... I drew with Marabu resist in a beautiful sparkly blue on a peachy-pink background. At home I added some more drawing with a darker blue Lumiere fabric paint in a squeeze bottle. Painting was done with several layers of Colorhue dyes. I was trying to more or less mimic  the monochromatic color and shading of a traditional Zentangle, while creating a freeform pattern.


I''m really pleased with this! I found this a fascinating way to develop a design with no pre-conceived idea. Start with one element and just keep adding! Having mark-making 'rules' to follow (albeit loosely) is actually quite freeing! I like that this Zentangle method nurtures my love of drawing, without having to be realistic or representational.


This was actually the second time the Piedmont Silk Painters have had a Zentangle session with Joanna. My post on that is here, and the two scarves I created from that session were allover designs, painted with batik technique. Quite a different look, but again, having the rules as guide took a lot of the stress out of filling up a blank piece of silk with design!