Checking Your Progress


I wish all my tangle art looked this good and came this easy. There are days when I sit to draw and can not think of a single tangle. Not even one pattern. I start to wonder do I even know any patterns??? Which is silly since I have deconstructed literally a couple hundred patterns of my own. But it happens. Nothing comes to mind and that blank tile and pen just stare at me and wonder why I’m not drawing. I know you have been there, too.

If you tangle – you have been there. This past week in Tangle All Around I talked about one thing you can do when this happens. Many times I start by drawing a whole tile full of printemps – hahaha! – but when even that doesn’t do it for me – I go back to the beginning. Back to where it began. I literally learned to tangle on Pinterest. My daughter was moving 900 miles away and I needed something to keep me busy, so I turned to Pinterest and started looking. Two months later I was in Rhode Island training to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher. The tile you see up there on the left was the very first one I drew based on what I learned on Pinterest. I purposely have not touched up the photo so you can see these things:

  • my lines were a sloppy mess extending way past where they should have stopped
  • my straight lines were not straight
  • my round printemps were not round
  • my crescent moon (upper right) wasn’t even done correctly according to the step out directions
  • I wrote on the front of the tile – I never do that now – I do all the writing on the back
  • I did not shade – I didn’t even know what that was then.

And yet, I was so proud of this tile! I showed it to everyone who stood still long enough to look. I texted it to my daughter and she was so proud of me, too. It was exciting! Now I use it as a measuring device and I use it as motivation. When I am stuck, when I think I don’t know any patterns, when I don’t really feel like tangling – I pull this tile out and I re-create it with my current day skills. And that is what I encouraged Tangle All Around to do last week. Pull out the very first thing they tangled and re-create it with today’s skill level. And see the progress they have made.

The tile on the right is my ‘today’ tile. The way I draw the same four patterns today. Except I never use static (lower left) because I find it boring and unsatisfying. Hahaha! Not all patterns are meant for all people. The way I draw crescent moon, hollibaugh and even my printemps have transitioned over the past few years. And I know that if I do this same challenge a couple years from now – or even a couple months from now – my style of tangling will have changed yet again. And it is all good.

In a tangle slump? Pull out that first tile and re-create it. And I promise I won’t talk this much in tomorrow’s post. Hahahahaha! Big hugs!

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8 thoughts on “Checking Your Progress

    • it’s good to check once in awhile to remind yourself – if for no other reason <3

  1. A really super illustration of what regular drawing of the same patterns develops into – it’s so good to look back & realise isn’t it? Even without the constant regular drawing practice I see a difference in what I do, certainly my attitudes to tangling have changed but my delight in an art form that taught me how to see patterns properly remains. Thank you for a super post & such a real one.

    • you’re welcome, Evy! I remember you have a really good eye for patterns – I’m hoping you have more time for tangling soon

  2. This is a great exercise that I like to do every so often too. Like you – I find it really affirming to look at my first tile and then look at where today’s tile takes me. And you know what – from time to time I even use Static, not often, but just occasionally I can coax some love for that most spikey tangle!

  3. I didn’t mean to resubscribe…I am having a bad day but wanted to tell you thanks for the tips of not being able to tangle. Sometimes I feel like I am in a fog. I will take your advice and tangle one step at a time….lol
    Love these blogs..

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