Holding Patterns

Everything ebbs and flows. Interests wax and wane. Seasons change. Things are shaken up and settle down again for each of us in our brittle, safe, enclosed snow dome worlds.

While I wasn’t blogging for a while earlier this year, I poured my spare time  and energy into drawing. It was a way to not think about a bunch of stuff I didn’t want to think about. And mostly it worked. I drew meaningless patterns to lose myself in them, and as they spread I began to direct them more, to strive to make what I drew beautiful.

And when I thought I had enough confidence I set myself a project.

First there was learning. Then practice. Then the idea.

First there was the learning in class. Then practice on paper. Then the idea.

The project was to use Zentangle to decorate an MDF box. It took a while.

  • I relearned that mistakes are just a part of the process.
Started out using every pattern I'd learned and ended up with a fish.

Started out using every pattern I’d learned and I made a fish looking thing. I panicked.

  • I remembered the process is as important as the outcome.
The fish disappeared, but it wasn't right, yet.

The fish disappeared, but it wasn’t right, yet. Neither was the focus. #fuzzygram

  • I relearned the naive beauty in patterns and repetition. This is doodling people, not rocket surgery.
Some bits were more effective than others.

Some bits were less effective than others.

  • I learned that the tools must fit the medium being worked on. Drawing on MDF was not like drawing on paper or card stock. Different pens yielded better results under different pressures.
  • The right pen and right pressure yielded more intense colours.
  • I learned the more intense the colour, the better.
As I did more, less became more.  It told me what to do.

As I did more, less became more. 

  • I learned that not everything must possess symmetry.
  • I learned bigger and bolder was better. Otherwise everything disappeared or looked messy.
  • I learned the drawing must fit the space.
  • Tiny timid patterns got lost in the vast expanse of the work.
Zentangle in 3D was an opportunity to see and do things differently.

Zentangle in 3D was an opportunity to navigate challenges differently.

  • I learned a narrow palette is as effective as all the colours of the rainbow.
  • I learned to enjoy the highlights and shading in the lowlights, for perspective.
  • A lot of the time it felt like meditation, which was the original point of Zentangle.
Effectiveness was  measured in how it worked up close and from afar.

Effectiveness was measured in how it worked up close and from afar.

  • After so long writing stories, I relearned art and beauty can possess utility.
  • Attempted art has ruined the MDF; however, as it’s still a box, I can put stuff in it.
When it was done, it wasn't what I had imagined.

When it was done, it wasn’t what I had imagined. That’s ok. 

  • The more I did the more I learned what worked. I turned to repeating the same shapes, and filling the spaces between with smaller patterns for greater areas.
  • I learned darkness is a useful contrast.
  • Zentangle means learning that things don’t need to be difficult to be art, or to be beautiful.
Drawing, like life and all art, is about recognising the light and the shadow.

Drawing, like life and all art, is about recognising the usefulness of the light and the shadow.

  • I learned not to be afraid of mistakes. It was a cheap MDF box after all.
  • It might not be the most beautiful thing ever, or perfect, but I finished.
  • That’s a lot of stuff I learned or remembered while decorating a box.
  • I forgot about the stuff I didn’t want to think about.
  • Learning wasn’t even the point. The point was doing something. And I did. Anything I learned was a bonus.

I recommend learning about Zentangle. It’s an official thing, with a website and even teachers, and a whole heap of inspiration can be found on Pinterest. It all adds up to look formidable, but if you can somehow hold a pen and pencil and draw lines, then line, by line, it’s entirely doable.

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About Becadroit

A writer.
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