Playground: MOLYGON, the New Official Tangle

If you already know the blog of Margaret Bremner, then you also know she has a few posts on tangles called “… and then some” where she looks at one specific tangle and plays around with it: tangleations, combinations with other tangles, different fillings, you name it. I love those posts: you find out so many new and interesting techniques and other things and they have plenty of eye candy. My new category Playground is supposed to be similar: It’s a post in which I show you what my results of playing around with a tangle are. I don’t think I’m nearly as good or creative as Margaret Bremner is, but I had lots of fun playing and I do hope you enjoy this new category! I’ll start off with the latest official tangle, Molygon, which was officially presented here. If you already did some research on Molygon yourself, too, and want to share your results, please feel free to add the direct link to your post/picture in the comments.

TIPPS for Tangling Molygon

1. At the Zentangle meeting in Berlin earlier this month, CZT Sabrina gave us the clue to pay attention to the gaps between the “croissants” or “bananas” oder “half-moons” or whatever you want to call the shape. And the circles and “snakes” does look somewhat nicer with even gaps, don’t you think? Don’t forget to turn your tile when you’re going around in a circle! It makes everything much easier.

molygon-1
I think uneven gaps may also give interesting results, but for now, even gaps give it a smoother look.

 

2. However, why always so stiff an orderly? What about a space without circles or snakes filled irregularly with bananas gone wild?

molygon-2

I do like this wild side of Molygon, too.

EDIT: Annette from CREA(R)TIVES let me know that this is actually another tangle released in 2014 by Hsin-ya Hsu. It goes by the name of Rocco and you can find it here.

 

3. In the newsletter, Zentangle HQ gave a hint about the best lenght of the next adjacent “banana”. This was an eye opener for me because that is what I had most trouble figuring out. According to Zentangle HQ (as well es tested and verified by me) the ideal length for a new banana is about half the length of the one before. Ok, that’s kind of hard to explain (and maybe understand), but I hope the picture will illustrate this better:

molygon-3a

After a few rounds you do get the feeling that you cannot go all the way around, but about half is a good way to decide how far to go. Also try to keep the upper curve of your banana about the same shape all the time when you’re going around in a circle. That way, it gets a very harmonic look and the last banana will fit perfectly.

4. If you increase the length, though, you end up with growing shapes while a shorter length will resul in smaller shapes. Also drawing “thin” and “fat” bananas will give it a different look:

molygon-3

5. Up to you is also if you prefere Molygon to have sharp or soft cone ends (is that the right name..?). I prefer sharp ones for drawing but both look good.

molygon-4

6. The last hint is about the circles. Did you notice that the circles seem to turn around a specific centre point? If you mark it down with a dot or simply visualise it for yourself, those circles will be really nice. You can either choose a round center point or an oval one. An oval center will result in a somewhat “flat” circle. And together with Molygon‘s curved shapes, some nice filling or shading, Molygon will become very 3D indeed. If it helps you, you can use your pencil to draw a circle or an oval where all the tips meet. I marked the circles in the next picture with a red pen so you can see it better:

molygon-5a

 

These are the clues that I learned from other sources or found out while practising Molygon. Now let’s have some more fun with it!

 

PLAYING with Molygon

1. Vary the size of the bananas. Ok this will happen almost automatically, but you can use this consciously to achieve some really cool 3D effects:

molygon-6
When you’re going over and under, I wouldn’t draw in the bananas that are going under – it looks quite confusing. It might work if you fill all the bananas black but..

2. Use large bananas to connect two circles. Doesn’ it look almost like a bicycle? You might also like to let a “snake” branch out.

molygon-7

3. When you’re going round in circles, try to turn right & left. Even more than with Diva Dance, changing the direction of your circle or turning your snakes this way adds interest to your piece. What’s your go-to direction? I’m a leftie and I automatically tend to go clockwise. 🙂

molygon-8

4. Use Molygon as a border. Molygon makes a nice, dynamic border, too. Changing the direction of every second banana, maybe adding an aura all around, makes a very fancy border, too.

molygon-9

5. Modify the shape of the bananas. The basic idea is still the same, of course, but adding a circle or making the shape (partially) more angular, or anything else you might think of, will give Molygon an interesting new look, too.

molygon-10-1

molygon-10-2

6. Then, of course, the most obvious thing: fillings! Molygon is one of those tangles that really lends itself to filling it with patterns and and other tangles:

molygon-11

Of course, you might also want to fill in the gaps between the bananas – it now looks a liiiittle bit like Narwal, don’t you think..?

molygon-12

And while you’re at it: you might shade Molygon or shade below it to create a floating, 3D-effect. Shading below the bananas works especially well when you go for the wild Molygon:

molygon-5

 

Last but not least I have some tiles I did with Molygon:

2016_0131_Molygon-bijou-1
Bijou with a Molygon-monotangle

2016_0131_Molygon-bijou-2
Another bijou with a Molygon-monotangle

2016_0131_Molygon-KaKAO
ATC with a Molygon-monotangle

2016_0131_Molygon-tile
Tangles used: Molygon, Shattuck

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Diva Challenge #252: A tangled inception

This week’s Diva Challenge was such fun: “String Theory: Tangle within a tangle… it’s like inception… but with tangles” – which means: Choose a tangle, enlarge it and use it as your string. The Diva here referred to the film Inception, which I know and like, too. As somebody who always has had some issues with strings (no fantasy or luck here..), this is like a dream come true. This is what I came up with this week:

DC-252_Tangle as a string
Tangles used: AHH, Beadlines, CO2, Cruffle, Mooka, Printemps, Tipple (some with auras), Triangles

My string was Cruffle, one of my favourite tangles (even though I don’t use it very much these days) and yes, I used a glass for the big circle. Small circles are fine, but such a big one…? Nah… I thought about a strong difference in value for each half of Cruffle, to give it a “Yin and Yang”-quality. I didn’t really succeed there, but I still look the result. Might have gone over the top a little bit with all the Mooka and Printemps, but… it looked so empty without them. And I like it. Since that workshop with Michele Beauchamp, Mooka and  I really have become friends. 🙂

I’d have loved to tangle more than this one tile, but this week my time is a bit more limited than last week. However, all the other tiles already postet are so inspiring and  make me really want to use these kinds of strings again in the future. It’s a great idea! If you want to see what everyone else came up with, click here to go to the Diva’s post.

Diva Challenge #4: Starry Eyed Surprise

Another belated Diva-Challenge! Originally, I wanted to pick something from a little later on the list. However, this challenge caught my eye and when I read how this challenge came to be, I had to to it asap. For this challenge Laura showed us the tattoes she and her husband got for their 5th wedding anniversary: stars. That’s why she wanted us to incorporate stars into our works. Not only the challenge itself (stars!) is great but also the reason behind it.

And because of that and since the challenge was such fun to do, I tangled two tiles:

DC-004_Starry-Eyed-Surprise-1
Tangles used: Arukas, Auraknot, Fengle, Quipple

I’m really satisfied with this tile and so happy now that I finished it. I love Arukas, but when the parallel curved lines get wonky or not perfectly parallel, I tend to put it away with my other “I’ll finish that someday for sure. Definitely.”-works (some months ago, I even might have thrown the unfinished piece away). But by now I hve learned that this imperfection is not a bad thing at all and that after shading at the latest everything looks astonishingly… cool. Like this one. And I did my first (black and white) gem! Hope you like it. 🙂 And I hope that someday I’ll discover the secret of where to put Arukas’ “arms” to get an (about) even thickness with each one of them.

DC-004_Starry-Eyed-Surprise-2
Tangles used: Hypnotic, Knightsbidge, Lotus Pods, Quipple

When I put away the first, unfinished tile, I started this one right away with a few stars strewn upon the tile and a few curvy, diagonal lines. I wanted the stars to “pop out” of a dark sky and I darkened and darkened Hypnotic (originally there was very little Knightsbridge involved, it kept growing bigger) further until I was satisfied. I definitely do like the contrast! I read about the black background in a great blogpost this week (tht’s when I read it, I’m not sure if it was written recently or not) which I unfortunately forgot to bookmark. I looked for it everywhere but I couldn’t find it again.. ;-( So if you wrote about how you had to become comfortable with white space first and then started to use black backgrounds or now where to look for, then PLEASE leave me the link in the comments! It was a really good post..

Diva Challenge #251: Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

Yay, another week has passed and another Diva Challenge is here! It was nice to tangle on something else (I’m working on the next day from “One Zentangle a Day”) and to do the first ever Diva Challenge back from 2011 and number 3 (as well as another one I’ll upload next week), but it can’t compete with a new Diva Challenge. Although… this week’s challenge doens’t come as a really big surprise when you’ve followed or played in the challenge for some time (ok, a few years).

This week, the Diva asked us to tangle something that takes up the theme Moebius Syndrome, since today, 24th of January, will be the Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day. If you don’t know what the Moebius Syndrome is or why Laura gave us this challenge, I suggest you look at her post for this challenge for an explanation. If you want the short version: Laura’s second son, Artoo, was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome after his birth and since then, Laura has always kept us updated about the highs and lows of this happy little fellow’s life. As far as I know, this is an annual challenge, so it’s not all brand-new. But still important and interesting! This is my tile:

DC-251_Moebius-Syndrome
Tangles used: AHH, Oke, Onamato, Raindotty, Tootle

I really had to refrain from looking at the things people postet in the last few years. I wanted to do something special, but, as Laura put it in her challenge #250 and as many other tanglers commented, too many choices make it harder to decide on anything at all. But since I wanted to incorporate more colour into my tiles, I decided to go for purple this week and use some watercolour – Dioxazine Violet sure likes to run a lot wet in wet and it gave a few interesting foms indeed! For a little contrast I added Indian Yellow here and there, as well as some golden gel pen and some darker shadows in coloured pencil later. When I thought about which tangles to use, I came up with an idea. Have you worked it already? Yes? No?

Well I took the letters from Laura’s son Artoo, who was diagnosed with the Moebius Syndrome, and chose the tangles based on his name:
AHH, Raindotty, Tootle, Oke, Onamato.
Incorporating all these tangles I hardly ever use (save AHH and Oke) into one tile with the task to use the Moebius Syndrome’s logo as a string was quite hard actually – did you know that there are only comparatively few tangles that have a name starting with an “O”? nd they are not among those taht I frequently use or prefer… But I loved the idea of Artoo being in the tile. The overall design is not a really innovative idea, but I like it!

Find your Zen in January: Zenuari Challenge

“Another challenge? Can she never get enough of that?? Can’t she finish a thing before she plunges head first into something new AGAIN?!” – That’s probably what you’re thinking right now. But no, I won’t join Anoeska’s Zenuari Challenge this year, I already have a lot to handle here! 🙂 However, I didn’t want to keep this from all of you who haven’t heard about it yet and might be interested to join it.

So what is this Zenuari Challenge? CZT Anoeska from the Netherlands started the challenge in January 2015 after an unvoluntarily Zentangle-free December. I guess everyone knows this problem: Lots of preparations for the Holidays, parties with family, friends and colleagues, looking for presents, etc. That’s how it all began a little over a year ago. For each day in January, she prepared a little challenge for herself and shared it on Instagram and on her blog. The challenge soon got quite popular and upon request, Anoeska put up another challenge in 2016.

If you want to take a look at (and maybe jump in) Zenuary 2016, you can find the daily challenges in Anoeska’s original post of the challenge. You can also check out all the great contributions for the challenge on Instgram searching for the hashtag #zenuari.

If you’re already playing, please feel free to post the link to your blog in the comments! I’d love to see what you came up with so far and maybe leave a comment or two. 🙂  Same goes for everybody who decides to join the challenge for the last few days.

The Diva Challenge #3: Eyes Wide Shut

I still have to tangle the tile for this week’s challenge, so here’s the next part of my “Diva Challenge”-challenge for now. If you haven’t read it yet: I’ll tangle myself all through the old challenges Laura Harms, the Diva, ever issued, starting with 2010/2011. This is only the second challenge from that period, if you want you can read the first part here.

The challenge #3 (yep, I skipped #2 for now) was to draw your string with your eyes closed. Honestly, I underestimated what weird stuff might happen here. Of course I forgot to take a picture of my string, but it looked something like this:

DC-003_Eyes-wide-shut_string

Not a great many areas fit for tangling, hunh? Well… that’s why I ignored most of it and just had some fun. Never forget that the string is only a suggestion! ;-P This is the result:

DC-003_Eyes-wide-shut
Tangles used: Crescent Moon, Fescu, Hibred, Hollibaugh, Quipple and Zinger

Crescent Moon really creeps up quite often.. which is interesting because although I do like the effect, I’m not especially fond of this tangle. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like it. It sounds rather complicated and it actually IS.

On this tile I like the distribution of the values, it’s quite interesting I think. And I like the depth created by Crescent Moon and Hollibaugh together.

All in all the challenge was interesting. However, for the future I definitely prefer to draw my string with my eyes wide open.

The “Diva Challenge”-Challenge: Diva Challenge #1: Simplicity

The next Diva Challenge is still several days away… And I’m a bit of withdrawal symptoms. What could I do..? Ok, I COULD continue with my other project, One Zentangle a Day, but I came to like the Diva challenges so I thought about how great it would be to have a book someday containing all my contributions to ALL Diva challenges there are. Imagine that, wouldn’t that be great?? I’m sure some of you have the same plans, maybe some very few of you are even already there? I’m aware of that this is a very longterm project me being as slow as I am (it’s a miracle I had the last Diva Challenge up on a tuesday, having tangled TWO tiles).

I’m actually doubting myself I can do it, but.. I can always try! However, the question is where to start when you are almost 250 challenges behind? Well, I decided to start from the beginning. I definitely don’t want to do the challenges in numeric order, that’s pretty.. boring I think. And it puts more pressure on me: “First I have to tangle the contribution for challenge 1, although right now I’d LOVE to tangle something for challenge 10! Oh well…” This usually leads to me stopping whatever I wanted to do in the first place – maybe you know that from your own experience? Instead, I’ll choose whatever challenge appeals to me the most at that very moment. However, having lots of choices usually leads to using a lot of your time and energy to decide where to start in the first place. Because of that, I decided to limit my choice a little: I’ll do the first year first. Then second year. And so on. 52 challenges (or less with the Christmas break), step by step. At least, that’s the plan and it sounds a lot more doable.

I started with Diva Challenge #1: Simplicity – which is nothing I’m good at. But this is a challenge, right? I thought about simplicity in Zentangle and came to this conclusion: What could be even more simple than using only one of the basic strokes for an entire tile? And only one tangle, too? What comes next if you think it about in this way is easy: A monotangle using Paradox:

DC-001_Simplicity-1
Tangles used: Paradox

I was pretty proud that I came up with this idea, but when I was falling asleep that night I thought “Still rather complicated, hunh?” That’s why I did a second, much simpler, tile:

DC-001_Simplicity-2
Tangles used: Paradox (shadow towards the center)

Much better! However, I wondered, what would it look like if I shaded it differently..? I mean, simple doesn’t have to mean that it is a oneway street, don’t you think? That’s how these two tiles came into being:

DC-001_Simplicity-3
Tangles used: Paradox (shading each “step” of the Paradox “staircase”)

DC-001_Simplicity-4
Tangles used: Paradox (shading the edges of the swirl)

How many Diva Challenges have you already completed? And how did you collect/organise your contributions? I’d love to read about it!

Zentangle-Meeting in Berlin

As you may know by now, I’m an ATC addict and a regular on the German ATC site kakao-karten.de. When I became an active member there, I came to love the regular meetings where people from the same city (sometimes plus a few artists coming from near and far) would gather, draw together, get to know the face behind the nickname and of course EAT (eating is a very important part in every KaKAO (=German abbreviation of ATC) meeting). I was always a little sad that there were no such meetings among tanglers, only (paid) courses with CZTs. Well, the biggest problem probably is that there is no place like forums etc. to meet digitally and organise such events. That’s why I was really happy to read the invitation for a Zentangle meeting organized by Berlin’s CZT Sabrina Stein and registered a friend (and tangler) and myself immediately for this event, which took place last Sunday.

We had lots of fun talking to and tangling with all the artists who came along – some as far as Würzburg (which, if you’re not familiar with German cities, is in the very south of Germany, while Berlin is in the north-east). Sabrina and her familiy and friends had prepared lots of food and drinks as well as a few surprises: a really big “tile” for everyone to tangle on and a brand-new official tangle called Molygon, which everyone was encouraged to try out. At first I wasn’t really impressed, but then I tried it and… oh my gosh, it’s great! Here is my very first try of Molygon on an Apprentice tile:

2016_0110_Apprentice

My friend tried it out, too, and included some colour and extra patterns (my “bananas” were too small for that):

2016_0110_Neujahrsempfang_von Franzi

Molygon is so much fun and I’ll definitely try out some more stuff with this tangle and post it here as soon (or a little after) the tangle was officially presented.

I had so much fun tangling that I forgot to take pictures until half the people had already gone home… sorry! Here are a few:

2016_0110_Zentangle-Neujahrsempfang
Our unfinished work

2016_0110_Zentangle-Neujahrsempfang-2
Some of the courses that our host offers

You can find more pictures in Sabrina’s blog post.

When we left, Sabrina even had a little gift for everyone: A little paperbag with some candy and one of each of the official tiles (minus the Apprentice tile) there is: a “classic” white tiles in 3,5″, a black tile of the same size, a Bijou tile, a 3,5″ Renaissance tile and a Zendala tile. Althoug I love all the tiles, the Renaissance tile was the highlight for me because I never had one to tangle before. I’m really looking forward to it!

I want to say thank you, Sabrina as well as your family and friends who made this meeting possible, it was a lovely afternoon! Just like everybody says you can’t do a CZT certification course online and online courses aren’t as good as offline courses, Facebook, blogs and the like are just not the same as gathering physically in one place to talk an’ tangle.

Diva Challenge #250: Bring it Back to Old School

First of all I want to THANK everybody who came here last week and even more those of you who took the time to push the like-button or even leave a comment. I never got so many reactions on one of my posts before and I was – and still am – really happy, thanks to all of you! You are part of the reason why I’m getting addicted to these challenges so much.

And now I want to say: CONGRATULATIONS to you, Laura, for setting the 250th (!!!) challenge! What an amazing number!

Now off to this week’s challenge. One of the things I had in mind for this year was trying some new things in Zentangle. I love the traditional black-and-white tiles and have done quite a few in the last few months, but I love colours, too, and I’d like to use more in my Zentangle works: watercolours, coloured pencils, watercolour markers and the like – as an avid ATC artist, I have them all in front of me. Zengems are THE craze of the moment among tanglers and Margaret Bremner’s wonderful ATCs got me hooked now, too. Recently, I took an interest in Zendala and bought my first book on that. And now comes the Diva Challenge #250: Bringing it back old school: white 3.5″ tiles, pencil, black Micron, tortillon. Full stop.

I was actually laughing when I read this week’s challenge – I mean, that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing in the last few months (a very few exceptions included) and quite the opposite of what my plans for 2016 are. But if my other big hobby, the game of Go, has taught me anything, then it is “You should never laugh at the basics since they are the foundation for anything you want to and (especially >_<) can accomplish”. Now, we tanglers are not that ambitious as (most) Go players (at least I’m trying to be less ambitious and more relaxed with Zentangle than with Go O:-) ), but the basics still are the most important thing, too. Without the basics, would I be tangling? Would YOU be tangling?

That’s why I love this week’s challenge, it takes us back to our beginnings. This, by the way, is one of my first tiles ever dating back to 2013 (I mostly did Zentangle-inspired art then and the tiles I tangled back then were just not to my liking AT ALL):

Tile_2013_1102
Tangles used: Ahh, Cadent, Palrevo, Paradox, Pop-Cloud, Raindotty

Since then much has happened, especially after spending quite some time to get the basics right. Although I must admit that I struggled a BIT with the challenge and the first tile I did wasn’t REAL ZENtangling, I was still thinking too much. That’s why I did a second tile*:

DC-250_Basics
Tangles used: Crescent Moon, Hollibaugh, Jonqual, Printemps, River, Tipple

I’m looking forward to seeing many gorgeous tiles this week, I’ve already seen quite a few! Please keep me busy (looking at your works), it’s another frightening 5,5 days until the next challenge! 😉

*I like the first tile, but I’ll only post the second one for now because it suits the challenge best. I’ll put the first tile in a summary I’m planning.

Diva Challenge #249: Duotangle Diva Dance and (L)Auraknot

Although the number is nothing special, his week’s Diva Challenge was a special one since it marked the beginning of the fifth year of the Diva Challenges. Imagine that: 5 years of challenges, 249 (and some) weeks running! Laura Harms, the Diva herself and the Diva Challenge founder, definitely has my highest respects for coming up with all those challenges week after week. Congratulations, Laura, and thank you so much for all the heart, thoughts and work you put into your weekly posts and challenges!

This week’s challenge was SO tempting : a Duotangle with two of my most favourite tangles: Diva Dance (I especially love the Rock’n’Roll-variation) and Auraknot which the Zentangle founders renamed Lauraknot for this week to celebrate the occasion. The two tangles look great together and I might be doing more with them. But for now, here’s my tile:

249_Duotangle_LAuraknot-Divadance
Tangles used: Diva Dance (Rock’n’Roll-variation) and (L)Auraknot

I loved this week’s challenge and I love the results of all the other tanglers who have contributed to it so far. Gotta go and comment on a few of them. 🙂

See you soon!

Happy New Year!

Hello everybody,

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday season and a great start in 2016! I wish all of you health, success and of course creativity and lots of fun and relaxation tangling away!

I’m sorry it was so quiet in the last few weeks. I’ve been very busy with preparations for Christmas, which didn’t really leave time for updates from me. Then I went home for the Holidays where I don’t have access to a scanner.. which was a BRILLIANT excuse to be very lazy and not tangle at all for 12 days although I had been looking forward to tangling excessively.. Oh well. I’ve been active on Twitter though, so if you’ve got an account there or just want to take a look, please come around! You can find all necessary information in the box in the menu on the right.

Do you have exciting plans or even resolutions for 2016? For me, 2016 will be a very busy, definitely stressful but also a wonderful year (as far as I can tell now). More on that as it comes.  Zentangle-wise this year will be very interesting! For instance, I discovered only a few days ago that my dear sister has caught the Zentangle virus, too! Her first tries are gorgeous and I’m positively excited to see her next works and how her style will develop!

Yesterday I discovered that not only a new book by Beckah Krahula (The author of “One Zentangle a Day”) will be released in a few week’s time (I knew about that before), but also a TON of other Zentangle books. Many of them are in German and they are no translation of English works. The hype definitely reached Germany now. A few of those books are veryy tempting and a few of them will be released around my birthday. An evil combination indeed!

I already bought a new Zentangle book this week (I might be writing about it if you are interested in reviews of German books, too?). Zendalas never really appealed to me until very recently and now I’m dying to finally tangle one. But that might take a few more days.. You can see nothing much has changed over the year: Many plans and little time… ^^; If I can only finish half of what I’d love to do, I’ll be extremely busy. It looks like a very busy Zentangle year! Now I’m almost glad that I wasn’t able to get one of those Tangle-a-Day-calendars by Carole Ohl (although still sad..).

But let’s see what life has in stock for each and every one of us. I do hope it’s only good things.

I’ll be back very soon with my tile for this week’s Diva Challenge!