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Monday, July 16, 2012

A Basic Comfort

We recently received this email . . .
Hi guys, Am I a dweeb for wanting to stick with basic tangles? I love the simple, basic designs. The advanced stuff is nice, but I like where I'm at. I feel kinda bad with all the fancy designs on the net and my basic designs aren't anything to write home about, but I like them. It's impossible to make it into the Who's Who of Zentangle unless my Tangles are over the top. This is discouraging at times. 

Thank you for writing. This brings up such an important point.

The charm of Zentangle's method is that you can relax into the pleasure of creating "one stroke at a time" without concern for the outcome. We often speak of Zentangle as a practice. We never speak of it as a competition.

A useful analogy is reading. Would you enjoy a book better if you could read it faster? Perhaps you could read more books, but at what cost? When you can afford to read at a comfortable pace you can savor a turn of phrase, look up a new word, or gaze into an unfocused distance as you imagine a setting and see yourself in it.

It's also relaxing to read an author with whose style and characters you already know and enjoy. It's not necessary to always read a new author on a new subject every time you pick up a book.

Same with Zentangle. Or a walk in the woods. Or cooking.

Maria writes:
Where is it written that we must constantly strive for more complex and focused tangles? There is something to be said for tried and true, simple and familiar . . . like "mac & cheese" vs. the latest recipe on a food blog. My "mac & cheese" tangle is mooka; Rick's is flux. It's the one I start tangling when I need to draw and not think. Maybe I throw in a bit of poke-leaf sometimes.

Every time I draw mooka something morphs. It looks nothing like the original plans I might have had when I began . . . it grabs other tangles and ingests their aspects all on its own.

But for me, comfort it is.

Rick continues . . .

We both sat down yesterday afternoon (Sunday) to create two basic tiles:



Maria did mooka; I did flux. It looks like Maria surfed mooka whereas I walked my well-worn flux pathway and added some familiar hollibaugh. We did these independently. After we finished and I saw them together, I remarked to Maria about how many similarities these quite different tiles shared.

I did my tile with traditional corner dots, border, and a "Z" shaped string. My flux and hollibaugh almost always look the same from tile to tile. For me, this is part of their charm and why that email struck such a chord. Often my favorite part is shading what I've just tangled but with this tile I most enjoyed coloring in the black behind hollibaugh.

Thanks again to the writer of that email for the inspiration to create these tiles and have this conversation.

Maria continues . . .
I say, draw whatever tangle makes you happy at that moment. That is the essence of Zentangle, enjoying putting pen to paper one stroke at a time. It feels so good to enjoy that moment without fretting about an outcome or someone else's opinion. 

So, if you want to learn a new tangle (or explore a new path or try a new food), that's fine. But most times what you want is a comfort tangle; and then, comfort tangles it is!
  • Tried
  • True
  • Simple
  • Familiar
So, what are your "Mac & Cheese" tangles?  (And, why?)

Click images for more basic comfort.




25 comments:

Zachary said...

My mac and cheese is definitely Paradox. I love both doing the tangle itself and the outcome. I love how it can interact with other tangles, filling and mingling. Plus it reminds me to turn the tile, which I sometimes forget.

Alice said...

i think betweed - it's the one i overuse, because it's comfortable and i like the way it looks. now, if i can do a little betweed and a little pokeleaf - i am one happy person :)

Jill Dobis DZines said...

I'm not sure I can really pick one favorite, but I do agree that I like the simple and versatile tangles the best. When I first discovered ZT, I started collecting different tangles from all over the net... Some looked really cool, but were very complicated. Not really very relaxing! Recently, I have started deleting some of those first tangles I saved, because I find that I don't really get the same enjoyment out of the very complex ones. (even though they look cool sometimes) ;) I'm keeping a few of the complex tangles, but mostly I prefer the simple, beautiful tangles that you are both fantastic at coming up with! :)

Linda Farmer said...

Bales! Simple and versatile.

Erin said...

My "mac and cheese" is definitely Printemps and Flux. They make me feel "arty" because I think they look impressive with just a little shading and some added sparkles. Sometimes it just feels good to get lost in the tangle and these two allow me to do that.

that cat said...

whenever i start my hand just naturally makes the swoosh of the stem of verdigoh. i love to draw the needles or leaves and see what i can come up with and yes, it is very comforting and something i can do with my mind far, far away. even when i learn a new tangle it ends up with a bit of verdigoh in it somewhere...

Shelly Beauch said...

It's tripoli for me! I like the way tripoli triangles start in a group, but can wander off in different directions, find freedom then return to group up again. It doesn't have to be perfect which makes for a relaxing time-out.

Margaret Bremner said...

Well writ by Jove!
Crescent Moon is an all-time favorite of mine. Also Black Pearlz (they show up in almost everything I do!). Tripoli, Paradox, Pearoz in a black band.
I seem to have a run on a favorite, then it changes and I'm on to another tangle.

Mariƫt said...

For me it's n'Zeppel.
It simply fits in every ZIA and can be used in so many ways.

kass hall said...

Verdigogh for me. Not only does it crop up in many of my tangles, it also crops up in my general artwork and when I am feeling in a rut and having a "i have no new ideas day", I start drawing Verdigogh and it flows from there.

Dana said...

I like to do some faves like Btl Joos or some flowers, and I like to try a new one.

As a beginner, I limit how much I look at other tangles online, because I don't want to bring up my perfectionist nature and feel frustrated. I love my simple tiles, and work a tiny bit at a time on something new - a pattern, shading, a touch of color.

Dianne said...

Wow! I needed that post. Sometimes I do compare my work with other, better artists and miss the beauty of tangling just for the sheer pleasure of it. We all have our different strengths when it comes to drawing and I try to stay away from flowy lines, like Mooka, because I don't like the result. Basically, for me, it's anything that starts in a grid. Favorites are Puf, n'Zeppel, Florz, and Fife :)

Steph said...

I agree with Dianne - I, too, compare my work with others! My go-to tangles are Cadent and 'NZeppel. I love the simplicity of them, and yet I find I can do a great number of things with them. I've found lately I've been getting stuck, "not knowing" what tangle to use. I always end up going back to these :)

Cathy said...

My favorites change from time to time. I love betweed and keeko.

Daniele OBrien Design, CZT said...

I love this post, I too have my faves, the tangles that put me in that calm, happy place. Printemps, Keeko, Mooka, Shattuck, these are my go-to's. But as Cathy said, my preferences do change depending what I'm working on.

Merri said...

I have 3 favorites - mooka because it's beautiful and I love how it's easy to have the unit/pods go behind each other and then it looks very complex. I fall back on Striping and Strircles a lot because I like the graphic look and also enjoy shading Striping.

Genevieve said...

My go-to tangles are Shattuck, Paradox, Cadent, Hollibaugh... and I think Auraknot may become one.

Diane Masloroff said...

My mac and cheese is shattuck, betweed and paradox. However, I love to lose myself by using aura's. I find the repetitive lines of aura's is relaxing and gives me a drifting feeling. I needed to see your email, it's always nice to be reminded to go back to the basics. Thanks for sharing.

Dawn Jackson said...

Interestingly, in a fb "conversation" with participants in the August seminar the question was asked regarding our favorite three tangles.

For me, unless I make an effort not to, I use hollibaugh and/or betweed in a lot of my work. Ahh is a frequent filler tangle.

Carolyn Blocher said...

Oh but I needed to read this today. I am an avid searcher of perfect tangles yet mine are simple. This fits me beautifully. My mac and cheese would be Tipple, Hollibaugh,Flux, n'zepple.

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted that person emailed you, because I feel exactly the same way. Some of the ZIA's I see are practically museum-quality art, and my tangles aren't even close. Sigh. I keep trying, and I keep looking, and I keep loving it.
My go-to tangles are bales, mooka, and...is it "swirly?" Don't remember the name exactly, but love it as a filler.

Anonymous said...

well, mac 'n cheese & peanut butter and jelly sandwich style zentangles for me are: betweed/gneiss and drupe....just love those three deeply.....

and comfort is always a sensational feeling....Holly in VA

Creating said...

I agree with Dianne and Steph. I mostly get lost behind my computer looking what all the others make and I feel discouraged because I know my zentangles are not even close. So I agree that the result may never be more important than the process. Let's get back to basic. Less can be sometimes more.

Genie said...

I usually try at least one new tangle a week but my favorites are Paradox, nightsbridge, beetle juice and mooka. I also do feathers just for fun too. :)

Karen Woodbine said...

I think so many of us can relate to this post. I know I can. My mac and cheese tangles are Printemps and Knightsbridge. They are simple, beautiful and a quick path to the meditative part of Zentangle for me.