Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Elephant No. 137: Zentangle-Inspired Art

I've never tried doing anything like a Zentangle drawing before. It's always looked very complicated to me, and I was sure I wouldn't be able to do it without a lot of effort. I discovered today that it's actually quite easy—time-consuming, but easy.

According to the how-to book I bought, One Zentangle a Day by Beckhah Krahula, the practice was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. The story goes that, while watching Maria work one day, Rick realized that her state of concentration was similar to his own state while meditating. Together, they came up with a series of steps that would allow anyone to maintain a relaxed focus while creating beautiful drawings with repeating patterns.

Technically, true Zentangle art is created on a square piece of paper, or "tile", measuring 3.5 x 3.5 inches (8.9 x 8.9 cm). The square is usually white or black, and the smallish size is designed to make it quick and easy to create a design. Traditional Zentangle patterns have interesting names like "Ynix", "Squid" and "Keeko", each with its own unique look. Artists are encouraged to combine patterns to produce something they find pleasing.

Some traditional Zentangle designs on standard tiles.
Art by Deb Ammerman
Source: Deb Ammerman Art and Design

All of this was quite interesting, but far too involved for an impatient creature like me. Nor did I want to make something as small as a traditional Zentangle tile. This means I can't really call what I produced "Zentangle" but rather "Zentangle-inspired art". Okey dokey, then.

I started by making an outline of an African elephant's head.

I subdivided the outline next, and started laying in some patterning. So far, so good.

After this, I tried to use some of the traditional Zentangle patterns from the book. I didn't really have time to practice the designs properly, so I eventually decided simply to make repeating patterns I liked.

Once I finished the ears—which literally took hours—I considered adding patterning to the areas that were still relatively blank. However, I liked this so much as it was, that I was afraid I'd wreck it if I went any further. Maybe I'll be more bold once I get a bit more comfortable with Zentangle drawing.

To read more about Zentangle, please click here.

Elephant Lore of the Day
A few days ago, my friend Saša sent me this image from @People's Daily, China. What does one even say about a large elephant-shaped public toilet? I've seen images of many bizarre elephant structures over the years, but this is the oddest to date.

Recently opened in a park in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, the building is nine metres (29.5 feet) in height, and took more than a year to build. According to the GB Times, nearby residents had no idea what the purpose of the structure might be, but told reporters that they liked the creative design anyway.

Public toilet, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China.
Source: @PDChina

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