Doodling is awesome. That’s all. There’s no right answer which always feels like the best kind of art. Zentangle, in my mind, is like high brow doodling. Here we combine Zentangle doodle designs with learning the basics of landscape for a can’t miss pattern filled, rule breaking abstract landscape.
Grab some markers and drawing paper and get ready to draw, doodle, and tangle.
What is a Zentangle….
A true Zentangle is done in only black and white, on a 3.5 inch square white paper, and is never representative. Beautiful, complex images come from making repetitive patterns.
Because we’re all artist, though, we’re going to break almost all of these rules. That’s the fun of being an artist, right?
The landscape stuff…
Although true Zentangles are not representative of objects we are going to take this chance to incorporate some landscape basics into our patterning. We’re living on the edge here
The three terms I want to mention here are instantly visible in this pic from a recent vacation; foreground, middle ground, and background. These words help to explain the spatial concept of perspective. They can be applied not only to landscapes but to still life and other compositions as well.
Foreground is the part of a view that is nearest to the observer. The most detail and the most vivid color is seen in the foreground. The foreground is in the lower portion of the composition.
Middle ground is pretty self explanatory. It is literally the space in the middle of your image.
The background is farthest away, closest to the horizon line. The further things get from the viewer the hazier the detail becomes and the more muted the colors become.
From landscape to abstract…
You will need a landscape image to work from. I used this Insta pic from a recent (a-mazing) vacation in Colorado. The layers of the landscape are visibly separated and made more visible by the fog.
I love buying calendars in January when they are practically giving them away to use as inspiration for projects like this. Or you can easily find pics online.
The idea is to break down the layers of the landscape into simple shapes. The resulting image may or may not resemble much of a landscape and that’s okay. Start with pencil…lightly. Add marker when you’re satisfied.
I’m usually loyal to Sharpie markers but for the fine tip version these Bic pens are my absolute favorite!
Choosing a strong picture to work from will give you some great structure to follow as you begin to add patterns.
There is more to a true Zentangle design than what I will explain here. This landscape is simply inspired by the Zentangle craze, rather than true to it’s roots.
Now that your composition is divided into foreground, middle ground, and background with black lines comes the fun part. This is the part where you can grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and settle in.
Each area of your landscape will be filled with a different pattern. Make a mark and then repeat, repeat, repeat. Fun, mindless, creative; all of my favorite things.
Patterns do not need resemble the object they are occupying. They can be any pattern that comes to mind or seems to fill that space well. A simple pattern repeated enough times becomes a super interesting, intricate design.
Anyone can do this!
Tip and tricks….
Depending on the age of your students there are a few things to keep in mind as you work.
If your kiddos are old enough to understand the whole atmospheric perspective idea of foreground, middle ground, and back ground they can incorporate those ideas into their patterning. Patterns in the front are more detailed and include more color. As objects get further from the viewer they have less detail and are lighter in color.
Designs will be more interesting if there is somewhat of a balance of light and dark spaces. Encourage kids to include both fat lines and skinny lines in their design. Some patterns should have lines very close and some further apart. This idea can be added to as kids are working.
Breaking the rules….
True Zentangles are only black and white. So, in the spirit of breaking the rules we’re gonna’ add some color.
Did you know you can add a water color wash using only Crayola markers? A friend did this on Instagram and I knew I needed to snatch her idea for this project. It’s so easy and so simple.
Add a few splotches of Crayola watercolor markers here and there. Coloring solid areas in completely is not needed.
Using a clean brush add some water to the markered areas. A light wash of color will follow the water. It’s light, simple, and clean. What a perfect way to add a “splash” of color!