A Journey Into Zentangle – AECP Level 3 Class 1

Hey Crafty People!

I am super excited to begin my Level 3 of the Altenew Educators Certification Programme and this level is a little different than the others; all of the classes for Level 1 & 2 are set, you complete the course as laid out by Altenew, whereas for Level 3 I have to choose 5 classes myself to complete.

This is quite an exciting change, until you get to the point where you have to decide which five you want to take!! There are so many amazing classes that I’m having trouble narrowing it down!

There was, however, one class that I knew I HAD to take as soon as I saw it; Zentangle For Cardmakers. Two reasons: I’ve never tried this before and I just love having something completely new to sink my teeth into, and it’s taught by Amber, who is nothing short of incredible. Let me tell you, I was not diasappointed, AT ALL!

In short Zentangle is, to me at least, akin to a semi structured doodling programme whereby you learn from a huge amass of specific shapes/designs which you can then take to your artwork and use in whatever way you want to.

I describe it as structured doodling because there is a structure, in that you learn these specific designs, but it also has the relaxing, no pressure feel of doodling. The more you practice the shapes, the more automatic their creation becomes and that offers this incredible zen experience that is quite unlike anything else that I have tried before.

In the class, Amber runs through many different ‘tangles’ (as they are known,) showing us a style of cardmaking that each one fits into and giving us ideas of how to use them ourselves.

I started by making myself a little ‘Tangle’ guide, using a tag die to cut some Neenah 80lb that I could include all of the different tangles that we learn throughout the 6 classes. I love to do this, then add the tags onto a journal ring which I can keep on my pegboard. It’s the same way I keep my Ink Swatches.

Organic additions to a floral image

I stamped out an arrangement of flowers and leaves from the Sunlit Flowers stamp set, using several masks. Once I was happy with the arrangement I added each of the layering portions of the flowers; I chose to keep this arrangement monochromatic, using inks from the Gentleman’s Grey colour set.

Once I had completed all of the layering, I started to add my tangles; I chose several of the designs that I thought would best compliment the floral images.

I enjoyed playing around with these, but I admit the control freak in me was struggling a little to let go and I think that meant that my tangling wasn’t as free as it could have been. I think that is an area that I can continue to work on now that I have some foundations in place, thanks to the class.

I finished the card still in keeping with a monochromatic palette by adding a simple sentiment from the Mega Label Love stamp set.

TIP: I positioned my sentiment over a portion of my tangling that I wasn’t happy with; don’t throw out a card because you are unhappy with an element, yo can almost always either fix it, or cover it! *My main tip though is to not believe that you are the only one that ever messes up a card or choosing an element that just throws off the rest of your card completely; always remember that the difference between an amateur and a professional is that a professional knows how to cover their mistakes.

I finished the card by blending some grey ink all around the edges of the panel for a vignette type effect. I love doing this, and if I’m ever at a loss for how to pull a bunch of elements together on my card design this is so sure a go to technique! It just works to bring your eyes into the centre of the card.

Tangling a stencil

For my second card I chose to be a little more regimented, this definitely suited my own personality a little more!

I started by making a background for my Tangling by swiping some Altenew Crisp Dye ink pads across my card panel; I absolutely love doing this, it’s such an easy and quick way to get a unique background that suits your card design/colour scheme perfectly!

Once I had allowed the background to dry, I added really quite a heavy layer of ink, I grabbed one of my Altenew stencils and placed it in an offside type of position and used my 0.1 fineliner to trace the shape of the stencil onto my panel.

Then I set about adding several of the techniques Amber taught in the class; I purposely chose these two styles so that I could use a wider range of the Tangles taught within the class.

Once I was happy with the overall look of my design I grabbed a pencil and tortillon to add some shading around some of the little areas within the wider pattern. (*This is one of the awesome hacks that Amber includes in her class!)

I finished off the design by trimming down the panel and adding it to a piece of black card stock to give me a thin mat, before popping the whole thing onto an a2 110lb card base.

For my sentiment, I cut three black and one gold using the Waterbrush Hello die and I stacked two black with the gold on top, then I slightly offset the final black one slightly to give a drop shadow look which would help it to stand out against that busy panel. I added a few golden gems dotted around the sentiment and called it down!

So that’s my take on the Zentangle For Cardmakers class, and I really hope it encourages you to give the class a go yourself because it really is a very good introduction to the beautiful art of Zentangling. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading off to Amber’s website, Notable Ink to get some more tips!

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Have a lovely, happy, safe, WONDERFUL week.

Stay Crafty!

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2 thoughts on “A Journey Into Zentangle – AECP Level 3 Class 1

  1. AMAZEBALLS!!! I am glad you tried your hands first at a simple design and then at a more complicated design and aced both of them! Bravo!!
    Thank you for entering your work to the AECP assignment gallery.

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