I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting to find out the process I want to use to create my tangle cards. I finally narrowed it down and came up with a process that is working quite well.
Below are pictures of the back of two cards which contain my own tangle designs. I can’t show the back of any other cards because they all have other tangle patterns created by other designers. I don’t want to infringe on any copyrights.
The below two pictures are examples of the front of the cards. Most cards are done with a mixture of watercolors, acrylic paint, ink, pigma micron pens, and gelly roll pens. I sometimes use stencils and stamps to add designs or I freehand them.
My process is generally the same for all cards. I start out with an 8 1/2″ x 11″ 65lb card stock. Usually white. I use a watercolor wash in a light pastel color on the back, sometimes a blend of a couple colors or just one color. I keep it light in color so when I draw in the step-outs for the tangle pattern it can easily be seen.
Once the back dries, I then put a watercolor wash on the front, this side is generally brighter using a mixture of several colors. One color is the same color as the one I used on the back. I let the watercolor dry because the paper can start to fall apart if I do too much to it when it is wet.
Once the watercolor is dry then I start adding layers of acrylic paint. I may use a brayer to roll out drops of paint, or I may use stencils, or just a brush to get an abstract design and sometimes use odd things for texture like a small bottle cap. Once I am happy with it or feel I’ve taken it far enough then I let the paper dry again.
Once it is dry, then I consider what else I may want to do. I may use gelly roll pens, or pigma micron pen to add some embellishments to make the design pop. Or I may splatter it with inks or acrylic paint. I just let my imagination take me where ever it wants to go.
Once I’m satisfied with the design and it is completely dry. I spray it with a workable fixative. Then I cut the paper into equal 4 parts, in this case 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″. I use either a pigma micron pen or some other permanent ink that dries quickly and use a template to draw in the squares on the back and use red and black ink to draw in the step-outs for the tangle pattern. I round the corners, and using permanent ink pad, usually black, I edge each card in black ink.
The last step is spraying both sides with a UV-Resistant gloss clear acrylic coating. I like the gloss because it gives the cards a slight shine and I want the cards to slide easily against each other.
As of this writing, I have 40 cards made. You are probably wondering why I’m making the cards. In Zentangle, the process is to use a random design, to not worry about trying to plan out any design when you create a design on a tile. I have problems just randomly selecting a design. My mind immediately wants to plan out exactly how it will all be laid out and fit together. After watching a video where art journal artists use prompts and prompt cards they shuffle and randomly select a prompt for what they will do next on their art journal page, I thought it would be neat to create the same thing but use tangle patterns as prompts which if I want to I could mix in with other types of prompts like the art journalist use.
So, basically, I’ll shuffle my deck and then randomly select cards. I won’t know what is on the card because the front side of the cards give no indication as to what the tangle is on the back. And there is no way for me to memorize what is on the cards because each card is different, though there are 4 cards from one card stock page, the designs are abstract and therefore no two cards are identical and there is no way I can remember what design is on which card with there being so many designs. Forty cards barely dents the designs out there on tanglepatterns.com and there are more on other sites.
The pictures of the cards don’t really give the cards justice. I didn’t realize it until earlier this year, probably around February when I really started getting into my artwork and working with paper just how much touch feeds my senses and makes me feel alive.
I love the feel of paper. I especially love the feel of paper that has undergone the treatments I have been doing to create the cards, or the painting I did the other day. Looking at the cards stacked, seeing the effect on the paper, the colors, the warping, is like eye candy. My fingers reach for them and just want to flip through the cards, or shuffle them. I am the same way with a deck of cards or a book I’m reading. I probably flip through the pages of my bullet journal a hundred or more times a day. I could die a happy person just touching and feeling the textures.
This is what is keeping me sane as I continue to look for a job. I wish there was a job doing this for a living and paid enough. I’m still making the borders on my Daily pages in my journals which I am also enjoying very much. I’m scanning them so they can be printed and inserted as a page if I want to or if someone else wants to use the design too.
I also started what they call ICAD 2016. I believe ICAD stands for Index Card A Day. It goes for 61 days. I started late. It started June 1st and I started it about 5 days ago. They provide prompts. You can either follow the prompts or do your own thing. You can do whatever you want. I am using this to experiment with different mediums and see how they interact together. I created one with watercolor, let it dry, then used acrylic paint and a letter template to brush on random letters. Let it dry, then used a couple different colors of watercolor to create a wash effect, then sprinkled with sea salt. I let it dry, rubbed off the sea salt, then coated it in mod podge. It ended up really flexible and feeling a bit like textured leather. I can’t stop picking it up and touching it. It was such a surprise result. And that was just one of them. Each day and so far I’ve done 5 days, each card has surprised me in different ways.
It is interesting to think I am only just now learning what really brings me joy and happiness. Its odd to think that just touching paper, and delving into art can provide this. I knew I enjoyed touch, it was obvious in my relationships but hadn’t realized how it extended into this aspect of my life. Without the other, I guess, this one now has the opportunity to make itself known.