And That Sums It Up
This One's for You, Tommy

My Latest Hobby

A couple of weeks ago we picked up my BFF Judy and headed down to Ocean City! The trip from BWI rail station was really grueling. Tropical Storm Andrea was drenching us in rain, traffic was backed up for miles and miles and miles and miles to get across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and it took us a grand total of seven hours to get to our little house on the bayside. (It usually takes less than three.)

Of course, it was totally worth every single second. We walked on the beach and the boardwalk, sat on the porch, ate good food, loved up on SonnyeBoy, and generally had a fine old time.

And! I picked up a new hobby, thanks to Judy. It's called the Zentangle® Method - and it's a kind of structured, yet unstructured, doodling created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. (You can read all about the philosophy behind it on their site and see a whole lot of pretty damn cool work.)

I'd actually tried it out a while ago, but quit pretty quickly because I got kind of frustrated. Nothing I did seemed to come out well, and I decided I wasn't cut out for tangling.

Then Judy showed me her sketchbook of beautiful Zentangle designs. I said "Oh, I can't do that; I tried it and I'm horrible at it."

Well, Miss Judy would hear none of that! She sat me down, handed me a pen and a tile (the official 3.5" square Zentangle paper - it's like a coaster), and showed me a few simple designs (aka "tangles"). And I actually produced something reasonably cute!

And so a new hobby was born. I subscribed to the free newsletter, looked up a bunch of tangle patterns, and started messing around. Now I spend my lunch hour practicing various patterns and playing with different combinations and not worrying about making it all perfect. I'm not particularly following the rules - well, maybe they're not really rules as much as best practices - inasmuch as I practice drawing the different patterns using a pencil and old memo pads rather than an art pen and official Zentangle tiles.

I found that I really liked it. I found an old notebook/journal and converted it into a Zentangle sketchbook, I dug out my old scrapbooking pen. If I find that I keep it up, I might even take a class! Meanwhile, though, there are lots of free tutorials on YouTube, plenty of instructions in the free newsletters, and plenty of paper in my sketchbook.

So... here are a few of my tangles, in order from my least favorite to my most favorite. I can easily find things I wish I'd differently, wobbly lines and bad fills and stuff I plain don't like. But that's not the point. The point is just to make patterns and let your mind go wherever it goes.

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