Author Archives: rhondaroy

About rhondaroy

Making sense of the world around me seems to be the theme of my life. Every job I've had has involved creating how-tos for those that follow, or explaining what I'm doing to those around me. For someone who grew up with the messiest room in the country (according to my mother), I've developed a love of organization, and like nothing better than to put things in order. This, however, does not include my house!

Why don’t you teach a class on this?

Originally posted as “Choosing a Class” on Nov 14, 2018

“This is cool; why don’t you teach a class on this?”

There are so many great ideas out there, and so many people interested!  The trick is mixing and matching it just right; selecting classes where there is enough interest, the right timing, and the perfect balance of fun, relaxing, simple and inexpensive. 

So how does something go from a great idea to a class? Let’s walk through an example of an upcoming class.

Holiday Party Crackers Class coming December 4th to the McMillan Arts centre.

THE INSPIRATION 

  1.  See a cool idea – hey, what about tangling those crackers you get at family holiday dinners?
  2. Do some research. Can you make them yourself? Are there resources to buy the materials? Is it hard or expensive to do? 
  3. Try it out for myself. I made several crackers of different kinds, and experimented with different tangles to use. Once I did that, I evaluated:
  4. Was it fun to do? Did it take a ton of time?
  5. Would it be fairly simple for students to do? (what’s the skill level required?)
  6. Did it take a lot of materials?
  7. Was it ‘zen’ enough for me? (a mindful exercise, not stressful)
  8. What is the Zentangle spin on this – does it present a technique or tip that would be useful in other tangling?
  9. Is this something you could do again after taking the class?
  10. Can you take this and do different things with it? (other tangles, other applications) – is there room to have fun with the idea?
  11. Can it be taught in 3 hours? (or is it a longer-term project?)
  12. Would this appeal to enough people?
  13. Then I did a little more research:
  14. Are there other examples I can study? Who else has done them – any photos I can look at?
  15. Are there other ways can this be done? Could you do simpler/more elaborate/different twists?
  16. What tangles could I use to teach this? (I like to have a number of possibilities)
  17. Is there a kit or lesson plan I can buy or ask to share?  I always ask permission before teaching someone else’s class idea. (In this case there wasn’t; I was free to create my own.)
  18. What’s the focus or angle I want to take in teaching the class?

THE CRITERION

Every CZT has their own criteria and their own preference for teaching classes.   My current preference is for classes that:

  • are accessible for all levels of skill (Zentangle Basics the only prerequisite)
  • can be taught within my framework of  $40 for 3 hours, with materials extra (in this case I added some materials to be included because it was a special class)
  • fit within my own schedule and that of the place I’m teaching
  • are either Basics, or FUNdamental (further Zentangle skills) or ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art)

THE SCHEDULING

So now I’ve chosen a class to add to my calendar.  What now?

  1. Choose the name of the class. In this case it was my own lesson; if I’m using someone else’s lesson plan (with their permission of course), I may call the class by that name.
  2. I usually set up classes by season, starting with a Basics class, then a follow up (fundamentals) style class (like shading) and a ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) class for cool projects.
  3. Are there holidays in the season that would fit well with the class? In this case, December is a good time, but before Thanksgiving would have worked for an autumn themed party cracker.
  4. Are there other offerings like Tangle Island or another CZT in that season?  I would try to keep the date from competing with these offerings.
  5. Would enough interested people be able to fit this into their schedule?

THE PREPARATION

  1. I create prototypes for the class. I make lots of examples and choose the ones that are going to be the samples on the flyers, online registration, website, etc. I need the image before I can announce the class because people will want to know what the project/class sample will look like.
  2. Get the word out. I usually start about 3 months before the class and announce on my website, flyers, Facebook, online registrations, etc. I like to plan classes by season which means I need to know all 3 class offerings at this stage before I proceed.
  3. Make a list of class materials. It needs to be affordable and easy to find. I also make sure I have a set of materials for people to borrow if they can’t find what they need. (In this class, I also needed to purchase special materials to include; things that aren’t readily available for purchase.)
  4. Write out the lesson plan. Even if there is a prepared lesson plan, I like to actually walk through it as if I were teaching it. I make notes of what to include or change in the lesson – or what to remember to say. I customize it to my students and my teaching style and what I want to emphasize about Zentangle in these classes. And sometimes (as in this case) I create the lesson from scratch.
  5. Prepare packages and teaching materials. A couple of weeks before the class I go through everything again, make any last minute adjustments and prepare any class materials and assemble teaching equipment and materials. This gives me time to make sure I’ve got everything we need for the class and all arrangements are made.

Once I teach the class (and assuming it’s successful) it will usually go into my roster of classes available for private or semi-private lessons, and classes I will teach again in the future.  The exception would be if the class materials are of a limited variety – a one-time thing.

There’s always something new to tempt me to teach a fun new class.  At the moment I have at least 45 class possibilities in my ‘class ideas’ folder, some of which require more research and experimentation.  My 2021 Fall class schedule includes a Basics Class (September 4th), a class I’m teaching with permission (Rock Cairns October 2nd), a class I developed myself (Octopus’ Garden November 6th) as well as this Holiday Party Crackers class.

With every new idea winging by, I take a look, decide whether to bump a ‘future class idea’ or just put it in my folder for eventual use.  That’s why I like to be cagey and say I haven’t decided on the next round of classes. Some ideas include Stained Glass Windows, Parksville Sand Dollars, Shading, Zen Buttons….

Do you have an idea for a class? Share it with me!

Zentangle Basics Class – September 4, 2021

Have you been curious about Zentangle? This is the class for you!

Learn more about the world of Zentangle by exploring some basic “tangles” as well as the philosophy and the process of this fun art form. With one simple stroke at a time, you’ll discover how simple, relaxing and enjoyable Zentangle can be. You’ll create two tiles of your own and have a chance to see how they fit into a larger mosaic. No art experience necessary – anyone can practice Zentangle and benefit from the meditative aspect of this form of drawing!

Saturday, September 4th from 9 am – noon
Cost $40

Register online here

Supply list:

  • 1 black 01 or PN Micron pen
  • 1 tortillon or paper stomp
  • 1 pencil

Paper tiles will be provided and there will be class sets of materials available to borrow.

This class is a prerequisite for other Zentangle classes from any CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher)

Location: McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville

Zentangle Rock Cairns Class – October 2, 2021

Saturday, October 2nd from 9:00am-12:00 pm PST

Cost  $40 (materials not included)

Register online

Stone cairns are seen all over the world, and are used for wayfinding, marking special places, and for historical purposes.  In this class we’ll created a whimsical stone cairn, tangle it and add colour and highlights for a pleasing effect.  This is a great class for anyone wanting to refresh their Zentangle skills or start adding colour to their work.  Zentangle Basics (or Art Bites Zentangle) is a prerequisite, so bring your basics kit and get ready to play!

Supply list:

  • Your starter kit (Black 01 or PN pen, graphite pencil, blending stump)
  • An assortment of watercolour pencils or Tombow Dual Brush pens* (3 or 4 is fine)
  • White chalk or charcoal pencil
  • A second, clean blending stump (for white pencil)

Paper will be provided and there will be class sets of materials available to borrow.

*Ecoline markers, Faber Castell Pitt pens, or similar will also work

Location: McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville

Zentangle® Octopus’ Garden Class – November 6, 2021

Saturday, November 6th from 10:00am-1:00 pm PST

Cost  $40 Studio class $35 online (materials not included)

Register online

Tangle an underwater world living in the depths of the ocean using Sakura Moonlight gelly roll pens and a little shading and highlighting.  This class will explore working on black paper and choosing tangles to create an underwater landscape.  Zentangle Basics (or Art Bites Zentangle) is a prerequisite.

Supply list:

  • Your starter kit (Black 01 or PN pen, graphite pencil, blending stump)
  • An assortment of Moonlight Gelly Roll pens
  • White chalk or charcoal pencil
  • Black chalk or charcoal pencil
  • White Gelly Roll pen (optional)
  • 2 blending stumps (or one double pointed)

Paper will be provided and there will be class sets of materials available to borrow.

Location: McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville

Art Bites: Zentangle – Sunday, November 21, 2021 10 am – noon

This class is hosted by the McMillan Arts Centre School for the Creative Arts

Art Bites is a course designed to give you a taste of a variety of art mediums. Each 2-hour class introduces you to a new medium and show you the basic techniques using a small array of supplies. Everything is provided; you don’t have to bring a thing!  Go home each week with a piece of your own and a sense of how this art medium works.

More about the MAC’s Art Bites program here

For Art Bites: Zentangle, you’ll create your own Zentangle piece of art on a 3.5” square paper ‘tile’, learn some basic  tangle patterns and find out more about the Zentangle method.  This class counts as a “Zentangle Basics’ class, a prerequisite to other Zentangle classes.

Cost is $35 for 2 hours, and all class supplies are included.

Register online

Location: McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville

Art Bites: Embedded Letters (Zentangle) – Sunday, November 21, 2021 – 1-3 pm

This class is hosted by the McMillan Arts Centre School for the Creative Arts

Art Bites is a course designed to give you a taste of a variety of art mediums. Each 2-hour class introduces you to a new medium and show you the basic techniques using a small array of supplies. Everything is provided; you don’t have to bring a thing!  Go home each week with a piece of your own and a sense of how this art medium works.

More about the MAC’s Art Bites program here

Learn how to create a fancy looking Illustrated letter with a few simple strokes. Embedded letters look great on note cards, name tags, gift cards and more.  Previous Zentangle experience is not required. 

Cost is $35 for 2 hours, and all class supplies are included.

Register online

Location: McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville

Holiday Party Crackers, Zentangle Style – Saturday, December 4, 2021

Saturday, December 4th from 10:00am-1:00 pm PST

Cost  $40  (some materials included) – only 6 spaces available

Register online

Location: McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville

Have you ever made your own party crackers? We’ll tangle a holiday-themed wrapper for your party cracker. Yes, the materials kit includes those snappy ‘cracker snaps’, and enough materials to make 4 crackers in total!

You add your own goodies along with the basic innards provided, and we’ll assemble at least one cracker together. After this class you’ll be able to make your own party crackers for any occasion!

Zentangle Basics/Art Bites Zentangle is a prerequisite for this class.

Please note:  only 6 kits available for this class; each kit makes 4 crackers

Materials kit includes:

  • Cracker snaps
  • Cracker template
  • Cracker tangling paper
  • Ribbon
  • Tissue party hat 
  • Jokes/fortunes to put inside

You’ll also need:

  • Toys/treats to put inside the cracker(s)
  • Your usual tangling/crafting supplies
  • Gelly roll pens or similar (some will be available to borrow)
  • Scissors and/or X-acto knife
  • Tape
  • Feel free to add your own bling, stickers, personalized items, etc.

Process or Outcome?

(The first version of this post appeared in my old website on June 27, 2017.)

As we move through various phases of our lives, it seems that we are always revisiting things we have learned but in a different context.  Focusing on ‘process’ over ‘outcome’ is one of those things for me. 

Clear your mind. Take a minute to appreciate this time and your materials. Deep breath. Now what’s the first tangle that comes to you? Start there.

Learning about Zentangle taught me the importance of being in the moment, letting go of judgements, and re-learning how to create just for the joy of it.  If it had not been for Zentangle, I don’t know if I would have ever rediscovered this.  It’s all about the process of drawing; the experience of actually creating something is more important than the finished tile.  The magic is in how satisfying the end result usually is.

This is a hard feeling to hang onto when we talk to other people.  We are so used to measuring worth in terms of outcome that creating something just for the act of creating is a hard concept for some people to get. (If you don’t believe me, find out how many seconds it takes for a new acquaintance to ask what you do/did for a living).  

“But what do you DO with it?” they ask me when I tell them about Zentangle.

Often I do nothing with it.  My daily tiles are not meant to be ‘done-with’.  I keep them in a photo box so I can paw through them from time to time. One box will hold at least 365 tiles, so I have one for each year I’ve tangled. It doesn’t take up much room because I have no plans to display them all.  I do post my daily tiles on social media, but that’s my commitment to show up regularly with a tile and without judgement.  I want to be okay with not being perfect, and to show others it’s okay, too.

Creating a tile for the fun of it. Is it perfect? Nope. But it was so much fun anyway! Z2562-2021Jan15

Even my Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA) is something I do to please myself.  I create things I want to in order to explore art techniques, to experiment with tangling things on different surfaces, or simply to please myself.

“You should sell your stuff,” is so nice to hear, and I am pursuing this with some of my ZIA.  But from time to time I need to pull back from that aspect for one simple reason.  

When you start to prepare art for sale it becomes about outcome again.  And it becomes easy to second guess yourself.  Now you aren’t just pleasing yourself, you’re pleasing your prospective buyer.  And you need to produce in order to sell.  It’s pretty hard to ignore the “what if it isn’t good enough?” voice in your head.

For me, that’s when it’s important to make it clear in my mind the purpose of what I’m doing.  Is this piece meant to be something I am creating to please just myself?  If so, whether or not it sells, or other people like it is beside the point.

Isn’t that what art is really about?  Making something that gives you joy, or simply gives you a voice, regardless of what other people think.

When you focus on the process and the joy of creating, and you just keep doing it, the outcome really does take care of itself.

This visor was for sale in the Artisan Gift Shop at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville. Did I know how it would turn out when I started? Nope – no plans – just focused on the process and enjoyed it!

Adding colour to a tile

Today’s tile took me on an unexpected adventure.

I started with a simple idea – what if I used N’Zeppel for a string and filled it with a fragment like Crescent Moon?  Couldn’t be easier, right?

As I tangled I decided to make my N’Zeppel spaces pretty big, and to blacken the interstices (the bits in between). It seemed only logical to blacken around the edges as well, so that the N’Zeppel spaces would stand out.

Then the fun started.

As I drew my Crescent Moons, a little voice told me to wait on blacking them out. The background is already black – I might want to do something different.

Then I started to like the negative space in some of the areas, places where I didn’t put the Crescent Moon auras all the way. When I decided to stop I still had a lot of white space. And I liked it just the way it was! I didn’t even want to shade it!

But I did want to try some ideas.  So I scanned the tile in and made a couple of copies, then started to play.

In the first version, I used a navy PN pen to fill in the Crescent Moons, but it seemed too dark.  So I tried lighter blue.  I liked that better, but what about shading?  So I tried three different shades of blue pastel pencil.  I decided I liked the lighter blue for the Crescent Moons, and the darker, almost Navy blue for the shading.

Hmmm.  So what if I used a different color altogether?  Enter the orange Micron – oooh I like that!

For shading, I didn’t want it all orange, so I tried orange/yellow/orange around the aura areas, and yellow in the negative spaces. 

So today, I’m going with that color combination.  But guess what?  I kept the original tile white – room for more experimentation.

So when in doubt, I highly recommend scanning in your tile and then trying all kinds of things. Who knows what you’ll come up with?

Afraid to Shade?

This article was originally posted on my old website in 2017.

“I love my tile the way it is – I’m afraid shading it will mess it up!”

I’ve heard that comment often from my students.  While shading adds a whole new look to your tile, it is another area where uncertainty lies.  How will you know you like it better when it’s shaded?

First thing to remember is – it’s pencil.  Pencil can be erased.  I know, there are no erasers in Zentangle, but if worse comes to worse, you can always go back to the original tile as long as you’ve shaded in pencil.  It’s your art.   Nobody will tell on you!

Second rule of thumb is to shade in layers.  Start lightly, laying down a small amount of graphite and gently pulling it down to create a shaded line.  If you use the side of your pencil and shade gently, there will be no hard line to blend or to dig into the paper.

Third suggestion is to use the side of your tortillon or blending stump when you’re shading and move in small strokes.  This gives you more control over where the graphite is going.

Is the shading still not showing?  Go back and add another layer of graphite in the places you want a bit darker.  Blend again, and keep doing this until you have the effect you want.  Depending on the paper and the tangle, and where it is in the image, you might add more graphite in some places and less in others. 

Worried about smudging?  If you lay down too much graphite all at once it can look too heavy, giving the whole tile a greyish look.  Keep a light touch, and be aware of where your hand is so that it doesn’t trail the graphite where you don’t intend.   

Go slowly.  One stroke at a time when drawing with your pen, and also when shading and blending, too.

It’s important to remember that shading isn’t something you tack on at the end of a tile.  It’s part of the whole Zentangle process and that means it deserves the same attention as your pen lines.  Take time to look at your tile, admire it, turn it, and see if you’re drawn to a particular area.  Add your shading slowly and carefully, and enjoy the simple strokes and calming effect of working slowly and carefully.

Remember too, that there is more than one way to add shading.  Depending on your tile you might want to shade the overall shape, add detail to a tangle, or create depth to your piece.  You don’t have to do it all. 

Finally, if the idea of shading the original tile is still causing anxiety, you can always scan in your tile and make copies.  Then you can experiment until you find the look you want.

A CZT can provide more details, techniques and examples, and there are a number of different shading techniques that can be fun to explore.  Join me online for ‘Draw the Shades’, an online adventure into all the ins and outs of shading in Zentangle. ‘Draw the Shades’ is Nov 7th from 1:00-3:30pm PST and you can register online here, or contact me for more info.

Simple shading can make a tile jump to life.  Try these suggestions and see what happens!