Flashback Friday: Doodle Flowers #art #ink #mixedmedia

So you might have noticed I have been a little obsessed with spring around this time of year. What’s not to love? Warmer winds, greener grasses and all those lovely flowers just starting to bloom! Today’s post shares a little doodle I did a year ago expressing my passion for spring.

Similar to last week’s post, this entry was also inspired by artist Lisa Congdon from her drawing class hosted by CreativebugSketchbook Exploration”. In the last section of her class she explores collage making and adding hand-drawn elements over the top of collage.

My own version incorporates vintage transparent paper which was combined together using acrylic gel matte medium over a light green inked background using Tim Holtz Distress Ink. Once the background was completely dry, I added hand-drawn flowers inspired by Lisa’s book “100 Ways to Draw a Tulip”. For a final touch, I used Derwent Inktense blocks over the top of the pages that exposed all the wonderful texture lying underneath.

It’s nice to break from complicated drawings and let loose by adding simple drawn elements to a page. After all, my journal is for me and is supposed to be fun, not serious artwork intended for museums. I encourage you to check out some of Lisa’s books and classes. It’s always good to find new sources of inspiration. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this entry.

Until next post – Denielle


Flashback Friday: Spring is Here! #art #ink #spring


Looking back at this past week it does feel like spring – doesn’t it? Apparently I felt the same way this time last year OR maybe it was wishful thing at the time… Regardless, spring always feel like a welcome change after staying cooped up in our houses all winter long.

Like many critters that roam the earth, we start to come out of our little holes and spread our wings as we emerge from our winter hibernation. Some people go for long walks, while others run. I myself love doing both. Just breathing in that fresh air can do wonders to your mood, lift your spirits and place a pleasant smile on your face.

Springtime is also synonymous with the blooming season. Even now where I work, little stray wild flowers are beginning to poke through the ground with small bursts of color. It is wonderful! I love watching things bloom all around me. I adore even seeing simple grass makes its transition to dull brown to a lush green. With all the color coming alive around me, I can’t help but admire this season!

This entry pays tribute to all things spring; the color, the flowers, the lovey green fields and all the people I see enjoying it. My sketch is inspired by artist Lisa Congdon from her drawing class hosted by CreativebugSketchbook Exploration” . While my drawing is inspired by her class, I infused my own flavor into this sketch by using my own preferred art material, namely my favorite Derwent Inktense Blocks, and added my own twist to some of the hand-drawn flowers. I hope you take some time this upcoming week to look all around and experience the wonder of season. You may become inspired enough to draw or write about it.

Until next post…

Materials Used: Derwent Inktense Blocks, Sakura Pigma Micron Pen, Pilot Parallels Pen, Koi Water brush

Flashback Friday: August 17, 2014

Greetings readers!

I almost totally forgot to post my journal entries today! Well, the day is not over and we have plenty of sunshine left to the evening. For this post, I have two journal entries to share that happened around this time last year in August. First up is my little drawing of our favorite vacation spot in Michigan.

ArtJournal 12My father-in-law has a lovely cottage nestled in the heart of Bass Lake near Greenville, Michigan that we loving call “The Coasts of Gowen”. I remember that while the day was warm you could sense the oncoming of the fall season. This particular scene was drawn after a late afternoon of relaxing by the beach near the brand new fire pit that my father-in-law just put in. My father-in-law is a DIY whiz in case you were wondering…

I love that I have a nice way to remember our time spent at the cottage in Michigan. Our memories of our vacations here are always wonderful because of the quality time spent with our family. I look forward to going back real soon.

On a completely different note, the next entry shows off the more humorous side of my art. This particular drawing was done to prove to my husband that we watched the movie ‘Twister” on August 17, 2014. You see, my husband didn’t believe me when I said that it has been a while that we watched the film. At the time, I really wanted to watch it again but he was on the fence because we watched it ‘recently’. While I admit that we have watched the movie together several times, it had been a couple of years since we watched it last, but I had no way to prove it. So this time I decided I would record the event for ‘posterity’ a.k.a. prove my husband wrong the next time I want to watch the film.

So here is my little humorous drawing that pays homage to on of my favorite films.

ArtJournal 13

Flashback Friday Kick-off Week!: July 28-30th

Welcome back to my Flashback Friday Kick-off Week!

Now we are starting to get into the heart of my journal with the very start of my year – my birthday!ArtJournal 3 The first entry highlights in an abstract way the elated feelings I have around my birthday. The drawing technique is a Zentangle inspired pattern “Tumbleweed” brought to you by my favorite artist Helen Williams from ‘a little lime‘ blog site. The drawing was colored using my favorite medium from Derwent – Inktense blocks and pencils!

ArtJournal 4My second journal entry for July 30th is also inspired by Helen’s amazing artwork is my version of her patterned flower found in her ebook “Flips, Folds, Ribbon and String“. Her book is amazing with very clear instructions on how to re-create the drawings within her book which also includes links to step-by-step videos.

While both entries are from inspirations rather than original artwork. They both allowed be to break the “blank page syndrome” that plagues the start of my journals. In general the journal is more about exploration of different techniques and found inspiration then trying to capture something original on my pages. This way I stop procrastinating and just practice having fun creating art. That is what art is all about – having fun!

Thanks for stopping by! Until tomorrow…


Flashback Friday Kick-off Week!

Hello followers and any new readers,

Welcome to ‘Flashback Friday Kickoff Week”! This is the first entry from my year-long art journal I have been working on that chronicles my life over the past year.

I am finally back after a long hiatus from the blogging world. While I have not been blogging, I have been keeping busy with my art journal and continuing my fiber art passion of spinning and knitting yarn. In between, I have also moved from our busy town of Naperville to the quiet countryside town of Sycamore. Unfortunately, between the packing, moving, knitting, spinning and journaling had left me no time for blogging. However, while my blog lay stagnant, I still managed to complete my 2014-2015 journal. Yeah me!

So now I am finally ready to start unveiling all my journal entries. Rather than post everything all at once, I decided I would resume my Flashback Fridays in a ‘big’ way by showcasing my first ten journal entries over the next five days. Thereafter I will resume my weekly postings on Fridays only.

As a little back-story, the idea behind the journal was to chronicle one year of my life starting with my birthday in 2014 and ending just before my birthday at the end of this July. I have approximately 1 – 3 journal entries for every week for a full 52+ week journal!

Without further ado, here is the opening pages of my journal. Every journal needs a beginning – here is mine… Enjoy!

Day Thirty, Creation Thirty

The day has finally arrived. Today I will be posting my very first tangle I ever created! Without further ado…I would like to introduce my new tangle called “Lazy Eights”!


This fun new tangle was inspired by my One Zentangle a Day, Day Thirty challenge. For this day, I was asked to use my practice journal and start doodling different patterns and designs to come up with a new tangle. After a couple of weeks and several attempts, I finally came up with one that I am proud to call my own. By the way, I did research prior to posting this that my tangle does not duplicate any existing tangles already created that I am aware of. With that said, with all the numerous sites and creative tanglers out on the web, there is always a chance that someone else came up with a similar tangle. Please feel free to gently burst my bubble if you are aware of a similar tangle.

How did I go about creating this tangle you ask?

Lazy Eights is a very simple tangle that uses a simple figure eight drawn line repeated in two directions; one vertical and one horizontal. Doing this creates a little flower-like bloom. Lines are drawn from the center outward as an added flair to each of the open petals. As a final touch I added a dot in the center of each bloom to complete the look of a flower. Once you complete one bloom, you just simply keep repeating the Lazy Eights pattern to fill in the empty spaces. As you can see you can create very small blooms to very big blooms which gives a nice variation to this tangle. As the name implies I was inspired to create this tangle using the most basic number I learned as a child – the number eight! Hope you enjoy using this new tangle as much as I do.

Here is my day thirty creation that features my new tangle Lazy Eights! Accompanying my new tangle are some old favorites; Betweed and Tipple.


The tile background was created using a watercolor wash using yellow and greens. After the tile completely dried, I added my string and started filling in the spaces with my chosen tangles.

For the shadows I used a deep-green Derwent Inktense pencil followed by a light water brush to awaken the ink. I really ended up liking my new tangle a lot and look forward to using it again in future tiles. If you like this pattern as much as I do and would like to download the pattern card, please follow this link Lazy Eights Tangle Pattern which will take you to a new section of my site were I will begin posting any new patterns I create.

Thanks for waiting patiently while I worked on creating this tangle. Hope it was worth the wait!

Until next post…

Day Twenty, Creation Twenty

Photo(1)Wow! Twenty days ago I started the journey of taking the challenge of creating “One Zentangle A Day” from the self-same titled book by Beckah Krahula. I have been keeping up with my visual journal and creating more completed Zentangle tiles than I thought possible. Even though it has been more than twenty days since my first post, I have proved to myself that I can actually stay committed to something and not let life get in the way of creating art. Instead, art has worked itself back into my life and I love it!

Upon reflection, I am more at peace and more satisfied with my daily meanderings than I have been in quite awhile. Before I would almost be sad or depressed with the daily hum-drum that my life became. Wake up, Work Out, Go to Work, Eat, Work Around the House, Sleep – rinse and repeat. How boring!

At least now I have been “creating” between the “working”. I have even been inspired to pick up knitting again. Now I have a plethora of options when I decide to have some “me” time. What a difference art has made to my life. I highly recommend anyone reading this to truly make time for yourself, it doesn’t have to be art related- any hobby will do. I find that I am more productive at work and working around that house when I have something to look forward to. It makes me happy 🙂

Well, I should talk about today’s tile before I keep rambling into oblivion- right?

Today’s tile incorporated curvilinear and organic style tangles. The tangles that were recommended in the book were “Jetties” which are the round orbs, “Sampson” which is a lettuce-like pattern and “N’Zeppel” which is the tangle with multiple small organic triangles.

This tile came together as I sat at a picnic bench in our local forest preserve area overlooking the small lake there. Geese floated by, fish pecked at the lake’s surface and gentle clouds glided across the water’s reflection. It was awesome! When the weather is right (which is incredibly hard to come by in the Chicagoland area -it’s either too hot or too cold) there is nothing better than to sit outside and be inspired by the world around you.

I finished this tile in record time and was sad to leave such a beautiful place. I will definitely have to revisit soon.

In the meantime, I hope you take a moment to go outside, take in a lungful of air and be inspired by the world today.

Until next time…

Day Nineteen, Creation Nineteen

Squares, diamonds and triangles- oh my! Geometric grid patterns was the theme for today’s tangled tile. As a child I always loved working with basic shapes. Later in life in college, I had a knack for breaking down complex imagery to basic shapes and patterns to create an abstract version of a drawing. I remember I had to do this as a part of an assignment and loved the result of decomposing a picture to the most simplest of structures. It definitely helped me “see” as an artist sees the world around them. As an artist, more often than not, the world is not as complex as we might see it at first but just need to change how we view it.

For this tile, I decided I would compliment these patterns by using layered square shapes as my string and filled each square with the recommended tangles for this day.  I really liked using the tangle called “Rain” which is the pattern that sits outside of the square strings that has triangles along a single line. The other new two tangles I learned relied on using a grid-style method and well-place shading to give each area dimension. The pattern that has a recessed diamond pattern is called “Cubine” and the blocky diamond tangle that seems to come forward off the tile is called “Beeline”.  To finish the tile, I also decided to bring back two other favorite tangles- Knightsbridge and Florz.

Overall, I loved working on this tile and was a nice reprieve from Day Eighteen which I struggled through.



My niece’s first Zentangle tile! I’m so proud!

Well, you might be wondering were I have been all weekend. To put it simply- having fun! Saturday was a rainy wet day in the Chicagoland area, but my husband and I made the best of the day by working out the details for our upcoming Star Wars themed party and hitting a couple of coffee shops along the way.

Sunday we picked up our nieces for a fun filled day of swimming, movies, s’mores and more! We all had a blast just doing simple things and having good quality time together. Our nieces spent the night only to wake up the next morning to blueberry pancakes courtesy of my husband (go ahead and say it- we are so spoiled!). Before we left our abode to Grandma’s Labor Day get together, I had a impromptu Zentangle lesson with our second oldest niece Sam.

Sam had been watching her aunt do Zentangle for a long while and really wanted to learn. So off to the art room we went to pull out my original Zentangle kit. I thought it would be fun to watch the first lesson on the DVD that came with my kit. Who better to teach my niece the fine art of Zentangle but none other than one of the founders of Zentangle, Maria Thomas!

We took our time and went through each step of creating a tile, pausing the DVD along the way so we can keep up. I am so proud of what my niece accomplished in a short period of time. She drew her string and went through each step, filling in each area with each newly learned tangle. The tangles we learned together was “Crescent Moon”, “Tipple”, “Static”, and “Florz”. To finish her tile, she carefully shaded each section using a blending stump with some tips from her aunt. Together we worked out how her artist initials would look in order to “sign” her work. Of coarse, we took the time to reflect upon what she did and was really happy with the results.

I love that my niece not only took interest in Zentangle, but wanted to learn more about this art form. It proves that this art form is accessible to anyone at any age. I hope you take a moment to comment on my nieces first Zentangle tile to let her know how wonderful her first tile came out.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

Denielle Noe, the aunt to Samantha Neely, today’s guest artist!


Day Eighteen, Creation Eighteen

House Painting. Yep, that’s what I did all weekend long. No adventures, no long bike rides, no relaxing. I didn’t even catchup on housework- just house painting. Sad thing is, it wasn’t even my house.

As an FYI, I don’t own a home- I rent an apartment. period.

It’s not like I really don’t mind house painting, especially when it’s for a good reason, it can just be plain exhausting. Yet somehow over the long exhausting weekend, I did manage to squeeze in one visual journal practice session in and one completed tangled tile to show for it.

Unfortunately I hate it.

Okay so I don’t really hate it, but this was the first time I really struggled through the creation process. I was really excited when I turned the page to day eighteen. There were a couple of new tangles I saw that I really wanted to learn. The first tangle, called “Gneiss” was fairly straight forward and creates a really interesting star-like pattern. “Cadent”, a flag-like pattern was also fairly straight forward. However, “HUGGINS” caused me the most pain.

I think my brain went on vacation as I was drawing this tangle. I am fairly sure I created a least two new patterns, neither of which were the elusive Huggins pattern I was trying to draw.

I know, I should feel excited that I created new patterns, but all I really wanted this weekend was to successfully draw Huggins. Good news, I eventually got there, but not easily or consistently.

At this point, (i thought) I was ready to start my tile. I laid down my string guide and started filling in each area with a pattern. So far so good- right? Not.

Somehow I still managed to draw Huggins incorrectly, but I did try again on the same tile in a different area and managed not to screw it up a second time. Unfortunately, Huggins was not the only thing I battled with. I seemed to be missing the instinct I normally have when putting together a design. That magic knowledge that I normally possess that tells me the perfect spot to place each pattern eluded me. For the first time, I felt that this tile was designer’s nightmare- nothing seemed to work together.

The frugal part of myself refused to throw the tile away ( those little pieces of paper can be expensive!), nor would I waste another tile by starting over. Instead I jammed my tile in my storage box, closed the lid, and walked away.

In hindsight, I am glad I walked away. As many artists experience, that walking away and coming back to something at a later date could be just what the doctor ordered. After letting some time go by, I pulled out my seemingly hideous little tile and thought to myself “Maybe this tile isn’t so hideous after all”?

Hey, it can happen. One day hate something to death, the next day it’s not so bad. Taking time before making rash decisions is what everyone needs to do sometimes. We all could avoid a lot of heartache if we took a step back before moving forward.

Okay, so now it is your turn. Take your time, let me know what you think…

PS. Let me know if you spot the accidental new pattern. I will probably have to come up with a name for it 🙂


Day Seventeen, Creation Seventeen

20130821-194625.jpgOh the wonderful webs we can weave! At least that is what I am think when I look at my tile.

Day Seventeen asked me to continue to focus on organic curvy patterns and seek to combine them with a linear style tangle. If you haven’t notice already, I tend to  lean towards using organic looking tangles, which is my preference, but trying to combine organic pattern with a more uniform defined pattern was a little more challenging.

As an added challenge, I had a hard time figuring out how to combine the recommended newly learned tangles into this piece. Eventually, I ran across a suggested string template found on tanglepatterns.com. (String Template # 043)

If you haven’t had a chance to explore  tanglepatterns.com, this is a “must-stop” website for beginners or anyone looking to expand their tangle pattern collection. This site is loaded with official Zentangle patterns and other custom designed patterns from around the world. Tanglepatterns.com also has plenty of helpful tips, guides, and book reviews. This is where I go to for inspiration or if I am just “stuck” and not sure how to begin a tile.

After I found the string template from tanglepatterns.com, I was no longer unsure of myself and was able to start my tile. For the outer diamond area, I began filling in the tile with “Virtruvius” tangle which is cool pattern that alternates between a circle and square. For the center area I used the lollipop looking pattern called “Sedgling” and filled in the rest of the center with “Courant” which is a design that fills in open areas nicely.

All-in-all, this didn’t turn out too badly and I was happy for the chance to unwind while I created this. I hope you get a chance to unwind this evening as well. If you not sure where to begin, just pick a pen and start drawing. 🙂

Until next post…

Denielle Noe



Day Sixteen, Creation Sixteen

Organic patterns and colors combine- oh my! I took a little break from posting, but now I am back and ready to share my latest creation.

After all these days I finally had a chance to play with color! Not just any color, but I was able to incorporate my new Derwent Intense pencils in this tile. If you haven’t heard about these awesome pencils, let me be the first to tell you that Derwent makes some of the best art materials around and these pencils are no exception!

Intense pencils are water-soluble ink which is very similar to watercolor pencils. What really makes these different from watercolor pencils is that lay down a very vibrant color that becomes even more alive when water is applied. Another difference is that unlike watercolor pencils the color is permanent after the color dries. The unique nature of these pencils allows you to layer color upon color letting you work with your color choices in a different way.

In this tile, I played with my Inktense pencils by combining three colors together to make a soft but colorful background for my tangle patterns. After the tile fully dried, I then added my string to guide my patterns around the tile. Finally, I began filling each area with my the suggested patterns for this day. I learned three new patterns for this creation, “Pepper” which are the zebra-like orbs, “Ynix” which is a leaf type pattern, and “Squid” which graceful tentacles curve around the tile.

Overall, I love how this tile came out and really enjoyed exploring color for the first time. Despite my earlier gushing over my Derwent pencils, I really do not have a lot of experience in working with color. Good thing for me, that these small little art tiles allow me to explore color without feeling overwhelmed or committed to some large art project that I could mess up.

As always, thanks for reading this post and I hope you “like” my creation.

Until next time…

Denielle Noe