“Lend a Hand” Zentangle series

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My foray into Zentangling has led to a ton of new sketchbook art! I’m very excited to be drawing this much again, and using this method of patterns of simple shapes is really relaxing. It’s very calming. I’ve been working on these sketches while listening to various meditative music, which only enhances the feeling of being “drawn into” (if you’ll pardon the pun) the picture and away from the stresses of everyday life.

Here is a sneak peek at the sketches for my first themed series of artwork. This is the first time I’ve consciously worked to develop a series of artworks that are united by either topic or media or method or subject, and so far I’m loving how they’ve turned out!

My series is called “Lend a Hand,” and to me, they represent simple things we all should do to make the world a better place. It is an overly simplistic goal, I know. Some may call it naive or childish. However, I think it is possible. We all have hands of many colors, and they all have the same ability to hold and comfort, to encourage and protect, to love and support.

So, here we go.

Number 1: High Five! This is the first in the series: the first hand tangle I designed. This one represents enthusiasm, encouragement, and energy.

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Number 2: Life’s Good The “okay” sign seemed appropriate for showing life’s journey into a sunset. This journey isn’t a straight line; it curves around many different landscapes. But the sun is the light at the end of the tunnel. There are good things that come to us if we work and travel toward them. (Also it is fun to note that my best friend asked “Are you supposed to see an inchworm in the index finger? Because that’s all I got. Is this the very hungry caterpillar?” Which made me laugh, and henceforth, I can’t see anything but an inchworm in this drawing. I think I’ll name him Carle.)

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Number 3: Cross My Heart The crossing-fingers-for-luck sign I thought mixed well with the heart symbol for love. Hoping and wishing for love is such a basic human emotion. We promise we’ll do it right if we can only find it, and we long for it to show itself.

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Number 4: Three Words The iconic American Sign Language symbol is well known, and gives up that yes, we have found the love wished for in Number 3. Those “Three Words” have shown up in literature, pop culture, and song over and over. There are so many ways to say “I love you,” but many times, the silent showing or demonstrating how you love someone are so much more important and lasting. Actions speak louder than words.

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Number 5: Untitled. Number 5 is untitled as of yet. I haven’t found the words to fit. (I did resist a strong urge to title Number 5 “Mambo” and draw some hands doing Latin dance moves!) This piece is for peace, for caring of our natural resources, and the mindfulness to do so. This is also the first work that I consciously included many recognizable symbols to support the topic. You will find peace signs, leaves, and recycle symbols along with many organic shapes.

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Inspiration Station: Chaz Addams

“It was a dark and stormy morning…”

That’s the weather I’ve been dealt in mid-winter, Ohio, and when it looks dank and dreary outside, what’s a girl to do but go find some devlishly macabre and delightful gothish whimsy illustrations?

Enter Chaz Addams.  Yes, those Addams — The creator of the Addams family of TV and Broadway Musical Fame.  Charles Addams was a wonderful illustrator (January 7, 1912 – September 29, 1988) whose legacy lives on.

A Google search for his works gives a multitude of images, most of which I can’t post due to copyright laws.  However, you can click here to go to an online gallery of his print works, and BELIEVE me, it is well worth the click.

Addams reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and illustrative style I really love.  It’s free. It’s loose.  It’s whimsy.  It’s muted, yet colorful.  (Yes, black and white can be colorful. It’s all about hue intensity.)  And it’s inspired me to do some gothish whimsy doodling of my own.  Enjoy!

Created in QvikSketch on iPad with Nomad Brush.

I am a Maker of Things.

I read in a book once a passage that goes like this:

“Ever since she was a little girl, she’d had a compulsion to make things:
Paintings, poems, mittens, kites.
She had a deep love of creation, of watching a blank canvas take on color and form,
a length of yarn twist and knot into a knitted cap.
When she went to the sea, she made sandcastles. 
When she was housebound by a snowstorm, she made snowmen. 
When the wind whipped her hair across her face, she made kites. 
She didn’t think of herself as an artist or craftswoman.
She simply considered herself a maker of things.”

And I have never, ever found another phrasing that quite fit how I feel about who I am and what it is I do.  Thanks, Janet Evanovich, for such wonderful words.

“Eye of the Beholder” – Created in ASketch on iPad.