Zentangle: Renaissance tiles · Zentangle:ZIA

How Do You Know When You’re Done?

Two students in Saturday’s class mentioned that they needed advice on working with Renaissance tiles. So, I am back to working on Renaissance tiles and the book. This week’s Diva Challenge is to do a monotangle of the official tangle shattuck. I love shattuck because of its versatility. I (now) love using Renaissance techniques because there are so many different options to explore. With all of those combinations, I couldn’t limit myself to just one tile. Sorry for the lack of step-by-step photos. I was so busy playing that I forgot to take pictures!

A spiral of curvy shattuck with a ghost frame of straight shattuck.
Shattuck gone wild!

A follow-up to last week’s post. I posted this in response to the Diva Challenge for a touch of Irish. Irish2016-f Thank you to all who commented on it. I’m glad you liked it. All the comments made me so happy. But, I had this little voice in my head that would not shut up. It kept asking, “Are you sure it is done? Could it use something more? Maybe it could use ‘just a little something else'”

So, after good advice from my friend and fellow CZT-5, Sue Jacobs, I made a copy of it and did some playing.

irish-done001 copy
Now it is done. For sure.

I always tell my students that you are done when you like the result. But sometimes we like what should be an intermediate phase so much we’re afraid to keep going. When this happens to me, I ask for advice from trusted friends; and if I’m scared, I make a copy and play with that.

I spent most of the day working on the two Renaissance pieces and am pretty sure they are done. Trust me; there were plenty of times I thought of stopping before I got to where they are. This week, I just pushed past the doubts and kept going until I was certain. So, how do you know when you are done?

29 thoughts on “How Do You Know When You’re Done?

  1. It would be wonderful if there could be a definitive answer to your good question. Alas…or perhaps hooray, there are many answers and ideas of “done.” Of course, this isn’t much help to people wishing for rules. There are excellent guidelines for design elements a principles, but at the end of the day, “done” has many different looks. As time allows, the good idea you mention of copying and trying out further work can help satisfy the lurking, irking question, “Is it done?” Love your work, Cris!

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful response. As a mostly untrained artist, I know there are design principles, but I have not studied them. I suppose that is part of the reason I am sometimes unsure of when to stop. Also, I think creating using the Zentangle Method can add to the dilemma. It would be easier to know when to stop if you had an idea in mind of how it was supposed to look or the idea you wanted to express. When you get there, you stop. But if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?


      1. Hmmm, “untrained” in the formal sense, perhaps. However, I believe many are trained through practice, looking, and copying (not a dirty word – the masters copied in order to learn.) Training may provide a level of confidence, but the idea of “done” is personal and does not follow a set of rules. As some have said – what feels done today may not feel done in the future as we all evolve. This has been an enlightening conversation, don’t you think?


  2. Maybe a too simple answer to this question, but for me a tile is ‘done’ when I feel it is. I love your tiles, especially the second one.


  3. Love the shattuck tiles and I like the intensity of the greens in the redo version. As for being done, I set my tiles on the far side of the room and study them for awhile before I make that decision. Sometimes they are done and sometimes I add to them.


  4. Lovely Shattucks and your St Patrick is now glorious. I had the same problem with my Shattuck, I got to a stage where I was afraid to spoil it by adding the last touch. I photograph it so the copy prints out quite well, then I practise the extra steps on the copy and if I like it I go ahead on the real tiles. So looking forward to your Renaissance book, in particular which pens and colours to use. I think the screen changes colours so I am never certain what has been used.


    1. Thank you. I agree with you about the colors. I am finding it more difficult to work with color. Even when I scan two tiles that are both official Zentangle Renaissance, the colors sometimes look different. Just another technical issue to work through. I know that if I photograph them, they always look different as I do not have professional lighting setup, so the light colors vary depending on the time of day and which room I am in.


  5. Sometimes I come across a tile I thought was finished but wasn’t entirely happy with and know what it needs now. It can be months later but it comes to me. Sometimes, of course, they are as good as it gets. Either way, I’m not sure they’re ever “done”, just “done for now”. Here, I love the vibrant greens but are they an improvement? I don’t know, the use of bright colour has changed it so much that it’s not the same tile. Like Suzanne, I think they are both “done” in their own way. I’m burbling so I’ll stop now. And I didn’t even gush enthusiastically over the renaissance tiles. just assume that I did, OK?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Too funny. I like your “done for now” idea. I was rereading my Zentangle workshop notes and one says, “Zentangle, like life, is always a work in progress.” So, I think you are totally right in that they just might not ever be done. You CAN always add more. But, the question is SHOULD you.

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  6. I love the vibrancy of the added color to your Diva tile, it makes it a totally different piece. I like the elegance of the first one too. Your Shattuck tiles are fantastic!
    Done….hmmmn…more often than not, I just know when it’s done. It’s usually the pieces that for some reason go off-the-rails…when the contrast or composition isn’t balancing the way I thought. That’s when I have to put it away for a day or two and hope for that “Aha!” moment;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve seen a good few of your pieces and love them. The fact you did a little extra with the same one ( the St. Patrick style ) made me admire you even more. It opened my eyes to the idea that there can be more than one original because they’re both different, as odd as that sounds. I hope to see plenty more of your work since I’ve been using them as inspiration for my own now that I’m attaching myself to the artistic world after quite a few years of mental blockage. Keep going!! It’s all amazing!

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