Tips · Zentangle

The Practice of Zentangle & Aura Tips

I struggled last week to get back into the practice of Zentangle. So, this weekend, I went back to my comfort tangles: tipple, flux, and opus, using just a black 01 micron and graphite shading. I used a pre-strung Zendala because these are very relaxing to me.

As I tangled, I took my time and simply focused on holding my pen lightly (difficult for me), working slowly and deliberately, and making the loveliest line I could. I avoided worrying about anything I had already drawn or thinking about what I was going to do next. Being truly present in the creation is the best reward, but I really like the results also. Coincidence? Maybe not.

Pre-strung Zendala using: tipple, Opus (tangleation), “right-handed” flux (tangleation), shading, weighting, and sparkle

This week’s Diva Challenge is one of the most interesting of the year: tangle with your non-dominant hand. There are so many lessons that can be learned from this exercise:

  • Acceptance of your limitations. It will not be your “best” work.
  • Elimination of perfectionism. It is impossible.
  • Empathy for others who are learning or have control issues.
  • Slowing down. It is natural and necessary.
  • Paying attention as you try to do things that usually come easily increases focus.
  • “Imperfect” lines can still be beautiful.

This year Laura upped the difficulty level by asking us to use tangles that rely on auras, which require a steady hand. Crescent moon, static, auraknot, msst, yincut, keeko, printemps, meer, beelight, flukes, hurry, zander, echoism… So many from which to choose.

Crescent moon is a given because it is also one of my go-to tangles. I also chose yincut and msst because I love those tangles when they are done with wobbly lines, and I have trouble getting a good wobbly line with my right hand.

Not surprising, I really like how yincut and msst turned out, but not so much the crescent moon. Trying to do auras is a test of patience! If you are trying this challenge, here are some aura tips that might help.

Tips for drawing Auras

  • Make each stroke deliberately. Slow way down and then try to go slower.
  • Keep the space between auras consistent by imagining a piece of spaghetti or white thread and tracing the outside of that.
  • Turn your tile so that the pen does not block your view of the line you are drawing. So, if you are drawing with your left hand, draw auras on the left side.
  • Draw in the direction that is most comfortable for you.  I prefer drawing towards myself.
  • Don’t hold your breath. Drawing on the exhale is a way to slow down and can help you make smoother lines.
  • Practice. No surprise here. The more you do it, the more natural it feels. Even in just 3 rows of crescent moon, I felt improvement.

Do you have any tips for drawing auras that I haven’t listed? If so, please share in a comment.

8 thoughts on “The Practice of Zentangle & Aura Tips

  1. Thank you for these tips. I also tend to hold my pen too tight and want every piece to be a masterpiece, so these lessons will serve me well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful mandala! All your non dominant tips are very helpful! I found this challenge allowed my brain to disengage and the process was more meditative and relaxing. I love your challenge tile! Terrific choice of tangles…the shading is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had many students with tremor issues, and I agree that this does make one more mindful of the limitations that some have with their tangling. Great post with thoughtful suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

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