Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tangling books - experiments in Zentangle

A couple of days ago I bought an old book in a charity shop. The book was published in 1970 and it's called 'The Shell Natural History of Britain' edited by Maurice Burton. (It's not about shells, 'Shell' refers to the oil company who also used to publish travel books and general interest non-fiction.)

The book has lots of beautiful line drawings and some colour plates which I'm not quite so keen on. I bought it so that I could experiment with tangling on the pictures. Once I'd got over the 'naughtiness' of drawing in a book, I had a great time. It feels like a grown up's colouring book to me now.

The results are variable but my favourites so far are below.

First off I went big and tangled a whole page colour spread.

Zentangle drawn over illustration of plants

Then I found a little line drawing of three plants with a gap between the second and third just crying out for a bit of tangle so I snuck in Dooleedo (thank you Linda Farmer)

Zentangle dooledoo drawn over illustration of plants

Next I found two drab little mushrooms that wanted cheering up. I like this one as I managed not to over do it.
Zentangle drawn over illustration of two mushrooms

Then I started on some fairly unappealing worm type things (I'm not really learning much on the natural history front). Here they are on the complete page so you can get an idea of the layout.
Zentangle drawn over illustration of sea plants

There were more worms further in. I'm not particularly keen on this design but I can't help being amused by the way it came about. The original picture was actually the five horizontal 'shelves' which are in fact pictures of worms. It's a diagram showing how worms squidge up and then stretch out to move. I bet the artist never thought it would be used as a basis for a bit of ZIA!

Zentangle drawn over illustration of worms

The next one was a bit of a no-brainer.  These shells were clearly in need of a bit of Sand Swirl.

Zentangle sand swirl drawn over illustration of shells

Which brought me to the page on shells and rocks. I think I over tangled the rocks a bit so to make them stand out I put in a semi transparent background colour using 

Zentangle drawn over illustration of shells and lightly coloured

And finally, my favourite. This was a fairly plain water plant until I got hold of it.

Zentangle drawn over illustration of tall spikey plants

It's a big book with 500 pages so they'll be more to come.


  1. wow! A large supply of fun! Gonna go find me something like it. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Awesome, I have to try this myself, you gave me great inspiration Thanks for sharing them.

  3. I can't tell you how much you have improved these pictures - especially the worms. xx