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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making a Legend

Last week I got the official zentangle kit.  Along with the kit, comes a numbered legend of tangles and an icosahedron to assist you in choosing which tangle to use.  One might not think that choosing which tangle to draw would be that hard but there are a LOT of patterns and more each day so having a little help is welcome sometimes.  Often I sit and stare at a blank spot trying to decide what tangle to use next so, trying out the die and legend was a nice change.  Yesterday I got to thinking and thought "Why not make your own legend to use?"  So, I decided to give it a go.  Not only will this bee a nice way to help get over "tangle block" but I can also catalog which tangles I use and who created them.

Often I feel like I use the same tangle patterns over and over again.  I have my favorites, surely everyone does, but I want to show myself that I can do more patterns and that I know more patterns than I think I do.  Plus, it's time I learned the name of those that I use and who shared them.  If I'm going to tag patterns here on this blog, I had better know what I'm tagging. (WOW, that's a lot of I in here.)

Grabbing a 6X8 drawing pad, I divided the space into squares and left space at the bottom to note the name of the tangle and who the tangle is by.  So far, I have this:

I've decided to skip the shading.  I was thinking that just getting the patterns on paper is the primary effort at this point.  I can shade later or just skip it.  This is just for my reference and for a bit of practice.

Working on this has led me to wonder what other people do when working and I have two questions.
1. How do you reference patterns when working?
2. How do you choose which patterns to use in a tangle?

For example, I have Totally Tangled and Yoga for Your Brain by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.  I keep her books nearby when drawing as a reference and as inspiration.  If I get stuck, I can flip through and see how Sandy has handled shapes, patterns, shading ect.  I will also check out different blogs and flickr for inspiration too. 

When it comes to having a place to keep tangle steps though, I confess I cheat a little.  There are some that keep notebooks, or cards with tangle pattern steps on them.  I think that is a great idea but not for me.  A notebook would be one more thing for me to move about and well, some days just getting my head from one place to another is a success.  However, I ALWAYS have my iPod touch with me.  It is in a pocket or attached to me by the ears at all times.  (I probably need an intervention but that is another post for another day.)  And since I can keep photographs on the touch, I decided to set up a file and keep tangle patterns in it.  When I see a pattern I'd like to learn or use, I save a picture to the file and synch it to my iPod.  Now I have a small picture reference file at my finger tips when I need them.  I don't have to find the page on the desk top, print, or copy anything out.  I can pull it up in just a few flicks.  Now, I can't do this with every pattern.  Some are protected and I cannot save an image and well, there are just too many!  But, I can rotate them out as I learn the steps and as my own legend grows, I won't need to keep them as a reminder. 

This is a screen shot of what the patterns look like on the iPod. I keep these images as a reference for myself and not for anyone else so I don't think I'm breaking any copyright laws.  I just save them as a way to remind myself of the steps and what is available to use.  I just touch the tangle that I want to see and the steps are all laid out there for me.  I am pretty proud of myself for thinking of it I must confess.  It is so nice to have them with me.  When I have down time at work, I pull out some scrap paper or my moleskine and give it a whirl. 
So, what do you do?  I'd love to know!


  1. How very cool to have an ipod to put your tangle pattern close by for reference. I have mine on my computer, but alas they can't go with me. I'm thinking of putting them on my kindle so I can take them with me.

  2. I had not thought of using my Kindle! What a great idea. You'll have to let me know how that goes.

  3. I too keep tangles in photo albums on my iPod Touch. I have close to 600, plus the 106 tangles from the CZT workshop. And this doesn't include all the tangles in the Design Originals books. And there are new ones every week!

  4. Another one here that keeps mine on my iPod Touch. Once I had several hundred I found just keeping them in a photo album was a bit cumbersome so I found an easy to use app called Tap Forms - nice database. With the added fields I can customize and organize them to make them easily accessible. I've numbered them so I can use a random number generator to pick a series of patterns to use when I'm feeling stuck. Another tool I use is Snagit a screen capture program that allows me to capture just about anything on a computer screen and one of the save options is jpg.

  5. Cool! I'm downloading Tap Forms now. I'll give it a try. I like the idea of being able to organize them.

  6. Hmmm... A database, eh? I already have Bento (a baby version of FileMaker) both on the Mac and on the iPod. That might make things more flexible than just iPhoto. Hmmmm...

  7. I have a simple and non-techy method. I draw each of the steps as illustrated on a card. On the back of some of the pattern cards I have done a zentangle featuring the pattern illustrated on the front. I use a card template that Linda Farmer has available on her Tangle patterns website: I cut them into individual cards and put them into page protectors in alphabetical order and separated into 2 sections: official Zentangle patterns are the first section and then others' patterns. I am also thinking of making a legend. I'd make one of others' patterns as I am hoping to get the kit with the official legend and the die for Christmas or maybe "Wife Appreciation Day".