The Zentangle Tiles of May 2017

13 Zentangle Tiles

Last month when I wrote about the Zentangle tiles I drew in April I wasn’t sure I’d have time to draw as many in May.  At the end of the month I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had drawn 13 new tiles.  I tried some new patterns and revisited some old patterns this month.

The 13 Zentangle tiles of May
The 13 Zentangle tiles of May

The Favorites

One of the core tenets of Zentangle is that there are no mistakes.  It’s true.  I have often made “mistakes” only to continue on and find them beautiful in their own right.  I guess in these cases the mistake truly becomes a feature.

My favorite tile I created this month is based on a pattern called ING.  The pattern has a 3rd line added to each section going from tip to tip, but I messed up and only drew the two initial lines.  By the time I realized my mistake I had drawn too much and had no way to “fix” it so I just kept going.  In addition to my mistake I was going to add something in the background but when I got to that point I decided that I loved it so much the way it was that adding anything more would actually lessen it.  Definitely a case of less is more.  What I loved most was how it took on a sort of comic book art feel to it.

My favorite of May
My favorite of May – mistakes and all

Instagram had different ideas about what Zentangle tiles were it’s favorites.  While I do love both of the tiles that were Instagram favorites I sometimes see no rhyme or reason as to why one tile will get so many more likes than another.  Both of these tiles garnered over 150 likes in May.

Instagram's favorite Zentangle tiles of May
Instagram’s favorite Zentangle tiles of May

Something New

I did try something new in May.  Inspired by all of the art I see on places like Instagram and Pinterest I decided to try some color.  I’ve had a set of colored Micron Pens for ages now but was always afraid to use them.  I know it is absolutely silly to be afraid to use pens but it was one of those irrational things.

The first one is done in blue and green because they are my favorite colors and I liked how it turned out.  Using the colors to accent each other.  The second one was supposed to be purple and pink but my pink pen disappeared so I added blue and green to it as well.  I’m getting the hang of it but in the end I’m glad I finally took that little leap.  I still prefer black ink – there is a simple elegance to it – but the color is a fun break.

I tried some colored pens this month
I tried some colored pens this month

You can see all of these tiles and more on my personal Instagram account.  For my Tiny Troll Studios Instagram go here.

Learning To Color With Prima Pens – Mistakes Were Made

So many mistakes…

The original post - coloring page with Prima Pens
The original post – coloring page with Prima Pens

A month ago I posted a pic of one of my coloring pages that I was getting ready to color with some Prima Pens that I had never used before.  I was so excited to try them out and then I put pen to paper and that excitement drained away.  Something was clearly not right.  The initial Prima Pen was fine – the color was flowing and going on to the paper well.  The problem was the blender.

Let me rewind a bit first though.  I’ve done a lot of blending with watercolors, watercolor pencils, and regular colored pencils.  One of the first mistakes I made in this undertaking was assuming that blending with markers would be similar to blending with watercolor pencils.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Okay – back to the current topic – the blender pen.  It didn’t seem to be doing anything.  I wasn’t sure what was wrong so I decided to grab one of the other pens and it wasn’t working.  It was dried out but it took me a minute to realize that as I tried to force the color onto the page.  Then I tried to blend again and it was just making a bigger mess.  After I realized the second pen was dry I checked the blender and realized it was dry too so off to Google I go.

The messy page
The messy page

I watched a couple videos and read a couple articles and learned that this is often fixable by adding denatured alcohol to the pens.  One trip to the drugstore later and I was adding the alcohol to the pens, shaking them furiously, and then waiting for a few minutes for the alcohol to do it’s thing.  Much to my amazement it actually worked.  It totally brought the pens back to life.

A close up of the messiness
A close up of the messiness

Once the pens were all working I tried again but it still took me a while to get the hang of blending.  Unlike watercolor pencils you can’t pull the color away and out into uncolored areas.  I found if I put down a lighter color and then layered a second color up to it the blender worked well to blend the hard edge of the darker into the other color, giving it a blended together look.  Pulling the color away did not pull enough color from the ink to create a nice gradient.

Getting the hang of it
This is where I finally got the hang of it

So much mess…

Bleed through is also messy
Bleed through is also messy

Something else I didn’t count on was the bleed through.  Unlike some of my other pens the Prima Pens bleed through the paper significantly.  Fortunately my desktop where I was coloring is easy to clean off but if I’d been trying this out on a table I would have been sad.  It made a huge mess that I didn’t even realize until I picked up the paper.  Next time I’ll use one of my crafting mats.

I’m glad I learned how to fix the Prima Pens, even though it was super frustrating that they were dried up initially.  I also learned that I should never assume one medium will be like another.  And watching a couple of videos first is a good idea.   I’m tossing the coloring page in the trash bin. I can always print out another copy.  Maybe on heavier paper.

The Zentangle Tiles of April 2017

I realized a couple of months ago that I had stopped doing any Zentangle tiles and all of my drawing was focused on coloring pages or other items for my Etsy shop.  I enjoy drawing for coloring pages but they have a different vibe to them, so I decided to get back to what I love most about pen drawing.  April turned out to be a very productive month for drawing Zentangles on little tiles so I wanted to share them all with you.

In total I drew 15 tiles.  Some of them are pretty diverse.

All 15 Zentangle tiles for April 2017
15 Zentangle tiles!

I just go with the flow when I’m drawing and I was clearly feeling spring because several of my tiles throughout the month had a floral thing going on.  Something about drawing all the little flowers just makes me feel good.

Flower Tiles of April 2017
Feeling floral


I had a few favorites during the month…

Favorite Zentangle Tiles for April
Four of my favorite tiles

but at the end of the month it came down to these two.

Top two tiles
My top two favorites

Ultimately though, I just love the Borbz tile.  I decided to try doing Borbz in a spiral – I’d never seen it done that way before – and at first I thought I’d made a big mistake because I struggled with it but in the end I just loved how it turned out.

Borbz Zentangle pattern
My ultimate favorite tile of April

I’m guessing my Instagram followers loved it too because it tied for first place with these two tiles for number of likes.

Instagram picks
Top liked Zentangle tiles on my Instagram.

I’m not sure I’ll get another 15 tiles done this month because we have company coming but I’m sure going to try.  It feels good to separate my “fun” drawing from my “work” drawing.  I enjoy drawing in general but drawing Zentangles is much more relaxing then drawing for an end goal.  I guess that’s why they call it Zentangle.

You can see all of these tiles and more on my personal Instagram account.  For my Tiny Troll Studios Instagram go here.

Thoughts on consistency

I admire people who blog consistently.  The ones who post 2 or 3 articles a week, every week, week after week and year after year.  I have to admit that while I am consistent in many areas of my life, so far blogging has not been a good example of that.

Maybe I make it harder than it has to be.  Believing that every post has to be incredibly clever or informative.  That they have to be long when short is probably better anyway.  Twitter is easy with it’s character limit and Instagram is just a snapshot and a few hashtags.  Blogging is something different to me.  More personal.


I am a big fan of The Artist’s Way and write Morning Pages every day.  Three pages of handwritten, stream of consciousness writing.  I’m on my 29th journal now so I know I can be consistent when I put my mind to it.

So here’s to channeling the consistency from other areas of my life into my blog.  Here’s to sharing even more.  And here’s to hoping everyone enjoys the ride.



Prima Paintables Pads

20160212_152826_HDRI am fortunate to have this fantastic little arts and crafts shop about a mile from my house and a couple of weeks ago I stopped in for a visit. The owner showed me these new Prima Paintables Pads she had just gotten in and I knew I had to try them. I picked up two – one from the French Riviera collection and one from the Vintage Emporium collection.

One of the things that really intrigued me about these pads is that they had resist designs as well as regular printed sheets. I love the idea of painting over the resist and seeing the white design come through. It’s a little bit like magic or a secret coded message.


The pages are printed on a very heavy watercolor stock. I did washes on a couple of the resist pages and I used a spray bottle on a printed page and they all held up nicely. I was especially pleased with how well the printed page took me spraying so much water onto it without pilling.


There are 12 pages total per pad – six printed and six resist – so two of each design.

I will most likely cut these up to use in art journal collages or on ATCs or bookmarks. They will make fantastic backgrounds.



Being sick sucks but change is good

This last year it felt like the holiday season was especially busy and then, immediately following New Years, I came down with a cold that knocked me out for a couple of weeks.  The kind of sick that puts you in a brain fog and anything that requires thinking is pretty much out of the question.  I haven’t been sick like that in a long time and I hope it’s a very long time before I’m sick like that again.


On to better things though.  The Etsy shop has been a fantastic learning experience and I’m making some changes there.  There are costs associated with listing and selling items on Etsy so originally I was bundling up my coloring pages so I could set a higher price tag.  Unfortunately, while many bundles were getting tons of views and favorites they weren’t getting a lot of sales.  I decided instead to break apart all of the bundles and just sell single pages now.  That way people can put together the bundles they want or just buy a single page if that’s what they’d like to do.  I’ve already seen an improvement in sales with that decision so it was definitely a good change.  I’ve also lowered the prices on some items and I plan to offer some discount coupons in the near future for customers buying multiple items.

I hope everyone is enjoying their new year and got off to a much better start than I did.

Last week on Instagram

The cutest and tiniest alarm clock drawing.


Scrap paper.

A photo posted by amy duncan (@fourcornersdesign) on


I find winter trees so beautiful.

A photo posted by Brechje (@plndm) on


And these thistles too.

A photo posted by @zuzu365 on


And coffee mmmm…

A photo posted by @nonnygreen on

Last week on Instagram

I need to start sending more snail mail…

A photo posted by Erica Choy (@erica_choy) on


I love everything about this sketch. 


I think Seth’s stuff is great and his pictures are full of mystery. 🙂

A photo posted by Seth Apter (@sethapter) on


Gorgeous wolf skull study.

A photo posted by Elena Limkina (@limkina) on



A photo posted by Gamer (@horseman09) on


Black and white bridge photo taken by my friend Paul Kinehan that made me miss Switzerland a lot.

A photo posted by Paul Kinehan (@pkinehan) on

Why should you buy adult coloring pages from me?

Obviously you don’t have to buy your coloring pages online.  Right now you can buy them at any craft or book store.  I think you can even buy them in the checkout line at your favorite grocery store.

There are some advantages to buying pages online though – aside from supporting your favorite artists:

  • Instant download
  • Print on a variety of papers or cardstock
  • Print them as many times as you want
  • Easier to pick and choose what you want

3.3With digital downloads you get that instant gratification of receiving the item right now without having to wait for it to ship or without going to a store.  Being able to print on a variety of papers is also fantastic.  I like to print mine on heavy cardstock when I’m using colored pencils because it can handle a lot of layers of color.  You can print on watercolor or mixed media paper and you can even take the files to your local print shop and have them print on craft paper for a few cents a page.

Many coloring books are printed double sided, and if you like to pull the pages out you might have to choose which side you are going to color.  If you use markers they will most likely bleed through the paper and ruin the design on the other side.  Since the coloring books you purchase at the store are copyrighted you can’t legally make a copy of the page before you color it so it’s a one shot deal.  And what do you do if you buy the book and realize you only really like a few of the pages?

All that being said if you don’t have a printer or access to a print shop then digital downloads might not be for you.

I’ll be honest too – if a publisher asked me to do a book or wanted to feature my art in a coloring magazine I would probably say yes.  I’ve also bought coloring books myself because, lets face it, those store displays are so tempting.

Where do you prefer to get your coloring pages?


Last Week on Instagram

Another week, another bunch of Instagram favorites.

Pretty pinks.

A photo posted by @mounchyy on


Coolest doodled boots. I would certainly wear these.


My friends awesome nail polish ornaments.

A photo posted by @arkangel037 on

A photo posted by @arkangel037 on


I just want to ride into this painting.


And you’ve just got to love frost on fall foliage.

A photo posted by Carin Andersson (@collageart) on