The Divine Dove Zentangle

The Divine Dove Zentangle

Things have been going…well, I guess just going here Iately. Father’s Day is tomorrow, and I have lots of feelings, but I don’t feel compelled to write about them. I decided I’d try the Divine Dove Zentangle.

I’d rather Zentangle.

So, I wasn’t intending to, but I accidentally got the June 2021 “Ethereal Desert” subscription box from Archer & Olive. (Get 15% off at A&O with my link.) The box included an A5 notebook with kraft paper in it. There’s no grid or lines printed on the pages, so I thought maybe it would be a good art journal. A place for me to test things, make notes about what I like, have a little therapy time without the burden of posting and editing video, and come up with some ideas that I might turn into my own tutorials for Patrons.

Wanting to put something down on the toned paper immediately, the first thing I drew was some Zen-scribbling with a white Gelly Roll pen when I was feeling all moody about cancer.

And the second thing I drew was the Divine Dove by TangledYogi 333—a tangle she designed that is a celebration of life. Fitting for me in this moment. I think I have mentioned this before, but I have been really into her YouTube channel since I took the Jesse Lane art class last month and learned more about using my Prismacolor pencils because she tends to color instead of shade everything with graphite.

In the tutorial, she colors the background between the dove and the flowers where the random tipple orbs are floating. I opted to leave that section untouched. I do love using the white colored pencil to highlight and add dimension relatively effortlessly.

TangledYogi 333 works on a hexagon tile. So I sketched in a hexagon lightly with pencil and later erased the guides. (Tip for creating a hexagon: draw a circle, mark points on the circle every 60 degrees, then draw straight lines connecting those points to close off the hexagon shape.)

I used the colors she uses in the video, but it’s neat to compare the difference in the appearance of the colors on the white paper she used versus the kraft paper I used.

The lighting is weird, but this is the color key I drew in the same notebook, so I could easily refer to them if I want to use them again for another tangle. (Btw, I have a colored pencil board on Pinterest if you’re looking for inspiration for your Zentangle art. Some of the pins include reference pictures with the specific Prismacolor pencils used—which is super handy.)

Materials Used

Archer and Olive A5 Kraft Notebook
Helix circle maker and ruler (for setting up the hexagonal guides)
Graphite pencil (for sketching the design)
Kneaded eraser (for lifting graphite without damaging the paper’s surface)
Micron black 05 pen
Prismacolor Premier pencils (PC 909, PC 1100, PC 1008, PC 1009, PC 1001, PC 930, PC 912, PC 1006, PC 1065, PC 938)
Gelly Roll white 08 pen

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More Zentangle Patterns and a Little Home Improvement

More Zentangle Patterns and a Little Home Improvement

There’s a new video up on my channel: 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners – Freeform Curves. I ran a poll asking my channel subscribers what interested them most, and an overwhelming majority said they wanted to learn how to draw more Zentangle patterns. (I’m not abandoning other video styles, just prioritizing accordingly.)

This past week, in an effort to distract myself from cancer thoughts (they’re like shower thoughts, but more disturbing) I decided to get out the Prismacolor Premier pencils again. My goal was to complete Tangled Yogi’s Ladybug Love Zentangle tutorial. She uses colored pencil in almost—if not all—of her video tutorials. I posted these process pics on Instagram and Twitter already, but I like looking at them, and, you know, this is my blog.

I never thought I’d be so enamored with colored pencils, but then I got good ones. And I started learning how to use them. Look at the intensity of that color, baby! I’ve also learned that quality paper helps. This tile is one I cut from some larger sheets of the same bristol vellum I used for the Riptide class.

***

I’m not sure what, if anything, we’ll get done around the house this week. We ordered new exterior shutters, but in addition to Dan and I both managing disabling health conditions (Oh yeah, insurance denied coverage of the medicine Dan’s doctor prescribed and then also denied the appeal. Good times.) removing the old shutters and attaching new ones just seems, like, hard?

We need a handyman. I hate that word, by the way, but am too tired to think of a better one right this second. I know there are all kinds of them around, but I am also too tired to do that level of vetting. I just want to automagically know this singular person who is like, “I will fix everything that needs fixing.” For me, vetting service people is an activity that ranks right up there with talking to customer service representatives and cleaning the litter box.

However, I am occasionally capable of small projects if I have help. For example, Dan and I recently installed new porch lights on the house. Here’s the front one. That’s a new mailbox too.

There’s still a ton of stuff to do though. The ultimate goal is to get the house in shape to sell while also making it more livable until we move. The timeline for all of this is virtually non-existent though. Sick people don’t make plans. Our bodies won’t let us do things most of the time. Plus the money thing is always a problem. If you know, you know.

I feel a not insignificant amount of pressure to get the house in good shape to list, despite everything being uncertain and knowing it’s not in our immediate future, just because houses are selling like toilet paper in a pandemic right now. One two doors down from us sold in about 48 hours for a decent price, and I can’t help but be terrified that the SELL NOW bubble is going to pop before we’re ready. I still have nightmares about dumping that shithole condo in Indianapolis. It. took. forEVER.

*shudders*

One really major thing that would be awesome to do is update our main bathroom. It’s all original fixtures, in terrible shape, and far from accessible. I manage, but not with any peace of mind. (Please don’t suggest grants for the disabled unless you have actually applied for one, been awarded the grant, and you are not a veteran of the armed forces. I have a better chance of finding an actual unicorn for sale at Walmart than having anything I need actually covered and I can tell you how I know.)

I’m starting to get grouchy now, so I’ll stop here and go message another oncologist about when chemo is supposed to happen.

Until later, friends.

***

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Birthday Stuff(ED)

Birthday Stuff(ED)

I’m averaging 1.67 pieces of birthday cake a day right now. Because when it’s my time, I don’t want to have any regrets. 😀

Yesterday, I went to a Zentangle class on Zoom. It almost didn’t happen because our internet has been so sketchy lately. But luckily the cable guy showed up to fix the line running to our house on Thursday. It’s so refreshing when things actually work out!

It was a great class, and I’m glad I did it. But I learned something about myself as it relates to learning Zentangle: I need independent study as opposed to live classes. The class lasted about three and a half hours, and I was seated in my horribly uncomfortable office chair the whole time. What will work better for me in the future is to seek out on-demand courses that are not live. That way I can pause, get up, lie down, sit in the sun for a few minutes—whatever I need to do to prevent my muscles from freezing into that awkward, seated-in-a-shoddy-office-chair position.

Because, let me tell ya, it’s really hard to walk to the bathroom afterward when your knees and waist are stuck at 90-degree angles.

Another reason to avoid Zoom classes when possible is to not see myself on camera. I’ve all but stopped looking in mirrors at home because it hurts to look at that tired, worn-out, cancer addled person. I’m not one to live in denial of reality, but I am one who tries not to force it upon myself at every available opportunity.

Anyway, the class and the teacher were wonderful, and here’s the Monet-inspired 3D Zentangle I created:

I love it, but I also want a do-over because there are things I want to change. I think I could do better. And by “better” I just mean that I know what I could do to like it even more. Luckily, Holly, the creator of this Monet 3D Zentangle class, gave participants PDF files of the shapes needed to recreate the water lily. I thought that was really generous.

So that Zentangle class was my birthday gift to myself this week. To continue celebrating all month long, I’ve opened up my webserial memoir, Who You Gonna Believe, to everyone. Sometimes creating this memoir in small chunks makes it feel like I’m not making a whole lot of progress on the writing front, but when I step back and gain a little perspective, I realize that writing 22 chapters (so far!) of anything is quite an accomplishment.

I hope you’ll read it. I’m not going to pretend it’s the greatest piece of literature ever written, but I do know that it resonates with some readers—because they’ve told me so. Right now it’s only available to read in a browser, but those pages are specifically designed to make the reading experience enjoyable, even if you’re on a mobile device. (At some point in the future I hope to make e-reader friendly versions, but time, money, health. You know the drill.)

Other than that, things are…going. I’m trying to suss out a new med due to some insurance changes and preparing to get my second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday. I am prepared for that to wipe me out pretty good again, so I’ve cleared off my to-do list for Wednesday though Saturday next week, literally writing things like “rest” and “sleep all day” in my Bullet Journal.

Speaking of Bullet Journal, the other thing I got myself for my birthday was the March subscription box from Archer & Olive. It’s scheduled to arrive the day of my shot, so I’ve got a little something to look forward to. Its contents are a surprise (there are some spoilers begin posted online but I am avoiding them). I enjoyed the first one I got so much I decided to spring for another. I anticipate I’ll do some kind of post about unboxing after it arrives, though I’m not sure if I’ll do a video, write up a blog post, or just post to my Instagram. A lot of things are going to depend on how I’m feeling.

I guess that’s not really any different than usual though.

If you’ve been thinking about Bullet Journaling or just want to know what it is, I’ve got a few videos on my channel. You can watch me as I learn (struggle?) to use it for managing my life with chronic illness.

Also, if you’re new to Archer & Olive, you can save 15% with this referral link they gave me. (You don’t pay any extra, but I get a bonus for referring you if you do decide to get yourself a little something.) You don’t have to buy the subscription box, if there are even any left. You can just buy individual notebooks and planning supplies—whatever. The prices might feel a little high if your budget is tight like mine, but the paper is 160 gsm, and you can use markers and watercolors and junk on it without any bleed-through. As someone who doesn’t get my hair done, get my nails done, go to the moves, drive anywhere or wear anything but pajamas, I feel zero guilt about the expenditure. Your mileage may vary though.

I’m just rambling now. Bottom line: don’t forget to bookmark the Table of Contents for Who You Gonna Believe. And if you haven’t received your vaccine yet, I hope it’s available to you soon. Regardless, stay masked and stay safe until the experts (not the politicians) give you the all clear.

Updates: Tumor Board, YouTube Channel, and Zentangle Class & CZT Scholarship

Updates: Tumor Board, YouTube Channel, and Zentangle Class & CZT Scholarship

Tumor Board

In case you haven’t seen me mention it on Twitter or otherwise heard me talking about it already, I got to speak with my oncologist (finally!) on Friday evening regarding the results of my most recent MRI. The radiologist’s report noted a “slight concern for progression” which had me a little freaked out for a bit. Well, the tumor board has recommended more “waiting and watching” of my brainstem tumor for now. So my next MRI will take place sometime in April.

The January MRI showed some change in the tumor that looked like a section of recurrence in my medulla (I talked about this briefly in my last Tangled Talk video), but because the change is so small, there is no treatment recommended at this time, especially considering I am not experiencing any new or more disabling neurological symptoms.

My doctor did say that because the recurrence is in a part of my brain that was previously treated with radiation, more radiation in that location is not an option down the road. Other treatment options, including clinical trials, would be considered if needed at some point in the future. But there’s no point in putting the treatment cart in front of the cancer horse, if you will.

So if you’re reading this update like, “What should I feel about all of this information, Emily?” I’d say feel what I feel—relieved. This thing is still slow growing, and knowing that makes it much easier to do more living and less worrying.

YouTube Channel

While I was waiting to finally speak with my doctor, I filmed and edited a couple of YouTube videos for my channel. Though I can push myself too far if I’m not careful, digging into those things keeps me distracted from anxiety and tires me out that it’s a little bit easier to sleep at night. Both videos I post are heart-themed for Valentine’s Day. (I’m trying to post some timely content to feed the masses and grow my channel.)

Zentangle Class and CZT Scholarship

In other news, I have signed up to take an online class in March from certified Zentangle teacher Holly Atwater. I already have my supplied, and I am really looking forward to it. (I’m doing the Monet 3D workshop on March 6 if you’re curious, and it looks like there are still some openings.) Since my birthday is in March, the class is a present to myself.

Another thing I did this past week was apply for a scholarship to participate in Zentangle’s upcoming CZT training. It was a little scary even just filling out the application, because committing to a multi-day anything with chronic illness can be pretty stressful. But it’s something I really want to do. I might not get a scholarship, and that’s fine, but if I do it would be nice. The one bizarre upside to Covid is that they are doing virtual training again. If travel were required, becoming a CZT would basically be out of the question.

Anyway, I’d appreciate some good luck vibes from everybody out there.

Zentangle with me? Maybe?

Zentangle with me? Maybe?

I’d like to invite you to Zentangle with me today. But first, an update for everyone who’s morbidly curious about the woman with the brain tumor: I’m still here. 🙂

It’s 46 °F in Urbana right now, and it’s supposed to be cloudy and rainy for the next couple of days. I checked the weather app on my phone just to be sure I wasn’t lying to you all about the forecast, but just know that my body already told me yesterday we were in for some crappy weather.

I took my last dose of weed chocolate (a chocolate peanut butter indica candy bar) last night to quiet the loudest of the aches and pains, and my pain level is still tolerable this morning. But I know that will be wearing off shortly. I can already feel the future settling in.

I have some oils and a couple of loose joints, but they are just not as effective as edibles for me. I really wish the dispensary would go back to curbside service right now. I can’t describe how badly I do not want to be inside the dispensary. Not only do I not want to brush my pandemic hair, put on actual pants, and increase my chances of being exposed to Covid-19. I just don’t want to do people-ing today.

Might they bring my order to my car if I call and ask nicely and explain that I’m a med patient? Yeah, maybe. But I hate the phone, too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to be using up my vape and tincture remnants because I’m having trouble shaking off this depressive mood.

So let’s talk about something else instead. Like my YouTube channel. I didn’t post anything for the entire month of November because my creative resources were entirely drained after Inktober, but I’ve posted twice so far in December. Go me!

One thing that motivated me to start drawing and recording again was buying the first-ever Archer & Olive subscription box. (They gave me a referral link. Use it to get 15% off if you’re in the market for some premium bujo goodies: http://archerandolive.refr.cc/emilysuess)

The subscription box is a limited-supply quarterly thing (you can watch me unbox the contents here) that cost about $70. I would normally feel guilty about spending that much money on notebook and stationery supplies, but 1.) I just deserve to be happy sometimes, and 2.) I am confident it’ll help me grow my YouTube channel.

So anyway, the unboxing video didn’t perform so well. I actually had a net loss of subscribers the day I posted it. And that bummed me out. It’s not that I need every video I make to do well, but because the video was outside of my usual it took me longer than usual to edit it. Plus there was a voiceover with it, and that adds about 4 extra hours of work. There’s definitely something deflating about putting all your very limited effort into something that you’re super geeked about only to have the world be like, “meh.”

(But don’t feel sorry for me. I posted 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners – Organic and Botanical Patterns a little over 48 hours ago, and it’s doing really well.) It features the patterns Kiss, Floral Waves, Fungees, Pearl Pod, Anooka, Flory, Flos, Alcatraz, and Dicentra.

I plan to keep doing the bullet journal videos, though, because bullet journaling is what’s going to help me organize the rest of the content I produce. I figure I might as well have to camera rolling while I’m doing it. The #bujo community on YouTube is huge, and it seems like such a great fit with Zentangling. Anyway, I’m excited about it, even if no one else is at the moment.

Anyway, there’s a new Zentangle-only video up today for Patrons (tomorrow for everyone else). If you could use some simple, cheerful art to brighten your day, you will probably really enjoy this one featuring the pattern Alcatraz by Diana E. Marshall. In it I draw the Zentangle art at the top of this page. It’s not an overly intricate tile, so it’s a good Zentangle to try if you don’t consider yourself artsy but still want to Zentangle with me.

TGIF, folks!

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