Authors: Kass Hall
Shading is an integral part of completing your Zentangle. For the first year of tangling, I did not shade my work because I couldn’t do it “right” and it conflicted with my inner perfectionist. When I took my Zentangle® Certification Teaching class, I learned how to shade properly, and now I never do a black-and-white tangle without it. It now looks naked.
The trick with shading is to understand that it takes the area shaded into the background. It gives your work dimension. So if you want a particular spot to stand out, don’t shade it—shade around it.
That said, there really is no right or wrong way to shade your tangles. Each of us takes a different approach, and that’s part of the beauty of this art form—everything you do is OK and part of what makes your work unique. Don’t use your eraser; just go with your instinct and see what happens. You will not be disappointed!
I’ve used a basic tangle, called
, in the example (1). I’ve left the first example (1) blank so you can see the difference shading creates.
In the second example (2), I’ve run my pencil in straight lines over the points of each zigzag. Looking at it carefully, you’ll see this gives a distinct appearance of peaks and troughs, not unlike drawings of mountain ranges. Comparing it to the unshaded example (1), you can see how that light use of pencil adds something quite interesting to the tangle and changes the appearance of it dramatically.
In the third example (3), I’ve used the same theory, but only shaded lines with the points facing one direction. This small change in approach brings yet another appearance to the tangle.
Some tanglers also choose to shade one static line crosswise. Experiment and play, remembering the darker areas will fade to the background.
The tangle I’ve used in this example is called
and is one I use often.
Again, I’ve left the first example (1) without shading so you can get a feel for the difference shading makes and the different applications for it.
In the second example (2), I’ve created a checkerboard effect by shading the weaves that go in one direction. Just looking at that example, you can see the white, unshaded weaves really pop; they appear closer to the eye than the shaded parts. This particular tangle lends itself well to this type of blocked shading.
For a subtler look, check out the third example (3) and how I have gently shaded along the lines. I added the shading on the inside of the short ends of the weave. This gives the appearance that the outer sides of the weave have shading, too. It also gives the weaving dimension and makes it look like a real basket weave.
As you look through the samples and galleries in this book, some will be shaded and some will not. Really examine how we’ve done this and apply it to your own artwork. You cannot get it wrong. Play with shading until you feel comfortable, and remember that, like all art media, practice brings confidence.