When I’m teaching a tangle pattern like Printemps or Tipple, I often ask my students, “How do you know when you’ve drawn enough of them? When you don’t want to draw any more!”
There are two reasons for this – one is that this encourages you to listen to your artist’s mind. When you hold your tile out at arm’s length, turn it, and just look at it, after a while you’ll start to hear your inner voice tell you ‘ it needs more in this corner’ or ‘that’s enough’. The more you listen and trust that voice, the stronger it will get. That’s how you develop your own innate style and sense of balance, form, composition and so on.
The second reason is even more simple. When you reach a point where drawing the same pattern is becoming tedious, it’s time to stop. You’re not having fun anymore. And that’s another voice that’s crucial to listen to. The Zentangle approach is meant to be enjoyable and relaxing, to give yourself permission to create and feel good about the process. So if you feel like if you draw one more Tipple you’ll scream, let yourself stop.
There’s also an in between spot. You may think ‘I need more but I don’t want to draw any more.’ So why not decide to come back to that section – or that tile – after a break? Put it aside for a short time – or a longer one – and come back to it when you feel fresh again.
The more you listen to your inner artist voice and respect what it’s telling you, the more confident you’ll feel about your drawing, and the more pleasure the whole experience will be. There’s no race, there’s no deadline or measure you need to meet. Zentangle is about the process of drawing for the sake of the pleasure it brings you.
How much Printemps is enough?
Sometimes you stop because you don’t want to do any more.