Decorated Illuminated Letters - Tangling Meets Lettering | Zen Linea | Skillshare

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Decorated Illuminated Letters - Tangling Meets Lettering

teacher avatar Zen Linea, Certified Zentangle® Teacher & Jeweler

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Intro new

    • 2. Drawing the Letter

    • 3. Tangle 1 - Fescu

    • 4. Tangle 2 - Mooka

    • 5. Tangle 3 - Sand Swirl

    • 6. Coloring the Border

    • 7. Coloring the Central Area

    • 8. Shading and Highlighting

    • 9. Coloring and Shading

    • 10. Adding 3D Effect

    • 11. Project Time

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About This Class


Welcome to the new class that brings together the Zentangle® Method and lettering!

This class is perfect for anyone who would like to:

  • learn more about the Zentangle method
  • practice using shading and highlighting
  • use mixed media, including watercolor pencils, gel pens and acrylic medium for achieving a stunning 3D effect
  • learn how to make amazing unique gifts for the loved ones.

Illuminated letters are decorated letters and initials that were mostly used by calligraphers in medieval Europe. This class uses a modern approach, combining ancient concepts with the contemporary and relaxing drawing method - Zentangle®.

Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. (

If you are new to the Zentangle® Method, you can start by taking my basic Zentangle® class or some of the other classes I teach at Skillshare.

Make sure to download the useful attachments, join the project and come back with the project photos, questions or comments. Visit the Projects&Resources section for more info and the list of supplies.

Please leave feedback - I'd love to hear from you!

Follow me on Instagram to see hundreds of drawings, process videos or check out other links to see what's new.

Meet Your Teacher

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Zen Linea

Certified Zentangle® Teacher & Jeweler


Hi, everybody!

I'm Anica Gabrovec, a Certified Zentangle® Teacher and jewelry maker from Croatia. On social media I mostly use my alias Zen Linea, which became the formal name of my small creative business.

After working in finance for 20 years, in 2019 I decided to make a big shift and dedicate my time to creative pursuits, which is what really sparks my joy. I've been making jewelry on and off for 15 years and last four years I've been totally into drawing, powered and inspired by the amazing Zentangle® method. 

I can honestly say that creative work has changed my life and my mission is to spread that creative virus to as many people as I can. My biggest reward is when I manage to change other people's preconceived&nbs... See full profile

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1. Intro new: Hello, everybody. I'm on its has certified sent angle Peter and the jewelry maker from Croatia. Welcome to this new class. There's going to combine Zen tangle with lettering. Illuminated letters are basically decorated letters and initials. They were mostly used by calligraphers in medieval Europe, and they were often decorated with gold leaf. Here we will take a modern approach to the design off the illuminated letters inspired by the same tangle method. I'll use the following supplies. A square piece of Weitz high quality paper, black pens, graphite pencil and the white charcoal pencil. Watercolor pencils. Mod podge Dimensional magic, which is an acrylic medium use to achieve the three D effect metallic gel pin at least all the exact supplies in the project section. 2. Drawing the Letter: will start to these exercise with our basic supplies with the square paper tile and our graphic pencil and first will say car, graphite pencil and with very light strokes mark the future borders off our throwing. As always, ins entangle. We are not trying to make it perfect because there are no such things as mistakes, sins. And then, after being done wheat, the our plans of our borders. We really use the graphite pencil to sketch our letter. I chose the letter K because I like it is the first letter off the name of my daughter, but also because I I think it's a nice example off late Third, that has quite a complicated shape, So I believe it's a nice exercise. After being done with the sketch, I'm taking my Micron PM pen and I will Joe the letter shape. Wait, uh, the pen You can use any black men, but preferably you should use one with stian name. That means a nip size from 01203 off course you can. You also use any ticker nip if you prefer it, and it suggests to find the high quality supplies like Micron Pence or than single tiles because thes pens have her chi vel in quality, which means that they will withstand the sign I took. Now the micron 08 Ben, to feel the letter Wheat black color. If you don't have, um, Penn with taken it, just use whatever you have. And if you're using a teeny try to use this time to really relax and enjoy your strokes, because this is really an activity where you don't have to think too much about what to do next so you can really focus on the present moment. And listen, Teoh this beautiful sound off your pen, stroking the paper at any time during your is entangled practice. If you feel nervous or anxious, you just come back to your breath. If you want to speed up the process, you can also use a brush. Been like I'm using here now, just two short in this video of it because this lesson is quite a complicated one. So take a long time to draw everything, and I will just try to same save some of the time by using this, um Pence or brush pince with the current jobs. And here it is the first step of our journey for today's already finished. The next thing to do with the embedded letters. It's how we called him in San Tangle. He's too Joe or a shapes or us around the letter warring. He's one of the techniques Ines entangled that enhance the drawings so so called enhancer. And it's actually a wonderful way to not only to enhance the drawing, but also to really relax and enjoy the line making process drome anywhere lines today. So be prepared to have so much joy from this exercise. The first stories finished, and now I will Joe, um, several fescue shapes. 3. Tangle 1 - Fescu: the next thing will do. He's to dro several fescue tangles. Rescue is one off the amazingly simple singles or patterns that we use in San Tangle and the way I would normally throw it. He's like this just a nice, curvy line with a teardrop shaped ending, and I normally draw them in clusters and use in order line because otherwise there is no way to shave them because they're so French island. Then they don't have volume. But this time I will use it the way that it's described in original Zen tangle directions, which is just to finish with a nice round shape and this round shape that values will complement nicely this round shape that I use when I was trying my lighter is always please notice how I'm rotating my child all the way when I'm drawing, and it's the best way to make use off the fact that we are working on a small service so we can enjoy this privilege off rotating the surface we're drawing on in order to make our hands hurt less so we don't have to move her hand around the paper like this. You're just rotating the tile the paper Sile and keeping our hand more or less in the same position. And you can see I have already started drawing another aura around the whole shape. This time, including the fast cues, I only drew three fescue shapes on and at later stages of my drawing. If I feel that there is a space I need to feel, I can always add morph. Excuse or I'll also use several mocha shapes here, as you will see. So we will just trust the process and see where it takes us, knowing that at any time we can add something to our drawing. If we feel that it needs some more details, another or a line is finished. After our second um, or align, we will add some black ink to these sharp nooks that we have on our fast cues and a long are in the shape of our light there. Any time you are adding some black ink to any off your tangles or or any kind of drawing slides, you are actually adding contrasts. So these beautiful black inked spaces are here. Teoh give us contrast, Andi actually enhance the other shapes and make more use off the highlighting that well, after we're finished with the line work 4. Tangle 2 - Mooka: mocha is one of my favorite singles. It's an organic tangle that feels up any space beautifully the way I like Teoh Joe. It is like this. I always start with the outer line, then go to the pot and finish with join the inner line another way to draw it. In my case, I would also start with the outer line. I will draw a pod that is almost, um, circular shape and then finished Read the inner line. So it's very similar to fescue, but it has substantial volume to it. Ask you would be this or this, while mocha would be this, I will use mucus to feel some of these spaces and that will Joey close to our sq shape. In fact, I will make the pods off the mocha hide behind the fescue. I will tro, I believe, three of them. And then at the later stage, same as fast. You I will see if there is a need to draw some more shapes. We're looking for a nice balance between the tangles that we will add, and the spaces between that will later be filled with some additional shapes. And one more here, maybe a smaller one because there's a small amount of space remaining between our borders, and you can see as many times when I'm using the borders in my drawings. I only used them for giving some kind off the direction about where I will Joe my tangles and I almost always step on those borders and you would see that I drew a line here. Andi tangling is really, um just and improvisation. Each time you take your pen in your hands, you are prepared to be surprised by the shapes that will emerge on your paper. And this is the beauty off any kind of creative process because you never can be certain about where it will take you on what will you and up with it. So now we can see that I have one line here that needs to be finished somewhere on another line here, and you don't have to worry too much about how you will finish those lines because there are no mistakes. And whatever you do well look beautifully and you just have to trust me on that. So you see how my lines here are in perfect. But I'm not sweating about it thistles the whole point off the game to relax and enjoy the process and trust that it will bring you joy and that you will be happy with the results, which is only the second everything that matters. But the results off The Sentinel practice almost always surprises with their beauty, especially when we have in mind the simplicity off the process and how the results can sometimes be seemingly complex drawings. But it only proves that whatever you need to achieve you cans words, just taking it step by step at the time or, in this case, aligned by lion added Sign. 5. Tangle 3 - Sand Swirl: Now is the time Teoh, Joe, our borders on I will drew them using the a light pencil stroke that we ju at the beginning off this lesson as a guidance on, you can see that rounding the edges just a bit so that they are similar to the edges of the tile because I think it will look beautifully like balanced throwing. If we do it in this way, I hope you already noticed how I am using this small reminders. These are the so called fisheries ums. By then, tangle incorporated, which remind us about the benefits of those entangle practice and gives us some tips about are drawing process. And believe me, there are many benefits to those entangle process. I can personally witness to that how it can be almost life changing to continue in the same sentiment. Let's see, I'm drew a drawing another or lines who finished these border. And now it's time Teoh fill in these gaps between our tangles. I really use one of my favorite tangles, another one of my favorite dangles, which is sense for and I will and thats waste any time to show you how its drone on another piece of paper because you can see here. It's a pretty simple shape that we start with. Let's say if ask you and then we have these or lines to build from this starting fescue shape and if you can imagine on being on a nice beach and coming there first, I think in the morning you can see those beautiful shapes on the sandy bottom, which remind exactly off these beautiful sense worlds. So you start with fast you and you had or allies on this. Always enjoy this beautiful combination off your favorite pen, stroking your favorite paper and being aware how these shapes merge from our imagination. And there is actually no limits. So what we can do and create only with several basic supplies, some patient for drawing sign and creative energies. There are no rules about how and where to position your tangles or which tangles to choose . And the longer you Joe, the easier will be for you to make those choices. When you think about the shapes that can complement each other. Sometimes I like using, like here you can see that we almost exclusively use some organic shapes. But many times the organic shapes looks really beautiful when you pair them up with some geometric shapes. - Here are gonna have too much space to squeeze some sense worlds. So I will just feel the background with some lines, and later we will feel it. Those surroundings paces or fire lighter wheat colors. I don't believe these two without any lines for now on decide what to do later. 6. Coloring the Border: for the coloring, I decided to go with a combination that they really enjoy. It's a combo for violet and orange, and I will actually, um, start with these two shades of those colors. But later I might eat My decides to use also another shades of those for the purpose off shading Ondas. You can see I started with feeling out the space right next to the border of heart style. And when I finish with the outline, I will use my water brush to activate the color of pigments and to blind it, I took a slightly thicker brush than I normally use for the inside shapes. Because, um, I have a larger space here on the outer part off the border, and I don't have to be as precise as on the insights, so you can see when I'm blending the color, whether it's the watercolor or the graphite pencil or whatever use for shading, I almost always use whatever I'm holding in my hand. Whether it's the pencil or or brush, I almost always use it at an angle. Okay, it's not maybe horizontal to the paper, but almost horizontally. So I'm not doing this. I'm doing it had this nice angle. The next thing goes, you also here at the border is to spread some color on the very edges of the paper and is it can look like a silly thing to do. But believe me, you can notice it. When the drawing is finished. It just looks, Let's say around it. You have to be careful about how you do it, because the pen cil can easily sleep like it did here, you see. Luckily, it's on the background to see what I'm doing. I'm using the Neeb to add the's color. And again I'm using the pencil and holding it almost horizontally to I had some more color to the very allergies off the paper. When we use it like this to color the edges and the inside part and we leave the central part, this one why we're gonna have a nice, slight three D erosion and again taking the water brush to blend and activate the payment. I really enjoy using the watercolor pencils when I started working with color on my eyes, entangle PC's or is entangled inspired pieces aisles who used some color pencils, which I haven't still a lot of using, but in my opinion, using the watercolor pencil is much easier because it takes less time to blend it on. It looks beautiful on organic. I also took the border brush to blend thes edges off the paper tile. Now we will take some time for these to dry before we continue it coloring and shading the inside part. 7. Coloring the Central Area: on the inside, I will use again this violet color around the central letter and the oris that we drew. So I'm just using gets around the edges and also here, where our shapes off the sense worlds overlap. So to get for the three D illusion, we are using the color around the shape that's placed above the other. And when we had shades to this area, it will visually make this white part up out of the paper. I'll also put some color here next to this overlapping within the son swirl. Values of here is, well, thes spaces are really side, so there's no room to play with the dimensionality. But we will bring some contras to just by coloring them violets on these spaces. I I said before that I would decide later what I do with them. I still haven't decided to do anything, so I'll just use some color on them, and I'll take my thin water brush and blend the color and activate these pigments. You can see exactly which brushes water brushes I'm using. If you go to the project section off the class, you will see all the supplies that I used, and these are the ones that I prefer, so you can use them. But if you don't have those, you can use any other, so any supplies are better than no supplies. And I would be really happy if people would stop using the lack of supplies and as an excuse not to make art and be created because the supplies are not with me sent artists. We all have creative urges and three TVT in our core being on, it's really ashamed to neglected and not to use it because it's for our benefits. So please just use whatever you have. You can use the regular brush and some water. Be mindful about how much water you use, especially if you're not using the watercolor paper on the paper. I'm using East Staple up for Briana Steeple paper, which is not with her color paper. So it's the originals entangled style. I'll use orange to color the or us and shapes around the later, and my intention is to leave the or that is closest to our letter white and use the color, too. Enhance the surrounding areas butts. You never know where the process will take me So let's see what happens at the end. It's only my intention, but that might change when I'm shading mucus or any kind off a circular shape. I usually use color in the top left area, and I leave the bottom rights. Whites Elian later show you what I used to enhance the volume off such shapes so you can choose to do that or maybe follow your own intuition or technique that you would normally use for something like that. I'm trying to make it less complicated. I think that these two colors really beautiful next to each other. Now. I took my water brush again to blend color and activated. I was using Sykora's My cramp in here on. It's really important. I didn't say before. I hope it's not too late Now. When I talked about the choices off pence, it's really important. Teoh use plan with water resistant ink. If you are working with watercolors and plan on using water, too, blend color in the process. That goes without saying. But, you know, I might as well mentioned that 8. Shading and Highlighting: it's time for shading in highlighting process and for the shades and highlights, I lose my usual supplies. Reach our graphite pencil, charcoal pencil and two separate blending stumps. 14 whites and another for Kraft fights. And you can see that I'm I took my charcoal pencil, and I'm using it on the parts off my sense world that I would like to enhance. That I would imagine, have most light on. So you remember how we shaded these parts that are overlapping next to the line that is over living? And now we're using some white highlights to bring out the lights in the parts off our tangles that are not shaded. I would use some effect pencil to enhance the shades below the orris, and later I will take the blending stump to just blend thes fight traces. Shaving is really difficult part off drawing, in my opinion, and it's a part that you can learn and learn and learn, and you can never say Okay, I have mastered the shading process because there's so much to learn about it, and there's so many different ways to use shades. Teoh enhance the drawings that I don't think there's anybody in this world who can say and that he or she mastered the shading process I love shading on. I love spending. Sign thinking about it on going through the process. It can be intimidating. I will admits. That's Please just relax and enjoy the process. Be curious about it. Writes who Look at the artwork off people whose work you admire and try to notice how they use the shades and highlights. Two in hands, their drawings. Try to learn from it and play with its just genuinely and enjoy your creative time. - I will also use some shades inside the letter Teoh make certain parts pop or appear darker, but it's actually not something that you have to dio armless. You find that there's some benefiting the process for your relaxations or for your doing. I believe that this had some volume to the trolling Andi. I actually like the effect, so it appears that some of these orange or us go above the other ones which are shaded. I actually think it looks cool 9. Coloring and Shading: Now that I look at my letter, I think it might benefit from some more shades here. It will make thes aura next to the letter, and I already mentioned that I would try to highlight shade and highlight these Muka shapes . I'm using my charcoal pencil to highlight the bottom right part, and I shaded the It's up left bark. I also at some shades below my mucus so that they appeared to be lyft. It's above this background. I'm using my orange pencil again to bring some more color to these so uplift parts. Thank also, I will use it on some of the parts that I already shaded with my grip It pencil, and it almost appears as though you can use it to somehow blend the gratified trace even more after we used already our blending stump to blend it. Now that I look at my drawing, I feel really happy about it. But I still want to add some more contrast to the south or part, and I will actually speed up the video at this time because you might not agree with me, and you might decide that that's wrong, will not really benefit from this process. If you feel like you would like to add it, just pause the recording on work on your shades and contrast as long as you believe it's needed. Otherwise I wouldn't know. Speed it up. Here it is now. All colored. Andi, I would let it try before I continue with my work while my borders I trying, I will use my wife. And so to add some more highlights, just on a few places where I would like to bring some more contrast. 10. Adding 3D Effect: At the end, I will use Ahmad Approach the National Magic. Teoh achieved the three D effect at some of my shapes on also on the shape off the later it can get clumpy because it gets stick in contact with air. So I always have some needles on two bigs nearby, and you can see how it has some kind of jelly like structure, which makes it easier for us to spread it, use it and spread it. I actually stop at this moments with the application and values thin and firm brush to just spread it. You will not be able to influence to the very detail where you apply the's smart part because of its structure. Its It has its own ways, its own will, so there's only so much you can do to make it feel the spaces. - I'll use some more Teoh kill these round shapes up. It also tends to form some air bubbles. Now we got my later and the circular shapes field with more approach, and I have to leave it for three hours to dry before I use some gel inks to add some more dimensionality. In the meantime, I will claim these brush with some water on soap. Okay, They took the jelly roll. It's a metallic general, and any kind off a general with metallic ink would work beautiful on this. But I decided to take this. Um, I don't know, pinkish violet. I'm not even sure Color and I'm applied's. But nuts to the very edge off my letter and circular shapes that I made with the dimensional magic. And with these jelly rose with metallic ink, it's my experience that you don't have to press too hard. Actually, if you just have a lightly strike the surface, the ink will come out and you just have to distribute it on the surface. So, as I said, I will applied's on my letter K, but also on the tip off. My circular shapes can repeat this. If you want Teoh, achieve more color, and you can also do it with your dimensional magic. You can always add a layer, but you cannot undo it when you have too much in one layer. So by all means, I would advise you to be patient and start with one layer, and later on you can add another one after the 1st 1 is dry. You just have to wait for a few hours until the first monies try 11. Project Time: it's time for the project. Please organs were PC to find the attachments with visual step by step guides to drawing this tangle, send some more tips, tricks and references. I'd be really happy if you would upload the photos of your work in progress or finished drawing into the project section for me to see her work and to encourage others to try. If you have any questions or comments, joined the discussion section. I love getting feedback from you and thank you.