Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher


I was thinking how it's so easy to disguise and hide your "bad work" through online social media sharing. We never show the art that is ruined, the experiments, the failures. I've been working with some experiments in color using my faithful Prismacolor pencils. My favorite method is to apply some kind of a wash or base color underneath the pencils -- using markers, watercolors or other easy to apply medium -- as to save some time building up the color. You see, waxy pencils such as Prismacolor need to grab on to the "tooth" (or grain) of the paper, or they start to slip and slide, getting muddy. It's easier to create deep smooth color if you already have some kind of a base color underneath that has not used up the paper grain, such as ink, marker, watercolor or even colored paper. Here are some my latest experiments -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

Color study Zentangle by Eni Oken

In this experiment, the under coat used were markers. Everything was going really fine until... I decided to add some regular pencil shading. The graphite did NOT like the prismacolors and they made a mess at the bottom. Too bad, I was heartbroken, look how pretty those tri-roda look!




In this one, I used watercolors as the initial wash. This worked really well, until I used started to mix complementary colored pencils in small areas at the top left, making a muddy mess. This color scheme is NOT working, yuk! What a pity!!!




After ruining two pictures in a row, I decided to go small, as to not invest so much emotionally. In these two experiments, I used colored paper as the under wash. I really like the results, great success, especially with the white gel pen details on the top. Love it, will use it more!


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Colored pencils over colored paper

Another ZIA tile