It's a matter of scale

Learn how to color with colored pencils •

Last week I had a very dear friend come over to visit. She mentioned how she was following my art through facebook and the blog, while I happily sat at the receiving end of some lovely compliments. 

Then I offered: "Would you like to see the originals?" As I showed her my album, I had the most nagging feeling that she expected something else: "Oh, I thought these were much larger!"

I proceeded to explain how Zentangle art is all miniature so that you finish the piece in one sitting, how miniatures are so much fun to make, etc. and as the loving friend that she is, she continued her oohs and aahs. 

It got me thinking: why is it that people give more importance and value to larger sizes? I am no stranger to painting large canvases, but that was in another life before cancer, and since discovering Zentangle I've become accustomed to working on tiny formats. 

Could I work larger? Today I sat down to do some tests, and this is the result: 

Learn how to color with colored pencils •

Well, you can't tell that it's larger at all, now can you???

Here are a couple of pictures comparing with some recent tiles I created:

Learn how to color with colored pencils •

As you can see, the scale is slightly larger. I expect this level of detail would be good to work on an 8x8 inch format. Compare this to one of my recent inked pieces, created on 3.5 inch Zentangle tile: 

Learn how to color with colored pencils •

I figured: Maybe I can go larger! Here's what came out: 

Learn how to color with colored pencils •

Well, how can you tell????

Now for the grand unveiling and comparison: 

Learn how to color with colored pencils •

As you can see, the scale is DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT. I had to do a number of adaptations to my usual technique -- instead of colored pencils, I used Caran D'Ache Watercolor crayons; instead of a white gel pen I used white gouache with a paintbrush. The experience was much more physical, I had to move my entire arm to get the job done. 

I expect that this level of detail would be ideal for a much larger size, at least 24x36 or larger. 

What did I conclude from this experience?

I LOVE working small. My ideal size is NOT 3.5inch square tile, I actually would enjoy more working on a 4.5x4.5 inch tile. It doesn't seem like much of a difference, but this exercise proved to me that it does!

Not only does small size suit me, it allows me to finish a piece in one sitting. Two hours is my ideal time. I don't think I would have the patience to going back to taking 1 or 2 months to finish a canvas -- not even a week!

Try it yourself. What is YOUR ideal format?


Copyright 2017 Eni Oken

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