Enhance Zentangles, Zendoodles and Zendalas with Shading
The one thing that elevates a pretty Zendoodle drawing into a stunning one is the application of a little shading. Shadow adds dimensionality and also anchors the tangles, making them seem almost solid.
If you are unsure about how to add shade to Zentangles this page will show you how easy it is.
PS The terms 'Zentangle', Zendoodle and Zendala are used interchangeably. However, 'Zentangle' is a registered trademark and really applies to pieces created using the Zentangle method.
Â© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved.
ZentangleÂ® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.
Image credit: TheRaggedEdge
Start from the Beginning
Zentangle before shading
So here is my drawing, finished but with no shading. I quite like it but it looks bare and there seems to be something lacking. Adding just a small amount of shadow will improve it dramatically.
Often people get a little hung-up about shading but there is nothing too difficult about it. I hope this little tutorial will help.
I recommend you use an HB or B grade pencil. If you use anything heavier it will overwhelm the delicacy of your Zentangle.
Graphite pencil sets
Determine the direction of light
Where is the light source?
The main thing to remember when adding shade to any drawing or painting, that there must be a source of light. In a landscape the light source will be the sun. In a still-life, the light source will come from a window or artificial light.
Decide from which direction the light is coming in your Zendoodle. It's your choice entirely because there is no obvious direction as in a landscape. I usually have mine coming from the top left or top right of the drawing.
Add shading to the 'undersides'
Add shadows to the Zentangle
In this close-up you can see that I have decided that the light is coming from the top left, therefore my shading is going to placed on the bottom right of the tangle element. The 'cherries' have their shading around their bottoms and the leafy tangle is sort of angled so the shade will be on the underside of the topmost portion. Does that make sense?
The shading is not done precisely and even looks a little ragged. That will be resolved in the next step.
Sakura 11-Piece Zentangle Set
New from Sakura and Zentangle, the perfect starter kit. Contains all you need to enjoy this relaxing art form.
Product Description: Zentangle set includes a pencil and pens plus zentangle tiles upon which you can create fun and relaxing art. There are five pens with four tips sizes (0.25-mm, 0.35-mm, 0.45-mm, 0.5-mm) and the micro pigment ink is waterproof, fade proof, and acid free. The pencil is pre-sharpened and the drawing tiles measure 3-1/2-inch square. This package contains five pens, one pencil, and five zentangle tiles.
There are more and more Zentangle inspired books around. See what you can find.
Made in the Shade: - a Zentangle workbook
A whole book dedicated to the art of shading Zentangle. Will definitely help those who are less than confident about shading.
Soften the shading
The fun part
Use your finger, a tightly rolled up piece of watercolor paper or a tortillion (paper stump) to soften the shading. I love this part as you can intensify shadow or lighten it. You can also use the 'dirty' end of the tortillion to add very light shadow in places.
Tip: By leaving a gap between the object and the shadow, you can make the object appear to float. I will add another image later on which demonstrates what I mean more clearly.
Zentangle/Zendoodle before shading
Zendoodle/Zentangle after shading
Making zendoodle tangles float
If you look very carefully at the Zendoodle above and right, you can see that there is 'light' under the black and white 'snake'. It is simply a line of unshaded drawing. It makes certain elements like this appear to float. You can use this technique in any drawing or painting.
Turn your doodles into art.