Zentangle Artist Goes Journaling
ZENTANGLE IS A METHOD OF DRAWING BY USING STRUCTURED, REPETITIVE PATTERNS. IT’S RELAXING, FUN AND ANYONE CAN LEARN TO DO IT.
by Mindy Cook
As one of Australia’s first Certified Zentangle® Teachers, Kass Hall is a published writer and artist from Melbourne with art experience in Australia and internationally. Her books, Zentangle Untangled and The Zentangle Untangled Workbook have been huge successes around the globe. Kass is passionate about art journaling and empowering artists.
Kass first read about Zentangle in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine then took a class while she was in the US. She explained, “I love drawing so it really resonated with me and has improved my general drawing skills out of sight! I found the books that were available back then were catering to the beginner’s end of the market and I wanted something a little more sophisticated and something that took Zentangle away from its origins and into journals, scrapbooks and more”.
Kass continued, “Early in 2011 I had a brave moment and emailed an editor in the USA. I was demonstrating Zentangle at the Craft & Quilt Fair in New Zealand when I got the email to say they’d like to publish. It was very exciting!”
And what are you enjoying doing most at the moment, Kass?
Over the years I’ve started to really hone in on my art journals. As both finished works of art and ‘visual diaries’, this is where I try things out and write notes, and having that one place to go and be free is very empowering. I journal about serious things in my life, whimsical, made up things and everything in between. I love trying new techniques and just seeing what happens – and the best part is there really cannot be any mistakes made because it’s a constant learning process. If something doesn’t work, gesso is my friend.
I am also absolutely loving some of the online art communities I am part of. There are heaps of great blogs, websites and groups that are genuinely supportive. One of the keys to getting the most out of these communities is contributing – both your own work and supporting others in theirs.
What’s some key advice in the world of art journaling you can pass on?
1. Gesso is your friend. When all else fails, gesso over it and start again. It’s like the Savlon of art supplies – it can fix anything.
2. Don’t overthink it. Just do it. If you are having a blank moment just start laying some colour down. Creating basic backgrounds without too much thought is actually a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Paints, pencils, inks, mists, scrap papers – whatever it takes.
3. I’m a big one for detail in pages. That doesn’t mean overworking it, just looking for the small things that might enhance your journal. Shadowing, white space, writing or whatever it might need. Revisit pages. I sometimes come back weeks or months later and add details in as they come to me. That’s perfectly fine!
4. There is a world of resources available out there – use them. Books, online classes, workshops and art retreats; take advantage of them.
5. Practice. No-one – but no-one – gets it right first time. Not even Picasso. Skills and talent are developed over time – truly talented artists of any kind spend their lives honing their skills.
What do you like most about tutoring? Are you planning to do more in the future?
Honestly, the best thing about teaching is seeing students grow – seeing them take something I’ve taught them and run with it. I actually love it when students do something that makes me think they should be the teacher -that’s when I know I’ve done my job well. I also love the ‘lightbulb moments’ when students are thinking about things differently and they have little revelations.
What’s the next project for Kass Hall?
There are many irons in the fire at the moment. Potential teaching in the US and other parts of Australia and perhaps further study… but it always comes back to being happy and making art.
Favourite place in the world? /
Favourite place in the world is a 3 way tie – New York for action and arty culture, Prince Edward Island (Canada) is my “other home” and where my soul is truly at peace. And Hawaii – just being there relieves me of stress and worries. It’s paradise on earth.
Sweet or savoury? /
I like sweet AND savoury but if I have to choose, savoury.
B/w or colour? /
Colour. Always colour.
Pencil or brush? /
Pencil. But that’s a mean choice to make!!
Camper or 5-star?
Camper? Do they have campers at the Hilton???? I only camp 5 star, baby!!