Wednesday 30 October 2019

High Stakes

During the Singapore CZT Masterclass, I taught a Rotating Riddles class. There was a tangle in my lesson plan that did not have a name, so I simply told the CZTs to draw “diamond stakes”. Debbie and I joked that it sounded like “diamond steaks”. hahaha

Later on, Debbie encouraged me to name the tangle.

I played around with the tangle, I found that you could switch out the diamond to other shapes. I asked Debbie for ideas on what I should name it. I didn’t like “Diamond Stakes” anymore because I felt it would limit the shapes that people would draw it to look like.

“Diamond Stakes”…. “Diamond Steaks”

“Satay Stakes” ….. “Chop Sticks” …. “Chopped Steaks” I’m hungry now.


In the end, we settled on the sensible yet charming name, “High Stakes”. Here’s how you draw it:

Here's the exploration page that I did in my sketchbook:

And earlier this week, the Tangle of the Day for Tea & Tangle was High Stakes. Here's what I created during the session:

If you create something with it, I’d love to see it. You can tag me on Instagram @7forests5rivers or post it in our Facebook group.

Friday 13 September 2019

All of Derwent’s White Pencils

  Debbie often pulls out bits and bobs from her cupboard at the studio… Little trinkets… Inks.. Pens… Coloured markers… It keeps things interesting and keeps the ideas flowing for us at the studio.

  A while back, she took out these wooden cabochons that we then glued to blank tiles. I tried to make mine into a cartouches.

  And here’s a postcard-sized tile that I did just for fun. Gemstones are a great way to jazz up your art.

  A gemstone also sneaked into one of the tiles I did during Tea & Tangle session. Debbie was very ambitious- we had three “tangle of the day”. They were “Trinity”, “Ratoon”, and “Drawings”. Here are the tiles I created. (The tinting of the tiles was done in advance.)

  We've been adding small canvases to the studio recently. Debbie painted some of them, and we found an accidental art on her plastic palette after. 


  Inspired by Debbie’s post on which white shading tool is best for black paper, I decided to make my own discoveries on which Derwent pencil was best for black paper.

  I had six contenders…. The Tinted Charcoal, Coloursoft coloured pencil, Graphitint, Inktense, Lightfast coloured pencil, and Pastel pencil. Of the six options, the Graphitint and Inktense are water-soluble.

  I tested them without smudging, with smudging, and with water added (when applicable).

This was a black card from a scrapbook that Debbie bought from Daiso.

  The results were that the Pastel pencil produced the brightest white, but it also created the most amount of fallout. The Lightfast coloured pencil laid down really smoothly- kind of like butter. I like the Inktense when wet, but it’s difficult to control the consistency of coverage once you add water…

  The Graphitint is lovely, without creating nearly as much dust as the Pastel pencil. So it has become my tool to use for black tiles.

  Debbie gave me tiles from Alicia G. Rey, Zen Pig, and Strathmore to try, too. My tests on those tiles produced similar results to the one on the Daiso card.

Alicia G.Rey's tile.

Zen Pig


If you live in Singapore (or are visiting) you can buy Derwent products from Art Friend.

It’s fun playing around with new materials and figuring out what works best for you. What new and interesting art materials have you played with recently? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday 31 August 2019

A Trip to Clear My Mind

  I was away in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from the 23rd to the 26th of August. Which meant that I spent my birthday there. I think this is the first time in my life spending my birthday away from home. I did spend it with my mother, my husband, and my daughter, though. So it was a very lovely cake day.

  During my trip, I took the time to relax and chill. Which, to someone with general anxiety and the tendency to overthink things, was really a change of pace.

  I didn't know how much art I'd create over the four days I was on holiday. But I brought along a stack of tiles and a small A5-sized sketchbook, plus my small pencil case of drawing materials that included a variety of Micron pens, a pencil, and a watercolour brush so that I could use my pocket watercolour palette, if I wanted to.

  What did I learn?

  That I'm overly ambitious and that one sketchbook with my pens and a pencil is more than enough. hahaha

  The art that you'll see in the following pictures were created during my trip, but the colours were added when I got back to Singapore.

  At some point, I switched over to a red Micron pen so that I could create something for the 7F5R Challenge. And I've been quite happily drawing Dingbatz with that red pen even after I returned from my trip. I don't know what is it about the tiny Dingbatz and the red ink that I find so charming... Perhaps it's that they remind me of a Chinese seal (chop)?

  You can see some parts are incomplete.

  Especially this one... I have no idea where I'm going with it.... Maybe I'll just have Diva Dance Waltz all over it...

  In the car ride to the airport, I did this impressionistic painting of the sunset that I saw. It was the only time I used my watercolours during the trip.

  The day after I landed back in Singapore, I joined Debbie for her Tea & Tangle session. The Tangle of the Day was "W2".

  I also continued creating more Dingbatz in red ink.

  And here's the last page that I've worked on... It's the start of a Paradox.

  There are about seven more pages to this sketchbook, but the sketchbook is already looking very banged up. It's most likely because I kept folding the sketchbook over itself that caused the paper to start falling away from the staples... Gotta' remember to not do that the next time I buy this sketchbook.

  It has been good to me, though, and I would definitely recommend this brand. It is an ENV Paper Company Sketch Book. It has 20 acid-free pages and is 150gsm. I bought mine at the Art Friend in Plaza Singapura.

  That's all I have for you this time. Until my next post... Keep tangling!

Thursday 29 August 2019

Inktober Tangles 2019 Official List

  Hello world! As we approach October, I have come up with a list for the annual Inktober challenge. Inktober is an online event where artists all over the world challenge themselves by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. I adapted the idea to fit with Zentangle art by making each day's prompts be a tangle.

  If you'd like to participate, draw a tile a day using the day's listed tangle, and hashtag your art work using #InktoberTangles2019 so that other people can find out what you create each day. You can post your art on your blog or on your Instagram. By popular request, I have created a Facebook group where you can post what you create during Inktober. The link to that group is here:

  If you'd like your art to be featured in my newsletter, use the hashtag #7F5R for me to find you - this is optional.

  If you cannot commit to the entire month, you can opt to draw however many tiles you can manage, or you can also combine the prompts of a couple of days into one tile. If you miss a day, don't feel discouraged! Just continue from where you left, or do that day's prompt. The challenge is meant to get you to draw more, not to have you be overwhelmed, so just do what you can and have fun.   For easy reference, I have linked each tangle with their step-outs. So you can just click on them to find out how to draw them.

  Without further ado, here are the prompts for Inktober Tangles 2019:

  1. Printemps
  2. TunnelVizion
  3. Toodles
  4. Zonked
  5. Jalousie
  6. Flukes
  7. Huggins
  8. Bales
  9. Lola
  10. Cubine
  11. InaFlux
  12. Floo
  13. Yin-Cut
  14. Arukas
  15. Maryhill
  16. Trentwith
  17. Dreamdex
  18. Sindoo
  19. Diva Dance (if you struggle with this tangle, you might want to try my simplified version)
  20. Antidots
  21. Batumber
  22. Abundies
  23. Pixioze
  24. Baton
  25. Tripoli (and you can see variations of it here)
  26. Ratoon
  27. Crescent Moon
  28. Well, Well, Who
  29. Kuke
  30. Nik
  31. Florz

Here's the list if you'd like to print it out:

And here's one for if you want to post it on Instagram:

  I hope you find something new from this list, and that you have great fun with these prompts.  If you have any questions, leave a comment below. You can also reach me at and you can tag me on Instagram at "havepen_willdraw". I love seeing everyone's art works.

Saturday 3 August 2019

A Bouquet of Swaps

  Before anything else.... Here's my entry for the ZIA Swap #58 - "Everlasting Eternity".

  If you'd like to learn to draw Eternity, it can be found here.

  And as promised, here are the Travelling Tangles Project tiles that I've recently completed...

  First off, this was a lovely tile from Nicki Lehmann. She did Paradox, and I followed. Colours were added using watercolours, then shading was done using coloured pencils.

  This was a renaissance tile from Beth Bentz. I actually made a time-lapse video of this tile. You can watch the video here.

  Last but not least, this is a tile from Kimmy. She started off with Ixorus and Purk, so I thought to complete the tile using only official Zentangle patterns. I re-outlined her Purk using a Uni-Ball Signo Broad white to make it more opaque... Then added Hollibaugh, Betweed, Cadent, Meer, and Printemps. A few Cabbits might have snuck their way into the tile, too. ;)

  Shading outside of the gemstone was done using a blue coloured pencil to make the gem seem like it was glowing... While the rest of the shading on the tangles was done using a 2B pencil.

  Thanks for dropping by. :) I hope I've inspired you with my art, and I hope to see you again soon.

  Until next time, keep tangling!

Thursday 1 August 2019

Birthday Month

  August happens to be "the birthday month" in our family. My mother, mother-in-law, and I are all August babies. Singapore, the country we live in, also celebrates its birthday on the 9th of August.

  Side note: Because it's Singapore's birthday this month, the theme for week one and two of August's 7F5R Challenge is red and white. Create a tile using the colours red and white and post it in the group. We'd love to see what you create.

  Do you like birthdays? Do you celebrate your own birthday?
  I enjoy birthdays, but I prefer to spend them with family and close friends, a quiet dinner, and perhaps a yummy chocolate cake.

  I asked the same question to my students at Toa Payoh Central Community Club and some of them said they were like me, while some of them said they'd rather not think about their birthdays at all. hahaha

  Yesterday was the last day of July's classes. Here's what my students created:

  And this was what one student created in her sketchbook as homework. My students continue to amaze me, again and again.

  As for me, I've been busy, too!

  Here's the tile from Debbie that I showed you in my previous post. The gemstones on the tile are real ones.

  Whereas these gemstones are drawn. I just wanted to draw a bunch of gemstones without tangling, so this is what I came up with. I might one day add tangles to the tile.... but you know how sometimes things turn out so well that you don't want to draw more, for fear that you might ruin what nice things you've already drawn? hahaha. Yes, I feel that way for this tile.

  Here's a Zendala, also with gemstones. I have no idea why the photo is not centred. 

  Lastly, this was what I drew for this week's Tea & Tangle. The featured tangle was "Klomp".

  During this session, Debbie and I talked about pushing past your creative comfort zone and trying new things. It's good to have tangles that you like and go to often, but it's also important to try new tangles- especially ones that you normally don't draw. (For me, that's grid-based tangles.)

  What's a tangle you've recently learnt that you'd like for me to try? Let me know in the comments section.

  That's all I have for you right now. In my next post, I'll show you a bunch of Travelling Tangles Project tiles that I've completed.

  I'll see you again soon. Until then, keep tangling!

Wednesday 17 July 2019

being brave

  Let's start this blog post off with a Travelling Tangles Project tile from ├ůsa Vading. She used Reticula RA-I and Fragment T5, from the Zentangle Primer 1 book.

  I added Ando and a variation of Flukes. Shading was done with Polychromos coloured pencils and a bit of graphite pencil.

  I teach weekly classes at Toa Payoh Central Community Club. Today will be the second class of this month. Here's what we created last week!

  We've also had many classes at the 7F5R studio... Here are some of my favourites...

  Embedded Letters! This student spoke Mandarin, so I chose to use Chinese characters on our large tiles instead of a single letter.

  During the class, we also got onto the topic of what it means to be brave. I told her that a lot of people think that bravery means being fearless... When, in fact, being brave means being scared but still going forth and doing the thing that scares you. There's also this other saying that goes,
"If your dreams don't scare you, then they're not big enough."
  What's something that scared you, but you still did anyways?

  Having the studio has also given me the freedom to teach classes in full colours. Here's a peacock class that we did..

  The 7F5R studio is located at 33A Hong Kong Street. It is very close to Clarke Quay and Chinatown MRT. You can also see a list of all the classes we are teaching in the studio via this link.

  Lastly, I wanted to show you this work in progress that I have... The background was created by Debbie and I've slowly been adding tangles to it as the days go by. She has been in Scotland for two weeks already, and I do miss her... Thankfully, she will be back real soon. :)

  And that's all I have for you this week. I hope to see you again soon. Until then, keep tangling!

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Charlotte turns one!

  Little Charlotte recently turned one!

  She now knows how to shake her head "no"... Although she does it sometimes even though she doesn't mean it. (Like that one time when my mum asked if the food was nice, and Charlotte shook her head no but still continued happily eating.)

  She's still very smile-y, and now consistently knows how to high-5.

  She has really cute expressions and is really funny.

  She now enjoys watching what other children do. She also loves birds. We intend on bringing her to a bird park soon.

  She's learning to grasp pens and pencils... and makeup brushes...

  She's a charmer and will wave at random strangers to make friends with them.

  She's an adventurous eater. In this photo, she has a milk biscuit in her mouth. Although the expression she's making makes it seem like she's very pleased with herself for no reason at all.

  She can sit on the swings and see-saw by herself now!

  Her favourite words are "wow" and "ba-doo". She dislikes hugs and kisses, but will tolerate them just because she loves you. hahaha. And she got nice, new, little shoes because she's now learning to walk. She's still very cautious and won't walk unless she's holding someone's hand...

  Our little bitty bub is growing fast.