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Embroidered Forest, Zentangle mixed media trees

embroidered forest red bubble
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Embroidered Forest, Zentangle mixed media trees

I have been incorporating  zentangle patterns and various designs into my paintings for some time now and this is a direction I am continuing to explore. I wanted to paint a quite large forest triptych while integrating some patterns that would be visible from close but less obvious from a distance as too not overpower the general design of the picture.

You might also like: zentangles and life drawing

Here are the steps I took to paint mixed media zentangle trees:

Making you r drawing and preserving some whites areas with masking fluid

drawing and masking fluid on canvas

I started by a rough outline of the tree shapes with pencil on canvas.. Masking fluid works well on canvas but will lift off any watercolor that was previously painted. As I want most of my highlights white, this is not an issue in this case.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Daler-Rowney Masking Fluid

This fluid is used to create striking white highlights or to mask areas for overpainting at a later stage. It forms a fast-drying, water-resistant film on watercolor paper and board, and is easily removed when dry.

Painting the foliage wet into wet with watercolor on canvas

painting with watercolor wet into wet on canvas

I start by painting the background with watercolors. wet in wet, letting the different shades of yellow and green mix on the canvas.

Painting the trees by layering acrylic inks

layering fluid acrylic inks on canvas : First yellow layer

For the trees trunks, I want to achieve rich and broken colors by layering primaries. This is difficult to do with watercolors on canvas as they will lift off easily, so I switch to fluid acrylic inks. My first layer is a lemon yellow.

layering red fluid acrylic ink on top of the previous yellow layer

The next layer is red, still painted with liquid acrylics. Depending on the final shade I want on the trunk, I paint a different number of layers to make it darker.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Water-Resistant Artists Ink

FW Artists Ink is an acrylic-based, pigmented, water-resistant ink in a range of 38 colors, all of which have either a three-star or four-star rating for permanence. FW Artists Inks work well with airbrushes, dip pens, technical pens and brushes. – Primary Colors Set

layering blue acrylic ink on canvas to paint a forest

The next layer I am painting is blue.

layering fluid acrylic inks on canvas to paint trees

I keep on adding layers until I am satisfied with the resulting color.

glazing with white acrylic ink and gel medium

Making a very light glaze with white acrylic and medium, I am lightening some of the trees in the background to have them recede . The mix is whiter when wet and just applied than when dried.

Adding the zentangle patterns to the trees

adding zentangle patterns to the trees

When everything has dried, I start drawing designs on the canvas, I am drawing a different design for each tree. Use a marker that is acide free and light-fast if you want your painting to be archival.

drawing with sharpie on top of acrylic paint

When the background color is light I choose a light design.

You can look at my Pinterest board for zentangle patterns inspirations

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Copic Original Markers

There’s nothing like the Copic double-ended marker for expert blending, painting, and tone control. Use them for fine art projects, calligraphy, and more. The broad nib offers coverage for larger areas. For detailed work, flip over to the fine nib.
drawing zentangle patterns with a copic marker

When the background color is darker I am choosing a design with more black.

zentangle mixed media trees

I am drawing a variety of designs.

zentangle mixed media trees

Designs on tree trunks detail.

zentangle mixed media painting of a forest

Embroidered Forest
Watercolor, acrylic and markers on canvas.
24 x 72 inches

4.7/5 - (4 votes)

Comments (10)

  1. lavsullivan98691400

    Hi Sandrine, I am just discovering your work and am in love with the combination of painting and pen and ink. I bought your Painting Flowers Class and I have just purchased a pen with a few nibs and am ready to start practicing. I also purchased your Fearless Watercolor book and signed up for your class for that book but had a migraine that day and missed the class. Is there somewhere I can access that class?

    1. Thanks lavsullivan98691400 🙂
      I am sure you will enjoy working with a combination of painting and drawing.
      The webinar should be available very soon on the Artists Network YouTube channel. I will post a link here as soon as it is published.

    2. Hi lavsullivan98691400 🙂
      The youtube video of my webinar is up and you can see it here:

  2. I really love the simplistic and the playful details within the piece. A very beautiful and calming painting.

    1. Thanks Shelley, I am glad you liked it 🙂

  3. Does your paperback book include the lessons of the entangles in the figures as well as the landscapes?

    1. Hello Janice,
      No it doesn’t, it contains about 40 demonstrations that were done before I started the zentangling, you can see a detailed index on that page :

  4. Sandrine, I love your creativity, I am referring you to the publisher of Mixed Media Art Magazine, Who I know will enjoy your work as well. Jan Schafir

    1. Thanks Janice!

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