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How to add zentangle patterns to a forest painting

Drawing / Forest Paintings / Inspiration / Mixed media / Painting / Painting technique / Step by step demonstrations

How to add zentangle patterns to a forest painting

If you like to draw zentangles, you might want to try adding zentangle patterns to some of your paintings. Here how you can do it on an acrylic forest painting on canvas.

I did paint this painting for the “Anonymous Art Show”, a fundraising event here in North Vancouver where all paintings have to be 8 x 8 inches, priced at 100 dollars and signed only at the back so people can buy the art they like the most without knowing who did the painting.

You might also like: Painting flowers from imagination: 3 Paintings for the Anonymous Art Show

Start by drawing the outlines of the forest with graphite on canvas:

pencil drawing on canvas outlines of the forest

The first step is to make the drawing with pencil on canvas. You don’t need to be very precise, just draw the outlines of the trees.

Paint the trees foliage and the trunks wet into wet with fluid acrylic inks:

masking fluid on canvas

Preserve white areas on the canvas with masking fluid, they will be white highlights in the forest foliage.

working with fluid acrylic inks

You can work with fluid acrylic inks, They behave a bit as watercolor but will adhere more on the canvas than watercolors would. So you can layer colors if you want to.

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

painting the foliage wet into wet with acrylic inks

Start by painting the foliage, with the liquid acrylics diluted in a bit of water, using a wet into wet technique. That means, you are painting colors next to one another while they are still wet, so they mix on the canvas.

painting foliage with green and blue acrylic inks wet into wet

Here is the foliage all painted, you then have to wait for the paint to dry.

painting the trunks with a mix of blue and brown fluid acrylic inks wet into wet

Start working on the trunks mixing washes of brown and blue in a wet into wet manner. As you van see, you don’t need to be very precise as we are going to add a bit of definition in the next steps when we will be adding zentangle patterns.

forest painting before zentangle patterns are added

Keep on adding layers until you are satisfied with the colors.

Add zentangle patterns to the forest painting

add zentangle patterns with a marker on canvas

Now the fun part 🙂
You can add zentangle patterns to the trees with a marker. Make sure that your marker is acide free and light fast if you want your painting to be archival.

For patterns ideas, you can look at my Pinterest collection of patterns and zentangles.

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.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pen

Pigma Micron pens are acid-free and archival, making them ideal for any application requiring precision and permanance. Pigma ink is derived from a single pigment to ensure color consistency, and is fadeproof against sunlight or UV light. – Set of 6, Black

zentangle forest painting

The painting with added designs

you can splatter the painting with a wash of gouache and water

Next I am adding a bit of splatters with gouache mixed with watercolor.

zentangle forest painting

The finished painting, Morning Walk

5/5 - (2 votes)

Comments (17)

  1. Debi

    I absolutely LOVE this!!! The colors, the textures, the light and dark, the splatters. Everything!Thank you for sharing your talent!

    1. Thanks Debi, always a pleasure to get encouraging comments like yours 🙂

  2. Lois

    I find your demos very enjoyable an interesting. Thanks so much for sharing. Your work is invigorating.

    1. Thanks Lois! I am very happy to hear that 🙂

  3. Becky robertson

    Love, love, love your mixed technique and the awesome results.

    1. Thanks so much !!

  4. Cindy Frame

    Thank you for being so generous in sharing your techniques!!! I absolutely love your work…….and since I have been a ” doodler” all of my life, I think this style fits me well!!

    1. Thanks Cindy!

  5. aleziz Mojsejev

    Hi very nice 😉 i wonder what ind of markers you use that wont be destroied by water. I know it exist this pens wich can b filled with acrylic liqwid colours but sems not be that you use here , am after to now how to make this lines i knew exit ink also. if you could give me someinfo about that i would be grateful ,also very intersting blogg 😉 tnx

    1. Thanks Aleziz 🙂
      You can find waterproof pens like Sakura Pigma micron markers:

      You can also use an archival marker and fix it with workable fixative to prevent smudging:

  6. […] Morning walkStep by step painting tutorial […]

  7. […] Morning walkStep by step painting tutorial […]

  8. trisha linn

    You are so generous is sharing. Love to use makers but not sure which brands are good for art Can you recommend? Thanks so much for letting us see your beautiful art.

    1. Thanks trisha :), I like Copic markers for paper and sharpies for canvas.

  9. I love the patterns in this one, Sandrine. They really capture the textures in the forest.

    1. Thanks Berene ! I am happy to hear that 🙂

  10. I love your paintings….all of them =)

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