Week 9: Patella

Six days ago I was browsing for some references to draw this and nothing really appealed to me. I got the idea to pull out the hardcover edition of Gray’s Anatomy that I bought last fall for $1. He had a patella drawing which didn’t do much for me, but further back he showed a fracture of the patella which did look interesting. It’s the middle image at the top of the page.


While looking at it, I thought how much the ropey muscles in the thigh looked liked zentangles. Now that really did get me enthused. The drawing in the book is only two inches (50 mm) and I couldn’t decide how big to make it on my page. Through the week I gathered my zentangle books and some examples online and looked at examples of zentangles applied to artwork. Our electricity was off for five hours yesterday so I again deferred the drawing.

This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. with the first two lines of a poem about a patella fracture going through my mind. I thought “I must write this down so I don’t forget it.” and got a pencil and scrap paper and expanded it and rewrote a few lines. Then the project kind of sifted together for me as I could figure out how big to make the drawing and still leave room for a title and poem, so I got up and drew it.

Three and a half hours later….


One thing, I used a Derwent Coloursoft pencil for the darker red in this and it was buttery and soft and blended beautifully, but it transferred and smudged all over the place, almost ruining the watercolour on the opposite page, so I sprayed it with Krylon Workable Fixative.

Also, due to reworking the letters by erasing old lines before inking, some of them have a faint impressed line. I thought this looked a bit like striations in bone or perhaps fracture points not quite broken. Serendipity!

Staedtler 2H pencil
Micron .03 pen (black)
Micron .03 pen (red)
Faber-Castell Pitt Pen Small (sepia)
Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils
Derwent Coloursoft coloured pencil (scarlet)

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8 Responses to Week 9: Patella

  1. Beverly King says:

    Ouch! The limited use of red with the mainly black and white image (along with your poem) really makes an impact! Love the “zendoodled” tendons and muscles. I am always impressed with your creativity – how you think “out of the box.”


  2. Thanks Bev. And those red lightning bolts of pain are zentangles too–found them in one of my old books.

    I think Rose and I got used to thinking creatively about 15 years ago when we used to do computer graphics online. We were always keen on words with images. It seems to have morphed into sketchbook ideas.


  3. Roseanne Dix says:

    SUPERB SUPERB SUPERB. Loving this. Zentangled fractures. Jude you have surpassed yourself. THis is BRILLIANT. THANK YOU for making my day.


    • Thanks Rose. I loved yours too. I think this was one of our better weeks. Bev was saying that the oddness of the word prompt brings out more creative thinking and I think it shows in all our art.


  4. chloetarot says:

    I adore your zentangle anatomy! It’s one of the sketching forms I like best, with its focus on not having to get things right, and making things relatively easy for a newb with no talent 😀 Yours, though, with added texturing and the complicated, accurate shapes, reaches a whole new level of zentangle! 🙂


    • Thanks Chloe!

      I (as usual) initially got a bit bored with the constrictions of zentangles: the square format, the “correctness” of buying the “correct” squares and taking classes from “certified” teachers etc. All that is a big snoozefest for me.

      BUT the idea is wonderful. After I finished drawing and erasing, and erasing, and erasing my drawing, the moment of truth came where I had to decide what patterns to lay down. I started in the upper left and just tried to convey muscle fibre and texture. Even though some of them might not have been perfect, I kept going.

      What I realized is that it’s not absolutely crucial if it’s the perfect pattern, it’s the variety and the way you pull the balance of light and dark together that counts. Whatever you put down becomes believable; that was a revelation to me.

      I first practiced zentangles on a bookmark (which I posted on my card blog for a draw) but then gave up with boredom. From April 2012–been almost 3 years since I used the method I got so bored:

      The examples that really light me up are zentangles applied to portraits, human or animal or bird. Steve did a portrait when we were practicing them back in 2012. You know Steve, he is a glorious artist and sensed right away how they looked best.

      So for me, the application of the zentangle method to full drawings rather than squares, was the thing I wanted to do, but couldn’t quite figure out at the time. Oh, and of course the zentangle powers-that-be coined a phrase and an acronym for this: Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA)

      I’m not using that phrase–it’s constricting to enclose it in like that, to have a “correct” term, to pin it down. I shall never submit!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • chloetarot says:

        Oh, yeah, about the third zentangle I ever did was using a pattern I made up based on a carpet in the hotel we were staying at 😀 I’m not one for “correctness” either! Still, I like the basic concept, though I don’t apply it with your skill. It’s fun and meditative, and can even have quite appealing results for someone with little artistic talent ;b


        • I agree, they are very meditative. I know you can get packages of circular cards which work well for drawing zentangle mandalas or “zendalas” as they call them (rolls eyes.) I thought that was rather an appealing thing. They are hugely expensive here, about $25 for 21 cards and shipping of $17, so I thought I’d cut my own. The real round cards are made from Fabriano Tiepolo printmaking paper which I can’t get, but I thought it might be nice to get some heavier hot press watercolour paper by Arches and try. In the meantime I am experimenting with Strathmore 300 Bristol Board which is slightly lighter than the die cut zentangle rounds at 270 gsm (the store-bought ones are 290 gsm which is like 140 lb paper over here.) Arches makes a 290 gsm, 356 gsm and a 640 gsm (which is probably overkill.) I,ll see how it goes.

          Have I put you to sleep yet???

          Yes, the wonderful thing is that they look so good. I’ve got a book by Marie Browning on colouring them called “Time to Tangle with Colors”. She use Tombow markers which are too expensive for me, but the book is good at showing you shading and colouring and other creative things. I could use watercolour and the nice thing about the Micron pens is that as long as you let them dry you can use some watercolour with them.

          If you keep saying you have little artistic talent isn’t that kind of cementing it in stone or maybe like a Law of Attraction thing? I imagine you have lots of artistic talent–no limits if you encourage the right words. You’re a tough nut to crack in that I can’t convince you–I bet if you let the art out it will improve…..


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