I have been following Alice Hendon for years. I think I first discovered her through her old blog, The Creator’s Leaf. Then I found out she administers a Facebook group, Tangle All Around, which I often mention on ARHtistic License. Her current website is Artangleology. I love her Zentangle® work, and I’ve learned so much from her and received so much encouragement. I’m delighted that she was willing to be interviewed for ARHtistic License.
ARHtistic License: You used to work in law enforcement?
Alice Hendon: I retired from law enforcement 21 years ago. As an investigator I specialized in crimes against women and children and was a state certified expert in child sexual assault cases. During the Gainesville Student Murders I was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police.
AL: I hear you have dragons. Did you make them?
AH: I am a lover/collector of dragons. We have nine dragons residing outdoors here in Maine in a special hollow. Haha! I say ‘special’ because it seems to be the perfect place. Kind of a bowl shape, hollowed out by wind and time, there are rocks rimming two sides, woods along the third side and the front side facing our house is open. Raspberries, strawberries and apple trees grow wild around the hollow. It is a great place to sit and draw, or read. I did not make any of these dragons myself. The big dragons were made by a friend in south Florida. He is a scrap metal artist. Mushu’s fringe around his face is actually bike chains. Teeth and claws were made using screws. Three of the dragons were made by a chainsaw artist living in North Carolina. He literally carved the dragons out of pine tree stumps using a small chainsaw. Two of them are connected with a bench for seating.
AL: How did you transition from cop to artist and Certified Zentangle Teacher?
AH: I had never made any type of ‘art’ before eight years ago. After I retired, I homeschooled my daughter for twelve years and I needed something ‘new’ to occupy my time. I literally found tangling on Pinterest. Art journaling with the bright beautiful colors drew my attention and soon I was seeing line drawings in black and white that led me to Zentangle. Just weeks later I arrived in Rhode Island for training with Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. I had never taken a class and had never spoken with a CZT. I have since taught some classes, including a semester-long course for homeschool students and a few moms. I set up the Facebook page Treasured Tangles as a place to post homework patterns and for the students to be able to share their artwork. We began with eleven members/ likes. Today the page has 1,917 members/ likes. I prefer ‘teaching’ through my Facebook group Tangle All Around, which currently has almost 6,300 members.
AL: You’ve authored six books, and collaborated on more. Tell us about each.
AH: There are currently seven books in my Artangleology! series, all available worldwide on Amazon. At the beginning I thought about the needs a new tangler has – or a person who wants to learn about tangling – and built the series around those needs.
Tangle Starts was the first book. I was one of the very first tangle artists to introduce color into tangling and heard from many others that they wanted to use color but weren’t sure where to start. With Tangle Starts I had already done the color work for them – all the pages are full color art just waiting to be tangled. Or used in any other paper crafting project.
Tangle Starts Planner is set up to be a tangler’s bullet journal, containing all the important features bullet journalers use. In addition it has 106 tangle patterns, a quick reference section, and pages to store your favorite tangle patterns and projects.
Tangle Starts Strings is just that. A string book. It holds 366 strings all ready for you to tangle, one for every day of the year and a few extra. Includes basic tangle instructions to get a new tangler started, storage area for your favorite patterns and pages where you can create your own strings to tangle.
Tangle Starts Treasures was made to be portable and to hold step out instructions for approximately 376 tangle patterns. It includes thumbnails to record your favorite patterns at-a-glance. Treasures includes basic instructions for beginners, a collection of strings to tangle, and blank tiles for you to add your own string and tangle. There is also a section to teach you how to deconstruct your own patterns.
Tangle Starts Planner, Into the Future is the newest planner, tangle journal, datebook and organizer all in one. The theme of this book is steampunk and includes 100 tangle patterns. All the books in the Artangleology series were designed to work together or as stand alones.
Tangle All Around the World is a collaborative effort from my Facebook group Tangle All Around. Referred to by some as the tangle Bible, this book features 450+ original tangle patterns from 50 different tangle artists located all around the globe. It is a reference guide – all you need add is paper and pen. This book held the #1 spot on Amazon for thirty days when it was published.
More Tangle Starts is the most recent book in the series. It takes Tangle Starts one step further with 100 full color pages of beautiful color backgrounds for tangling, art journaling, collage art, scrapbooking, origami, card-making. Perfect for any paper-crafting project.
AL: Wow, Alice, that’s impressive. What’s up next?
AH: I am currently working on a Bible based weekly tangle/ devotional type book.
AL: You’re an artist ambassador as well as a product reviewer. How does one that get a job as an artist ambassador or product reviewer?
AH: As an Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pen and Leda Art Supply, I receive product as it becomes available to the public. I use the product and review it on my website and on various social media platforms. Both companies provide me with product for giveaways. If you are interested in becoming an Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pen, you can follow this link for information.
I also product review for Hahnemühle Fine Art. I use the fine artist papers they provide me, then review them with links on my website and on various social media platforms. Hahnemühle provided the paper I used for artwork in the making of Tangle All Around the World and for the full color art backgrounds in More Tangle Starts.
AL: You’ve designed lots of tangle patterns and strings. How do you come up with your ideas?
AH: I enjoy designing tangle patterns. I keep an eye out for interesting designs or details and take photos with my phone. These all go into a file which includes rug designs, architectural pieces on buildings, sidewalk cracks, floor designs, tile designs, clothing details, those are just a few. You can find inspiration for patterns all around. Sometimes a new pattern just happens when you are trying to draw a particular pattern, then make an error but keep on drawing to see what happens. Many patterns come from this happy misadventure. My pattern golden came about this way. I was working with Bales and drew it ‘wrong’ but I just kept drawing the whole thing ‘wrong’, then made a record of the steps I followed, and named it golden.
For strings, I usually just close my eyes and draw loopy lines! Hahaha! Or draw straight lines – with my eyes open – for a more structured string. No rocket science here.
AL: You make video tutorials. Do you have any tips for artist/instructors who would like to make videos to put up on YouTube?
AH: I am no expert at video tutorials. It is a work in progress. I usually have to film twice because I get stuck, or say a bad word, or something doesn’t work. Hahahaha! You probably are not going to want to use this response. Sorry. (Andrea’s note: I’m leaving this in, because I think your struggles are typical–and you do such a good job!)
AL: You moderate Tangle All Around on Facebook, preparing detailed weekly challenges and encouraging all the participants. It must be very time-consuming. How do you do all the things you do? Can you share some time-management tips for artists and teachers?
AH: I do accomplish a lot. The reason I am able to accomplish so much is simple . . . I am retired. I do not work outside the home. I already did that. Tangle All Around started small and has built into something huge. And quite frankly it ‘works’ because of the members. They take care of each other. They encourage each other. They check on each other. I really have little to do except come up with the weekly prompts and behind the scenes details. I try to comment on as many pieces of art as possible, but truly I cannot keep up. We have so many people participating in the projects and posting art. It is amazing! I am so inspired by everyone! And I am thankful that my members comment on each other’s work. And even answer questions before I see them. They really leave me little to do except come up with ideas. And I love it! My group Tangle All Around is the best group on Facebook! I make time each morning and each evening to comment on art and check posts. Early afternoon I work on my website. Late afternoon I work on art of my own. My husband and I eat meals together and we watch programs together at nighttime. We have settled into a routine, so to speak. And it works for us. Working on books gets stuffed into 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, until I have enough to make a book happen. Then everything else stops until the book is done.
AL: What are some of your favorite tangle patterns, your own or others’?
AH: I have go-to patterns just like everyone else. I start almost every piece of art with printemps. Actually I start by drawing my chop – my signature – and building the printemps around it. That way my signature is embedded in the art piece. I also like diva dance rock n’ roll. Of my own patterns I prefer cee-a-mosa and all boxed up. I try to focus on using 3 – 4 patterns in a piece of art. Sometimes 5, but focusing on just a few at a time. There are literally so many patterns it is hard for me to focus unless I narrow it down to a few. And usually I have some Netflix playing in the background. My favorites series are Merlin, The Musketeers, and Once Upon a Time. I can mostly quote those shows, so I can listen and focus on tangling.