playing with bits one byte at a time

New CU Product – ZIA Circles

I have a new CU Product that I’ve just released called ZIA Circles. They’re some doodled circles I call ZIA, which is short for Zentangle Inspired Art, Circles because the patterns were inspired by Zentangles®. These have been saved in PNG format at 300 dpi. I’ve also included the borders (without the center) giving you a total of 8 circles. They’re available in both my CU Store at theStudio and at CU Digitals. Check out the preview.


The funny thing is, I’ve already had two people ask me what one would do with them. So, I’m going to show you one idea (a journal page) and your reward for following along is a Journal Page freebie.

To start, I loaded in one of my watercolor papers (Papers – Watercolors 9).


Next I load in one of my ZIA Circles.


Now I want this to look like it’s a stamp, so I’m going to distress it a little (I’m lousy at using stamps). There are several ways to do this. They way I do it (because I use Photoshop) is to add a layer mask and, after selecting it, I use brush to distress things. In this case I used one of my Spatter 3 brushes.


Once I get a look that I like, I just apply the layer mask.


The second way to do this is to create another layer and use the brushes on it. I then load the layer in as a selection, select the layer with the circle, and subtract the selection. I then just delete the layer with all the “paint” on it (don’t need it anymore). Same look, just a different way of doing it.


OK … I can hear a question already formulating in someone’s head (Steph???). Why not use the eraser??? Well, what if I don’t like the look. Yes, I can just add another circle and start over, but I’m a firm believer in non-destructive editing. Plus, what if I sort of like what I have, but there are a few areas I don’t like … there’s no way to preserve what I do like if I’m using the eraser. With my other methods, I can rework the areas I don’t like while preserving what I do like … that’s non-destructive editing.

I then position the circle to where I want it and, in this case, use a “Soft Light” blend mode. Since the single circle looked a little lonely up there, I duplicated it and positioned it just below the first one.


Looks pretty good, but I’m still not done. I want some texture and for that I load in one of my (as yet unreleased) mixed-media overlays.


After setting the blend mode to “Overlay” I’m done.


AND here’s your freebie. Just click on the preview to download it.



If you’re not sure what to do with this page, why not check out theStudio’s Just Art Challenge for some ideas. HUGS!!!



  1. Hey, I resemble that remark! Actually, I am learning the value of masks and non-destructive editing – you would be proud of me. ;-}

    • LOL!!! I knew if I didn’t answer that, you’d ask … and I always appreciate you asking your questions because it keeps me thinking.

  2. These are great and I’m going to grab these right away.
    I just had a vision of this as a henna tattoo! Next time I’m in Mexico! 🙂

  3. So cool! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  4. Here is a link on Zentangle Theory and what it is all about mentally, physically and at an artistic point of view. Here

  5. Thanks Bunches Jill – I love “paper” and I know this will add to my stash. Have a great day. Rose

  6. Thanks for the paper, Jill, I love the look of this. Been playing with zentangles for a while, so I’m going to try to do something similar.

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