Zentangle? What on earth is it???
Zentangle ® It sounds like a cross between yoga, meditation and twister. Don’t panic, I’m not going to ask you get in some strange position. It is a creative therapy that aims to create drawings out of patterns.
Did you doodle on the corner of your textbooks and workbooks when you were in school? How about when you’re on the phone or in a meeting or lecture? Did you get lost in the process, concentrating on that doodle and not what was being said? Perhaps doodling helps you concentrate and process what is going on around you?
One day Maria Thomas described the feelings she got from doodling to Rick Roberts. He noticed that what she described were similar feelings to that of meditating to Rick Roberts. So began their journey to create and teach people the benefits of Zentangle.
So what can it do for me?
Zentangle is similar to mindfulness but instead of sitting mindfully you focus on the pen strokes on the paper and the pattern that evolves. Some of the bonuses that are listed by Maria and Rick are:
- Hand-eye co-ordination
- Relieve stress
- Increased creativity
- Problem solving
- and of course a piece of art work
But I can’t draw!
That is the beauty of Zentangle, you don’t have to be an artist!! All you need is a pen, paper and a willingness to go with your intuition. Each pen stroke is made deliberately and thoughtfully but without planning further ahead than the section you are working on.
Once you have mastered a few designs, you can begin to create a picture. My favourite way of Zentangling is to take an outline of an object, animal or just a simple shape and fill it with Zentangles. Each design flows into the other and I have no idea how it will turn out. For those who like to plan like me, it can be quite daunting to just ‘go with the flow’ but once you have done one piece, trust me, it is sooooo freeing.
What if I make a mistake?
Embrace your mistakes. Learn from them. Create another pattern from them. Who is going to know other than you? Expressing yourself creatively, for me, is not about being perfect. The world around us demands so much perfection, advertising sells perfect houses, jobs, partners, lives and bodies. But we are not perfect. Embrace your imperfections, in yourself and on the page, and life will become a little less stressful.
How do I start?
You can buy Zentangle® kits from the Zentangle website or there are plenty of books on Amazon to get you started. I started by picking up a piece of paper and a pen taking a gulp of air and just drew. My first tangled inspired piece is the Hamsa below.
After that with a bit of help from Pinterest, I broadened my strokes and created this World Peace Day page in my art journal. Pinterest is great but I have bought One Zentangle A Day by a certified Zentangle teacher Beckah Krahula to enhance my tangle style on Amazon.
Doesn’t it take a long time?
It can take as long as you want it to. Start small and when you are more confident you will find you naturally want to create bigger pieces. Mine can take days to complete, like the moon-gazing hare below. This is because of the issues I have with fatigue, grip and muscle spasms in my arms. I have to take long breaks and I find it so soothing that doing a small amount before bedtime can actually makes me sleepy!
Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes, Zentangle is a registered copyright so if you create any works of art to sell you cannot call it a Zentangle. For more information go to Zentangle.com
So why not give it a go? But I warn you it can get quite addictive!