I’m a big fan of humanity practicing anything meditative, and that can include gardening, playing an instrument, woodworking, and of course, creating art. If you’re open to it, you’ll find that peacefulness that comes with tuning into whatever project you’re working on. I discovered this recently when I tried something new–creating mosaic art. It’s something I’ve wanted to experiment with for a long time, and had simply added it to my bucket list to be attempted a little later in life. But when I was at Funke Fired Arts (a local pottery studio) on a Saturday afternoon to pick up some pieces that my family and I had painted, I found that the stars were aligned. I didn’t have my children with me, and I didn’t have to be anywhere in particular. I put all thoughts of laundry and standard daily obligations aside, and inquired about the mosaic projects that were at the counter, teasing me with hundreds of shiny little glass tiles.
In about five minutes, I was alone at a table, with a board, glue, tiles, reference books, and my imagination. Coffeehouse music was playing–quiet enough that I could focus, but loud enough to blur the sounds of others who were in the space. As soon as I began planning out my design, I was in a different world. Although I felt ambitious, I stayed with a very simple layout since it was my first piece and I was going at it solo (it was during an open studio time, rather than a structured class with instruction). Time passed slowly, and yet when I finished, I felt like I had just gotten there. But the art told me that it was ready, and I trusted it.
Standing up, stretching my arms over my head, I knew that I had been rejuvenated. I felt like hugging the person who had set me up with the basic tools and guidance to get me started, but I refrained (not everyone is a hugger). I just imagine that if everyone was willing and able to find this peace through art, or any activity for that matter, the world would probably be a little bit better for it (click here to Tweet this quote). This is one of the reasons that I’m such a big fan of Zentangle®; the geometrical art is attractive, but that’s just half of the story. The other side is the benefits of drawing, period, but also with a guided sense of what works when it comes to line and shape. I’ve read that Zentangle can be a healing art, and I will always be a proponent of the arts used in this way. ~Cherie Haas, online editor, ArtistsNetwork.com
While Zentangle is fun to view, it’s even more pleasurable to create, in my humble opinion. Painting can be intimidating to take on as a hobby (although that shouldn’t stop you, but that’s a different topic!), but drawing is accessible–all you need is a writing tool, let’s say a basic pencil that you already have in any drawer of your house, and paper. You just sit down and start drawing, right? Well, not always; but when you have a book that offers prompts, it becomes easier. Zentangle® Untangled by Kass Hall introduces the concept of this meditative form of drawing, and gives you guidance on how to draw the basic lines that come together to create intricate works that pass the time in a satisfying exploration of shapes. The results of tangling? Relieved stress, in my experience, and a sense of satisfaction–the instructions are easy to follow, and leave you feeling empowered by the ability to draw.
Here’s what you’ll learn in the free download:
Beginning (Sakura Pigma Micron pen, graphite pencil) by Kass Hall, author of Zentangle® Untangled
What is Zentangle?
“In 2005, the Zentangle concept was born when calligrapher Maria Thomas described to her partner the sense of focus, well-being and relaxation she felt while creating background patterns on a manuscript,” writes Hall. “A former Buddhist monk, her partner, Rick Roberts, recognized this state as one of meditation. Together they worked toward creating a system that would teach and encourage others to experience the same sensations.”
Zentangle pattern by Kass Hall
What’s the difference between tangling and doodling?
“There has been much debate over what Zentangle really is,” says Trish Reinhart, author of Creative Tangle: Creating Your Own Patterns for Zen-Inspired Art. “There are those who think it’s nothing more than ‘mindless doodling.’ Which then escalates to asking, ‘Can doodling really be considered an art form?’ I view doodling and Zentangle as totally different exercises, each serving a specific purpose.”
Blue Fleur (Sakura Pigma Micron pen, colored paper, Sakura Gelly Roll pen, Flourish stencil) by Geneviève Crabe, Certified Zentangle Teacher. Featured in Creative Tangle by Trish Reinhart
Doodling = Personal
“Ordinary doodling serves two purposes,” Reinhart says. “The first is just to mindlessly pass time. This type of doodling is what students draw on the cover of their notebooks when they’re bored during a history lecture. The images and wording on the cover of that notebook appear random and disconnected. Doodling’s second purpose is to serve as a form of journaling, which is commonly found in scrapbook pages. In journaling, the text itself becomes art.”
Zentangle = Purposeful
Reinhart goes on to explain: “A Zentangle’s intertwining patterns have a definite flow and rhythm. You could draw a Zentangle on a notebook, but it wouldn’t look like an ordinary doodle. Although it’s not in the standard square format, it does connect and relate to the confines of the page, either flowing from the top to the bottom of a paper’s edge or unfurling from one corner. Journaling can be incorporated into a Zentangle as long as it lies within a quadrant or becomes part of the overall pattern, again, with purpose and connectivity.
“Some of the best ways to successfully apply a Zentangle in scrapbooking are to draw directly on the corner or edge of the scrapbook paper or decorate mats to frame the pictures on the page. With scrapbooking, you can certainly throw a Zentangle into the same arena as doodling, but you wouldn’t consider a doodle suitable for framing and hanging on your wall. Some Zentangle patterns are so interesting and beautiful, you’ll want to showcase them as works of art!”
Ready to take on a new skill?
Page written/edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of ArtistsNetwork.com. The Zentangle® Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.