Have you ever found that there’s a word for something that you’d been doing, but didn’t know that it was actually already an established “thing”? That’s exactly what Zentangle® is for me. As far back as grade school, I remember drawing symmetrical shapes in the margins of my notebooks during class, and certain patterns have stayed part of my doodling vocabulary even to this day. Of course, I’ve expanded my go-to patterns, and am known to come up with spontaneous, intricate designs on my notes during meetings (it’s cool; my main weekly meeting is with an artistic group of people who get it–sometimes we think better when our pens are moving).
Back to Zentangle, though. What is it, exactly? Kass Hall, author of Zentangle Untangled, defines it as “the use of repetitive, basic pattern drawing.” She goes on to say that ” Zentangle is about embracing beauty–our own and that all around us. It is also about embracing the imperfections of life–in ourselves, in our world and, most important here, in our art. Like life, Zentangle is less than perfect. When my students worry that their lines are not straight, I ask them why they have to be straight. I ask them to find the beauty in the wonky lines they’ve drawn. It’s initially difficult for many, but they all eventually find their way to acceptance of their art. Joyfully, this often leads to acceptance of themselves.”
I’ll be honest, Zentangle is fun. When I found out that it existed and that we’ve published books on it, I felt as if I’d been reconnected with a long-lost friend. I couldn’t believe that there are entire groups of people who practice this meditative, structured, and yet free-form style of doodling and make it into incredible drawings. I immediately asked to borrow our newest title on the subject, Zentangle Untangled, and took it home to start learning how to be more methodical in my geometrical drawings. The patterns are inspiring, as well as the philosophy behind this style; it’s one of finding peace, resting the mind, and encouraging a flow of thoughts from the mind to the hand, with angular and organic lines that work together to completion.
If you’re curious to learn more about Zentangle, now’s your chance–Zentangle Untangled: Inspiration for Meditative Prompts is on sale (and don’t miss the Zentangle Untangled Workbook). You can use what you learn to create your own Zentangles or simply incorporate bits and pieces into your existing style of art. I welcome you to share your thoughts on this and to post your own doodles on our Facebook page. Don’t be shy! Each little drawing that we make contributes to our experience.
The Zentangle® Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc