Zentangle: an addiction that doesn't worry me

Once upon a time in early July I picked up a book about Zentangle. I'd been intermittently exposed to this art form over the past few years, and passively thought it was cool. But before that day it wouldn't have mattered how much a Zentangle artist had jumped up and down to try and get my attention, trying to convince me of just how much fun I could have with it: the time wasn't right.

For whatever reason, this time was different. Nearly every day since then I've worked on one of the several pieces I seem to always have in process at any given time.

There's a lot to say about what Zentangle actually is, but I'll share a simple quote and insights gleaned from the official website, and those interested can visit to learn more.

"The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns."

I'll Elaborate:

Traditionally, the abstract art created by following this method will be rendered in black ink on a 3.5" square card called a "tile" after which the image is shaded with a pencil. Though there is no plan or anticipated outcome, those following the method will begin by drawing a freehand pencil line - often continuously - that fills the bulk of the tile. In the spaces created by that meandering line, patterns are then drawn. The beauty of it all, to my mind, is that there are hundreds of patterns, each planned out and shared by either the founders of Zentangle, or one of its many fans worldwide. Between Maria Thomas and her partner Rick Roberts, an impressive creative synergy evolved. She is an illustrator and he was once a monk. Which, for a creation as unique as Zentangle, was the perfect blending, since the goal is an artistic meditation, each time the artist takes pen in hand to create another tile.

As you might expect, the creative types drawn to this art form can't always be constrained by a tiny little tile. Which led to "Zentangle Inspired Art" which is basically (to my admittedly-novice way of thinking,) everything else drawn using the patterns. You might create a note card, (such as the four pieces seen at the top of this post,) a large piece of artwork, a mug, a whole wall, pair of boots, or even create a Zentangle-based masterpiece of your vehicle. (And as the driver of an old white truck, don't think it's not playing around in my mind!)

For me, one of the most compelling aspects is the freedom to draw whatever we want while having the structure of the pre-designed patterns, as a sort of balance.

It's clearly a good fit for me. Besides the fact that I seem to be always thinking of new ways to combine patterns and new ideas for ways to organize the patterns I want to remember (no small feat, with the mountains of incredible "tangle patterns", as they're called, available to us,) it's a good fit, too, in that these pieces somewhat resemble some of the doodles I've created over the years. When my parents first saw samples of this work, my mom said, "Well it looks like you!" She seemed to find it perhaps more similar, even, than I know it actually is. Of course I was proud and also pleased that this new exploration is being well-received.

In the end, what matters to me is that I've finally discovered an art form with which I haven't grown bored, and about which I keep stretching myself and working to learn more. Creating Zentangle tiles and Zentangle Inspired Art makes me happy! Which is why you can expect to hear even more in the coming weeks and months!