Zentangle

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Zentangle is an art form that involves drawing structured patterns, usually on small paper tiles like you see here in my gallery. That description does not tell you much, right? Almost sounds slightly stiff and uninviting. Nothing could be further from the truth! The world of Zentangle is incredible, never-ending and just so satisfying.

Zentangle is easy to learn. I know that from my own experience. I was quite skeptical about being able to learn Zentangle as I had always said that I could not draw a straight line, a circle that was round, or a simple stick figure. Trust me, I was quite challenged! I used to marvel at how my brother could sketch with amazing talent and no training. It seemed to be instinctual on his part and I always felt left behind measuring my inabilities with his talents.

ANYONE can do Zentangle! Once you get the hang of it (which doesn’t take long) it is so incredibly individual, beautiful, mesmerizing and definitely has a meditative quality to it. You become very focused and immersed in what you are doing to the point that the world tunes out during that time. It is quite peaceful! I l also love that no two tiles or drawings look alike, helping to quench my thirst for variety and change. It isn’t a huge time commitment either. I tangle just about every morning over coffee, often spending somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours on my Zentangle projects. But at any point I need to break away, it is easy to do so and then easy to come back and pick up the pens at a later time.

Speaking of pens, that is what is used - really cool and fairly inexpensive ink pens, gel pens, graphite pencils and a blending tool called a “tortillon”. You can use colored pencils and water colors to really enhance your drawings or you can stick to black ink pens and graphite pencils and your work can be stunning.

While Zentangle uses structured patterns, I can’t stress enough how differently we as individuals interpret these patterns which, combined together, make something that is usually non-representational, unplanned and unique. Two people can set out to do the same 4 patterns and yet the end results are not identical.

The art form actually uses just 5 different strokes to make up those structured patterns: a straight line, a C-shape, an S-shape, Orbs (Circles) and dots. Together, they form the word ICSO. The idea is that if a person can write the word ICSO, then they probably can draw Zentangle. Believe it or not, that’s it!

I will warn you, Zentangle can be completely absorbing. The idea that you are creating something unique is addictive. You can Zentangle on traditional tiles or even just on simple pieces of paper or in a notebook. Many have expanded to other surfaces, like coasters, t-shirts, wallets, and even furniture. I once did a pumpkin! You name it, someone out there has probably tried to Zentangle it.

Zentangle is also fun to do with others, whether in person or through a Zoom class. There are so many resources available to teach and inspire you on the internet or YouTube, through Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook and other social media.

After learning Zentangle in June 2020 (thanks to our COVID shut down) I was so hooked that 6 months later I took the training to become a certified Zentangle teacher (CZT). I love introducing this wonderfully satisfying art form to others. If you are interested in learning more about Zentangle or taking a course, feel free to reach out to me.

Meanwhile, check out Zentangle.com for information about how this incredible art form was developed by the founders, Rick & Maria in 2003 and how it has just exploded across the world. 

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