I can’t draw worth a darn, yet I hail from a large family that boasts at least three artists. As in, one of them taught art and draws for fun these days (her trademark during family road-trips were caricatures of the drivers we passed), one who majored in art and makes his living that way, and one who just drew for fun but created enough nice works to hang them in her home.
Can you see why I feel a bit insecure about this?
It’s not for lack of trying that I can’t draw. My mom placed us in private art lessons during middle school with a fabulous local teacher. Well, we thought she was fabulous. She had one of those personalities that you either loved or hated. For me, art lessons in her sunroom studio were a treasured hour each week.
And yet, I can’t draw. Are you seeing a pattern?
Sometime in early May, My Guy and I were browsing around Barnes & Noble while sister number three (mentioned above) watched the Little Butt. As I nosed through the bargain section, I noticed a doodling kit. Hmmm, I thought. Anyone can learn to doodle, right? While I didn’t purchase the kit, I did jump on Pinterest that evening and do a search for doodling. Which led to Zen Doodle. Which led to Zentangle.
The next day, I was back in B&N, flipping through the art books and feeling quite refined. After all, cultured people shop that section, right? I grabbed a stack of Zentangle books and headed to the café. Coffee in hand, I finally settled on One Zentangle a Day and a sketchbook.
You can read all about the Zentangle method and its creation by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas here. But in essence, to create a Zentangle, you first learn different tangles (some call them patterns), then work them into a random piece of art on a 3 ½ by 3 ½ inch tile. Here are a few of my early works:
To create a Zentangle takes about 30 minutes. The Zen aspect is the idea that one loses all sense of time while tangling. Some view this as an opportunity to meditate, but for me it’s specifically to unwind, relax, and be still. I’m not too great at being still.
The proper tangling tools include tiles, a pencil, and a black Pigma Micron pen in size 01. But as I got more and more addicted, I added pens in sizes 005, 03, and 05 for when I need finer or thicker lines. I even went all crafty and sewed up this cute pen holder to keep the various sizes in order.
The heart I featured in my title picture is what is called Zentangle Inspired Art, or ZIA. I’ve created several of these to use as note cards for friends or simple doodles in my favorite planner.
Zentangle truly is something anyone can do. I’m quite pleased with my choice of starter book, but if you want to give this a try and feel like you need an instructor, you can find a find a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) in your area here. Again, the One Zentangle a Day book makes self-teaching pretty simple, but you might prefer a different method than me.
I hope you give Zentangle a try! It makes me proud of myself and helps me relax, and I’d love the same for you.