I’ve doodled for as long as I can remember, and it’s obviously a family trait – last weekend my Dad and I were comparing doodles! His are more angular and mine tend to have more rounded shapes, maybe it’s a masculine/feminine tendency? A few weeks ago, the subject of Zentangle came up on our weekly chat* and it intrigued people enough that I have started stocking Zentangle books and Pigma Micron drawing pens in the shop.
Zentangle is basically structured doodling. It’s ideal for those who want to loosen up and don’t know how to doodle or where to start. It’s also quite meditation-like once you get into it, so it can be a great counter to stress or take your mind off pain. However, a word of caution – it can also lead to pain if you don’t make sure you are sitting comfortably and have good lighting (and the right glasses on). Like colouring in, you need to be aware of what your shoulders are doing and if you find that you’re concentrating so hard that you’re hunched up and your shoulders are creeping up around your ears, then you are setting yourself up for a nice little tension headache or a cricked neck. I used to walk around my colouring workshops gently pressing down on my students shoulders to remind them to relax!
The Zentangle books are slim paperbacks with about 40 different ‘tangle’ patterns in each (there are 5 books on the site at the moment). Some of the patterns that look complex are broken down into easy steps with very clear diagrams. When I first got myself a Zentangle book (OK, I actually got the first three all together), I remember thinking the way the patterns were broken down was like learning how a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat – it’s so easy when you know how!
Zentangle can be done beautifully in conjunction with stamping too. Open line drawings can be filled in with tangles, or solid stamps can become part of a tangle.
And here’s one of my first attempts at Zentangle using a flower from a set that’s now been retired, but I’m sure you could so something similar with the new Sunny Sunflowers.
So I hope that’s de-mystified Zentangle for anyone who has been wondering what it was about and if you want to give it a go, I recommend starting with the Zentangle Basics book and a fine line waterproof pen. And if you just like looking, you might also enjoy my Doodles board on Pinterest.
* We have a live chat at 8pm every Wednesday on the Chocolate Baroque Forum