image Zentangling and Doodling

I love doodling. Have always doodled in meetings and classes. Lately I’ve started to doodle differently. Grabbing some blank notebooks, I’ve filled a page with doodles. Recently I came across ‘Zentangles‘. Grabbed a couple of great books on kindle, and started to ‘tangle’.

Zentangles were created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Traditionally they are drawn on a 3 1/2 inch square paper tile using pen and pencil, using repetitive patterns filling the insides of ‘strings’. Zentangles have been described as a meditative form of art. Why? Because zentangling involves free flowing, focused, deliberate strokes that are not planned as such, but allowed to unfold.

In this form of doodling, or rather practicing different patterns, there are no mistakes. Anyone can do it. It certainly is calming and I find I do focus so much better. Tangles are in effect repetitive doodling patterns. Zentangling uses these tangles within a pencil drawn border that is sectioned into strings. Creating a pattern to be filled with the tangles however one chooses.

It takes about 30 minutes to complete a zentangle. There is a specific way of zentangling properly. However I decided to use the process without the specific tiles. Instead I use a small spiral bound art book. The tiles are difficult to come by in Australia. Being predominantly impatient, I didn’t want to wait many weeks until an order would arrive from the US. So I grabbed a small sketchbook. But then I’m also a bit lazy, and not being able to (surprisingly) find a ruler on hand to measure the exact square, I decided to work just on the rectangle page.

Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA) is drawing the repetitive patterns, breaking outside the Zentangle process, using different papers and developing from the original trademarked design process. So I guess in reality, I am learning and developing my doodling styles through the different zentangle patterns and process. For me, I find the process calming. My confidence grows as I follow the patterns, learning to incorporate different strokes. Creativity certainly follows as my confidence grows. I’m learning to be more relaxed, less hard on myself, and just let my mind flow. But the best is that I have fun, relax and just totally chill out when I grab my pens and paper. And yes, inspiration and creativity certainly flow more freely.

Although I tend to be a perfectionist, I am by no means a ‘purist’. As with any art, craft or creative past-time, unless I have a specific ‘kit’ I tend to use whatever I have on hand, and where needed purchase supplies where I can, even if not the original, recommended ones. But it is certainly fun learning techniques and mixing them together.

For me, discovering Zentangles provides a wide range of different patterns that I incorporate into doodling. It also introduced the idea of doodling as a form of focus, or meditation. So as I fill a page in one of my many sketch-books, I learn something new each time. Learn to let go and let be, and realise that I can create. In a way I am learning to break down my perfectionist tendencies and just ‘go with the flow’.

Check out these resources:
One Zentangle A Day by Bekah Krahula
Zentangle Untangled by Kass Hall
Tangle Patterns is a great web site resource.




Zentangles practice pages in my small sketch-book…


    • LOL πŸ™‚ I guess its better than the gentle snore at times in meetings πŸ™‚
      I wish I had photos of my daughters doodles that covered the pages of her school books πŸ˜€

  1. In order to make a square page from a rectangular one without a ruler, fold over one corner diagonally so that the bottom of the page lines up with the side. Draw a line along the side of the triangle you have formed, and you will have measured a perfect square.

    Do it with a piece of light card and you have a template for a square

    I love your Zentangles πŸ™‚

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