Zentangles ®

Zentangles® is  … well, it’s doodling, but with a structure and purpose.  I took an introductory class the other night and finally know what it’s about.  I thought it was just doodling, and it is that, but instead of random patterns, there is a set of patterns to choose from.  In addition, the doodle starts with a “string,” which is simply a line that divides the 4×4 inch card, or “tile”, into four spaces.  Each space is filled in with one of the patterns, then the patterns are shaded with a pencil. 

Zentangles is an art form and method that was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.  Their web page is at http://www.zentangle.com/index.php.

It is a meditative process, which was the whole Zen-ish point of the exercise, and the cards are small, so it’s easy to finish a design in a few minutes, and even feel a sense of accomplishment.

However, part of me thinks this is silly:  take a simple act like doodling, then standardize it and make it costly and competitive.  There is a process to become a certified teacher, there are special supplies and DVDs, there are challenges to create more and more wonderful designs, etc., etc. 

Still, for someone who is not naturally artistic, it is easy to learn and execute, and it is relaxing (as long as you do not compare your weak-kneed design to some of the almost professional designs you can find on the internet).  My teacher kept saying there are no erasers in Zentangles because you can’t do anything wrong, but that’s not true.  I had trouble with one of the patterns, Cadent, which draws a line clockwise around a dot, down and counterclockwise around another dot.  My  little clocks would not reverse themselves with the required consistency. 

Will I spend $29 for a stack of little tiles, pre-cut and of a special Italian paper that absorbs ink beautifully?  No.  Will I do-odle using the Zentangle patterns?  Yes.  And I may create a few of my own.


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