What is this Zentangle you speak of?

Patterns used: Drupe and stylized Hollibaugh (ATC sized tile with watercolor pencils)

Patterns used: Drupe and stylized Hollibaugh (ATC sized tile with watercolor pencils)

You've probably seen some Zentangle sneaking into some of my blog posts and fairly often on my Instagram. I haven't given much explanation about it but I am doing so now. In my own words, at it's simplest, Zentangle is a mindful drawing practice using pre-determined patterns for infinite artful outcomes. When I first introduced it to a friend she called it doodling with structure. This is true and at first glance it may seem that way. It can be much more.

Patterns used: Shattuck, Keeko, Hollibaugh, N'Zeppel

Patterns used: Shattuck, Keeko, Hollibaugh, N'Zeppel

Many creatives deep in a project have the experience of the world receding and find themselves in the moment of making. A meditative state. The creators of Zentangle wanted to provide that gift to anyone who had the desire to lose themselves in the same way. Pre-designed patterns can provide that gateway. 

For an explanation in the words of the Zentangle creators go here.

Patterns used: Mooka, Verdigough, Flux, Hollibaugh (with watercolor pencils)

Patterns used: Mooka, Verdigough, Flux, Hollibaugh (with watercolor pencils)

Honestly when Zentangle first came into my life I was a bit skeptical. I was thinking "Well I'm pretty creative. I don't need a crutch to make stuff". But it was my mom who introduced me to Zentangle so I wanted to keep an open mind. Shortly after she retired from teaching she became a Certified Zentangle Teacher and started a business with a fellow retired colleague. I had a direct resource when I finally decided to explore it.

Patterns used: Hollibough, Rain, Scoodle, Flux, Mooka, Cadenc

Patterns used: Hollibough, Rain, Scoodle, Flux, Mooka, Cadenc

The catalyst for breaking into the kit my mom had given me for Christmas 2012 was the calligraphy class I knew I'd be taking (spring 2013). I wanted to practice doing things slow and steady with a pen. I've never been huge into drawing for drawings sake so I knew I'd need to practice being slow. I was correct. As I learned calligraphy I found you have to write much slower than your mind thinks. I used Zentangle as the warm up to calligraphy and it found its own spot in my creative routines. I know it's March of 2014 but I'm officially naming 2013 my personal year of the pen when Zentangle and calligraphy practices started in my life.

An early experiment combining watercolor pencils with the patterns Hollibaugh, Tipple, and N'Zeppel on an ATC sized tile.

An early experiment combining watercolor pencils with the patterns Hollibaugh, Tipple, and N'Zeppel on an ATC sized tile.

I've found I'm most happiest in this world when I consistently have something I'm making. Sometimes there's not enough time to start a new project. Other times projects need a break but the desire to make is still there. Zentangle is perfect for those windows. At the end of the day if I'm craving to work with my hands I sit in bed and work on a tile.

As I mentioned earlier in this post Zentangle has popped up on my blog as hearts for Valentines Day, gift wrap for a friend, mail art, and crafts in Australia. 

Favorite Resources
The Zentangle Website and blog
I can lose time looking at this book.
Starter Kit (If you take a class you're provided a smaller starter kit with tiles and pens).
Curious about classes? Find a Certified Zentangle Teacher near you.
If you're reading this and you live in Northern California (Butte and Yuba Counties) take a class from my mom!