A Zentangle® is a structured drawing made up of repetitive patterns.  It was developed by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas[1]. It's fun, relaxing and very easy to learn.   I am not an artist but with the Zentangle method, I have made some very unique greeting cards and I found that the possibilities of creating designs are endless.  

I enjoy creating Zentangle artwork because it is an escape for me.  It relieves stress as I am focused on my patterns and it gives me a "time-out" from my daily routine.  The best part for me is that I finally found something "crafty" that I can do.  If you can doodle, you can tangle and there is no right or wrong.  In fact, erasers are not needed.

Zentangle 5-10-12
Credit: terry_lynn_12 from Flickr

Are You Ready to Tangle?

What is a tangle?  It's the verb form of  drawing a tangle.  But in its noun form, a tangle is a pattern.  When using the Zentangle method of creating structured patterns, you will end up with a piece of Zentangle art.

How to Get Started
A good way to get started is to either purchase a Zentangle Kit from Rick and Maria or to signup for a local Zentangle class or workshop in your area.  However, you can also purchase the recommend supplies on your own:

  • Pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Sakura Micron 01 Pigma ink pens
  • 3 1/2" by 3 1/2" square art paper (tiles)
  • A Zentangle book to learn the patterns and shading and coloring techniques

As you can see, only a few supplies are needed and compared to many other crafts, the initial costs are inexpensive.  

Sakura 50011 11-Piece Zentangle Clamshell Pencil Set
Amazon Price: $21.99 $9.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 19, 2015)
A pencil, pens and tiles to get you started.
One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun (One A Day)
Amazon Price: $22.99 $11.83 Buy Now
(price as of May 19, 2015)
Teaches you the principles of the Zentangle method with daily drawing exercises.

How to Create Your First Zentangle Drawing

  1. Gather your supplies and sharpen your pencil.  You will use your pencil in the next 2 steps.
  2. Create a border by drawing four dots on each corner of your tile and connect the dots with four lines.Zentangle 1Credit: Diana Poisson  
  3. Draw a "string" inside your bordered area.  This string divides the area into sections to draw your patterns in. Your string can be a curved line, a zigzag or even a big "X".  Since it's your drawing, you can choose whatever string shape you like. Zentangle 2Credit: Diana Poisson
  4. Switch to your pen and start drawing different patterns in each section.  It's ok to have white space and to leave some sections blank.Zentangle 3Credit: Diana Poisson
  5. Continue filling in the sections and then enjoy your new piece of Zentangle art.Zentangle 4Credit: Diana Poisson

 To get more fancy, you can add shading to your Zentangle by using the side of your pencil to color some of the areas gray.  Also, you can add color by filling in sections with a colored pen  or create your Zentangle designs on colored paper.  

There are a lot of beautiful and cool looking Zentangles out there.  The ones that I do are somewhat simple as shown in the example above.

Share Your Zentangle Art!
One year for Christmas, I made Christmas cards with the tangles that I created.  I took each completed tile and glued it on cardstock.  This gave me a simple yet unique card that I mailed out to my family and friends.  Besides cards, you can embellish scrapbook pages or even decorate water bottles and t-shirts with your tangles.  

The designs that I create are usually for my eyes only or for just close friends and family members.  However, if you want to go further and possibly sell your designs or teach Zentangle classes, keep in mind that The Zentangle® Method is copyrighted.  It's a good idea to check with Rick and Maria to see what rules they have concerning the use of sharing your Zentangle products and knowledge.

Credit: deborah's perspective on Flickr

Relax with Zentangle
I admit that over the past year I got away from tangling due to a busy schedule.  I got back into it recently when I knew that I was going to be someplace where I would have to sit and wait for a few hours and I wasn't sure if they would have a good WIFI connection.  Since the supplies needed are minimal, I brought them with me and spent about two hours tangling. The time passed very quickly and I felt a peace and relaxation that I haven't felt in a long time.  For those two hours, nothing mattered to me other than my patterns. It was great to not only take a break from my busy life, but to also take a break from all electronics.  

I like that the supplies are highly portable.  Besides using individual tiles, you can also get a journal. The person that introduced me to Zentangle carries one with her at all times  and she draws a few tangles on each journal page.  

I plan on spending a few minutes each day tangling and I hope that you will also.

Sakura 30062 6-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set, Black
Amazon Price: $17.39 $8.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 19, 2015)