Today I will offer you all the information you need about Zentangle art, seen that it is very popular and also a very good way to meditate and relax. I’ve chosen this theme especially because it is closely related to mandala art.
Art is the deepest expression of human creativity and I believe it is also the best way to discover the essence of life!
So let’s see how we can do that with “tangles”!
What Does Zentangle Art Mean?
Zentangle art is an original drawing method invented by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.
The best definition for Zentangle is, of course, the one offered by the founders themselves:
“The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. We call these patterns, tangles. You create tangles with combinations of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs. These simple shapes are the Elemental Strokes in all Zentangle art. These patterns are drawn on small pieces of paper called “tiles.” We call them tiles because you can assemble them into mosaics.
Zentangle art is non-representational and unplanned so you can focus on each stroke and not worry about the result. There is no up or down to Zentangle art. If fact, you can most easily create Zentangle art by rotating your tile as you tangle, always keeping your hand in a relaxed position. You don’t need to know what a tangle is going to look like to draw it. You just need to know the steps. The result is a delightful surprise.
As you use the Zentangle Method to create beautiful images, you likely will enjoy increased focus, creativity, self-confidence and an increased sense well-being.”
This is the original definition for Zentangle Art, but, of course, the artists passionate about this method each added a bit of originality, so the Zentangle method became a true art movement.
People started to fill shapes like animals, objects, geometric figures, mandalas etc with Zentangle patterns and the results are just stunning!
The word “zen” is about meditation, the pure consciousness of being in the present moment and the word “tangle” means doodle, ornament, abstract.
Zentangle art became so popular because:
- it is easy to learn
- it is easy to draw
- it is fun
- there are no pre-planned outcomes
- there are no mistakes
- you always know what to do next
- the result is unexpected and beautiful
- everyone can do it
I believe every human being is an artist in essence, he only needs to discover himself. Art is not only drawing, painting, singing, or dancing. Art is everything we do with passion, love, imagination and by adding little pieces of our souls on everything we touch.
Art is the main law of nature and we are the biggest part of it!
Zentangle Design Patterns
Here are some basic Zentangle design patterns:
Using these and many other from your imagination you can create any shapes and designs you want. There are infinite possibilities!
Zentangle is abstract art, but you can always combine it with realistic elements and original ideas, as follows:
Learn How To Create Zentagle Art
To create Zentangle masterpieces, same as for mandalas, you don’t need any specific skills. The main source is imagination and the main goal is meditation (enjoying the moment).
For the ones who are passionate about coloring, there are good news: you can make your own drawings and patterns to color. Don’t let the fact that there’s drawing involved intimidate you!
Zentangles are created with repetitive patterns and are meant to be abstract. Above all, they’re supposed to encourage mindfulness, intuitive thinking, and empowerment by proving that you too make beautiful works of art.
Here are some tips to start:
- filling a sheet of paper with abstract patterns without thinking too much, just letting it go naturally
- choosing some realistic or abstract shapes to fill by trailing some guiding lines
- create your own original patterns, it really doesn’t matter how common, non-artistic or childish may seem, the result will be a masterpiece anyway and you will feel relaxed, free and complete.
It has the same calming effects as coloring, but involves drawing and this is a very cool way to switch up your creative routine. That’s all you have to know! Just let yourself draw!
Here is a video from YouTube with an example of how to draw Zentangle. The author is Dewi Arjaya. Enjoy!
About The Founders Of Zentangle Method And How Did All Start
The founders of Zentangle Method are two Americans, the artist Maria Thomas and her husband, Rick Roberts which was a monk for many years.
Maria creates art for a lifetime now and this method just came out one day, when she was normally working on her drawings. She started to fill her drawings with patterns and she felt quite differently than usual. She described feelings of selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness and a rich immersion in what she was doing.
Her husband, who practiced meditation for many years just realized it was a form of meditation.
They combined then the word “tangle” with the word “zen” and so it started the whole story about Zentangle Art.
Here is an interview with the founders:
Mandala Vs Zentangle Art
Mandalas generally have one identifiable center point, from which emanates an array of symbols, shapes and forms. Those could be animals, objects and many other things that make a mandala unique and the representation of one’s path from creation to evolution.
The fact that there must be a center is not a random rule. The center point represents the deepest part of our inner self out of which everything comes out: all we live and all we are.
A mandala contains a whole existence and a whole universe.
Zentangle art is characterized by easy patterns combined that form abstract art. It can also have realistic shapes filled with tangles and here is where mandala and Zentangle art may intersect.
Both have the same goal, meditation, and both may have the same patterns, especially when we have a circle filled with patterns from the center to the outside. It can be a mandala because has the unifying center, but it can be also Zentangle art, because it has the specific tangles.
I also have to mention that the original mandala is the one that monks create on Buddhist rituals and while non-Buddhist people believed it is only a part of a ritual, Carl Jung fully understood the concept and brought it to Europe with all the real and deep explanations.
The creation of mandala is not only a ritual so it doesn’t have to be made the same way the Buddhist monks made it. It has to be a representation of self, so it has to be original.
Then people started to draw mandalas in ways they felt, and from the original form made with sand, it became an entire artistic movement. It started to take different shapes and include different elements. It also started to be confused with other art methods, as Zentangle. It has become a very large product area, but let’s not forget the original and the real concept!
Mandala can be a cat, can be an elephant, can be everything, but it can never be only a product or only a decoration item!
I try to remind people this every time I get the chance, because I hardly believe we must never replace the unseen truth with tangible things that have neither consistency, nor permanence.
The Zentangle Tool Set That I Recommend
If you don’t have any black markers or tools you can see the Zentangle tool set of 12 on Amazon (on the right). It is a high quality product and the price is good as well.
I hope you found my content useful and if there is anything you want to add or ask about Zentangle art and mandala, just feel free to leave a comment below!