A Zentangle is a miniature abstract work of art created by a collection of patterns. It is done on a 3 ½” x 3 ½” paper “tile” using a pencil and a black pen. The small size allows for a work of art that can be completed in a relatively short period of time. The “zen” part of it is that it can be a very relaxing and meditative experience. The creators of the Zentangle, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, have created a variety of patterns that you will see used by those who Zentangle. However, these are not a pre-requisite as artists are invited to make whatever pattern feels right and that pleases them. The size of the artwork actually can be any size (they just refer to it by a slightly different name) and color can be added as well. I have just started to experiment with this process and am learning what kinds of patterns tend to work in different spaces. I invited my Greenleaf Way students to give this art a try, and oh my, did they ever take off! They are waaaaay better at this than I am, but I am learning!
Just wanted to share what we are doing so far ~ more to come as we grow in this new art making process!
We invite you to give it a go as well! Here are some “basics” to get you started!
1. You can use any size paper you like, but I do think a square is a good idea.
2. If you can, use a nice quality paper. Zentanglers use an Italian paper called Tiepolo by Fabriano; my students and I have been using the BFK Reeves 100% cotton paper.
3. Use a black pen that has a fine tip; Zentanglers use Pigma Micron 01, 0.25 mm. If you visit an art or craft store you most likely will find a “Zentangle” area that has a selection of papers and different pens. We have been using a Pentel EnerGel 0.7mm metal point pen and also a Pilot Razorpoint Extra Fine pen.
4. Using a pencil, put a small dot in the each of the corners of your paper.
5. Connect the dots with a line, not necessarily a straight one though.
6. Using the pencil, sort of “scribble” in some lines, going this way and that, until you have created several spaces on the paper.
7. Using your black pen, create a different pattern in each one of the spaces that you have drawn with your pencil.
|The four dots, connect the dots, draw spaces, fill spaces in with a variety of designs.|
8. If you like, do some shading with a pencil.
9. Zentanglers create a signature of sorts, most use initials, and put these in the bottom right hand corner of their Zentangle. You can also give your work a title and date on the back.
|One of my first Zentangles!|
"A Valentine Delight"
8" x 8"
Pen on BFK Reeves paper, 2014
Note my initials in the lower right hand corner
|Title and date on the back of the art work|
One thing that I noticed is that when you follow a curved line with your pattern you can see how it gets bigger or smaller as you follow the curve. It gives the pattern a sense of perspective and 3-D ness.
You can Google Zentangle and see tons of great art and patterns!
Putting two or more together in a grouping is fun too! Here are three of my Zentangles, I played around with arranging them together.
Another idea is to draw an object ~ anything ~ a flower, an animal, even your name ~ and proceed to create the spaces as described above and do the patterns within the spaces. You will see that as well if you do a Google search.
Your local library will most likely have books on this topic too. We all found that flipping through some of these books was helpful and gave us lots of ideas of patterns to create.
These are the basics, so, just go ahead and give it a go! Let us know how it goes and send some examples if you have time!
Again, here is what we have been doing so far in the studio. Students are doing them at home on their own as well! J
|Lauren Zentangling in her journal|
|Lauren's journal Zentangle. Lauren loves patterns and like to make up her own!|
|Oliviana'a butterfly Zentangle, work in progress|
Check out her symmetry!
|Oliviana's valentine heart (we actually worked on ours together in the studio)|
work in progress
We both like working on more than one Zentangle at a time!
|Lucas' Hand Zentangle|
work in progress
Black and white Zentangle
Same as black and white, color added