I am completely besotted with the Zentangle® method. What exactly is “Zentangle?”  Well, here is the official description:

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

(Please check out my subpage, The Diva’s Weekly Challenge, to check out weekly Zentangle challenges)

Maria Roberts is an artist, and her husband, Rick Roberts, is into Zen meditation. The story is, that Rick noticed how focused and calm Maria was when she worked at her art.  It appeared to him that this focus, often called by creative persons  “the zone,” was very much like a meditative state.  They thought it would be wonderful if everyone could benefit from this meditative, creative state of mind, and so they got together and developed the Zentangle method which makes this creative practice available and do-able to anyone.

Official Zentangle designs are done a 3-1/2 inch square “tile,” which is Fabriano® Tiepolo 140 lb print maker’s paper. Official tiles can be ordered from zentangle.com. Rick and Maria endorse and use Pigma Micron™ pens by Sakura. The best sizes for 3-1/2 inch tiles are the 005 (very fine) and the 01 (fine). The only other tools are a pencil and a blender–  tortillon or stump. The blending stumps are solid paper cylinders that are pointed at each end.  A tortillon is a blending stump made from tightly rolled or twisted paper. They are great for softening and blending pencil lines and for shading. They are inexpensive and available at art and craft supply stores.

The “tangles” are the patterns that are used in the design. The patterns are non-representational and can be drawn without pre-drawn grids, penciled guidelines, rulers, etc. (If a grid is used, it is free-handed, done in pen, and a visible part of the pattern) .

So, one learns a few patterns, practices them in a sketch book, and then gets a tile to create a Zentangle.  One gets a tile,  pens,  pencil & blender. Relax and take a deep breath; admire the paper & pens. Take the pencil and lightly place a small dot in each corner. Connect the dots lightly. Now it is time for the “string,” defined by the Thomas’: At its most basic a string is generally a random line drawn in pencil which creates an area within which you draw your tangles. The string divides the space in the tile, and patterns go in each section of the shape. A great place to start in order to understand this is at Zentangle.com, and Tanglepatterns.com.

The point of the Zentangle process is to easily and intuitively create without having to “think” a whole lot! It should be relaxing, unplanned, small enough to complete in 15 minutes, and a treasured work of art! When the Zentangle is finished, it is initialed on the front, signed and dated on the back.

Anything that is more involved than this is referred to as Zentangle Inspired Art, or “ZIA’s”.

A lot of my Zentangles are actually ZIA’s, as I plan my strings according to what I want to accomplish visually.

Desert.laura.sanders.2  This is an example of a ZIA, as my intention was to create a desert landscape. The string that I used was based on a landscape that I saw of a desert. I used patterns to represent elements of the landscape, such as Betweed and Paradox for the mountains, and Msst for the sky.

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