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The Zentangle® : relaxing scrawls

Coloring, we already know, mandalas too, but what are those Zentangle® patterns?

As Mr Jourdain, in « Le bourgeois gentilhomme » of Molière, who were speaking prose his all life without knowing it, maybe you do some Zentangle® while phoning or just while enjoying playing with a pen!

At the first sight, the Zentangle® seems to be some scrawls that we do without paying attention, but in fact, this new artistic style follows some rules. It mostly consistes in tracing, with a black pen, on a 9cm square, some abstracts and repetitive patterns, in order to reach a meditative concentration.

This art style, now registered as a trademark, was created by two Americans : Maria Thomas, drawing artist, and Rick Roberts, meditation specialist. They compared the state they entered in, while practicing their own discipline. They realized that the freedom and the concentration Maria feels when she’s drawing are similar to the ones Rick feels when he’s meditating.

To understand this art more clearly, I’ve decided to ask some questions to one of our partner artist who oftently used the Zentangle® style on her drawings. Azyrielle is going to tell you about it :

  • Hi Azyrielle, how did you discover this style ?

I’ve discovered it thanks to the Art Journal, which I use a lot. I draw a lot of mandalas, and once, while I was looking for new patterns, I’ve found the Zentangle®. For me drawing is a great creative way of relaxing, my own world, my own moment. I need to create on a daily-basis.

  • When did you start practicing the Zentangle®?

I’ve started it in 2015, but I’m not only practicing Zentangle®. But let’s say that some of my creations are inspired by the Zentangle®. 

  • Do you use this style for the esthetic or for the relaxing effect ?

Both, I like the precision, the neatness of the lines, the small details. The abstract matters a lot in my realizations.
The thing really interesting about the Zentangles® is that you can’t never really guess the final state, you build it, steps by steps. You don’t plan your drawing, it allows you to let go. When I’m drawing, I don’t use a pencil. No way to use a rubber, so I have to adapt. And it develops my creativity ; an error becomes a pattern.

  • If not for aestethic, what makes it differ from a traditional pattern?

In a traditional drawing, you have to think about the composition, the construction. However sometimes, I get stuck on an idea I can’t express on paper. But Zentangle® does it spontaneously, I select a pattern and I let myself go.

  • Do you think it could be relevant as a relaxation/meditation tool?

Yes, nowadays, we spend our lives running after time. Everyday, I’m dedicating a moment to creativity, a quarter hour per day minimum. That allows me to break free from the daily stress, to pause the real world and really appreciate the present moment.

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How to start creating Zentangle® in 8 steps :

  1. Draw a 9cm square.
  2. Use a high quality white paper.
  3. Use a black pen with a fine tip so you can’t erase !
  4. Don’t use any rules or other tools. The goal is not to create straight lines.
  5. Don’t think about the final result, let yourself go! Your Zentangle® doesn’t need a reading direction.
  6. It’s not a simple scrawls so you need to totally focus while drawing !
  7. All the patterns needs to be abstracts and Imaginative.
  8. Stop whenever you feel that it’s time. You don’t need to fully fulfilling your square.

So, are you in ? Share your beautiful creations on our Facebook group ! And if you need, you can find some ideas on our Zentangle gallery.