Something that most people (including myself) see as just Doodling. But I’m here to tell you a bit more about the art of Zentangle, why it is very different to just simple doodling and how useful it can be as a tool to relieve stress and anxiety.
The traditional practice of Zentangling uses 3 ½ inch square tiles made of special paper, but you can cut your own choice of paper into squares or completely “break the rules” and tangle on whatever type of paper you want to. it can be easier to draw larger designs with bigger pens such as a fine point Sharpie or large felt pens.
Why would I be interested in Zentangle?
While the process may look intricate, it is a deceptively simple pathway to relaxation and inner focus. In fact, proponents of the practice note that it has multiple benefits including calming an anxious mind, increasing self-confidence, and cultivating moment-to-moment awareness in a similar way as mindfulness meditation.
They say that when you are feeling stressed or anxious it is really important to focus on minute things around you, the colours of the walls, the shapes on the floor, the grains in the wood. Zentangling allows you to do this in a more tangible way as it requires thought, pattern, and micro movement. as opposed to our old friend Doodling.
The classic definition of Doodling is a drawing done without full attention while the person is otherwise occupied. Sort of the exact opposite of Zentangling if you think about it hey?
It’s not to say that your amazing doodling creation isn’t a Zentangle, but instead that the art of Zentangle is more about the conscious process of creating a pattern.
So how does it help you relax?
it helps you slow down, concentrate, and move with what ever patterns come onto the paper eliminating the feeling of expectation.
If you accept this process as one with no expected outcome other than the enjoyment of putting the pen to paper and staying open to whatever emerges, then you might find the mind able to relax and be still.
What if I just want to colour in already made Zentangles, will this still be beneficial?
Absolutely! you still need to consciously colour in the lines and choose what colours go where, you also get the same satisfaction of watching something build as you put colour in each section. In fact, we have a colour-able zen tangle in this issue of the Livewire zine that you can download here, if you’d like to give it a go. You might have to join Livewire to see the zine.
Is there an easy way to draw zentangles without having to use a pen?
There is an amazing App that is called ‘Amaziograph’ you can download it onto your iPad and create patterns by making small lines and shapes with your finger or stylis within a small area of the graph which then mirrors itself onto the rest fo the graph tiles! confused? here is the link to the instructions of how to use it
If you want to give Zentangling a go and would like some pattern ideas to start you off Join Livewire.org.au to find out more!
Happy Tangling guys! cant wait to see your creations 🙂 Liz LW