Have you heard of Zentangle?  Do you know what it is?  I bet if I showed you a picture you’d find it familiar.  Here’s my most recent finished piece:

2014-01-07 07.35.15

Isn’t it pretty?  Zentangle is essentially doodling.

A few weeks ago my good friend Katherine posted this picture on Facebook:


She’d gotten a book for her birthday, and thus began her doodling.  She posted picture after picture and each one got more intrigued.  Not only is it very pretty, but it reminded me a little of the doodling I used to do way back when.


But there was obviously a different, so I googled it.  I ended up on Zentangle.com, where I discovered that Zentangle, and it’s particular method, is actually copyrighted.

To do a “proper” Zentangle, it needs to be done in black and white, on a 3.5″ square tile, in tangles (patterns) that have no more than 1 or 2 strokes, and that don’t represent anything.  You begin with four dots just inside the corners of your tile, you connect them to create a border, then you fill that border with your string.  Your string is a faint pencil outline that you’ll fill in with different tangles.  A true Zentangle doesn’t represent anything, or appear to be anything.  It’s supposed to be ritualistic, and repetitive, and soothing.  And it can be.  But you don’t necessarily have to do a “proper” Zentangle.

All over the internet there are people doing ZIA – Zentangle Inspired Artwork.  And most of what I do is officially ZIA.  But it’s easier to call it Zentangle.  As long as I don’t try and claim money from it, I think that’s okay.

As for the tangles themselves, there are hundreds and hundreds of them on the internet.  Over 100 official ones from Rick and Maria – the Zentangle.com people, and loads more from people who just create them.  I *think* I’ve created one, I just need to double check – so I’ll get back to you on that.

But I’m loving the artform.  I do them in a small passport sized notebook, in a 5″ square notebook, in a big A4 sketchbook, on blank greetings cards, in teeny tiny notebooks, and most recently I’ve started one on a big piece of cardboard that was in the packet with a calendar I got for Christmas.

Aside from investing in a few decent pens, it’s the cheapest hobby I’ve ever had.  And I do get a nice zen aspect from it.  I find a lot of fun from researching the different tangles and learning the names – I even have little reference books I’m keeping my favourite tangles in.

There is some New Year’s news coming up about Zentangles, so keep your eyes peeled for a new post about that.  In the meantime, here are some of my favourite ZIA pieces.

2013-12-21 12.05.48 2013-12-22 23.49.00 2013-12-23 19.52.06 2013-12-30 14.39.38

And some little pieces, from when I was practicing different tangles.

2013-12-20 19.33.05 2013-12-20 20.16.52 2013-12-20 20.16.58 2013-12-23 16.08.07 2013-12-31 00.45.57 2014-01-07 07.36.12

About Colette Horsburgh

A 30-something creator/baker/writer/artist/crafter living with several (but not enough) scatty animals.
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1 Response to Zentangle

  1. Pingback: What Exactly Is Zentangle? – Crafted By Colette

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