I stumbled into a way to add more purpose to the artful little doodles I decorate my notebooks with. Especially if I'm on a long teleconference call, I often find that after we've bid our farewells, I have tiny, elaborate squiggles filling all the white space in the margins. But now I'm channelling this furtive scribbling into something more beautiful, I've discovered and been learning the meditative art form of tangling. A Zentangle® is a miniature abstract work of art created from a collection of patterns, not meant to represent anything in particular, just whatever emanates from your pen.
They're supposed to be drawn on 3.5" square pieces of paper, called tiles. Apparently it's an important 'rule', but said tiles are trickier to find in the UK so I'm being a maverick and creating mine in a little Moleskin notebook so they're a smidgen smaller. I'm following a course and each day I have new tangle designs to practice.
You start by grabbing your pencil and drawing a dot in each corner if the square (imagined in my case) then link these with a line to create the border. Then a pencil string is drawn to create areas of space and shapes in which to begin drawing the patterns.
I do find it very relaxing, as indeed it was developed to do. The inventors are Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. Rick noticed when Maria was immersed in an intricate illustration project she would get into the zone and enter a trance-like state, in other words - meditating. They realised others might benefit from this technique, developed the whole Zentangle® method, and the rest is history.
The clever thing is that a seemingly complicated pattern is deconstructed into a series of precise strokes. And after you complete you add a little depth, light and shadow by shading with a soft pencil. I probably take longer creating mine than most, I become very particular about slowing down and focusing on getting an even line of tangles. I'm not surprised I've taken to it do quickly, as it appeals to my need for a creative outlet and my love of intricate patterns.
The first few days of the book I'm working through (One Zentangle a Day - A 6-week course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun) you have very little in your arsenal, so the finished Zentangle can lack lustre but on day three two of my favourite tangles were introduced and it started to get so much more interesting. I'm still a novice and look forward to advancing my skills, here are some of my efforts from the last week. Maybe next week I'll get to add colour! I've spotted some watercolour pencils that I fancy experimenting with.