The Art of Zentangle



I am not a fan of colouring in! I know, sacrilege, especially with the still huge trend at the moment, now that doesn’t mean that I can’t admire the beautiful illustrations of Millie Marotta or Sarah Taylors clever designs but ask me to colour them in and I fill up with tension. I get frustrated with the restrictions of colouring in between the lines, then I think about what colours I should use it’s all too much for me. I think the artist in me rebels against such restrictions because I am a doodler!





I have sketch books filled with silly illustrations, patterns in the borders and lots and lots of doodles. In meetings I like to draw boxes and arrows, in the boxes I will make them 3D or with frames, the more important the meeting the darker the box gets.




“I love to draw, colouring in brings such peace of mind to some,

they like the adventure of the colours but for me it’s the design process, it’s the purity of the line.”



I love and I am inspired by illustrators such as Quentin Blake; he made me fall in love with illustration, John Kenn Mortesen with his love of post-it notes, Dave Mckean with his graphic novels and work with Neil Gaiman to Jody Draws with her fresh quirky drawings and so many more. The list could go on forever, my dream is actually to do my MA in illustration, and one day I will get round to it. I just don’t know what my style is, it changes all the time.

Sometimes I like fine detailed work with every curl accounted for, then next time I sit down to draw I will love simple illustrations with flat layers of paint, illustrations with an almost print-like quality and of course there is my love of paper-cutting. I can’t decide on my style and I don’t like to be limited!! But just the simple structure of a fine liner on paper- I have and will always love that.




So I doodle and draw, not really having favourite pens, I use Staedtler pigment liners, Derwents Graphik, Pentel’s Brush pens and Letraset fine liners, now I have discovered Sakura Micro pens, I love them all. I like a dependable black in pen with different sizes, I am not too picky, I take it in turns and buy them when I need to. Now some very clever people decided that they were going to Brand doodling and call it Zentangle, there are classes all over Britain so you can explore this trend. You can Buy Zentangle sets, tiles and pens. So where as colouring is not for me, I do love a good doodle, I just didn’t realise I have been Zentangling it for years!!



“Just the simple structure of a fine liner on paper- I have and will always love that.”


The idea is quite an intricate one. You start with plain paper and fill it up with patterns and squiggles; you draw or just follow the lines. There are no rules, no mistakes. You don’t need to be taught how to draw; you just doodle or Tangle till you are finished. You can colour them in, highlight them or just leave them blank. The method is what makes you relax, because you are not trying to create a picture, just shapes. You can turn errors into patterns until you are happy with the image.



You can also Zentangle on anything, paper tiles seems to be the most popular as it’s less daunting filling a small space plus you can always glue them all together (like the image below) to create a larger piece of work. But you can fill up sketch books, paper, tote bags to leaves and absolutely anything.



So if you love colouring, you may like Zentangle as an extension of another relaxing past time, or if like me, you don’t like the restrictions of pre-drawn lines then maybe Zentangle is one for you.



There is lots of inspiration online, visit the websites and watch Youtube videos for inspiration, or just try it! Find a great pen and some paper tiles and start! Next time you are caught on a long phone conversation, grab a tile and start doodling. It’s fun and relaxing so enjoy. I am going to leave you now with a video of Zentangle coming to life!


Goodbye for now






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