Zentangled Up and Blue

“Anything is Possible
One Stroke at a Time”
—Rick Roberts and
Maria Thomas

The first time that I heard of Zentangle® was 3 days ago when Gemma, over at the Dear Bliary blog, wrote a post about her experience with the technique. I was immediately captivated.

The Zentangle Method is a way to create images— from repetitive patterns—using a 3.5-inch square format on paper with a black pen, Zentangle is a way to focus and create a small work of art. The process has been described as a form of “active meditation”.

“There is no eraser in life and there is no eraser in the Zentangle kit.”

This one statement allows me room for growth and stops my urges to tweak and control and make things “a little bit better”. I found that a mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow. We work for progress, not perfection.

As you can see from my first attempt, below, I have quite an opportunity to grow and to learn more about this enjoyable exercise. I think that this mental exercise will help me in the long run with my photo-editing skills. I can see a correlation between drawing the the tangles and layering textures onto digital images.

I will post some updated drawings in the future to chart my progress.

Zentangle #1 © Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved

Zentangle #1
© Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved


Related Link: Impressive examples of Tangles from some talented artists.

For the Legal Practitioners among us: The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

  14 comments for “Zentangled Up and Blue

  1. January 14, 2015 at 5:12 PM

    Boy, i can relate to the “tweak and control” urges! Love your mini-art.

    • January 14, 2015 at 7:21 PM

      Thanks, there will be more in the future.

      Sent from my iPad


  2. January 13, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    I like this very much. I draw in class sometimes. Mostly gargoyle heads on disproportionate and anatomically incorrect human bodies with large chicken feet. I wish I had talent to sketch. LOVE the header sketch.

    • January 13, 2015 at 7:46 AM

      Thanks, Stephanie. I did the header sketch when I was in college. My renewed interest in B&W photography has piqued my interest in pen & ink sketching—and then Zentangle came along in Gemma’s post.

      It is interesting how all of that came together at this point, 47 years later. The Z people make a point that doodling is something that you you do while your mind is otherwise occupied, whereas Zentangle is done while focusing only on the stroke that you are making each time.

      A bit of an airy-fairy explanation, but that was my experience. Everyone has some talent to sketch/draw—it gets ground out of us by negative comments and low self-esteem. It is a bit like writing, we get better when we do more of it.

      Here endth the lesson for the day. Hah!

      • January 13, 2015 at 7:53 AM

        Then it says something that I doodle in class, huh? Better stop those shenanigans!

        I gave my son a pen & ink for his birthday last year by this artist. http://www.thought-full-art.com/gallery.html He does some terrific work.

        • January 13, 2015 at 7:58 AM

          What a talent. Your son must love his gift.

          Thanks for the link.

          • January 13, 2015 at 8:02 AM

            Yeah, it put me back in the running for Mother of the Year. The votes are still being tallied. Some chick in Cleveland demanded a recount.
            The one I purchased isn’t on his site, but it is truly amazing, very intricate and just the subject matter a computer science major goes for. Short answer: Yes, he loved it.

  3. January 13, 2015 at 12:31 AM

    How fascinating!

  4. January 12, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Super fun first effort! If you didn’t say it was your first, I wouldn’t have known! May this be the start of many more Zen moments.

    • January 12, 2015 at 2:53 PM

      Thanks, Genevieve, I am counting on having many more Zen moments as I practice drawing.

  5. January 12, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    I love your first attempt. I’m so glad you got into this. Helpful relaxing and fun!!! Then I put my initials at the bottom. That makes it official. Complete! And then I’m off to another excellent adventure.. Have fun, Allan. I’m very happy to hear enjoying this. Looking forward to the next.

    • January 12, 2015 at 10:46 AM

      Thank you, Gemma, for exposing us to the process. I can see many productive hours in airports in the near future.

      Sent from my iPhone


  6. January 12, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    Good for you for trying something new. I first heard of Zentangle last September while on a retreat and a woman drew pages and pages of fascinating art. She did appear meditative while sitting on a rocking chair on the porch with a pencil in her hand.

    • January 12, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Joyce. I have realized that I need to warm up by copying some existing patterns and then branch out on my own. I am looking forward to the experience.

      Sent from my iPhone


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