What is a Zendoodle, Exactly?
A zendoodle is a form of Zentangle®- Inspired-Art, or ZIA. It uses elements of, but is not restricted to the structure of Zentangle. It is very much like the doodles you make when on the phone, or when you were in school in the margins of your composition book. Zendoodles can be black and white (pen & ink), or they can be colored. They can be created on paper or on any other medium, such as walls, shoes, wood, or even quilted.
Zendoodles are simple or as complicated as you want them to be. Many people who start off with Zentangle soon want to expand their skills and so create their own unique style based on the method of filling spaces with tangles (the patterns used in Zentangle).
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How to Draw a Zendoodle
If you haven't drawn any Zentangles before, it's a good idea to start by learning the basic structure – there is a step-by-step guide here: Zendoodle, Zentangle How-to.
In essence, you create a simple outline in pencil – it can be a few intersecting wavy lines, straight lines criss-crossing randomly or a more structured geometrical outline. Begin filling in the negative spaces between the lines with tangle patterns using a fine-liner pen. Erase the pencil lines.
Once you have drawn a few Zentangles, start changing things up a little. Maybe you could:
- Draw a free-form string on a plain sketchbook page.
- Draw an object, like a face or hands, divide it up and tangle it.
- Create a 'zendala' – a hybrid zendoodle/mandala. Use a template to draw a circle or download and print a mandala outline from the internet. Fill with tangles.
- Color in a Zentangle.
- Make zendoodle borders in your journal or scrapbook.
- Photocopy zendoodle creations to use again and again as collage pieces.
Click on each photo below to see how to draw a Zentangle.
Where to get Ideas for Zendoodle Patterns
- The internet.
- Around the house
Like Zentangles, zendoodles drawn on paper look even better with some shading. It's easy to shade tangles – decide which direction the light is coming from and lightly shade the opposite side of your tangles. You can create form and shape by shading – make parts of the drawing pop while other parts recede and become mysterious. Check out this Zentangle Shading tutorial.
Zendoodles look fabulous with color. You can use watercolor paints, acrylic paint, watercolor pencils, colored pencils, crayon or markers (I recommend Tombow Dual Tip Brush Markers).
You could also try drawing the actual tangles using colored fine-liner pens, such as the Sakura Pigma Microns.
More Ideas for Zendoodle
- Zendoodle a pair of sneakers. T-shirt, a coffee mug. Your bathroom toilet seat. You will need the appropriate pen for the surface you intend to work on.
- Zendoodle a whole wall. Or just part of a wall – a dado rail height border, or a sweeping pattern up the stairway. Use big markers or you'll be still trying to finish it in two year's time!
- Plant pots or glass pitchers.
- Greetings cards and gift tags. Use the recipient's initial.
- Revamp an Ikea coffee table (search for Ikea hacks).
- Zendoodle a photo frame.
- Use a sewing machine to make a zendoodle embroidery.
- How about painting a silk scarf with tangles?
- Make a tangle reference grid. Divide a sheet of paper into 1" squares and fill with repetitive patterns. Try to invent new ones.
- Zendoodle bookmarks as inexpensive gifts. You can do them during the ad breaks when watching TV.
The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.
More by this Author
Zentangle-inspired art (ZIA) is a lovely way to relax and create small abstract drawings with pen and pencil. Learn how to see tangles everywhere.
Zentangles or Zendoodles, the terms are pretty much interchangeable, are abstract drawings created with pen and ink.
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