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Zentangle

Updated on July 26, 2013

Learn How to Draw a Zentangle

What is a Zentangle? In a word, a doodle. A structured, contained doodle. The term 'Zentangle' was coined by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas when, one day, Maria described her experience, as she created her art, as "feeling timeless, free and engendering a sense of deep well-being". Rick recognised that she was in a meditative state and so Zentangles were born.

I use the technique of Zentangle in my own artwork, incorporating them into sketching, art-journalling and collage. Originally I created individual Zentangles, as shown on Rick and Maria's website Zentangle Homepage but then began to incorporate them into my art journals.

On this page, I will describe how to draw a Zentangle from scratch, what materials are required for Zentangles and also show you how to use the techniques imaginatively in your own work.

Note: Zentangle-inspired drawings are often called 'zendoodles'.

© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved. Images are my own, except where indicated otherwise.

Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Tags: Zentangle, doodle, Zentangle-inspired, zendoodle, zendala, pen and ink drawing, Sakura Pigma Micron, Zentangle how-to, Zentangle instructions.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pen Set
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen Set

Materials for Zentangles

Smooth watercolor paper - I use Fabriano Artistico HP

Fine liner pens - My favorites are Sakura Pigma Micro, size 1 to 5

Pencil

Eraser

That's it.

Sakura 11-Piece Zentangle Set

Sakura and Zentangle have teamed up and put together this fantastic little set. All you need to get started on your Zentangle adventure of artful loveliness!

Buy in the UK

Sakura 50011 11-Piece Zentangle Clamshell Pencil Set
Sakura 50011 11-Piece Zentangle Clamshell Pencil Set

Product Description

This zentangle set includes a pencil and pens plus zentangle tiles upon which you can create fun and relaxing art

There are 5 pens with 4 tips sizes (0.25-mm, 0.35-mm, 0.45-mm, 0.5-mm)

The micro pigment ink is waterproof, fade proof, and acid free

The pencil is pre-sharpened and the drawing tiles measure 3-1/2-inch square

Includes 5 pens, 1 pencil, and 5 zentangle tiles

 

How to Draw a Zentangle

Begin small, work on a piece of paper approximately 3.5" x 3.5" (9cm x 9cm).

I am using a pen for the initial steps so it shows on the scan but you should use a pencil.

Draw a border around the square of paper, about a half inch (1cm) from the edge as shown. Do it freehand and let it be 'rough'.

Zentangle string
Zentangle string

Draw a 'String'

Again, with a pencil, draw a light random line within the border - it can be anything but keep it simple to begin with. Rick and Maria call these lines 'strings', which helps you to visualise the kind of lines that work. You are aiming to create areas in which to doodle. Experiment until you get something you are happy with.

If you need something to get you started at this stage, you can print out a pre-drawn string or template: Zentangle Templates

Zentangle tangle 1
Zentangle tangle 1

Fill Your Zentangle

Switch to a black fine liner pen such as a Sakura Pigma Microm #1 and using some of the examples on this page and on the Zentangle page begin to fill the shapes made by your string. Oh... and put some soft music on and allow your mind to wander. These simple patterns are called 'tangles'. You can see lots of them at Zentangle.com

Zentangle tangle 2
Zentangle tangle 2

Are You Relaxed?

Keep going. Don't fret over what pattern to use, you will find as you do more, that the next pattern seems to suggest itself.

My example here is very rough and I seem to have misplaced the border while scanning, but I'm sure you get the idea.

As you can see, I have worked up to the border, making my Zentangle a square, however, you don't have to do that - leaving white space can work well too.

Zentangle tangle 3
Zentangle tangle 3

All Done

Here is my rather rough and ready example finished.

Erase all the pencil lines and use a little shading in order to make your drawing more three dimensional.

Want More?

Zentangle Workshop

Creating Zentangles - by KNM

Zentangle challenge
Zentangle challenge

KNM has kindly donated this image that show the processed of creating individual tangles. Click on the image to be taken directly to her blog, Xplore & Xpress.

Teaching Zentangle

Teaching Zentangle to children helps their hand-eye coordination, develops their concentration, promotes creativity and produces wonderful art they can be proud of. This kit supplies a class of up to 26 children.

Sakura 50009 Zentangle Apprentice Classroom Pack
Sakura 50009 Zentangle Apprentice Classroom Pack

The classroom kit is also available in the UK

 

New: Zentangle With Color

Color Zentangle
Color Zentangle

New Zentangle page: Zentangle With Color. Supply list and examples.

Search for Zentangle and Zendoodle Books

Do you create Zentangles in the UK? You can search for books on Zentangles right here:

Zentangles in the UK

How to draw a Zendala - by Milliande

Sit back and enjoy this lovely video as Milliande shows you how to do it properly! Also, if you would like to become part of an arty community, join Milliande's group - everyone is lovely

Using Zentangles in Other Art

Zentangle in Art Journal
Zentangle in Art Journal

When I initially discovered Zentangles, I was addicted and drew over a hundred over the course of a month or two. Eventually my enthusiasm wore off and instead I began to use the technique with other projects. I find it is very effective in my art journals. Here's an example of watercolor, collage and Zentangles combined. You can see that I used a white pen for some of the Zentangling on the man's clothes.

In this project I also decided to use Zentangles to border the facing pages.

Tangled Tile

Tangled Tile
Tangled Tile

More Zentangles

More Zentangles
More Zentangles

'Zentangle' has been featured on the... - Abundance Blog

Also take a look at my Zentangle/Zendoodle articles on Hubpages

Jan's Zentangle

Jan's Zentangle
Jan's Zentangle

Zentangles in my Journal

Going to give it a go?

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    • myraggededge profile image
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      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @mistyriver: Fun... and addictive, mistyriver :-)

    • mistyriver profile image

      mistyriver 3 years ago

      Thank you for the explanation and illustrations. I doodle all of the time and have seen Zentangles all over, but wasn't sure what all was involved. It looks like a lot of fun!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @blestman lm: Thanks so much, blestman. You could make a lens featuring your wife's artwork too.

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 3 years ago

      Wow. These are amazing doodles. I am not an artist but my wife is. Her doodles are artwork. This is the first time I have seen someone else more than match her stuff. Great lens. Thank you

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 3 years ago from Gloucester

      I've always loved this kind of doodling, and have been doing it since I was a child, but didn't realise there's a special name for it! :) Some beautiful Zentangles on this page!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      I have been doodling Zentangles all my life but did not know they had a name! What an amazing lens!!!!!

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      These are some incredibly beautiful doodles!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @KateFeredayEshete: My pleasure, Kate :)

    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 3 years ago from Ethiopia

      My children and I just watched the Zentangle Tips video and they've rushed off to give it a go! Tomorrow some of the Grade 2s at my school in Ethiopia will try this too. Zentangling has hit Ethiopia! Thanks for a really super lens.

    • profile image

      RANADEEP 4 years ago

      Great lense,great content,thanks for sharing this valuable info!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Loved the concept, maybe it will work on clay surfaces. I think I will try this with my second year

      Ceramic students. We did do something like this with our Day of the dead skulls. I have never heard of this form of doodling. Thank you for the info.

    • dwillar profile image

      dwillar 4 years ago

      Never heard of zentangle before, thanks for sharing! Excellent lens!

    • primarolia profile image

      primarolia 4 years ago

      Great lens...Thanks for the tips..

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 4 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      I was always doodling and drawing when I was a kid-- still do, actually-- and I always figured my sketchings were somewhat like computer fractals, except done in pencil. I while back I got somewhat into sacred geometry, but I'm generally a little more free-form than that. I had heard the word "zentangle" before (my ex was an artist) but I didn't realize there was an entire "named" art form, there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've been doing this for a long time. It's interesting that you mentioned meditative state, because that is exactly when they seem to happen.

    • profile image

      Hrodebert 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens. What a great idea.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @PhilVardy: Eeek! I'm a mathophobic! Thanks for stopping by xx

    • PhilVardy profile image

      PhilVardy 4 years ago

      I once had to write a mathematical proof regarding doodles.. It was in 3rd year University and I was taking a very deep, theoretical mathematics course.. one of the best courses I took in University. Your lens has totally brought me back - especially because your work has a mathematical quality to it.. Outstanding!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      WOW! your art is great!

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 4 years ago

      ooohhh... this is great.. I can't sit still, so I doodle.. it would be nice to make something so beautiful.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @thingz1: Thank you 10thingz - much appreciated. xx

    • thingz1 profile image

      thingz1 4 years ago

      Very cool, I've never heard of a zentangle before. I'm adding a link to this lens in my own about selfless portraits. Thanks!

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      Yes. This looks like so much fun! Very cool. neat lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is such BS! My friends and I were doing this is the early 70's! Rick Roberts and Maria didn't "invent" it!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: No, but they invented their way of teaching and presenting it. Plus they gave it a catchy name.

    • Glen Kowalski profile image

      Glen Kowalski 4 years ago

      Even I may be able to do this, though I usually resort to stick figures when drawing...very cool designs. I've seen this type of art on posters for sale all over, and even see some hanging on people's walls. Really cool stuff.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      Very interesting artwork.

    • profile image

      MooshkaDaisy 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I was looking for a term for this kind of doodling and finally I found it. Thank you!

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      Very creative lens. Looks fun.

    • profile image

      greytdogz 4 years ago

      I love this lens! I also doodle (or zentangle) and always enjoy seeing other peoples work. This type of artwork is great for relaxing and fulfilling a creative need. Thanks so much.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love the things you showed! Thanx

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 4 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      Excellent lens! :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is very interesting to me. Been doing these type of drawings for years. Had no idea there was a name of method. Love that it was created to share.

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      Very nice lense!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yay!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I thought I was incapable of true art. Not so. My family is gob smacked. Zentangle is the boss.

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 4 years ago

      Wonderful and very creative. Adding this to a possible gift idea for my son, who loves to doodle. Thanks. =)

    • fuzzybear2 profile image

      fuzzybear2 4 years ago

      wow truly amazing lens. I had never even heard of the word zentangle before coming across your lens. Something i'll have to try in the new year

    • profile image

      MeandmyArrow 4 years ago

      Oh my gosh this is a lot like what I do naturally when thinking and pen and paper are handy! It's validating--I think sharing this with others could be fun!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      I may have to try this; looks fun! Blessed!

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 4 years ago

      Yes! This has inspirted me to paint it on a canvas. I love art and painting!

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 4 years ago

      Sending an Angel Blessing your way :)

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 4 years ago

      Very cool lens. I probably won't try it, but I love how it looks!

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 4 years ago

      I've been doing these for years! I didn't know there was a name or a methodology! Awesome lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a great page to start from - thank you!

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Blessed-I will give it a try

    • latishaalford profile image

      latishaalford 4 years ago

      To me, this is quite intricate.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @Mammozon: Start where it feels most comfortable, Mammozon. If you are using Micron pens, they dry very, very quickly but just give it a moment, as you don't want smears and smudges. Turning the paper/page/tile makes it even easier.

    • Mammozon profile image

      Mammozon 4 years ago

      This is mindboggling, but you've made it seem so "doable." Now do you have any suggestions for those of us who are southpaws? No matter how hard I try, starting from the right of the page and working left is still beyond me...thanks I suppose, to my first grade teacher!

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 4 years ago

      I enjoyed this lens on Zentangling. I am going to give it a try!

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 4 years ago

      I certainly will try some of these ideas! What a fun way to doodle!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @justmelucy: Thanks, Lucy, and everyone else who's kind enough to leave a comment. x

    • justmelucy profile image

      justmelucy 4 years ago

      Love this lens and the zentangle journal. Have to do this.

    • sageinacage lm profile image

      sageinacage lm 4 years ago

      Absolutely. I always doodle but this seems like taking to a whole new level. I love it!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @Steph Tietjen: Hi Steph, nice to meet you. Happy doodling!

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Greenspirit sent me here. Excellent work. I especially love the last photo of the journal entry zentangle...looks something like my journals when I kept them. Time to give it a go again!

    • Satha profile image

      Satha 4 years ago

      Ah cool. I do something like this normally, interesting to see it used as an actual technique. :D

    • rooshoo profile image

      rooshoo 4 years ago

      This is too cool. My sister draws these kind of things all the time, although I'm pretty sure she has no idea they have an actual name. She'll get a kick out of this lens. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      These are all so cute! Thanks :)

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      These are really cool. I know what I am going to be drawing in my next boring meeting at work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I just posted a few of my favs on FB; search for "Jan Denser Evers" and look for my "Pen and Ink" gallery.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I shall look forward to seeing them, Janzo :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      OMG, this is what got me through my junior year of high school (forty years ago!!) Thank you SO MUCH for publishing this page, now my husband is interested too! I've given myself a challenge of "A tangle a day", but with only moderate success .. STUFF keeps getting in the way. I'll let you know when I post some photos of my drawings.

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 4 years ago

      First I've heard of Zentangles - thanks for the intro. A great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @myraggededge: Thank for the helpful info about this. I found some other people questioning this issue too. I think if one has learned Zentangle and starts Doodling, it would be hard to not add Zentangle to the Doodling. But, what about someone like me who didn't even know Zentangle and while doodling does end up doing some Zentangle pattern without even knowing there was a name for this type of doodling. What do you call it? Doodle turn into Zentangle naturally?! Hum! I have sent you my Facebook link to my art on Facebook. Thanks for adding me!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: It is very relaxing, Aliluna, sort of like a meditation. Thanks for stopping by. I have quite a few other Zentangle pages too that you might enjoy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I recently came across an article on Zentangling and realized I have been doodling like that most of my life. When on the phone I find myself doodling. Sometimes it starts with a letter I have written down only to look at it later and wonder what it was as its now a doodle Lol! It is very relaxing so now I bought a book and pens so I can now keep them together.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi there, the original patent application that Zentangle.com have made for their teaching method states that a Zentangle is made on a square 'tile' of paper, as sold in their kit. Of course, the method can be adapted to larger sizes and other materials. Rick and Maria of Zentangle.com don't limit themselves to that smaller size. However, they say that anything created outside of the original specification should be called 'Zentangle-inspired art' or 'ZIA'.

      I think if you created your art on your own, not knowing about Z., then you can call it what ever you like. There is a great deal of controversy around at the moment as many artists are unhappy at Zentangle.com's insistence that you use their terminology, and that no-one should use 'Zentangle' and 'doodle' interchangeably. Personally, I think that is a step too far :D

      You can find me on Facebook as Bev-yr-Wrag. I'd love to see your work.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @myraggededge: I've been to various websites and read a lot about Zentangle. I know that Zentangle doesn't have to be created on a square tile of paper. What if someone is doodling and ends up creating a zentangles without even being taught on a whole page of paper. I think this is the case with me. I didn't even know about Zentangle until I posted my art at WetCanvas and someone suggested it looked like it. It won't let me post the link because it looks like spam. I am on Facebook too. I would like to show you my work to see if it's just Doodle or Zentangle or both.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Zentangle is created in a certain way, i.e. on a 3.5" square tile of paper, with a pencil string (line). Creative doodling is just that - doodle any which way. Have a look at zentangle.com. All the best.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm confused what the difference is between doodling creatively and Zentangle? What ID's it as just a creative doodle and not a Zentangle?

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      Squidtastic! I am going to give it a go... it looks super cool and therapeutic:)

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

    • Rachel214 profile image

      Rachel214 5 years ago from Haifa

      Definitely can see the meditative quality of this. Will definitely give it a go.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you, Dave. Nice to meet you - welcome to school!

    • CnickTuigsinn profile image

      CnickTuigsinn 5 years ago

      It seems like a good way to teach art students to listen to their art and act on the patterns that suggest themselves, which is a very useful skill. When I was newer to art I spent a lot of time trying to force patterns into artwork that didn't fit the piece. Thanks for introducing me to this artform.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You sent me to school today! I had never heard of zentangles before visiting today. Cool lens!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 5 years ago

      @Sylvestermouse: Thank you so much! I am so pleased to know such lovely people like you on Squidoo. Xx

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      In celebration of Friendship Day 2012, I am returning to some of my favorite lenses for fun, sharing and renewed blessings :) Friends Still Make it All Worthwhile!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The tangle that brought me here via google image search was so sweet I had to try it. Mine is a little different (they all are) but I am happy with it. I've been teaching ZIA to the children I work with and they're having a great time with it. Even kids who have never thought of themselves as an artist are developing confidence. Love it!!

    • rainbowruffles profile image

      rainbowruffles 5 years ago

      I used to love drawing like this. But I thought others thought my art was strange so I have been trying to do more traditional art (which I am not as good at). I love your web page and I didn't know that there was a term to describe this kind of art! I think I will skip trying the traditional way and go back to doing this! Love the lens!

    • profile image

      anooptu 5 years ago

      i never saw this art before. too difficult to learn this technique. Incredible art....

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 5 years ago

      @anonymous: People are getting confused - the patterns are *not trademarked or copyrighted*. Only the name 'Zentangle', the kit and their personal in-house teaching method is protected. The only things that are trademarked are the red square logo and the slogan, 'anything is possible, one stroke at a time'. In fact, I'm not even sure if they have been passed yet. Think of a product like coffee. No-one can trademark, patent or copyright raw coffee beans. However, the process of drying, packing and the trade name can be protected.

      Your own artwork is automatically copyrighted as is everyone's.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I share your desapointment. First time I saw Zentagles books I got a little bit confused. I drawed things like those everywhere during school, even on my sneakers, and now suddenly it is a trademark and people say it's a new thing? It was confusing. As you said, it is something universal.

    • PeacefieldFarm LM profile image

      PeacefieldFarm LM 5 years ago

      I do this sometimes, but I did not know this term. I love this lens!

    • profile image

      GenesisLabs 5 years ago

      Very interesting artwork. Thank you for introducing me to zentangle.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Fantastic lens. Looks like a lot of hard work

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Brilliant! Learnt something new here... Applying it is gonna take some doing! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I"m very glad to see you've shared such a wonderful exercise, but saddened that the "creators" of this decided to trademark and market their "new" idea. I could show you hundreds of "zentangles" that I created when I was young, this method of doodling and creating is definitely not new. How sad that they felt the need to make money off of something that is so universal.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I am blown away by this, especially by the last example that combines zentangle and journalling.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Yes, this is a marvelous idea. I write in a journal, which I find very comforting. Now I have a new way to expand my mental wanderings. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is amazing! I can't wait to try it.

    • profile image

      peppermintpixel 5 years ago

      I love your zentangles!

    • LivRiley LM profile image

      LivRiley LM 5 years ago

      I've finished 3 zentagles/zendoodles and they all look great. Zendoodles are quick, fun and extremely relaxing when I have an "urge" to doodle. Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      LOVED YOUR PAGE!!!!!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      I do believe I've found a new craft I want to try ... thanks for all the helpful instructions. Blessed by a joyful angel.

    • russiangifts profile image

      russiangifts 5 years ago from USA

      Wow, these are so cool!

    • profile image

      Pugcentric 5 years ago

      Awesome lens! Zentangles remind me of embroidery blackwork that died and went to heaven...

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You and me both! I don't use a white pen, except on that journal page which was done several years ago. I've been looking for a decent one for ages - most are too thick or tend to blob.