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The Doodle

Updated on September 23, 2014

Or.... the Zentangle, the Zendoodle, the Zendala or maybe the Xen Tangle?

Whatever you call it, in essence it's 'doodling with intent'. As opposed to doodling while on the telephone. Doodling with intent is making patterns on paper in order to have an end result; a piece of artwork. It is also used to facilitate an 'active meditation'. In other words, it is the kind of activity that allows you to disengage your brain while you do it. A bit like driving but without the speed. Or the car.

Doodling is relaxing, it's enjoyable, it's portable. it's fun and it's very, very easy. Anyone who can hold a pen can learn to doodle with intent.

Okay this looks complicated, a super doodle perhaps, but it's simple once broken down into baby steps. On this deliberately delicious doodle delight page, I'll show you how to draw a doodle to be proud of!

Towards the bottom of the page, there is a photo sequence showing each stage of the doodle. Click on the thumbnails to display the full-size image.

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An article supporting this hub appeared on Article of the Month at the incredible BizyMom's site:

Zen-Doodling - An Active Meditation

Sakura Pigma Micon pens - excellent for detailed doodling.
Sakura Pigma Micon pens - excellent for detailed doodling.

Materials Required

Before you begin to doodle

Oh there's so much you need!

No there isn't.

You need pens, paper and pencils. Oh and an eraser can come in useful too.

As you don't need very much to create these wonderful... er... creations, then you might as well get the best. Yes? These items below are the ones I recommend you try.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens. These pens last for ages. They come in the perfect nib sizes for your doodle doodles. They don't bleed and they dry fast so no irritating smudging.

Smooth watercolor paper. A small watercolor pad like the Moleskine Pocket is a great product for doodling. There are 60 sheets of good quality watercolor paper and they are all detachable so that you can take your favorites out and frame them.

Good quality pencils like the Faber Castell Graphite Pencil Set will last you a long time.

Sakura 11-Piece Zentangle Set

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

The fantastic new mini Zentangle kit to get you started. Perfect gift for any Zentangle or Zenspirations fan.

Product Features

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


Create a doodle template

Start a doodle grid

Grab your pencil and paper and draw two wavy parallel lines anywhere and any way you like. Something like this:

There's no need to be over-particular just go with the flow.

My paper is about 4" x 6". I wouldn't go much bigger than this to start with, although you could go down to 3" x 3"


Double your Doodle

Draw another

Now draw another two parallel lines but don't draw over the top of the first set.

Like so:

You will find that 'drawing under' is a common technique; a very simple way to make a design look more complex than it really is.


Grow the Doodle!

Keep going....

Make sure you don't go over the tops of any other sets of lines. Fill the page with these wobbly grid lines until you have created your doodle template.

Now you can see that there are many irregular shaped 'negative spaces' between the grid lines. Start to fill a space with some doodles. This time use a pen. Below are some mini doodle examples you can copy. Feel free to make up your own or steal from someone else. There are more here.

Keep scrolling down the page to see how this doodle ends.

Doodle Ideas - or 'Mini Doodles'


Try to make your pen stroke deliberate and neat (unlike mine above). Don't rush or you'll be missing the whole point of this activity - it's meant to be relaxing.

Scroll down to see my work-in-progress.

Geo-Tangle - by guest artist KNM

Zentangle: Geo-tangle
Zentangle: Geo-tangle

There are so many elements in this Zentangle-inspired artwork. Do click on the image to visit KNM's blog, Xplore & Xpress

Try this creativity course...

One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun (One A Day)
One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun (One A Day)

Although this book is quite new on the Zentangle scene, it has become one of the best sellers.


Once you start doodling, you won't be able to stop!

Watercolor pencil ZIA
Watercolor pencil ZIA | Source

Doodle With Color

New Zentangle page: Zentangle With Color. Supply list, examples and how-to Zentangle videos

Looking for doodle inspiration in the UK?

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

Zentangles in the UK

Doodle to music - so relaxing.
Doodle to music - so relaxing. | Source

Deliberately Doodling

Doodle to music

This is when I like to have some relaxing, tinkly music on, or perhaps an interesting radio program playing in the background. It's amazing how much your brain can absorb while you are doodling.

Doodle drawing in progress.
Doodle drawing in progress. | Source

See My Doodle Grow

It is thought (by me) that a Daily Doodle keeps the stress away!

Keep filling in your doodle spaces. You don't have to do it all in one go. I keep one near my laptop and while I'm .waiting for a big page to load or listening to a news bulletin (okay, not terribly relaxing, I know) or when my wireless connection goes kaput, I turn to my doodle and fill in another section. It's less fattening than chocolate.

Almost finished...
Almost finished... | Source

All Doodle Done?

Not quite

Now all the negative spaces have been filled, it's time to focus on those gridlines. You can leave the pencil lines in place if you like, or erase them as I chose to do (see photo sequence). If you wanted to, you could leave it right now as it is - I think it looks pretty cool - but filling in those grids are very satisfying. I've given some examples below.

Gridline Doodles - These are just a few ideas - I'm sure you can invent better ones!

Doodle borders
Doodle borders | Source

Be creative. How about lettering along all your grids - a short poem or some inspiring words? It's also a good way to copyright your work by adding your name.

The smudged one is made just using pencil to add shadow and then rubbing with a finger tip, tortillion or paper stub.

Zentangle Shading

It's a Done Doodle!

Done doodle
Done doodle | Source

Once you're done, make sure you erase all unwanted guide lines and then use your pencil - I find HB is best for this - to add some strategic shading.

And it's finished!

I have added a photo sequence below so you can see how to create this step-by-step doodle design.

How to Doodle Deliberately - Step-by-Step Doodling

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Zentangle Mandala: Heart Zendala - by KNM

Zendala Heart used with permission
Zendala Heart used with permission | Source

Doodle Doodle Dooo!

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    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 21 months ago

      Excellent, Fiona. I used similar methods with my own home-schooled children. Have fun!

    • profile image

      Fiona 21 months ago

      I love this! I am hooked! I am studying Early Childhood Education, and one thing I learned is that infants and toddlers who look at black and white images learn to read faster because it prepares their brains for looking at black print on a white page. I am going to do this doodle art with easily recognizable animals and laminate them and put them up on the wall. Or maybe I'll make my own little booklet for the children to look at!

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @Mishito: Thank you, Mishito. Do give it a try - you only need pencil, pen and paper. It's perfect for people who lack patience as it calms the mind... and you only need to do a few minutes at a time.

    • Mishito profile image

      Mishito 3 years ago

      I was doing a little research on zentangles and your lens comes in handy to give me a better picture. I pretty much lack of patience and get bored quick so I don't think I'm gonna try it, but I really like your work and how neat it looks. Great info btw.

    • nobleknits profile image

      nobleknits 3 years ago

      I love how you showed your doodle work in progress!

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @grrrs3: Aw... thanks. I have better ones than this one - try my Zentangle Workshop page. If you click on my face, top right, you'll get to a list of all my pages. Happy zenarting!

    • profile image

      grrrs3 3 years ago

      discovered zentangles in a gallery on .. and googled zentangles as suggested by the gal that posted her zendoodles there ... and tried it, and dang! I'm hooked! you've a great tutorial .. and site .. and awesome zenart! thank you!

    • profile image

      Im2keys 3 years ago

      these doodles are so cool!

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 4 years ago

      You are very talented! Beautiful doodles!

    • YearningAndHarm profile image

      YearningAndHarm 4 years ago

      I never knew that there was a "zen" to doodling until I found your lens here! Very nice!

    • profile image

      RandyMilson 4 years ago

      Awesome : O i also used to doodle in class..ah i miss those days.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      I have been a doodler since I can remember, sometimes my doodling got me into trouble yet othertimes it paid off... now my doodling led me to your Zentangles and I am addicted! thanks:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Amazing doodles.

    • najem lm profile image

      najem lm 5 years ago

      Doodly nice design :)

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi love your doodle,I spend time doodling ,love how it relax me.Great art work here.I am taking a drawing class,so I know that you do need good supplies.Thanks for the info and tips.It nice of you to share.

    • troybreimon lm profile image

      troybreimon lm 5 years ago

      Love this. I used to doodle on paper all the time. This is a very original topic, keep writing lenses.

    • mommafox profile image

      mommafox 5 years ago

      I love doodling and keep notebooks of it. It's so relaxing. I really enjoyed how you put this lens together, especially the step-by-step drawings from start to finish. Beautiful work. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • katlovestrouble profile image

      katlovestrouble 5 years ago

      I think it would be great to color these perhaps in a coloring book? You do great doodles..thank you for sharing them.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 5 years ago

      This is awesome! I never really thought of filling and creating my many little doodles. Thanks so much for sharing, blessed!

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      I agree with Sheila, Eye Candy! Bookmarked for my return. I have a doodle book and the micro pens...will try the wavy lines first. Love it! Blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      amazing doodles you are a great artist.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      OK, I'm back for more of your lovely "eye candy!" I think you have me hooked! I also wanted to thank you for blessing and liking my Wild Rose Crochet Snowflake lens! Very much appreciated! But back to you, there is something about your artwork that makes my brain happy. I was tickled, when I read here about "drawing under," to know there is a name for what I used to sit for hours doing - drawing endless ribbons, going over and under and in between one another, and then covering them with bouquets of flowers. I'm not even close to the same league as you, but you are so right about how relaxing this activity is! Keep up the amazing work!

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      Fascinating tips! You've got a real artistic flair. :)

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

      Love this step-by-step on how to doodle. Who knew it could be so very artistic?

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      Great for my kids.

    • profile image

      letsflycheaper 6 years ago

      i like it.. 2 thumbs up!

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 6 years ago from Minnesota

      oh, my, g. I am sooooo inspired to do this! Thank you!

    • profile image

      myshelle01 6 years ago

      This is the second of your lenses I have read,reckon I am hooked!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful!!! I really like it.

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 6 years ago

      What great fun and a way to get rid of stress.

    • profile image

      BeyondRoses 6 years ago

      I Doodle sometimes ... hearts, flowers, handwriting and circles. Do 'stick people' count? :) Fun patterns and lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You make the Doodles look so simple to make and yet they are complicated and majestic in their own sense. Stunning and amazing patterns that are great for any décor.

    • profile image

      Light-in-me 6 years ago

      Fantastic, I hope you know how much I love your zentangles!

      Great job, thanks for sharing.

      Robin :)

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 6 years ago from Kansas

      Wonderful fun art! I will have to try this!

    • profile image

      RGebbiePhoto 6 years ago

      Thanks very much for the inspiration, because of your lenses I have created several new designs for our zazzle gallery in the last week. Great lens for inspiring the freedom of creation.

    • Gripandflip profile image

      Gripandflip 6 years ago

      Pretty cool lens. I have lensrolled you.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • Fabio Sanna profile image

      Fabio Sanna 6 years ago

      Very nice Lens! My father used to doodle a lot when I was young...I think I got my good ideas about art from those drawings!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for the well written explanation. I'm going to give it a go.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Another fascinating look at this artform. Still I haven't actually tried it yet, but I will. Featured this on Art Supplies.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Squidoodle! Awesome.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful explanation of a lovely technique! I've just begun to keep a sketchbook after my brother bought me An Illustrated Life and I felt inspired, and I'm on the lookout for things just like this to try so I can practice different drawing techniques. Thank you so much for sharing this :)

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 6 years ago from Quezon City

      Your doodles are lovely, Bev and you explain how others can make beautiful drawings like yours so well. Brilliant and inspiring lens! ~Blessed~ of course.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      love all the ideas,thank u/ stated about a mounth ago but nothing realgood yet, always want to do more!

    • profile image

      sandralynnsparks 7 years ago

      Oh, you've got me wanting to doodle as well as diddle! (a type of mouth music the Irish call lilting) :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      You are very talented, this looks like something I could do... never thought of myself as an artist and yet these are so lovely and simple to do. Great lens!

    • profile image

      Tarra99 7 years ago

      funny story...I had seen this lens before and trying this has been at the back of my mind for sometime...well, my muse finally I cracked open my sketch book and took my black ink pen in hand....and before I had the chance to really get "into" ink ran out! UGH!...isn't that always the way!?

      Thank you for blessing my "Thank you Squidoo Angels" lens...I appreciate the blessing!

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 7 years ago

      Love your Doodle page, very cool design! I like to doodle too, but I tend to lack creativity - thanks for giving step-by-step design ideas. Well done!

    • bconnor11 profile image

      bconnor11 7 years ago

      This is pretty cool. I love the pictures.

    • profile image

      resabi 7 years ago

      Another door opened.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      such a fun doodle lens!

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 7 years ago from Michigan

      I love this stuff! That's one beautiful Zendoodle you've created up there; more complex than the ones I usually draw. More complex, even, that most of my cartoons. And unlike my doodles, your doodle looks like it could eat a mouse whole (if it had a mind to). :) Lensrolling this interesting lens to several of my cartoon lenses.

    • profile image

      dedgarlamp 7 years ago

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing. I like to doodle too. I like using rotational symmetry in my doodles. You've given me a lot of great ideas. Thanks.

    • profile image

      LumaMark 7 years ago

      Wow ! I prefer writing to "doodling", but there is same awesome stuff, here ! :)

    • one dental profile image

      one dental 7 years ago

      Love this lens! You are definitely my favorite Squid Angel, Raggededge :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 7 years ago from Canada

      Very artfully done .... I remember doodling in this manner when I was a teenager.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Great job! Forwarding to my son.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is very cool! I'm a 'doodler' too!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      I love your doodle lenses and think they are so creative...

      5* and a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~

    • semas profile image

      semas 7 years ago

      Amazing lens Bev!I love doodling and your lens has added another dimension to doodling-making it meditative!


    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 7 years ago

      I love your lenses. I had forgotton how much but I am glad you came by so I could see yours! Blessed this lens!

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Another great lens Bev!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      Another great lens on Zentangle. I really like the tutorial aspect of this one. Well done!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks for letting us in on your doodling secrets! You make it look easy... though your finished result looks so professional.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      Awesome doodle breakdown! I love the examples of doodles you give.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      What fabulous doodles. Love the step by step examples. Think i'm going to give this a go.

      Favorited and 5*****