Zentangle Ideas - How to Find Them
You've discovered Zentangling and zendoodling and mastered some basic tangles (patterns), now you want more.
How do you find tangle inspiration? Well, one way is to scour the internet and look at what other artists are doing. I do that all the time. However, there are zendoodle possibilities all around you.
Where? Let me show you.
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What is a Zentangle?
And what is a ZIA?
A Zentangle is a small piece of art, made with a fine-line pen with graphite shading. It is drawn in a specific manner, as follows. Take a square of watercolor or cartridge paper and place 4 pencil dots in each corner about half an inch in. Join up the dots with a pencil border which can be straight or irregular. Inside the resulting frame, draw a pencilled 'string', i.e. a loopy line. This divides up the area into various sized shapes and sections. Take a fine-line pen and fill the shapes with repeating 'tangles' or patterns. When you have filled the spaces to our liking, erase the original pencil lines and then add some shading to make areas of the pop and to give the Zentangle form.
If your drawing does not follow those guidelines then it is not a Zentangle. A Zentangle is abstract and can be viewed from any side. If it has a recognizable image, such as a face or an eye or a cat, it isn't a Zentangle. However, it may well be Zentangle-inspired art or a 'ZIA'. Most of my drawings are ZIAs in that they are larger, or use grids, rather than strings. They all have on characteristic in common, they use tangles to fill negative spaces. Read on to find out where to look for tangle inspiration.
Image: Detail of a ZiA by TheRaggedEdge
The perfect pens for tangles
These are the pens I recommend for creating Zentangles and Zendoodles. They work on all kinds of surfaces, even walls. They last for ages - I've only thrown out two in over 18 months. Collect one or two sets and keep a few pens in your purse together with a small sketchbook so you will always have something to do while you're waiting around. There are also colored and sepia sets for a different Zentangle look.
Find Zentangle Patterns Indoors
They are there - you just have to look
I took my camera and looked around the house to see what I could find. I've put together some examples - please excuse their 'rough and ready' nature. I will incorporate all the patterns I found into a 'proper' Zentangle at the bottom of the page.
How about in a stack of toilet tissue rolls?
Zentangles in Unlikely Places
Even on the soap!
I am fascinated by the ghostly patterns that dried bubbles leave on soap. Don't you just love these?
Just had to grab my camera to record these for my sketchbook.
ZIA Flames - Zentangle-Inspired Art courtesy of guest contributor, KNM
I am pleased to be able to showcase some lovely Zentangle-inspired art from KNM. She is so talented and I am honored that she has chosen to share these images on my pages. There are more examples of her work scattered throughout my other Zendoodle pages - I challenge you to go and find them! Click on the image to be taken to her inspiring and interesting blog, Xplore & Xpress.
Once you begin to notice Zentangles everywhere - you won't be able to stop!
Hunting for Zentangles
Do you create Zentangles in the UK? You can search for books on Zentangles right here by clicking on the link:
If you use Amazon.com, here is a selection of Zentangle resources. Click on any image to view or enter a term in the search box. Happy zendoodle hunting!
Circles & Spirals - Guest contribution by KNM
Love this beautiful spiral piece. Have been staring at it for ages - it must have been very relaxing (and possibly hand-aching) to create. Click on the image to go directly to KNM's fascinating blog Xplore & Xpress where science meets mathematics meets art.
Zentangles in Curtains, Drapes and Blinds
Well this bamboo blind isn't very inspiring. Is it?
I widened the 'cords' and added 'beads'. Now it's quite useful as a tangle pattern.
Windows, with their textiles and textures, are good sources of tangles. Take a closer look. Or step back and half-close your eyes.
You might get some odd glances though, when you whip out your sketchbook in your friend's house, saying, "Oh wait, I must grab this tangle!".
Look Inside Books?
No, look outside!
This 'book' Zentangle would make a great border, either around other patterns or around a page of text. Make it simple or make it more complex with pattern inside the 'books'.
The Mandala Book
This is a fabulous resource for Zentangles, 'zendoodles' or 'zendalas'. I got the book a few days ago and spent a happy hour creating a bunch of tangles from ideas generated just by idly browsing the photos. They are are stunning and the text is really interesting. I didn't know much about mandalas before getting this book but I feel inspired to learn more.
The Mandala Book is a visual symphony, filled with 500 stunning mandalic images from nature and civilization.
Drawing from history, science, religion, and art, Lori Bailey Cunningham leads a journey that spans from prehistoric petroglyphs to Carl Jung, from tiny particles of matter to entire galaxies. She explains the concepts of mandalas, showing how they are at the root of life itself.
The Mandala Book
Work in progress, showing 'found' patterns...
Tangles in textiles
Tangle Inspiration in Fabrics
A good place to look for new Zentangle inspiration is in printed and textured fabric designs. Many has been the time when I have had to pause live TV in order to scribble a potential tangle pattern from a presenter's dress or an interesting curtain/drape.
While hunting for bargain books in the January sales, I came across this amazing resource, "Textile Designs". It's a big hefty book and quite expensive, but if you are an ardent Zentangle fan or are into pattern design in any way at all, then you really need this book. Yes, you do.
Finished Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA)
Zentangle with Color
Zendoodles don't have to be in black and white - add a little color! You can use colored pencils, pens, markers and paint. Zentangles make perfect original coloring pages. Fill a book with designs and then go back through and color them in.
Zentangle With Color. Supply list and examples.