Zentangles: Examples, Ideas and Materials
Zentangle- inspired-art (ZIA)
Many Zentangle enthusiasts are looking for something more than just the basics. So I set about creating several slightly complex pieces, hopefully to inspire you to do the same.
Zentangle-inspired-art doesn't have to be restricted to 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares; it can any size and you can add ZIA to many different types of art. Here are some examples of larger patterns and a little more information on the best materials to use. I will also include some ideas of how add sparkle to your journals by zinging a little Zentangle in here and there.
Please be patient - there are several large images here so the page may take time to load. Go fill in a bit of your Zentangle while you wait!
Important You don't have to be good at drawing to make a great piece of artwork!
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.
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But these drawings look way too complicated!
No, they're not - start small
They do look complicated and they are meant to. I love the fact that even I can keep finding new patterns in them when I look at them. However, they are made like all the other ones - mark by mark, line by line.
Take your paper, preferably smooth (hot press) watercolor. Decide whether you want a margin or not. If you are planning on framing these, then it's a good idea to leave a border so that you don't lose any of the Zentangle under the mat.
For these particular ones, I used a kind of random grid like the one in the picture. Simply draw double lines, paying attention to the way they intersect. These lines or borders will define the 'negative spaces' that you will fill with your chosen doodles. I have used a piece of scrap paper and a black pen to make sure it shows up in the scan. Use an HB pencil so that you can adjust or erase if you need to. As you develop your drawing sometimes it looks good to have a pattern spill over the grid and you want to be able to erase the border outline.
If you need a head start, then Zentangle Templates has basic strings and outlines that you can print out.
Getting creative with grids
Begin to fill your Zentangle
Put on your music or perhaps an audio book, choose a pattern and begin to fill in one of those negative spaces. Move to another and fill it with the same, similar or completely different pattern. It can look good to see a pattern continue under the grid lines.
Here's a work-in-progress that I am doing right now. I never try to complete one of these in one go. I leave it next to my laptop and whenever there's a break in my work, or I need to rest or think, I just pick up one of my Pigma Micron pens and do another section. I'm convinced that it keeps me calm and serene. Possibly.
Doodling deliberately is an 'active meditation'. Try it; it's lovely.
Keep going - This Zentangle took about a week to finish
...But that was because I was doing little itty-bits at a time.
Keep filling-in. Look around you for inspiration. See Zentangles everywhere. Trawl the web. Pinterest is a great place for ZIAs
When you have completed your Zentangle, add a little shading here and there. It makes a huge difference. Shade near the grid lines. Try to see the light coming in at an angle across the paper and shade under opposite lines and corners. Oh... before you start shading, check out which way up your Zentangle looks the best.
The Mandala Book
Fantastic book bursting with inspiration for Zentangle enthusiasts. See the doodles below, which I made in just a few minutes browsing this book. There is so much in there - 500 glorious photos of mandalas to set your creativity buds a-tingling.
Creative source book for artists and designers.
The *best* pens for Zentangle - Sakura Pigma Micron
These really are the best doodling pens ever. I always buy the sets so that I have different nib sizes to choose from. Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas recommend the 001 size, and it's true, that is the best size for 3"x3" Zentangles. However, when you are working with larger patterns it makes sense to be able to fill-in with a thicker nib.
Sakura Pigma Micron pens
I use these all the time in my art, not only for doodling, but for many other applications. They are waterproof and will work over different media.
Straight (ish) gridlines
Sunflower by KNM - "Guest Tangle"
Zentangle with color
Incorporating Zentangles into an art journal
Watercolour background, loads of doodles and then write in the gaps. What a great way to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon.