My First “Zentangle”

February 22, 2012

Zentangle” was coined when an artist named Maria Thomas described her experience while drawing as “feeling timeless, free and engendering a sense of deep well-being.” Her friend, Rick Roberts, coined the term “Zentangle”, and they have made it a registered trademark.

One possible definition of “Zentangle” is creative doodling with a contained structure – not the mindless doodling that I did as a student when sitting in a boring lecture – but the result of consciously drawing repetitive patterns.

Perhaps it could have been called “zendoodle”, but doodling has an undisciplined quality that is neither contained nor structural, while “Zentangle” is contained, structural and disciplined. If doodling is like daydreaming, “Zentangle” is like meditation – and could really be seen as a kind of meditation.

I learned about this method of drawing at a Quaker gathering, the Mid-Winter Gathering of FLGBTQC (Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns). Here’s the drawing that I did during a drawing workshop at this gathering.


In this case the containing structure approximates a square, and this square has been divided by a “Z” into four sections. Each section has a different repetitive pattern that I made following the instructions of the facilitator. I’m calling this drawing a “Zentangle” because that is what she called it.

However, I am not led to follow the patterns in a book or on a website, but rather to create each repetitive pattern as I draw it. I therefore refer to my drawings as “yoga-doodles” – disciplined like yoga, but with an element of freedom, like doodling.

I have added “yoga-doodle” to my list of morning practices, and also see possibilities of using this drawing method for note cards that could be sold in Easton Mountain‘s gift shop. Perhaps some of my drawings will find their way into this blog.

2 Responses to “My First “Zentangle””

  1. […] February 22, I posted something about a drawing I created called a Zentangle. It involved placing repetitive patterns inside spaces defined by line called a […]

  2. […] workshop with the artist Frederick Frank, who looks on drawing as meditation. Then, as I noted in a posting last February, I discovered Zantangles – a way of using doodling as a meditative process. Recently, […]

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