Corey is away for the weekend, so I am luxuriating in having a couple of decadent evenings to myself. What am I up to? Well, I’m about to make myself a cheese & pickle sandwich, and am otherwise having an evening off from ‘work’ and just browsing online. That’s very rare! And after I’ve made my sandwich, you know what else I might do? I might actually switch off the laptop and read a novel for a couple of hours. I’ve not done that for ages! I know what you’re thinking: this girl’s life is just one long, endless party… No? Yeah, I know; it’s not the most exciting evening I’ve got lined up, but I’m looking forward to it, anyway.
Oh yes, nearly forgot the reason I stopped by here! The reason was ‘Zentangles’. I suspect, as with most things, I am way behind the times with this one, but just in case you’re in the dark like I was, it appears to be ‘doodling with intent’ (rather than in absentia) – hence the zen part of the name – and then (because they do look pretty cool) calling them art. It’s not just the ‘tangle’ part of the name that attracts me (honest). I had a flick through the gallery (see pic, right) at the official website, and a lot of the patterns just reminded me of the kind of doodles I actually do. Therefore it didn’t strike me as something that would take an enormous leap for me to grasp the gist of. And looking through the gallery, I also thought the black & white patterns would lend themselves well to relief printing. I’m feeling slightly more confident in my lino-cutting skills these days, but drawing isn’t really my thing, and I hit a kind of stumbling block (no pun intended) in terms of new projects & design inspiration. If I can get away with adapting my doodles, I will be very happy!
Now, the Zentangles website gives lots of background information about how great & therapeutic it can be for the soul, and all that kind of new age stuff, but it’s very thin in practical advice when it comes to getting started – mainly, I would guess, because they sell a $50 starter kit, and they want people to buy it, rather than think they don’t need it. Personally, I would rather test out the principles of the concept before shelling out $50 on yes, very nice, high quality materials, but really not essential to the practice itself. Having said that, the website does include a free online newsletter which gives clear guidance on ‘learning’ particular filling patterns, and where to find doodling inspiration etc. But if, like me, you read through the website and can’t quite see how to get started, you might also appreciate these posts on Crazy Art Girl’s site, which demonstrate a beginner’s zentangle from start through to completion. It really clarified the concept for me, anyway.
I bought a cool notebook from Bad Day Ben Designs on Etsy a few months back, with good thick quality paper pages measuring 2.5 x 3″ each – I think I might have just found the perfect use for it…! I’ll let you know how my Zentangle explorations progress…
Oh, one more note ‘Zentangle’ is a trademark name, and I think refers to the method they use to teach the Zentangle doodling technique (hence $50 for starter pack). However, you can also find references to similar stuff with a google search for the more general ‘zen doodle’. There are ‘zen mandalas’ which are similar, too.