You might have have heard about the Zentangle method but you’re not exactly certain what it is. What is the Zentangle method? Is it the same as doodling? How do you learn to tangle? 

I’ll first start this post by defining what Zentangle® Method is – an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.

Why is Zentangle so easy to learn?

Before finding Zentangle, I really had an urge to draw but every time I sat in front of a blank paper, I’d freeze. What to do? Where to start? How do you get past the fear of a blank canvas? It turned out to be quite easy once I learned what Zentangle is. You simply follow the steps! Having a clear methodology made everything so much easier! And following the step by step instructions to drawing the tangles (patterns) is fun. The decision-making process is set to a minimum. As we learn tangles and get familiar with them, the opportunities to explore patterns and compositions become limitless.

If you believe that you can’t draw, this method is the right choice for you. If you know how to write letters I, C, S and O, you will be able to use the Zentangle method. You can draw anything if you focus on one stroke at a time. Additionally, placing the focus on the current moment and on the current stroke is a perfect mindfulness practice.

Eight steps of the Zentangle Method

There are eight steps of the Zentangle method. You simply take the basic Zentangle supplies – a paper tile, a pen, graphite pencil and a blending stump and you’re ready to start. Just follow the steps and reap the benefits of Zentangle.

  1. Gratitude and Appreciation: We start the process by feeling gratitude and appreciation for having the opportunity to relax, create and to use the beautiful supplies.
  1. Corner Dots: With our pencil, we place four dots in the corner of our paper tile.
  1. Border: We draw the border by connecting the dots with light pencil strokes.
  1. String: We divide the space inside the border into sections by drawing light pencil strokes.
  1. Tangle: Now it’s time to take a pen and fill each section with tangles (patterns).
  1. Shade: We turn back to the pencil again, this time to add shades and blend them with a paper stump. By adding the contrasts your drawing will suddenly come alive.
  1. Initial and Sign: Before putting down the supplies, we add the initials (chop) to the front. On the back we place the name, date and other details that might remind us of the drawing experience.
  1. Appreciate: We end the drawing session the same way as we started it. This time we can really appreciate our drawing by holding it at arm’s length and observing its’s unique beauty.

Below is a photo of my drawings that show the eight steps, illustrated with the use of Zentangle’s tangles.

Eight Steps of the Zentangle Method

This methodology is what’s different between Zentangle and doodling. When we talk about doodling, we usually refer to an absent-minded process, free-form and very intuitive.

Why should I learn the Zentangle Method?

There are numerous benefits of the Zentangle method. I have shared my personal story of how Zentangle has changed my life. First, I used the method to start creating after neglecting my creativity for years, even decades. It helped me relax and relieve stress caused by a demanding career in finance. I realized that I want my life to revolve around creativity. That led me to take the Certified Zentangle Teacher seminar and ultimately to changing my career. Zentangle can have many positive influences on life and health, including some heath conditions, such as pain, phobias, addictions etc.

How do I learn the Zentangle Method?

Internet is so overflooded with all kinds of content that it can be overwhelming to think of where to start. That’s why the best way to learn the Zentangle method is to take a class with a Certified Zentangle Teacher. I published an online video class – Introduction to Zentangle, which you can take at your own pace and access whenever you want. You will also get a PDF eBook with it. 

When you learn the basics and continue enjoying the simplicity and elegance of this method, you might start to explore the Zentangle Inspired Art. As a Certified Zentangle Teacher I focus mostly on ZIA techniques and explorations of different supplies.

You can start by taking my basic Zentangle class, check out my free video classes and then decide what is your area of interest. If you have any questions regarding the Zentangle method or learning it, feel free to contact me.

February, 2021

Written by Anica Gabrovec CZT

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