ZENTANGLE - WHERE TO START?
I remember discovering Zentangle back in 2015, feeling overwhelmed and asking myself – where to start? Now, with all the experience I have, I want to help those who are just starting. I’ll share some tips for easy and free access to some helpful Zentangle resources.
The Zentangle environment (as the whole world) has changed immensely since 2015. There are more tangles, more supplies, more Zentangle-inspired projects, and more resources. I imagine that today it’s even more difficult to find a way to start without feeling overwhelmed. No wonder the question from the title is one of the most commonly asked in Zentangle groups. And it would be really sad if people gave up on Zentangle because they feel lost with all that’s offered. I hope that this will be a helpful guide for those who are looking for some directions.
I would first just like to mention that Zentangle is not only about creating beautiful art. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, unable to focus, Zentangle is a wonderful tool that can help you relax, come back to the now and to your breath. Meditation might be difficult for those with a hyperactive brain (hey, that’s me!). The Zentangle Method offers a unique and structured way to connect your soul and mind with your hand, to produce lines, and practice mindfulness. Learn more about the method in this blog post.
If you have been following Zentangle-inspired drawings on social media, you might have noticed that there is more and more color and discussions about different supplies. It’s lovely to experiment with them, and yet you need so little to start drawing.
You only need some paper, a black liner, a graphite pencil, and a blending stump. If you’re using toned paper, you might add a white charcoal pencil and another blending stump to that.
In the photo above, you can see two original Zentangle’s paper tiles. They are wonderful to work with, but you can use any type of paper, cut your own tiles or draw in a sketchbook. Instead of a blending stump (that will help with blending shades and highlights), you can use q-tips or makeup cotton swabs. If you don’t have a black liner, you can use a gel pen, roller, or any type of a ballpoint pen. I believe that everyone has some graphite pencils and white charcoal pencils or pastel pencils are easy to find, but you can start without them.
Do not let the lack of supplies discourage you – just use what you have and start creating!
The Internet is full of free and paid video resources that can help you discover Zentangle and improve your skills. Let me share what I would start with.
Project Pack Videos
Every year, Zentangle publishes at least 2-3 project packs. So now there is an incredible collection of free videos, available to anyone. And it’s wonderful to learn directly from the originators of the method. Some project packs explore a specific theme or supplies, but there is a lot that you can learn from any of them. And you can use the basic set of supplies to tangle along. There are specific supplies kits that are sold with each Project Pack, but you will hear in any of the introductory videos how incredibly supportive Zentangle Inc. is about using any supplies to follow along those projects.
If I were to start now, I would probably go with the Project Pack 10 or Project Pack 4, just to get to know some basic tangles – learn how to draw and shade them. Again, use any type of paper or a sketchbook to draw along. Just relax and enjoy.
Other Free Videos
The best way to learn about the Zentangle method is through a certified Zentangle teacher. It is always best to take a basic Zentangle class (I offer an online version), but I know that many people are looking for free resources. There are now thousands of certified teachers and it is an incredibly giving community, so you will find many free videos online. I would choose someone whose drawing style I like and search for any of their free videos to see if I like their teaching style. Finding someone whose energy you like and who can motivate you can be a game-changer.
If you are interested in drawing with me, perhaps you could start with my Inktober videos from 2021 or 2022. Those are short videos show you how to draw one tangle a day. You will find many more free videos on my YouTube channel. When you feel ready to tackle more complex designs, check out the full-length free video lessons on my website.
And, most importantly, relax and enjoy the creative process.
Written by Anica Gabrovec CZT
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