The Calligrapher's Life

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Making Time for Zentangles

The moment you received a crayon in your tiny, little hand, you’ve doodled and scribbled on walls, furniture and hopefully, a piece of paper.

Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, we’re all gifted with a little artist inside us, creating cheerful designs out of circles and swirls and lines. Even as an adult, we find it hard to escape doodling. We do it while waiting on hold during a phone call, standing in line to register our vehicle, or sitting through a long history lecture.

But, who knew the creation of a “mindless’ design would ever achieve so much attention from crafters, scrapbook and lettering artists?

Imagine sitting with your sketch pad and pencil doodling similar patterns throughout a previously sketched block or shape. Then, step back and you’ll see your doodle art in a whole new light. The repetitve and carefree designs are known as Zentangles®.

Zentangles® are an art-form created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. Ms. Thomas, an American calligrapher and entrepreneur, created the art form and Mr. Roberts, an American artist and monk, helped coin the phrase “Zentangles”. This art form is meant to encourage artistic awareness and relaxation through the use of an ink pen on card stock.

It’s so simple. Nearly anyone who feels talented (or not) can tackle a Zentangles® project. Whether you’re a calligrapher looking to escape the dip pen, or a novice artist looking for a quick project to impress your friends, Zentangles® lets you create anywhere with ease. Pick up an ink pen, marker or pencil to practice sitting at the television, waiting at the hairstylist, or riding in a car.

Recently, during a family road trip last week, I took the opportunity to practice Zentangles ®. I grabbed my book with Zentangles® examples and copied a few designs I’d like to incorporate in a future project. Drawing in patterns offered enjoyment filled with creativity during a long and tedious 300-mile ride.

When you try Zentangles®, it almost becomes addictive. Any blank sheet of paper and ink pen within a foot of you will be victim to your unrelenting urge to practice this simple art form, which offers an immediate sense of satisfaction with the artist inside.

Zentangles® are also great for lettering. Fill in a large hollow pre-sketched letter with your favorite patterns using ink pens, pencil or markers. Place your finished work in your scrapbook, on a card, or adorn a cherished photo.

If you’re not sure where to start with Zentangles®, locate a workshop in your area. If you can’t find one, doodle around with your pencil and create repetitive shapes, or pick up a book about Zentangles®.

I must warn you. Once you grasp drawing Zentangles®, you’ll find it hard to stop. Your imagination will carry you off into a variety of possibilities and you’ll wonder why you haven’t found this art sooner.

Go ahead and start doodling. Your dip pen can wait.

Have you tried Zentangles® yet? Feel free to show off your work. There’s no wrong way to start Zentangles®!

Note: All images are copyright and must not be used without permission.

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