Have You Tried the Zen of Zentagle?

Image: Victoria Hauber,  CC BY 2.0

We’ve all been loving adult coloring for a long time now, but it is always fun to try something new. If you are looking for a different way to challenge or express your creativity while practicing a therapeutic activity, why don’t you try Zentangle?

What is Zentangle?

Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and enjoyable way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Image: emon halim (CC BY 2.0)

More precisely, a Zentangle is a type of doodle, but one you create with intention. This doodle is not something you create while talking on the phone, or while distracting yourself in a meeting. Like coloring, you get the best results – both artistically and therapeutically – by giving it your full, undivided attention.

And also like coloring, Zentangle increases focus and creativity, can satisfy your yearning to be artistic and at the same time is an excellent way just to feel good! However, instead of filling in someone else’s images with color, you make the patterns using structured guidelines.

Image: terry_lynn_12 (CC BY 2.0)

Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas are the founders of the Zentangle Method. It all came about when one day Maria explained to Rick what she experienced as she drew “doodled” on a document she was creating. She described her sense of timelessness, leisure, well-being and focus on what she was doing with no thought or worry about anything else. “You’re describing meditation,” Rick said.

Rick and Maria went on to create the method that has become incredibly popular the world over.

“But I’m not an artist,” you say…
Image: montemari (CC0)

Don’t let the fact that there’s drawing scare you. Zentangles are made up of repetitive patterns and are meant to be abstract. And making them encourages mindfulness, intuitive thinking, and empowerment by proving that you, too, can make something beautiful, just like coloring.

And for people who are afraid of blank pieces of paper – like me – Zentangles are not intimidating: they are usually structured and small, so not overwhelming. Typically, you will make Zentangles on small, blank squares or circles that have guiding lines; you then draw patterns within the spaces.

You are probably already using Zentangle!

Have a look at one of your coloring books full of mandalas or patterns – many of these are full of Zentangle-like creations. Some of my favorites:

Creative Haven Entangled Coloring Book ColorIt Relaxing Zentangle Flowers and Patterns  Grown Up Coloring Book: 48 Mandala Kaleidoscope Wonders
zentangle  zentangle  zentangle  zentangle

Alternatively, try coloring in this free printable from Art for Kids and Robots (click to open): zentangle

If you enjoy coloring in these designs, you will probably enjoy creating designs on your own.

How to start

You don’t need a whole new set of supplies to start Zentangle. In fact, to give it a go, start with a simple coloring book, such as Easy Coloring Book For Adults: An Adult Coloring Book of 40 Basic, Simple and Bold Mandalas,  Bold and Easy Coloring Pages 1, or Easy Mandalas.

Instead of filling in the spaces in the designs in these with color, create repetitive patterns in the spaces using fine and ultra-fine black and dark grey markers. Here are some ideas for inspiration:

zentangle zentangle zentangle

You can use markers that you already own, or try these, these, these or these.

What now?

Did you enjoy that?  Then you are ready to get Zentangling!  You will want learn more and get a few basic supplies:

And check out the full Zentangle story at Zentangle.com

Have you tried Zentangle? Share with us in the comments below what you thought of it, and feel free to share your completed Zentangles – colored-in or not – on our Facebook page!



9 thoughts on “Have You Tried the Zen of Zentagle?”

  1. I have been involved with Zentangle for almost 4 years. I would never have thought I could do it. It is amazing how “one line at a time” can create such a beautiful outcome.

    I have collected quite a few patterns that I return to time and time again. I have purchased several books of patterns, as well as a collection of pens, tiles, colored pencils, etc.

    I always carry a couple of tiles and a pen or two along with me all of the time. You just never know when the Zentangle spirit will strike!!

    1. adultcoloring101 says:

      Lynn: I am just starting myself and am surprised how much I enjoy it! Do you color-in your finished zentangles?

  2. Patricia Drake says:

    I love the complexities of zentangles. They help with my anxiety.

  3. I have not tried it but think this may be something I can do. I can’t draw regular things like scenes or objects, but this will be my creation.

  4. Margaret GALLAGHER says:

    I’ve not tried before I’ll certainty be trying soon

  5. Dorothy Boucher says:

    I love all the art books that are here , I do own that entangled coloring

  6. Mary Jaglowitz says:

    I have not tried Zentangles but I love fine delicate designs and this looks like it would fulfil my creative streak.

  7. Darcy Koch says:

    I agree. You don’t have to be an artist to get creative with Zendagle. I am also interested and willing to learn to try something new.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.