What is Zentangle ?
The Zentangle method is a wonderful art form that was created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts in 2005 in Massachusetts, America. It’s an easy to learn, relaxing and fun way to draw beautiful images using structured patterns which are called ‘Tangles’ and are drawn onto a 3.5 inch square piece of card which is called a ‘Tile’.
Using repetitive strokes to draw Tangles and focusing on one stroke of the pen at a time you are able to shut off the busy side of your brain, be in the moment, relax and focus on the process and not worry about the outcome.
As the Zentangle process is easy to learn it can have a calming effect which can help to reduce anxiety and stress and aid with relaxation, creativity and focus.
When attending a class with a Certified Zentangle Teacher, which is called a CZT, you will be shown how to draw ‘Tangles’ using very basic shapes which everybody can draw and by focusing on deliberate pen strokes to draw repetitive patterns you will be able to enjoy the simple creative process, slow down and focus to shut out all the external noise and become totally engrossed in Tangling. Each Certified Zentangle Teacher has attended a course with Maria and Rick and can then pass their knowledge and experience on through their classes.
Sometimes people mistake Zentangle for doodling but for me, I believe there is a difference, doodling is done in a mindless way without any particular direction while Zentangle follows simple steps and uses deliberate predefined pen strokes to create patterns and can form part of a mindful meditative practice.
Who is Zentangle suitable for?
I’ve taught 100’s of people and after a class enjoy hearing my students say that they are full of energy and are amazed and fascinated that they have been able to create a beautiful piece of art. I’ve lost count of how many people who have said “did I draw that!” when they believed that they aren’t artistic and can’t draw or that the patterns looked too difficult and intricate or that they can’t afford the time to learn something new.
There are lots of applications for the Zentangle method, children can learn in school groups which can help with their creativity, concentration, coordination and focus. Businesses can use the Zentangle method for staff bonding, team building and problem solving. Charities, retirement villages and health services can use Zentangle as part of an mindful meditative practice, arts and craft activities and as an aid for stress, anxiety and pain management.
The benefits of Zentangle
I have been Tangling for over 15 years and I have experienced a variety of benefits but as everyone is different their experience can be different. When I first started Tangling it was with the aim to help with reducing my daily stress, anxiety levels and sleeping issues. I quickly noticed that I was sleeping much better, I wasn’t feeling tense all the time and I actually looked forward to an hour or two for myself to sit and enjoy my Tangle time. I’ve also noticed that my creative side has blossomed.
I realised that if I can feel these benefits then maybe so can others and I’ve listed some of the reported benefits below:
Zentangle can help with relaxation and focus
Be calming and meditative
Encourage mindfulness and wellbeing
Boost creativity, confidence and dexterity
Assist with stress relief and pain management
Can help with anxiety and depression
Team building and problem solving
Some of my students have told me that the classes have been a life saver and they have also experienced benefits while on their Zentangle adventure. Lots of students have said that the social side of attending classes have been helpful for their mental health and by taking an hour or two for a class helps set them up for the trials and tribulations of the week which can show that Zentangle can be used as a tool for wellbeing and mindfulness.