The Zentangle?


Last Friday I found myself looking through graphic design books at McNally Robinson (a fantastic Winnipeg bookstore).  In this section I came across a few books on the subject of the “Zentangle.”  I love the look of art done with pen and ink, so I pulled a 6 week primer off the shelf, and after flipping through it (while sipping my coffee) I unhesitantly wandered to the check out and took it home with me.

It has been a busy few days here, so I have only just begun to enter the world of the Zentangle, but for me it is one of those things where I will not look back.

What is it? 

Well, it is a very approachable meditative visual-art exercise.  As you can see, each tangle is made on a small square of paper.  One draws a “string” which gives boundaries to the tangle and inside the spaces of the sting one puts pen and innk patterns.  One can then shade these patterns.  The over all effect is a tangled, pen and ink abstract illustration.  That is what it is.  But what it does, or better yet, why is it, is another thing entirely.

The brain child of a monk and graphic designer, the Zentangle is a way for visual artists to focus.  Or another way of thinking about it is as a mindfulness practice for the visual artist.  If this in trigues you you can read more about it at the blog of the author of the book I have bought:  You can also go to for the site by the original artists.






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