Find inner peace with zentangle
or »what exactly is Zentangle?«

Zentangle is an American method for drawing, which not only promotes concentration and creativity but at the same time increases personal well-being. Zentangle was invented by a monk named Rick Roberts and an artist named Maria Thomas. With Zentangle they created a combination of meditation and art. This drawing method is suitable for beginners as well as for passionate hobby artists. For the sake of simplicity, you paint in 9x9cm tiles – to reduce the complexity of the drawing process. Through different patterns (like strokes or waves) you can see your progress within a short time.

What is so special about Zentangle?

Zentangle - that means there are no given templates. No ready-made solutions. Instead, the zentangle patterns are set with caution. When drawing Zentangles, you can even easily create completely new patterns.

This method requires a high degree of attention - stay focused! The challenge is to put one line after another, without using an eraser. Until you get an completed picture.

But do not worry: Zentangle is not about good or bad drawings. It is not about right or wrong. All that matters is the drawing itself. In the United States, Zentangle is even a known therapy to achieve relaxing conditions for stressed patients.

Following »diseases« are treated with Zentangle:

  1. anxiety
  2. sleep disorders
  3. stress
  4. hyperactivity
  5. addiction problems
  6. concentration disturbance

How is a Zentangle made?

Zentangles are shaped by constant repetition. With time you will recognize that you make the same movements again and again. All in all, Zentangle consists of a combination of five basic strokes, that are found in every pattern:

  1. dot
  2. circle
  3. curve
  4. line
  5. s-shaped line

Step-by-step instructions:

1.Zentangle frame on paper  2.draw Zentangle frame on paper  3.fill Zentangle frame with strings  4.fill in Zentangle frame and strings  5.finished Zentangle

  1. Cut out a 9x9 cm piece of paper or take a prefabricated tile.
  2. Draw a frame on the paper. For that, define your corner points and connect them with lines. The lines can be straight as well as curved – just as you like.
  3. Divide the existing space into smaller parts by drawing a string (stroke). This can be straight or curved.
  4. Now you can start: draw your first Tangles. Switch from pencil to fineliner. If you are still a bit unsure do not change the pencil. Start by filling the individual areas with patterns of your choice. The smaller the areas the quicker you will see first results.
  5. Finally you can decorate your tiles with shades or even use some color.

Is it possible to mix different patterns?

Of course! That is what Zentangle is there for. Normally there are  three combination variants:

  1. Pattern-in-pattern method: draw a large pattern on your tile and fill in the blank spaces with lots of little patterns.
  2. Merging method: choose two different patterns to merge with each other.
  3. Adhesion method: work with smooth transitions. There are still two separated patterns but they merge here and there.

Only in rare cases the tiles are filled with only one pattern. You will notice that sometime you combine different patterns. Try different variations. And don't forget: Zentangle is not a science and does not need to be accurate. Let your artistic imagination run free.

To tangle, doodle or scribble – what is the difference?

A doodle or scribble happens along the way. For example, you scribble little patterns in the corner of a paper while you are on the phone. That happens without thinking. This is different in the case of a Tangle:
You focus on the process of drawing and that is why you draw more consciously and with great attention.

Which materials are needed for Zentangle

A pencil, a fineliner, possibly a ruler for straight lines and paper are all you need. There are specially produced Zentangle tiles online. As an alternative, you can cut out these tiles (9x9 cm) yourself. Experts recommend high-quality materials for tangeling to receive more beautiful results. Zentangle is composed of quite fine patterns, that is why thick paper and a good pencil are essential to prevent fine lines from running. If you want to color the tiles you need good equipment to receive optimal results on small areas.

How to learn Zentangle?

Of course you can attend a Zentangle class. Those classes are held by Certified Zentagle Teachers only. There are two teachers in Germany: Anya Lothrop from Hamburg and Claudia Tölle from Munich. Both attended special courses by Rick und Maria in Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

Furthermore there is a wide range of books, which deal with this topic. They explain the basics as well as patterns and instructions.

On the internet you can find several video tutorials of how to draw Zentangles (just look for »Zentangle Tutorial«).

Terminology – most important terms

  1. Tangle
    To Tangle describes the process of drawing. It is the verb of Zentangle.
  2. Tiles
    Traditionally, you use tiles (9x9 cm) made of high quality paper.
  3. String
    To give structure to the picture, strings are used to divide the Zentangle area into smaller parts
  4. Tangle variations
    Play with Zentangle: try to combine several Tangles, change them and create new patterns. That is called Tangleation.
  5. Mosaic
    A mosaic is made of the different Zentangle tiles placed side by side. The overall pictures is a mosaic..
  6. CZT
    CZT is short for Certified Zentangle Teacher. The training is exclusively given by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas in the USA. Zentangle is a registered trademark and only certified teachers are allowed to offer courses.
  7. ZIA
    This means Zentangle Inspired Art. It is used for artworks that contain different Zentangles.

A few tips at the end

Take your time. ENo one is born a master and no one requires a perfect result.

Test yourself. Discover different patterns, change them and just start drawing. Zentangle is not made for spending too long thinking about what to do.

Try a sketchbook you specially reserve for your Zentangle artworks.