Zentangle: Drawing for Meditation

· July 10, 2016

Zentangle is a method of drawing that involves geometric repetition. The object is to promote calmness and meditation through structured patterns that create beautiful images. The technique is easy to learn, and it’s also relaxing and fun!

The creators, Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, say that almost anybody can create these beautiful images. The main idea is to increase concentration and creativity, as well as provide a sense of well-being through artistic expression.

It’s based on the premise that we neglect a fundamental part of ourselves by forgetting the importance of art as a way of life. They suggest that exploring and using the Zentangle method is a way to set yourself free.

zentangle flowers

What you should know about the Zentangle method

According to the creators, the method is easy to understand and enjoy, even if you don’t think you’re good with a pencil or a paintbrush. Understanding the method and creating a piece of Zentangle art is like learning the secret behind a magic trick.

Every line is drawn consciously and thoughtfully, as if it was made up of thoughts, words, or events. That is, you leave a trace of all the important things in your life in each drawing.

It doesn’t matter how you look at it; it’s all about connecting your mind with your hand and the paper. This allows new thoughts and perspectives to develop, which helps you flow and focus on the present. That’s why erasers are not allowed, because then you’d be erasing yourself.

zentangle design

Not knowing what’s going to result is intentional, which is both freeing and challenging. The fact that there’s no predetermined solution as there is in other hobbies can be annoying at first, since we’ve been raised to find perfect solutions.

Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to make a piece of Zentangle art:

  • Every Zentangle tile or frame is 8.89 cm on each side. You can use any kind of textured paper that doesn’t have patterns. It should preferably be white with the aforementioned dimensions.
  • You should start by drawing a line and continue on, repeating the pattern that you’re creating.
  • It’s designed so that a single session can be completed in 15 minutes, or however long you desire. So a feeling of achievement and satisfaction can come quickly for those who don’t have that much time to spend on it.
  • The ritual behind creating Zentangle patterns is meant to create a personal, intimate, and unique environment. Merging your feelings with the texture of the Zentangle tiles can make you feel wonderfully relaxed and connected with yourself.

The benefits of Zentangle

In other posts, we’ve talked about the emotional and cognitive benefits of coloring mandalas and other patterns. But Zentangle goes one step further, as it can promote the creation of your own patterns, making you see that you can also create beautiful images.

On top of removing you from spatial and temporal awareness, making a Zentangle drawing:

  • is deeply relaxing.
  • can prevent insomnia if it’s done before bed.
  • encourages you to value your abilities.
  • unites you with a supportive and fun community (there are various websites and groups you can join).
  • Strengthens and develops your creative abilities.
  • Exercises your brain.
zentangle design 2

Characteristics of the Zentangle method

It’s not surprising that art and creativity can help us connect with ourselves, since it releases us from our usual routine of chores and activities.

Zentangle helps us to establish an internal nonverbal language of patterns and proportions that opens the door to new perceptions that are usually blocked off from our awareness. Just like mandalas, this method is a form of “modern meditation.”

We put “modern meditation” in quotation marks because because Jung had already used these geometric protocols and archetypes as a therapeutic instrument. Also, the fact that the result isn’t premeditated helps us to see life as a colorful rainbow instead of black and white.