“Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time.”
Zentangle® and its creative outcomes (and offshoots) are probably more familiar to a lot of people than realise. There has been a veritable explosion of images on Pintrest, Google Search and Fickr of designs which either use the method or a method inspired by the technique.
The “Zentangle® Method” was developed by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas as a kind of meditative, artistic practice through the creation of “beautiful images by drawing structured patterns”. According to the Zentangle® website the technique is designed to be intuitive, fun, relaxing, ceremonial, timeless, portable, non-technical and empowering. Zentangle® patterns are created on “tiles” which measure 3 1/2 inches (89 mm) square and are designed to be completed in a single sitting. The creators advise that you keep some tiles in your pocket or purse so you can be ready to create at any moment. True Zentangle® tiles should be non-representative patterns with no distinguishable form to them. The creators of the method liken the experience of the practice to a Tea Ceremony, or to forms of meditation.
Creators of Zentangle®, Maria and Rick state;
“We believe that life is an art form and that our Zentangle® Method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.” The deliberate strokes used in the method are seen by its creators as being representative of the “strokes” we make in life (our actions or thoughts). “There is no eraser in life, and there is no eraser in a Zentangle Kit” they say. The idea is to create abstract spontaneous, unplanned patterns without second guessing or correcting them. “Apparent mistakes can be foundations for new patterns and take you in unexpected and exciting new directions.”  The creators of the official Zentangle® method recommend that practitioners take up the technique using Zentangle® kits that can be ordered through the official site or by taking regular courses with qualified Zentangle® instructors. A starter Zentangle® kit includes 32 tiles, 2 pens (the site recommends Sakura® Pigma Micron 01 black pens due to the fineness of the line (0.25mm) and due to the permanence of the archival pigment ink which the pens use), pencils and a sharpener (no eraser!) a tortillion or smudge stick, an instruction booklet and companion DVD, a Zentangle Legend™ ( a card with 20 numbered and named Zentangles with how-to instructions) and a Icosahedron (20 sided die) so you can use this to choose patterns if you wish. The legend can also be used as a quick visual reminder of patterns. (Above: Zentangle Legend™ and Icosahedron) All this comes in an easy to carry, book shaped box (5 1/2” x 8”x 1 ¾” or 14cm x20.5cm x4.5cm). The kits can be purchased for $49.00 (approx. £32.50) form the official Zentangle® Website, although the creators also state that; “We provide enough free information in our newsletters, blog and youtubes to get an idea of our Zentangle method. More and more sites and books describe what you can do with the Zentangle method. Even we joke that, "all you need to create Zentangle art is a stick at the beach at low tide." And when you think about it, you probably don't even need a stick.”
So, given that you could probably put the kit together yourself, why do the creators recommend you buy a Zentangle® kit?
“To understand and appreciate something fully, it's good to learn the basics as they were developed. We regularly receive emails from people who finally bought a Zentangle Kit and they regularly say how much more they discovered that there is to the Zentangle method, how beautiful the kit is itself, how enjoyable the DVD is and how much more pleasure they now receive from creating Zentangle art.”
Illustration Art Supplies
This is probably a good point, but here in Dundee at Trinity Arts (or our UK online store www.iartsupplies.co.uk ) we stock most of the kit essentials if you wanted to have a go before buying the full shebang. We have a range of Sakura Pigma Micron Pens in Black, Red, Green, Sepia and Blue from sizes 005 to 08 and we sell sets of 6 or 3 in the Black Pens (range of sizes). We also obviously have a range of pencils and sharpeners to suit your needs, as well as tortillions and tiles can be created using one of our range of papers and cards. If this abstract method doesn’t take your fancy though, why not check out some of the Zentangle Inspired creations out there on the internet. Although these do not follow the true Zentangle® method, they can also be a relaxing and fulfilling activity. I suppose most are somewhere between this Zentangle® method and a more traditional doodling idea. With a standard A5 Sketchbook, HB pencil for sharp lines and Black Micron Sakura Pens size 005, 04 and 08 (all of which are available in the shop or online) here’s some of my Zentangle Inspired designs. ( Above: Doodle/Zentangle Inspired Drawings by Fiona MacHugh)
Why Sakura Pigma Micron?
The Sakura Pigma pens are really great for fine line illustration. The flow of ink is fantastic and there is no bleeding (I originally tried using a Stabillo Fineliner but this bled too much to get crisp lines.) The clarity of the ink and the precision that it is possible with these pens make them a real pleasure to use, and the archival ink is waterproof, chemical resistant, temperature proof and permanent of paper once it dries with the potential to last hundreds of years! So come on down and try them out, whether you fancy a go at Zentangle®, your own doodles or another kind of pen illustration.
Useful links to help you be further intrigued and inspired
Useful links to help you have a go are the Zentangle® YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOTuMDZPrfXCPtwr-Q1EzqA). You can also find plenty of other videos by other users which are not from the official channel for advice and inspiration simply by searching “Zentangle”. To sign up to the newsletter visit the official Zentangle® website (https://www.zentangle.com) where you can also read up more on materials, methods, philosophy and courses.  https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method  https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method  https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method  https://www.zentangle.com/zentangle-method  https://www.zentangle.com/product/zentangle-kit  https://www.zentangle.com/product/zentangle-kit