Zentangle – Day One

The Mammacita and I took our first Zentangle class at the Figge today.  Mom has been interested in Zentangle for awhile, and she got me interested in it as well.  What is Zentangle, you ask?  Well, despite what the teacher said, it’s essentially structured doodling.  You take a 3.5 inch square of nice paper, draw a dot in each corner, connect the dots with rather “floaty” line (no straight connections).  Then you draw a dot in the middle of each line and draw a swoopy Z between the lines.  This separates your square into 4 sections.  In each section you design a different “tangle” which is basically a pattern that can range from dots, to lines, to branches, to grids, etc.  There are probably literally hundreds of different predesigned patterns, and of course you can always design your own.

Here are the tiles Mom and I created yesterday:

Mom’s, of course, are better.  Hers are the ones on the right – beautiful balance of light and dark and excellent shading!  But the first rule of Zentangle, is “There are no mistakes.”

Despite being a very simple idea, it’s actually pretty fun to do.  A while back Mom got a huge kit of Zentangle books and markers (Micron pens in all shapes, sizes, and colors), so she split her hoard with me.  I woke up thinking about creating some “tangles” today.  I have to say, it’s pretty addictive.

The woman who organized the class, Pat Bereskin, mentioned that she might organize a group of people who want to meet regularly and do Zentangles together.  I think that would be really fun.

I have a hard time explaining the allure.  I think it’s a combination of several factors.  For people like me, who have a hard time creating art not based on a picture, the art form gives you a template to work with – just enough structure to provide comfort, but enough flexibility to let your creativity shine through.  Also, the small size makes it manageable.  It’s hard to find an hour or two to work on a 25″ square watercolor painting, but finding 15 or 30 minutes to do a tile or at least one section of a tile is completely doable.

I think it would be fun to make time to do a tangle a day.  I think it would be a good way to flip your brain to the Left Side for a while, and it would end up being almost a visual diary of your life.  I might do that…

The creators of Zentangle (who, Mom and I decided, should have really been Tim, based on the artwork he showed us), offer a Zentangle Certified Teacher program.  Of course, like all things branded as Zentangle, it is quite expensive (around $800).  But it sounds like a good time. 🙂  Plus, our 3-hour class yesterday cost $45.00.  I bet around $30 for each student went to the instructor.  There were at least 30 people there – so that’s $900 she made in 3 hours.  Plus, she had the official Zentangle supplies there for sale.  And they are NOT cheap.  The paper they use for the tiles IS beautiful, but wow – it’s like $ 0.55/tile.  So what I’m saying, is that in a couple of classes, you could recoup your expenses.  Maybe you could write the class off as a business expense too.  Hmmm….

Anyway, I didn’t spring for any of the pricey Zentangle stuff at the class.  Instead I pulled out my huge stack of partially used sketchbooks and cut up some 3.5″ tiles.  Using the scissors to cut them up was annoying, so I found a paper cutter on eBay for $9.99!  The shipping is $15, but that still seems pretty cheap.  I’ve been wanting one anyway – to cut up ATCs (Artist Trading Cards).  I’m really going to need to convert a room in our basement to a studio.  I’m accumulating too much art junk.  The Computer Room can no longer contain it.

If you are interested in learning more about Zentangle, here are  a few links for you to check out:

Official Zentangle Site:  http://www.zentangle.com/

Neat company that sells cool pens, paper and Zentangle junk & stuff:  http://www.paperinkarts.com/zentangle.html

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