Monday, May 02, 2016

Learning something new

A couple of years ago I saw something called Zentangle©, and I was fascinated. But it looked complicated, and I never pursued it.

Then in April I saw an Instagram tag The100dayproject, and it struck me that that would be a good way to get into Zentangle. So I bought the recommended (Sigma Micron) pens and some cardstock, got some books from the library, and started.

There are official Zentangle Tiles, and I have some, but it's like I don't want to waste them. Which I know is stupid, but I didn't have very many. I just ordered some more, so this week I'll probably use them.

The Zentangle process is interesting in that it isn't just doodling, as it may at first appear. There is a definite structure. There is an official size tile (3-1/2 x 3-1/2), official "tangles," i.e., patterns, all with names, and a very definite way of doing things. At first, it seems restrictive, but I've found in this and in other things that there is freedom in structure. If everything is just open-ended, it's hard to know where to start. The blank page is intimidating. So with Zentangle, you take a tile, mark a loose square on it with pencil, make what is called a "string," which separates the square into random sections, and start making your patterns. Once you have filled the tile with patterns, you can go back and shade it with a pencil to add some dimension to it. It is always non-representational.

If you venture out of the prescribed method, you are making Zentangle-inspired art, or ZIA, and if you "tangle" on greeting cards or other media, or do something like a portrait, that's what you're making.

There is also a meditative aspect to it. The method is to follow a prescribed set of steps each morning to create your tile, which puts you in a creative frame of mind for the rest of the day. I've found this to actually be true.

I consider myself creative in that I make things like jewelry, I can sew and knit, but I've never been able to sit down and draw something, and I've always wanted to. Zentangle looks complicated, but by following the prescribed method and studying the process, anyone can do it, like they say, "Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time".