What is a Zentangle?

Zentange: two 3.5" tiles. (done on white paper, but light turned photo yellow)

Dear readers~In my post called “Award Time!”, I had to tell you 10 things about me that you might not know.  Statement number 5 was:  5. I like to Zentangle.    

After I posted it, I received some questions:  “What is a Zentangle?”  “What does #5 mean?”

So tonight’s post will be about ZENTANGLES.   A Zentangle is much like doodling, but it is considered a form of art.  A Zentangle is a line or pattern that is repeated over and over.  Did you ever get bored in a meeting or class and start drawing on your paper?   You probably were doodling.  Anyone can doodle, and anyone can Zentangle!   People of all ages Zentangle~ from kindergartners to over the age of 100!

1. There is no right or wrong way to Zentangle.
2. Zentangling is relaxing, meditative, helps with focusing and fosters creativity.
3. You don’t need fancy, expensive materials to Zentangle.
4. You don’t need to take a class to Zentangle.  You can start right now!  (although classes are available in some places)
5. Schools use Zentangles to teach children to focus, and to have fun without worry of being “correct”.

*A good thing to do is visit the Zentangle website:  click here.
*The first book (and best!) I bought is Zentangle Basics by Suzanne McNeill.  It has great beginner Zentangle ideas.
I found the book for $8.99 in paperback on Amazon, but you can probably find it in bookstores.
*Some excellent Zentangle videos are found here:  click here 

Materials needed:
Paper~  any kind….white is best, I’ve used tracing paper (it’s cheap!) and white drawing paper.
Template~ you will need a 3.5″ x 3.5″ square of paper to trace for each of your Zentangle “tiles”
***Note: children use a  5.5″ x 5.5 ” square “tile”, as their fine motor skills are not as fine tuned as adults.
Adults may use the 5.5″ x  5.5″ size if they prefer.  Teens also like the 5.5″ tile, 8.5″ tile, as well as the 3.5″ one.
Pen~ a black, permanent marker “Micron 01 Pigma” pigment pen is suggested.  I have used those, but I also
have used a very fine tipped black ink pen, and recently I found a very fine Sharpie marker that works extremely well for Zentangles.

Materials needed for Zentangles. And how to start a Zentangle.

In the photo above you can see the materials needed.  The pencil, pen (Sharpie Fine…silver & black barrel color), paper, and “tile” to trace for the 3.5″ square.

The color of the paper is much better here! 😉

Steps to Zentangle:
In the photo with the materials, you will see three “tiles” or squares, showing you how you start:
1. Trace your shape on your white paper (I have the brown paper cut in a 3.5″ x 3.5″ size), so all I do is trace it…I don’t have to measure every time.
2. Make 4 dots just inside each of the four corners of your square.
3. Connect the 4 dots, so you have a “frame” inside your tile.  Note….they don’t have to be straight lines.  They can even have a loop in them.  Be creative!
4. Now make a Z or a loopy shape or anything you want…to divide the Tile into 3 or 4 sections as I did.
5.  Now you’re ready to ZENTANGLE !
6.  Start in one section and make a zig zag all the way from one end to another.  Go back and follow that zig zag line with another line near it, all the way…keep following that same line until you have filled the section.
7. Make up some ideas of your own, copy mine, Google Zentangle to get ideas….and have fun!


Zig Zags and checkerboards are a good way to start!

I want to thank Rick & Maria for starting Zentangle and give them credit here.

Have fun with Zentangle.  If you enjoy it…let me know!  Post photos too! 😉

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.

28 thoughts on “What is a Zentangle?

  1. OMG I have been zantangling without knowing I was zantangling 😀
    even yesterday’s council papers ended up getting zantangles.
    even the previous week … i remember that one particularly … it was long and such repetative … i had nothing to add as there was nothing much to say … but a few show off people just wanting to add their two pence of opinion wasked to speak and they did… but everyone was repeating the same thing over and over again with a bit of salt and sugar to make it sound differnt.
    but it was the same.
    And, all the while my pen was drawing lines after lines this and that way….
    and now I know ….
    i thought I was doodling… 😀

    • YAY! And a new Zentangler (is that a word?!!) is born! So, instead of wanting to bash their heads together, you were calm, relaxed, focused and being creative! woo hoo! So much time is wasted when people just want to hear their own voice…..

  2. Hahaha…. this is sooooooo cool!!! I used to “doodle” butterflies… different shapes, wing patterns etc. – I think I was quite good at it!!!! But since becoming an engineer & not getting much time for doodling, I found that when I wanted to doodle the other day, my creativity was gone!!!!! Soooooo sad…. maybe I should try zentangling in order to get my creative juices flowing again!!!!! Thank Judy…. Will share my results when I get one (or two or three) done!!! 😉 **

  3. Waoo that thing is kool and informative as well,.
    I sometimes do that thing in class but never knew i do that 😀 and most of time when i get bored i play tic cross with the most intelligent person on the earth, yea with my self 😀 hahaha 😛

  4. OMG … I have been Zentangling black and white lines almost forever.
    I like the fact that it has a name now. Great Fun and very relaxing. I’ve enjoyed adding colors from time to time with colored pencils. It must be my artistic brain always needing art stimulations. It’s nice to know there are other Zentanglers out there. Hahahahhaaa … this has been a fab read, Judy.
    Thanks for postings it.

    • Me too….only I thought it was a form of doodling back then! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Isadora! I also shade my Zentangles with a pencil to add dimension. Me too with the artistic brain..I am so right brained it’s crazy!

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