Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zentangle

When I was a kid, I used to entertain myself in church by drawing little doodles all over the bulletin with the automatic pencil my dad kept in the inside pocket of his suit jacket. Anyone else do this? I filled in all the o's. I wrote my name in bubble letters. And I made doodles like this:

I was onto something and didn't even know it.

This is what I found on Pinterest:

A Zentangle is an abstract drawing made by using repetitive patterns in black ink on white paper. There is a real, honest-to-goodness Zentangle Method, with instructors and copyrights and everything. According to Wikipedia, the definition and process of Zentangle is very deep and includes getting in a meditative state as you work on the project. There is no real pattern and no right or wrong (not entirely true, and I'll get to that). Plus, it's simple, requiring nothing but a pen and paper and a little bit of imagination (or you can sample from the many examples found on the internet). It differs from a doodle in that it requires the full attention of the artist and should be done in a quiet place. While doodling may be similar, doodles are done when the person making them is having trouble concentrating on an activity, like a phone call or a class (or a church service). 

Since I am NOT following the teachings of the Zentangle Method and don't intend to, I guess you could say I made a fancy doodle, but it was a doodle that took me a couple of hours to do, it was really fun, and there certainly was a Zen quality to the whole process.

The Pinterest pin I found suggested starting by tracing circles, some of them overlapping (and making it look like a drunken Venn diagram), to create the base for the picture. I did so using a cd and the lid from a mason jar candle.

I got so excited about this that I forgot to take a picture
of the template before I started decorating it. Sorry.

Then you just start filling in patterns in all the spaces. I looked at some of the ones from the Pinterest pin, and I also checked a few other sites for inspiration.

Look what you can do with a Sharpie and a piece of cardstock!

The best part of this is you really can't do it wrong. If you hate it, throw it away and start over. IT'S JUST PAPER. In fact, the real Zentangle Method stresses the use of a pen instead of a pencil is because life can't be erased (I TOLD you the Method was very deep).

One little exception to the "can't do it wrong" theory: one of the spaces I decorated went horribly wrong. Horribly.

Instead of a unique pattern, I drew what appeared to be a vagina.

I tried to fix it. I added tiny polka dots.

It made it worse.

When Emma got home from school, she was very impressed with my creation, until I showed her the vagina.

She clapped her hand over her mouth and laughed. At me.

When the picture was completely done, I tried once again to fix the vagina. 

Hopefully, the sea of striped boobs will distract the eye
from the poorly disguised vagina.

I think it's lovely! AND I can now add pornographic illustrator to my resume.

Pinterest WIN!


  1. *phew* I'm glad you noticed too....BOOBIES!
    (Dirty bird ;) )

    1. They didn't look so much like boobies until I colored the nipples, I mean, the points, black.

  2. Hahaha snort hahaha! But think of the book you can write....from preschool to porn

  3. My kids did these in art class. Thankfully, none of them did an x-rated version.
    CONGRATULATIONS ON FINISHING THE CHALLENGE!!! It has been immensely enjoyable, partly because it was clear you were enjoying yourself.

    1. IT WASN'T ON PURPOSE! I enjoyed the project, in spite of the vagina. And THANK YOU! I can truly say I enjoyed every minute of the A to Z Challenge.

  4. Reminds me of scribble pictures. You scribble a whole piece of paper and color or decorate each section.

    1. Yes! We used to do those in grade school. This is the grown up version :)

  5. Trying again to comment...these are awesome. I will definitely show Zilla how to do this because she'll be all over it. I will advise her, however, to refrain from drawing body parts.

  6. yay your done congrats on finishing the challenge - this was so much fun to read...and ended with zentangle - I love to doodle and I do so every chance I can - I gave my sister for her bday zentangle supplies she loved it.

    your striped boobies were cute too ...

    I'm impressed


    1. I did it! I made it to the end! Thank you so much for being with me every step of the way, Marisa!
      I'm a doodler, too (I attribute it to having a short attention span), but had never heard of zentangles before this week. What a cool gift for your sister!

  7. When people have a one-track mind, all they can see are the vaginas and boobies, myself included!! I must say, it's very artistically rendered though!
    And, congrats on completing the challenge!

    1. I wasn't looking for a vagina, but there it was! And the more I tried to fix it, the worse it looked!
      And thanks! I had a fantastic time with the Challenge this year!

  8. HI! Congratulations! on completing the 'A to Z April (dude, read the Post first) Blog Challenge! I enjoyed all your Posts and can see that you put a lot of (no, clark, I'm serious! read it) each er… Post….
    hey! it's been er great to get through this …event?
    (no.fricken.way. she….)
    fun as always! see you next year!

    1. You love it that my picture includes genitalia, don't you, Clark?