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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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STORIES: Zentangle® helps tangler find confidence and have fun drawing

In this occasional series on TanglePatterns, readers describe in their own words how Zentangle® has changed their lives. For more accounts in this series, click on the “STORIES” link in the alphabetical listing above.
Visit this post for the stories that inspired this series.

* * *

STORIES: How Zentangle changes livesBobbie from California writes …

“I was like the kid in the old story. The one where the little girl used crayons and made all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors of flowers.

Then, at school, all of the creativity was reined in and all I drew were little circles with a single green stem and one leaf. I was never comfortable with drawing again. I probably didn’t have the talent but I always wanted to draw.

At 67 I found Zentangle.

I thought that since you had patterns and strings and rules that I would be OK. It wouldn’t be creative but I would have a pencil and I could pretend that I was drawing. I found that I couldn’t remember patterns, that my lines weren’t even so I kept your guide close and I used strings and only simple patterns. Then I made a mistake and covered it up with something else. I went over the strings and it was OK. I noticed that the steps that I saw didn’t all have perfect lines. I loved downloading other people’s tiles. I even copied a few (didn’t like that because comparison was too easy) but generally looked at them to see how they tied strings together, the light and dark on a tile, how they personalized each pattern.

Bobbie's recent Zentangle art

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

And I realized that I was frequently looking at CZT people and they were two things: artists and teachers. I learned that they had spent a lot of time with their art and I was a beginner. This is where I frequently decided that something wasn’t for me.

Something different happened with Zentangle.

Bobbie's recent Zentangle art

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

I decided to set up a way that I could learn. I have a notebook for practicing patterns (until they are comfortable to draw) and then to play with variations (that’s the hard part for me). I have a little album that I put my tiles and larger pieces that I like (it’s nice to remember that I have done some pretty things). When I see a new pattern on your site, I download (to my tablet) and use it to make my own step out card. (How I wish everyone would put their names on the tile or as the jpg file name so that I can remember these wonderful people.) And I sit every day and draw. I look at the challenges and try to do some of them.

Bobbie's recent Zentangle art

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

You know, at 68, I am finally happy with a pencil or pen in my hand. Your site is partly responsible. And the people who contribute through your web site and through their own.

Thank you all for helping me to find confidence and to have fun.”

~ Bobbie H.

* * *

If you would like to share your own experience for this series, please email me (linda [at] tanglepatterns [dot] com). You can make your story as long as or short as you like and if you wish your personal details to remain private, I will certainly honor that.

By publishing your “testimonials”, I’m hoping it will help spread the word about Zentangle to many others who can REALLY benefit from it. As the Zentangle founders say, “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time.”™


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"Absolutely the best Zentangle Book yet! As an accomplished artist I used to think I did not need instruction on this art form. How wrong I was! My tangling improved by leaps and bounds after reading this book. If you think you have Zentangle down then you need this book more than ever!" ~ Kris H


6 comments to STORIES: Zentangle® helps tangler find confidence and have fun drawing

  • Carol Greene

    A beautiful story of the discovery of your artistic blessing.

  • Lin Powell

    Now that you have the confidence, you can glue your tiles onto a canvas to make a collage and hang it in your home so everyone can share the beauty and your talent. I paint the background of the canvas black and use ordinary all purpose glue. I have made a pattern using different sizes of squares and rectangles that fit with a small border around the edges. It looks very cool and I get many positive comments from visitors.
    I also have made myself a reference book with my favorite patterns and photo copies of my finished work so I can remember them and refer to it. It has actually grown now into 2 books.
    I am so glad you found your artistic talent once more.

  • Bobbie, thank you for your story! I, too, am intimidated by the beautiful work of many of the CZTs and others who are professional artists. Sometimes, though, I find the wobbly, scratchy look of some tiles is really appealing and has its own message to share. Your work is really lovely, and what you say just reinforces the idea that Zentangle is for anyone. Like yoga (I am a RANK beginner that can barely sit cross-legged), it is a practice – a journey, not a destination. Please don’t stop!!

  • Joyce

    Bobbie, what gorgeous tiles!! You do such beautiful work. Your story resonated with me, as I came late to Zentangle, also: I was about 61 when I discovered it, and I’m 67 now.

    Tangling has also built my own confidence in my ability to make art. When we’re not busy at work, I tangle, and I’ve been literally THRILLED that there are people who have asked me if they could have what I just drew.

    I hope to see a lot more of your work…do you have a website with your work posted on it? I don’t, but wish I did.

    Happy tangling!

  • Bobbie H

    Joyce, I don’t have a website but I do put my tiles up on the web. I started a Flickr account because I wanted to learn how to post pictures for a Book Arts Guild that I belong to. And the next thing I knew, I was putting up my pictures, and now my Zentangle. It’s an easy process. I also started an account at Tumblr because I wanted to follow a couple blogs. Now I add my Zentangle and have Zentangle people to follow. And I also have a Facebook page that sees some of my arts and crafts. And there are group pages that you can contribute to. Friends of Zentangle and Square One: Purely zentangle is another. I don’t contribute but it’s fun to think about.

  • Sharon Carder

    Bobbie, your tiles are glorious and inspiring, as is your story. Thanks for sharing both!

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