All of us- students, teachers, readers, writers, artists have one important thing in common- the need to focus. Today, it seems difficult to calm the nerves when we are bogged down under piles of reading, deadlines to meet, or examination pressure. And let’s not even mention the lack of time and enthusiasm for any leisurely creative activity.
One can meditate, but it does not seem to be everybody’s cup of tea. You can sing or dance, but may be you have two left feet. You might want to take up a sport or painting or a musical instrument but that requires quite a bit of financial investment.
So is there any activity that can help us focus as well as relax while stimulating our creative cells at the same time?
There is indeed.
Take a dive into Zentangle Art. Sounds like some sort of new yoga, right? It isn’t.
Zentangle is a self-help art therapy practice to enhance relaxation and focus. Developed by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, Zentangle is an art where you create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. In the simplest terms, a Zentangle is a structured, contained doodle. Doodling is definitely not new to us readers and writers, is it? Well, now all we need to do is doodle certain patterns with black pen on a 3.5 inch square paper tile. The paper is called a tile because completed tiles can be arranged together in a beautiful mosaic.
Rulers, straight edges, or other mechanical aids are not used in Zentangle. It’s just you and your pen. But in Zentangle, you don’t doodle aimlessly. There is a foundation and a process.
Zentangle itself may be relatively new, but the basic principles involved are as old as the history of art. It includes ritual and mirrors the symbols, designs and patterns of numerous cultures from ancient through present times. A Zentangle is not intended to be a representation of something. Both, the tangles used, and the resulting completed tile are intended to be unplanned, abstract, non-objective creations that grow organically as you make each deliberate stroke.
The core concept in this is to use a ‘string’ which defines an area. This is generally done in pencil. Then, that area is filled in with repetitive patterns chosen from an existing list of patterns called ‘tangles’.
So why begin Zentangling?
Proponents of this method note that it has multiple benefits apart from helping you relax and increasing focus.
First, one need not be a born artist to be able to create these patterns. A Zentangle is not a picture of something, so don’t worry even if you can’t draw a face, or a cat. You will always succeed in creating a Zentangle.
Secondly, the no investment needed concept is encouraging. You would not need to spend on any sophisticated instruments for Zentangling. A paper and pen will do just fine. But if you are really into it, you may buy the Zentangle kit that will provide you the appropriate pens and the required sized paper.
The creativity options and pattern combinations are boundless. And the best part- A Zentangle has no up or down. It can be created as well as appreciated in any direction.
It is timeless. Creating designs, manipulating symbols and putting pen to paper is part of our human heritage. In a time of keyboards and cell phones, the simple strokes that are part of the Zentangle method automatically engage you in a comfort and familiarity of timeless, basic creativity.
It is a portable art form. Everything you need to create beautiful Zentangle art can fit in your pocket. This easy to learn method of relaxed focus can be done almost anywhere.
It is said that Zentangling before bed results in better sleep. People having a fear of flying can indulge in this art before or after take-off to reduce panic attacks. It improves hand-eye coordination and can also be used as an addiction therapy tool.
Zentangling aids concentration and increases attention span. This is highly beneficial, especially among children. And as kids love to sketch, getting them hooked to Zentangling may not be too tough a task.
So it’s time for Zentangle art frames, tshirts and whatever else you would love to incorporate this beautiful form into.
Zentangle is the way to go!
At his side will be his queen- the wonderfully talented musician and artist, Amanda Palmer, and they will be jointly be ruling their watery subjects from the Coney Island Mermaid Parade float.
Coney Island prides itself on honouring American pop-culture through fresh and original shows and acts. Drawing from circus and theatrical traditions of P.T. Barnum, the people of Coney Island present uniquely American visual arts. This year the mermaid float will carry Queen Mermaid Amanda Palmer and King Neptune Neil Gaiman along the Coney Island Boardwalk before arriving at the beach for the official Beach Ceremony: the ‘opening’ of the ocean for the summer swimming season.
The art can be traced back over 1,000 years to the Tang dynasty where dragon scale bookbinding was once reserved for the very wealthy and privileged of the Chinese people. Each piece was original and exquisitely hand made and passed down from generation to generation of royalty and the wealthier families.
Very few of the original books can be found today which prompted Zhang to look into the process and attempt to recreate it. Zhang found himself taking a more scientific approach to his artwork in an effort to recreate an exquisite piece just like the original artists did.
Totally Meta on Instagram came up with something all Potterheads will adore- ombre-coloured Butterbeer Hair! Ombre hair colouring (from the term ‘ombre’ which is French for shaded or shading) is darker at the roots through the middle, and gets gradually lighter from the middle to the tips. Ombre hair has been popular and trending for a while but one hairstylist discovered a way to extend its reach by recreating butterbeer’s rich colours through hair dye.
From his website:
“Tremblin implements graphic processes of intervention inspired by anonymous, autonomous and spontaneous practices and expressions in urban space in order to question the systems of legislation, representation and symbolization of the city. He works with site specific urban intervention, performed walk, tools design, détournement of objects and uses publication, installation, photography and video to document or reinvest of his experimentations.”
If you have ever wondered what those scribbles on the walls actually mean then Mathieu is here to help. Check out some images below.
Like many introverts, Marzi started feeling like she didn’t belong, and felt awkward and weird in certain situations. After expressing how she felt through her doodles, and received lots of supportive feedback, she soon realised she wasn’t alone with these experiences, which brought some relief.
Marzi also runs an online shop where she sells quirky jewellery pieces, cross stitch, and pins- if you enjoy her doodles take a look at her other work!