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!
The archive website states:
“As a vital part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s mission as an educational institution, the Guggenheim Museum’s Publications Department publishes books and catalogues to document its exhibitions and collections.”
Art is a wonderful thing to be able to share and we hope you take some time to visit the website and find something that inspires you. Meanwhile, have a peek at some of the gorgeous art book covers below to see what is available to download…
The 74 year old has created this giant symbol of resistance to political repression from 100,000 copies of banned books.
The installation is based in Kassel, Germany and is part of the Documenta 14 art festival. Minujín identified over 170 banned book titles with the help from local students and constructed the full-size parthenon from the banned books held in steel structures with plastic sheeting to protect them.
Derailing My Train of Thought by Thomas Wightman
Whatever you think of book art, there’s no denying the talent and thought that has gone into this book sculpture I stumbled upon yesterday. I’ve seen lots of book art in the years running FRA but never quite something as immensely detailed as ‘Derailing My Train of Thought’, a bookish art project by Thomas Wightman.
The art has a serious edge too, the artist says: Read More
This is where a bit of colouring in can help, even if you just stab at the page with a red pencil while screaming obscenities. Regular colouring books are good, adult colouring books are great, but colouring books that swear along with you? They are THE BEST.
Just take a look…
The finished effect is stunning, but it’s also fairly simple to make. If you’re planning a Beauty and the Beast inspired birthday party, or even a themed bedroom, this enchanted rose will make the perfect addition. It’s lovely! Read More
This is one of those times.
Butcher Billy is a designer and illustrator from Brazil, with a penchant for bold and expressive mash-ups of musical artists and literature… Just take a look at his Stephen King collection below!