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!
Tolkien’s maps are recognisable for the font and sketch style of art which Dan has recreated perfectly.
“I like to think the maps allow people to imagine where they live in a Tolkien style.” he told the BBC.
He adds that the maps are “not drawn with accuracy in mind”, and are more an artist’s impression of each area.
He has currently drawn nine out of fifteen parks, including the Lake District, Dartmoor National Park, and the Brecon Beacons. Find his work, and to order your own, at his website.
After seeing the Dali artwork, and knowing the adventures of Alice very well, it is like this collaboration was destined to happen. In the book’s introduction Lewis Carrol expert Mark Burstein discusses Dalí’s symbolic and mathematical connections with Carroll, while mathematician Thomas Banchoff explores the mathematics threaded throughout Dalí’s work.
Check out some of the stunning illustrations below and to find a link to purchase your own copy.
The latest bookshelf-altering idea is for the neutral-colour-lovers among us: some of you may remember when we posted a picture on Facebook of a bookshelf in which the books were all turned about with the spines facing the wall. Many of our Reading Addicts were unhappy with the idea- deeming the bookshelf owner (apparently someone called ‘Lauren’) to be a little superficial, and “obviously not a reader”.
Our dust jackets haven’t always been crammed full of information, or as colourful as we see them today… Here are 7 fascinating facts about dust jackets that you may not have known before…
33 first edition books have had their covers re-interpreted by famous contemporary artists and illustrators. In partnership with Winsor & Newton, and in benefit of House of Illustration, the covers will be auctioned for an average of £2000. The covers range from Shaun Tan’s re-covering of Orwell’s Animal Farm, to Neil Gaiman’s cover for Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Check out some of the covers below, and visit Sotheby’s website for more details.
Jill Ashton graduated in 2004 from The University of Central England with a First Class BA Hons in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Now, as Betty Pepper the artist based in the South East of England, she spends a lot of time making each unique piece of art and jewellery. Betty’s literary-inspired art is created from silver wire and fabric fragments, and any orphaned books she finds while out on a ‘rummage’. She gives life to old and ruined books once more by fashioning quirky and whimsical pieces from their pages.
Betty’s work is displayed and sold across Europe from Glasgow to Paris, with collections and commissions also available via MadeByHandOnline. The artwork can also be found at worldwide exhibitions- most recently in the UK (Suffolk, and Leeds) and Munich, Germany.