The other day I got an update from Tangle Patterns with a reprint from a blog post that I’m sure is sweeping the community. It was written by Sandy Hunter (original post here) and I think it is both eloquent and timely.
Being as new as I am to drawing and doodling in general and being a rule follower at heart I was already familiar with almost all of the “Rules” of Zentangle. I had already come across the term ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) and like most people a majority of what I do falls into the ZIA category. Is it important? Yes and no. Zentangle is a word that gets thrown around by lots of folks but in order to truly be Zentangle it needs to follow the rules.
My daughter and I discussed the article recently when we were tangling together and we kept reminding each other of the rules jokingly while we drew. After much discussion we decided that, for the most part, the challenges I take part in are not actual Zentangle because they are planned somewhat (#5 No planned outcome). I think this is true more often in the Zendala dares. It was a great article for discussion and a few of the items were new information for my daughter. She has been drawing much longer than I have and while I stick to doodling she can actually freehand some pretty amazing stuff.
One of the rules that I have no problem sticking to is #6 – Tiles are 3.5″ square. I may have possibly driven Grandpa a little insane with my quest for the perfect paper. I love the official Zentangle tiles but they are out of my budget. We searched high and low for a good quality paper and I’m pretty happy with what I’ve found. It means I have to cut my own tiles but I’m okay with that. I have done a couple of bijou tiles and bookmarks but other than that, I stick to tiles. I love the size of the tiles and that it doesn’t take long to complete one generally speaking.
The other rule I have no problem sticking to is #3 – Zentangles are drawn only in black ink. I had considered venturing out into some color for shading but I decided to wait on that until I felt I had mastered (ha!) shading with ink and pencil. I have a life long love affair with office supplies and wistfully look at the calligraphy pens each time we visit the craft store. In the perfect world someday I’ll be good enough to draw with a nib pen. Mmmmm…ink wells.
Rule #7 – No using stencils, rulers or graph paper. This one is simple enough for me. I use these occasionally for Zendalas and since it’s a Zendala I’m already in the ZIA category. I’m going to be working on challenging myself to work on #8 – No erasers. This means I need to get better about drawing my strings and borders lighter and developing better control over my blending. All of which, I feel, are good things to work on anyway.
For fun…here’s the list of rules. I’m not going to list the reasons…if you’d like to read that check out either of the links to the original articles.
#1: The first step in starting a Zentangle: a border and ’string’, drawn lightly in pencil.#2: Zentangles are completely abstract.#3: Zentangles are drawn only in black ink.#4: Patterns should be created by drawing repetitive strokes… structured, non-representational, and easy to draw in a limited number of steps.#5: No planned outcome.#6: Paper, or ‘tiles’, are 3.5 inches square.#7: No using stencils, rulers, or graph paper.#8 No erasers.