Okay, I feel a little weird about this, but I have discovered a new addiction, called Zentangle. When you look at it you think, “Ha, just a fancy name for doodling.” Which it sortof is, but a term that I like is “structured doodling”. To me the difference is that doodling is something that you do while your mind is occupied by something else, a telephone call, a lecture, etc. But Zentangle is doodling with a purpose; for the sake of doodling. Anyway, here’s an example:

Zentangle 1

The idea is to start off with a small-ish (9 cm x 9 cm) square, then draw a pencil line to divide the square into sections. The pencilled line is officially called a “string”.

Zentangle string

The next step is to fill in each section with different patterns (called “tangles”). It turns out that there are lots of patterns created by lots of different people. After a while I’ve found it easier to use those rather than trying to make up my own tangles (but leaving me with a vague feeling of “cheating”).


As my title implies, I find it a strangely addictive process. One of those things where I feel like I’m “wasting” my time, but it’s very soothing (I suppose that that’s the “zen” part), and I tell myself that it’s good for my creativity, which is maybe just an excuse. Anyway if you’re interested in finding out more, this is the official site (yes, Zentangle is trademarked, copyrighted and marketed enthusiastically): http://www.zentangle.com/. And here is a site that has lots of interesting patterns: http://tanglepatterns.com/

Zentangle 4

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