Dita Basu - <!-- -->Zentangle
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What is it

Zentangle is an art form which is usually done on small pieces of papers. The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. We call these patterns, tangles. You create tangles with combinations o in f dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs.

Now there are no hard and fast rules, no erasing. I just go with the flow and discover the image that pops up at the end in front of me. It’s very meditative and calming.

Why I choose to do zentangle art

Since there are no scopes of mistakes it gives me great freedom and reminds me of the importance of joy in the process. It takes me back to a childlike feeling of joy, simply creating art.

Zentangle art may seem similar to Mandala art or alpana designs from where I might take ideas or strokes unconsciously as they are in my background. But mandalas are always circular and the pattern goes from outward to inward or vice versa and it has a profound spiritual relevance to it.

While thevoriginal mandala is the one that monks create on Buddhist rituals and while non-Buddhist people believed it is only a part of a ritual, Carl Jung fully understood the concept and brought it to Europe with all the real and deep explanations.


Zentangle art is much modern and though there are some similarities they are more open. People design leaves, birds, anything with zentangle art. I am working on feathers for my upcoming book Dreamcatcher and wish to adorn the chapters with zentangle feathers.

__ Who started it:__

Here is a video which will introduce you to the process and tell you all about the couple who started it.


When did it start:

Zentangle was created in 2004 by Rick Roberts, a multi-skilled practitioner who has a lifelong understanding of meditation and mindful living and Maria Thomas, a highly skilled calligrapher and artist.

Soon it became quite popular. You may find many you tube videos for ideas and what people are doing. There are books in the market also. Though the repetitive patterns in art are ancient, zentangle art is a modern meditative art I can say.

“How will you do it:

As I mentioned earlier it started with a 3”x3” piece of paper and artists rotated it to keep the consistency in pattern. But since there is no fixed rule I used a bigger piece and my subject matter is also not a circle or any geometric pattern but feathers. I need quality pens. You can use colored pens also. I close black and white.

If we believe that each of us can be an artist, no one is judging us, then naturally like a child we’d pick up a pen or a pencil to draw. We lose that as we grow old… when we start to emphasize more on the product than the process.

“For this reason, we deliberately do not include an eraser in our Zentangle Kit or use it as part of a Zentangle practice” says Rick

We have no eraser in life, so why in a Zentangle Kit? There's little use for it when you think about it. Pencil strings and borders can be ignored and pen marks can't be erased. Even if those pen marks aren't initially what you might have intended (we never call them "mistakes" in the Zentangle Method), you can use them as inspirations to go in directions that you may not have otherwise explored. Instead of looking at them as mistakes, we reframe them as "opportunities." By avoiding common blocks to creative flow such as: self-criticism, fear of failure, lack of immediate positive feedback, worrying about outcomes, frustration with lengthy training, lack of inspiration and doubts about what to do next, you can create beautiful art right away.

That is the message I want to embrace as a writer too.

When the self critique cranes its neck from right behind me to check every word I write I feel paralyzed. Joining the rejection from the world outside it screams loud and clear in my ears—“It’s not good enough.”

Zentangle art rescues me. It takes me back to the pure joy of creating and writing. It offers me the chance to see the dances of my imagined characters as if I came to their drama performance.

Let me know if you think meditative doodling make sense in everyday life or in your writing journey.