Zentangle Untangled

Doodling gets a creative edge with a new artform called Zentangle.

Published: March 10, 2014 12:23:56 am
An example of Zentangle artwork. An example of Zentangle artwork.

Shreya Thakur

Doodling is one of life’s little treasures; creating repetitive patterns out of nothing has got one past a crazy day at work, or even a boring day at home. When US-based artist Maria Thomas and a monk named Rick Roberts decided to turn it into an artform, no one thought it could work or find takers, let alone students. But Sampada Aggarwal decided to give it a shot and approached Thomas and Roberts to learn Zentangle, the delicate skill of using structured patterns, usually drawn by a micron pen. Aggarwal, now a Zentangle instructor, was in Delhi to conduct a workshop. Excerpts from an interview:

How did you hear of Zentangle?

I am a self-taught artist and was exploring new and old artforms. I accidentally came across Zentangle while surfing the Net one evening, in October 2011. The intricate patterns caught my eye and I was drawn into the beautiful and seemingly complicated patterns. The idea of using simple tools like paper and pen in this day and age of technology intrigued me. After a few months of exploring the art on my own, I realised that I wanted to be able to impart this knowledge to others.

How does lazy doodling transform into something so creative?

This method is the exact opposite of doodling. It is a mindful activity that requires your complete focus and concentration. It provides clear steps that take the guesswork out of the equation.

What does Zentangle mean to artists and non-artists?

Zentangle is an evolving artform that has become a movement. Established artists find new creative sparks out of this method. Non-artists find this method a step towards creativity. Teachers say it is a tool to generate focus and concentration in their students.

Can this artform survive the test of time?

It has the potential to cater to the needs of the young and the old. Creating designs, manipulating symbols and putting pen to paper is part of our human heritage. In a time of keyboards, computer mice, and cellphones, the simple strokes that are part of the Zentangle automatically engage you in a comfort and familiarity of timeless, basic creativity.

(The writer is an EXIMS student)

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