Crafting Better Mental Wellbeing: Zentangle
Zentangle is known as “yoga for the brain”. While yoga physically relaxes you, zentangle is thought to be a great mental relaxant. It’s more structured than doodling but less so than a formal piece of artwork. It allows pure creative freedom in a world of abstract art, using repetitive patterns. Zentangle is a way for you to create an unintentional masterpiece whilst potentially calming your mind, reducing your stress levels, and helping you to develop mindfulness. There’s a huge hype around this art at the moment — but what’s it all about?
Zentangle is also referred to as “tangling” — but it should never be confused with doodling. Doodling is an absent-minded scrawl. It’s a little swirl on a post-it note while you’re on the phone. It’s something that’s done when you’re otherwise occupied — not conscious art. Zentangle, however, requires focus. This art form has intent; you set out with a goal to create patterns, despite not particularly planning far ahead with it. Zentangle is mindful.
Zentangle Can Be Therapeutic
It goes without saying that creating art can be therapeutic. It’s so easy to get lost in your creativity, freeing your mind of worries, responsibilities, and fears for a short while. Zentangle is often compared to meditation. It’s so simple — like yoga — yet so freeing. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself an artist or believe you can’t draw. The difference between zentangle and sketching or painting is that it’s supposed to rid you of the anxiety often felt about creating works of art. Instead, repetitively creating lines is quite calming.
Zentangle for Beginners
For absolute beginners who lack confidence, there are loads of zentangle patterns out there that you can copy from until you feel comfortable in creating original tangles. In fact, these templates are actually very similar to cardmaking kits, scrapbooking kits, and sewing kits. Those kits contain a specific design for you to follow — just like zentangle patterns. Although this method of getting into it somewhat goes again its ethos, it’s nice to have a comfort blanket. As you progress in confidence, you’ll gain your own artistic instincts to free-form.
Zentangle is Creative Discovery
The art of zentangle is a fantastic way to discover your creative side. The best part of this simple craft is that it requires very few materials to produce something spectacular. Technically, you can use any pen to tangle — but there are recommendations. We’ve found that the best type of black pen to use is Sakura Micron, or another with a fibre tip. Then, all you need is some thick, bleed-proof white card. Two simple elements that combine to produce ornately patterned tiles, animals, mandalas, landscapes, and so much more.
Zentangle doesn’t limit your creativity — you can draw whatever you like, embellished however you like. There is no wrong way to tangle; that’s what makes it so mentally reassuring. The point of this craft is that you don’t erase any ‘mistakes’ because there’s no such thing — that’s what makes your design unique. Use those mistakes to create new lines and new patterns. Use your rough lines to your advantage. Some tanglers like to draw an outline first, like the rhino above, while others just let loose with a pen and paper.
Can zentangle offer better mental wellbeing? We’re going to leave that up to you to decide.