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Book Review | One Zentangle A Day

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I first learned about Zentangle four years ago from my school’s art teacher. My students all were coming to class drawing, and as I perused the room during independent practice time, I noticed my early finishers making these intricate drawings in their art notebooks.

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Being the ever so inquisitive teacher that I am, I asked one of my students what it is they were drawing. “Zentangle, Miss. It’s art!” That it certainly is. My kids were making these fabulous drawings from what looked like simple straight and curved lines, circles, curlicues, and shading. My interest was piqued.

If you’re unfamiliar with the craze that is Zentangle, here’s a primer:

What is Zentangle?

Zen-tangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

How Zentangle got its start

One day, Maria told Rick what she experienced as she drew background patterns on a manuscript she was creating. She described her feelings of timelessness, freedom and well-being and complete focus on what she was doing with no thought or worry about anything else.

“You’re describing meditation,” Rick said.

Rick and Maria wondered if they could create a simple system so others might enjoy a similar experience. And so began the journey towards discovering this simple and elegant system called Zentangle.

(From Zentangle.com)

Fast-forward a few years, and here I have in hand a Zentangle book called One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun by Beckah Krahula. I was very excited to dive right in.

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I find “tangling” (the verb meaning “to make a Zentangle”) a great way to get over a creative block, and also a great way to warm up your creative muscle before another project. It’s quick and easy. You can make your tangles easy or elaborate. Just grab a pencil and a notebook, or break out the watercolors and paints. It’s up to you – and that’s what makes it so easy!

Young or old, skilled artisan or amateur…Everyone can tangle. And you can too with this easy-to-read book. Check out a few of my sketches….

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Here is a picture of a few lessons that I was practicing from the book. I was sitting at my craft table one day after being completely drained from work and not feeling the creative mojo. These few little boxes and sketches definitely got my creative juices flowing and also helped me to soothe my frustrations from the day. Score one for the less stressed teacher!

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Here is another tangle that I did with just a normal felt-tipped pen. I love how dark the pen is on the black paper. As you can see, it’s not neat and tidy, but that’s perfectly OK with me!

Pros:

  • Detailed list of materials including brand names makes gathering supplies quick and easy.
  • The short daily lessons makes the course easy to manage, and follow along.
  • Lessons use three different patterns that are easily combined to create intricate designs and fabulous art.
  • Step-by-step visual references help you to achieve the desired design.

Cons: 

  • Sometimes the step-by-step graphics do not match the written descriptions.

One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun has a cover price of $22.99 and is available at major book and crafts retailers. It’s currently available at Amazon.com for $13.96.

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Angela Butler-Carter

Iʼ’m the girl who always carries a pencil pouch with 20 different colors of pens, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and a large eraser. Ever since middle school I've been fascinated with creating things with my hands. My 7 year old Christmas wish list included a diary, new tap shoes, a pink glitter tutu, and a Barbie dream house. Since those days of Ballet, Jazz, and Tap dance lessons, voice lessons, and piano lessons, I've fallen in love with memory keeping. I have boxes and boxes of “memories” that my grandmother collected over the years that have been passed down to me from my mom. Taking pictures is what our family does but they never went beyond that. We had photo albums but none of the stories that went along with those stories. 6 years ago I became obsessed with YouTube. I've learned so many things from how to apply makeup to how to knit. The one thing that changed my life was paper crafting. After watching my first card making video tutorial I was hooked and I've never looked back. As I searched for more and more information about paper crafts I was introduced to mini albums from Marion Smith, scrapbooking from Shimelle Lain, and Project Life from Ali Edwards. That has been my focus for the last 3 years. Preserving my familyʼ’s history and my new adventures of being a newlywed has fulfilled me in so many ways. It has become my creative outlet. It inspires me to live life to the fullest and appreciate the people that surround me with love and encouragement.
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