Beginners Guide Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 – today we have to dig a little deeper into the topic of meditative drawing.

You might think:  “Drawing circles with different variations – what exactly is so special about it?”

Actually, there is nothing special about it. But you CAN make it special! It is scientifically proven that repeating the same shapes or strokes over and over again transforms your mindset into a total relaxed state.

Let me quote Brenda:

Doodling and Tangling are very different for me. The only time I doodle is when I am listening to a conversation and need to concentrate. Doodling random lines, shapes etc helps me process what others are saying. I mostly tangle for the therapeutic benefits and to help manage chronic pain. Concentrating on drawing one or two of the elemental strokes over and over helps take my mind to another place and takes the edge off of the pain, helping me to relax. That’s what practicing the Zentangle® method is all about. Doodling does not do that for me.

How do you get into this relaxed state of mind?

It does require a bit of work on your part!

  • Firstly get rid of all expectations. You are drawing for yourself .. and only for the sake of drawing. The result is of no concern at this point. Leave any sense of perfectionism behind you.

Another quote from fellow tangler, Linda:

Remember this isn’t a contest, you don’t have to finish first or best. For me it is all about pain management and relaxation.

  • There are no mistakes – only opportunities. There is always a way to fix things up – be it by shading, drawing a different pattern over the mis-happen line or simply make the same mistake many times and create a new pattern in the process!

Let’s take a look at your workplace.

  • For a beginner I recommend finding a quiet corner. Ensure you sit comfortably. Maybe put on some soft music. Prepare your work surface. You need space to rest your elbows. Get paper, pen, and pencil ready.
  • Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. Let your mind go blank – breathe in and out. The next half an hour is yours .. and yours alone!
  • With a pencil draw a dot in each corner of the square. Connect the dots. Now draw a string lightly with pencil.

String 6

  • If you are still tense, close your eyes again. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders.
  • Take your pen and begin drawing in one of the sections. Concentrate from beginning to end on that one circle. Do not think about the next circle! Do not think about what this picture will represent. Just draw .. one circle after another. Slowly .. with a light touch. Enjoy the feeling of the pen on the paper. Draw small circles, large circles and enjoy every move. Do you have a light grip on the pen? Relax .. your circles aren’t perfect? No problem! Keep drawing. Fill the entire section with those little circles. Can you feel your mind going blank? Now fill all the small gaps between the circles completely.
  • We now draw the pattern Aim along one of the pencil lines. You remember the pattern – no need to look it up again. Begin with one circle. Draw another one around it .. and another .. and one more. Slowly .. concentrating on each stroke from the moment you put the pen to paper to the moment you lift it up. Attach the second shape – repeat – repeat -repeat. The pencil line is not a border, only a guide. If you draw over it, it does not matter. Your lines aren’t perfect? It does not matter.
  • Time to move on to the next section. We will now pick the next pattern that you have practiced yesterday: Tripple Tipple. There is no need to look it up again – you memorised it already. Small circle – large circle around it – and an even larger circle around that. And another one .. and another one..

You don’t have to fill the entire tile. Depending on which areas you chose, your tile may be completed already.

  • It’s time to evaluate!

Hold the tile at arms length – turn it – turn it again and again. Look at it from every angle. Do you still see wobbly lines? Or don’t you notice when looking at the tile from a distance? Pretty, isn’t it! And you feel good and relaxed, right? Did you forget the world around you? Amazing, isn’t it? 🙂

During the drawing process you might get your own ideas what to do with those circles. Do it! There is no wrong or right here. It is YOUR tile and YOUR me-time. Experiment and let it flow.

Congratulations! You have just completed your first tangle! 

Tomorrow we will talk about shading your artwork.

If you want to learn some more new patterns, start practicing the following:

BunzoZenball 1Queasy by Ina Sonnenmoser

  • Bunzo
    1. Step 1,2, and 3 are done in one motion. You don’t need to lift the pen from the paper. Begin with a flat C-shape from left to right. Make this shape larger when moving from right to left … and back from left to right. Count the strokes – if you want to have the outer half moon black, you should stop after an even number of lines – ending on the left.
    2. Solid fill every second half moon. Alternatively you can add highlights by leaving a gap as shown in the example.
    3. Turn your paper for Step 5 and repeat the process.
  • Zenball
    1. This is one of my favorite options for enhancing simple circles. Begin with the circle.
    2. Step 2 and 3 are drawn without lifting the pen from the paper. Start with an arch or C-shape and as you reach the outline of the circle, draw the next arch. Varying the arches will add character to your artwork.
    3. Once you have drawn the arches in all the circles, add solid shading by picking 2 arches and expanding them as shown in Step 4.
  • Queasy
    1. Draw 3 small circles. Add a larger circle around the small ones.
    2. Before moving onto Step 2, ensure that your hand can move freely to complete the entire aura (aura means drawing an outline around a shape).
    3. Add more circles as shown in Step 3
    4. Now draw 2 more auras around the entire shape. Turn the paper when necessary.
    5. Repeat until you filled the entire section.
    6. Highlights can be added by simply leaving a gap.

Please note, I am teaching general meditative drawing. I am not in any way affiliated with Zentangle®.

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. To learn more visit the Zentangle® website.


2 thoughts on “Beginners Guide Part 3

  • July 6, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Ina, I’m loving your Beginner’s Guide posts. You are making the steps so clear & easy to understand. I’ve been tangling since 2008 but I need to go back to the basics from time to time. This is a wonderful refresher for all of us.

    You are a superb & patient teacher. You & Eni Oken should be cloned many times over so everyone can learn from the two of you.:)



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