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What is the Zentangle-Method?

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 of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs.

These are the “elemental strokes” in all Zentangle art. Zentangle art is drawn on small pieces of paper called “tiles.” We call them tiles because you can assemble them into mosaics.

Zentangle art is non-representational and unplanned so you can focus on each stroke and not worry about the result. There is no up or down to Zentangle art. In fact, you can most easily create Zentangle art by rotating your tile as you tangle — always keeping your hand in a relaxed position. You don’t need to know what a tangle is going to look like to draw it. You just need to know the steps. The result is a delightful surprise.

The founders

The Zentangle method was invented by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas from the United States. It all began one afternoon that has taken on almost legendary status in Zentangle circles.

Maria is an illustrator and calligraphic artist. While working on a larger gilded letter in her studio, Maria became so immersed in what she was doing she didn’t notice Rick coming in and talking to her. After Rick, a bit irritated, finally got her attention, she explained how she had completely forgotten herself, her surroundings, and all sense of time. What she described reminded Rick of a meditative state.

Yet it wasn’t the demanding calligraphic art which had led her there. She had already completed the most demanding part of drawing the letter and had been filling in the background with patterns and lines. The key to her experience was the repetitive strokes, which she was able to draw without planning, just following the logic of their steps. This realization was very exciting to both of them because they realized at once that this was something anyone could learn to do.

In the coming days and weeks, Rick and Maria spent all their free time exploring ways to take the core of this experience and give it a simple and beautiful form in which it could be taught to anyone wanting to learn it. At the end of this intensive and creative process, the form had a name: “the Zentangle Method”.

Immediately, Rick and Maria went about sharing the Zentangle Method with others whenever and wherever they could. They showed it to family and friends, taught it in schools and businesses, and took it to art clubs and libraries. The ingenuity of the Zentangle Method, coupled with Rick and Maria’s passion, have made it a huge success. Today, the Zentangle method is known and enjoyed around the world.

Anything is possible one stroke at a time.

About the Zentangle-Method

Through the Zentangle Method of drawing, you can

  • Relax

  • Focus

  • Expand your imagination

  • Trust your creativity

  • Increase your awareness

  • Respond confidently to the unexpected

  • Discover the fun and healing in creative expression

  • Enter a vibrant and supportive world-wide community

  • Feel gratitude and appreciation for this beautiful world and all that you can do

  • And perhaps most importantly . . . Have fun!​

The Zentangle Method offers all this and so much more.

It may look simple, but there’s a lot going on here. Savor this time as you discover and enjoy all that the Zentangle Method (and you!) have to offer. Take a Zentangle class with a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Create some Zentangle art and you will understand why the founders say:

Life is an artform and each of us is an artist.