Intro to Zentangling
Jan 20, 2017
3 minutes read

What is it?

Last month, I was browsing a random thread on Reddit about teaching yourself a skill in a short time. Someone mentioned “Zentangling”. So I started research what it was. It turns out that it’s a unique way of drawing images using patterns and tangles.. In their own words,

The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

What is it good for?

Some of their claimed benefits include an increase in

  • Relaxation
  • Simple and quick access to mindfulness
  • Insomnia (Improved sleep by creating Zentangle art before bedtime)
  • Self-esteem
  • Inspiration
  • … and many others

Hmm, that’s a tall claim. But the book stores these days seem to be filled with adult colouring books including lots of mandalas. So I thought i’d give it a try.

So the first step was to get my hands on the book Joy of Zentangle by Mary Browning

How do I get started?

You just need

  • a blank paper
  • a pen
  • a pencil for shading

The steps to get started seem simple enough

Step 1: Get focused

Breathe and unwind

Step 2: Mark the Dots

Make a dot in each corner of the paper tile

Step 3: Draw the border

Connect the dots to make a border. Ideally it’s square shaped.

Step 4: Draw the string

Draw a string with your pencil, which can be any shape like a zigzag, swirl, circle. The string should divide your page into sections.

Step 5: Add tangles and finis

Now start adding patterns and tangles to each section. Patterns can be any number repetitive strokes that you can fill an area with. You can rotate the tile as you need. Change the pattern/tangle as you cross a line. You’re not allowed to use an eraser, but incorporate the mistakes into your design.

How did I do?

So I tried it out and here’s how it came out.


Ugh! it sucks. I thought it’d be easier and atleast look presentable. Turns out churning out creative work is hard. I tried not to look at the book’s example patterns, to avoid copying them inadvertently. After my first pattern, I couldn’t think of what to draw, so I just blindly let my hand do some squiggling. But I did realize one thing. You do automatically tend to start focussing on your patterns, and forget whatever it was going in your head before you started. So it kinda worked in that regard. I’m going to keep trying this. Next i’ll try to copy some of the basic patterns from the book and try to incorporate them in my next Zentangle.

Where can I find out more?

Don’t let me awful first attempt get you down. I recommend you look at way prettier patterns on their website for inspiration and give it a try yourself.

You can visit their website here to find out more: Zentangle

You can also get a book like Joy of Zentangle by Mary Browning

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