One Zentangle A Day – eventually

Zentangle pattern tiles by Ivy Arch

Worthing based holistic therapist and mindfulness tutor Joanne Turner introduced me to the practice of zen doodling some 18 months ago. The idea of a meditative practice that incorporates doodling and creative drawing appealed, so I attended one of her delightful zen doodle workshops and resolved to try to doodle more.

One Zentangle a Day book by Beckah Krahula

Inspired by Jo's course I bought Beckah Krahula's One Zentangle A Day book to help me build up a repertoire of patterns to explore in my doodling. Zentangle has a methodical, deliberate approach – it's zen doodling but with exacting rules! Zentangles are abstract patterns always drawn within 3.5 inch squares (or 'tiles') and are meant to be constructed by following a specific sequence of steps.

Ivy Arch's zentangle sketchbook

Each 'tangle' pattern in the book has clear step-by-step instructions showing you how to create it, and the book instructs you to copy out each step in a sketchbook so that by the end of the 6 week course you will have a visual dictionary of your own drawn tangle patterns to refer to. Most days of the course cover 2 or 3 new tangle patterns and after completing these the idea is to create an abstract 'tile' comprising the new patterns with some of your favourite previous ones.

Zentangle tiles by Ivy Arch

For the first two weeks I diligently followed the book day after day, then life intervened with changes in routine and my Zentangle regime was neglected. I'd return to the book picking up where I left off on short camping trips during the school holidays only to ignore it again upon returning home... until I eventually guiltily abandoned the project altogether.

However, last month I signed up for Lisa Congdon's online Sketchbook Explorations class at Creativebug which motivated me to revisit the One Zentangle A Day book too. Congdon's colourful course has given me renewed purpose in doodling and the abandoned Zentangle sketchbook has come into its own as reference for mark making. I finally completed the One Zentangle A Day book in tandem with working through Parts 1 and 2 of Sketchbook Explorations and have found that both these courses have given me the confidence to explore drawing and design again. I'm continuing to draw in my Zentangle notebook and am adding stylised line drawings to make into my own abstracted patterns.

Ivy Arch's drawing sketchbook

I'm now working through Part 3 of Sketchbook Explorations and will blog the results when I've completed all 4 parts of the course (you can see progress so far on my Instagram feed). Stay tuned here for more zentangle, doodling and sketchbook explorations!

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