I have been doodling a lot in my drawing notebook with a Sharpie — and it finally occurred to me that I was doing a short version of what is called zentangling. I saw a post about it recently on QuiltArt and was directed to www.zentangle.com. They don’t describe it so much as show you. I started researching and found several videos on YouTube about it — but I am surprised to find that there is currently no Wikipedia entry for zentangle or zentangling.

OK — so what is it? It is a process of doodling that brings about a meditative state. You use heavy white paper and thick & thin black markers — although I’ve seen someone online use black paper with a white marker. If you’ve read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain — the author talks about reaching the meditative state in drawing that is needed to tap into your best creative energies. Zentangling is an easy way to do this.

So I went to Dick Blick the other day & bought some 80 lb. bright white drawing paper and a couple of Sharpies. That is really all you need — and some time. I had to sit by the pool for a couple of hours yesterday — and it was a perfect activity to keep me occupied. There is a lot of detail in each piece so it takes quite a while to fill one out — but it is also a lot of fun. It seems to take away the pressure of the blank page and lets you experiment with drawing in a non-threatening way.

My first piece is around a circle — so it is technically a mandala — which also helps with the meditation. I had several people who saw it tell me that they would love to see it silk screened onto T-shirts. I’ll have to ask someone if you can create a screen from a Sharpie drawing.


I used a plate to draw my circle — and then used wavy lines to divide it into sections that I then filled with circles, dots, lines, squares, diamonds, whatever. It uses repeating patterns to give a sense of rhythm. It is not dissimilar to the process of coming up with quilting patterns to cover background areas.