There are 8 steps that you can add to your creative practice and use as a guideline in your creative journey.
I think of these steps as a kind of travel guide.
And like a travel guide, you don’t always have to follow the steps to the letter.
At the same time, this guide helps you to explore and enjoy your creative journey.
This guide accompanies you and sets you free at the same time. It provides you with ideas about what you can do, and maybe, in the moment, you won’t follow the instructions in exactly the same way.
It’s all about inspiring you and opening you up to new possibilities.
These 8 steps which add to your creative journey in the same way a travel guide would guide you on your journey – are the 8 Steps of the Zentangle Method™.
Discover these 8 steps and the philosophy behind them, to help you in your creative practice.
Even if you don’t practice with the Zentangle Method.
Step 1 – A Moment for Gratitude and Appreciation
Before you start, get comfortable, take a few deep breaths and feel or reflect a moment on gratitude and appreciation.
This is an essential first step in your “journey” and sets the mood for this creative moment you are taking for yourself.
Take a moment to be grateful, for example, for the time you are setting aside to create and for the tools you will be using.
Step 2 – Place dots in the corners
Then you start drawing by placing, with a pencil, lightly, a dot in each corner of your tile – about a finger’s width from the edges of your paper. You did your first marks on your paper and there should be no more fear of the blank piece of paper.
It also frees you from wondering where you will start on your paper.
Step 03 – Trace your borders.
Now continue with your pencil – connect these dots with a light pencil stroke to create a kind of squared shape. These lines are your borders.
Remember, your lines don’t have to be perfect – they simply connect the dots and help frame the area you’re about to draw.
Step 04 – Draw your string.
After defining an area with the dots and the border, the next step is again drawn with a pencil. Inside the borders, draw a line or more than one line to make a “string.”
The string separates your tile into sections – in which you draw your tangles. A string can be any shape. This is a step to explore freely.
Step 05 – Tangle your Tangles
A TANGLE is a predefined sequence of lines or elements that make up a pattern. TANGLES are usually drawn with a pen.
You draw the TANGLES inside the strings and borders you’ve previously drawn in pencil.
In Zentangle terminology, Tangle is both a noun and a verb. As Zentangle is a registered trademark, we don’t use it as a noun or verb. Instead, we use Tangle.
This makes it easier to describe what we do: we tangle TANGLES.
When you tangle, do it deliberately – don’t worry about what your design will become. Concentrate on each line, each shape you draw.
Trust that you’ll know what to do next when the time comes.
Make sure you always stay comfortable when you work. Don’t hesitate to turn your paper as you draw to be in a position that works best for you.
Step 06 – Shade your tile
For this step, use your pencil again. Add shades of graphite or gray to the drawing to bring contrast and dimension to our tile.
It is fascinating to see the two-dimensional black and white TANGLES transform through shading and watch the shades of gray make everything appear three-dimensional.
If you want, you can use a tool called Tortillon to soften and blend the graphite or something that would work the same way, like a cotton swab or the tip of your finger.
Step 07 – Initial and Sign your artwork
When you think you’ve finished, take a moment to own your work.
This is your work, so put your initials on the front.
This can also be the occasion to come up with a creative way to monogram your work.
I also suggest that you put on the back of your paper: your name, the date, and any comments or observations you might want to keep a trace of.
Step 08 – Appreciate the moment
This last step will close the 8 steps sequence. A moment as valuable as all the other steps.
Take a moment to hold your work at arm’s length, take a moment to look at it, and enjoy what you’ve just created.
Appreciate this moment, this journey you took, to take a moment for yourself and create something.
It doesn’t matter how long it took – what matters is this moment and what comes from it.
These steps are guidelines.
I want to add that it doesn’t really matter if you follow all these steps, some of these steps or none.
What matters is really this idea that taking moments to be present, relaxing, and creating can take us on a journey that expands our horizons.
Even if we are just staying home.
Explore what YOU can achieve without judgment, taking it a step at a time, discovering new possibilities and inspiration.
When you practice, you access this immense well of creativity that we all have inside us.
Remember, you don’t need to know the way – you just need to believe that you’ll know what to do when the time comes.
And every step you take as you practice and create takes you further along your creative path.
Get into the habit of practicing, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way!