These 8 steps add to your creative practice and are intended as a guideline in your creative journey.
I see these steps as a kind of a travel guide.
And just like in a travel guide, you don’t always need to follow the steps to the letter.
And at the same time, it helps you to explore and enjoy your creative trip.
This guide supports you and frees you at the same time. It gives you ideas on what you can do, and maybe, in the moment, you won’t follow the instructions exactly the same way.
It’s meant to inspire you and open up new possibilities.
These 8 steps – that adds to your creative journey in a similar manner as a travel guide would guide you on your travel are the 8 Steps of the Zentangle Method™.
I am sure you will find something useful in these 8 steps and the philosophy behind them.
Even if you don’t practice with the Zentangle Method.
Step 1 – A Moment for Gratitude and Appreciation
When 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 the time you are setting aside to create and for the tools you will be using.
Step 2 – Place Dots in the Corners
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. Thus, your paper is no longer a blank piece of paper.
It also frees you from wondering where you will start on your paper.
Step 03 – Trace your Border
Now, continue with your pencil – connect those dots with a light pencil line to create a square. These lines are your borders.
Remember your lines don’t need to be perfect – they just connect the dots and help frame the area you will draw in.
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. It is a fun step to explore.
Step 05 – Tangle your Tangles
A TANGLE is a predefined sequence of lines or elements that make up a pattern. We usually draw TANGLES in pen.
You draw the TANGLES inside the strings and borders that you previously drew with a pencil.
In the Zentangle Method terminology, Tangle is both noun and verb. As Zentangle is a trademark, we don’t use that word as a noun or a verb. We use Tangle instead.
This makes it easier to describe what we are doing: we tangle Tangles.
As you Tangle, do it deliberately – don’t worry about what your drawing will become. Focus 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
Once you feel like you are finished, take a moment to recognize the sense of accomplishment of having created something!
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.
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.
And remember you do not need to know the way – you just need to trust that you will know what to do as you do it.
And what we experience gets better and better the more we practice and create.
Go practice and don’t forget to have fun!
Until next time,
PS: You can read more, on the Zentangle blog, about the Zentangle Method 8 Steps and its philosophy .
PPS: Comment and tell me which one is your favorite step !