Looking to get into a regular creative practice? Here are some tips and tricks to draw regularly with the Zentangle method.
The Zentangle method is an easy-to-learn method that allows you to relax while drawing with pen and paper. You can learn more by reading the article What is the Zentangle™ Method? or by visiting zentangle.com from Zentangle Method founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.
To start drawing regularly with the Zentangle Method, you don’t need much equipment: a pen, a pencil and some paper. I discuss this in more detail in the article Traveling Light with the Zentangle Method.
Now here are some tips to help you get started with a regular creative practice.
First tip: Don’t let a lack of space stop you from drawing regularly with the Zentangle Method.
Often, a lack of dedicated creative space can be a barrier to creativity. However, you don’t need much space or materials to start drawing with the Zentangle method.
I recommend gathering the minimum materials (a pen, a pencil, a tortillon or blender and some paper) and putting them in a kit or basket.
Make sure your materials are easily accessible or visible.
If you have to take the time to gather everything each time, it’s much easier to tell yourself that you won’t have time.
On the other hand, having materials on hand will help you get started whenever you feel like it.
Quick Tip: Zentangle materials don’t take up much space. You can also carry a small kit in your bag. That way, you can draw anywhere you go.
Here’s a picture of my Zentangle kit that always travels with me.
Tip #2: Find the time that works best for you.
It’s not always easy to find time to create in our busy lives. Why not set aside 5–15-minute slots in your calendar to get started.
Find the time that works best for you:
- In the morning when you get up?
- During your lunch break?
- In the evening before you go to bed?
- Or even between meetings?
You can have fun and relax with the Zentangle method in just 15 minutes!
The most important thing about drawing regularly with the Zentangle Method is to get started.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t start as regularly as you’d like, but continue at a pace that works for you.
Find small time slots at first, then when it becomes a habit, increase as time and desire permit. The goal is not for it to become a source of stress, but for it to be a time to relax.
We all have our own rhythm. Some people tangle or draw every day. Others are very satisfied with drawing once a week.
Find the rhythm that works best for you.
And remember, nothing is set in stone, change your pace if you feel like it.
The quality of the time you spend drawing is more rewarding than the quantity.
Listen to yourself.
Tip #3: Take it step by step
As the saying goes: a journey of 1000 steps begins with the first one.
And one of the great advantages of the Zentangle method is that you work on small formats.
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself by starting with large painted formats or very colorful Zentangle tiles if that is not for you.
A first tile with a simple monotangle (a single pattern) is a good start. You can choose a Zentangle pattern and draw it quickly. In 15 minutes, you can even have a nice card to send to your friends.
To learn to draw regularly with the Zentangle method, I really suggest you start small. Choose patterns you like, explore what you can do with them.
Learn to tangle and compose your tiles little by little. Explore shading.
There’s a lot to explore with the Zentangle method.
Taking it step by step also helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too much complexity and enjoy the elegant simplicity of black and white tiles.
And finally, if you don’t have time to finish, that’s okay too! You’ll continue the next time you have time.
It’s better to draw a little than not at all.
Tip #4: To draw regularly with the zentangle method, plan ahead.
Still short on time? You’ve found some time to draw, but it still seems too short to do it…
Why not plan ahead what you are going to do?
Please note that I am not asking you to determine in advance exactly what you’ll draw. The Zentangle method helps us to draw and relax precisely because we don’t start with a predefined plan or an exact idea of what we are going to draw.
What I propose here is to prepare some suggestions, some inspirations that will guide you when you are ready to start.
Prepare activities ahead of time so you don’t have to search for ideas when you are ready to draw.
When you’re on your phone looking at Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, why not write down the names of the designs you like for reference later?
Make yourself a list of tangles and strings for those uninspired days or when it’s really too much of a rush.
You can search tanglepatterns.com for tangles or strings you like.
You can also build a tangles directory, so you always have ideas for patterns to draw.
If you need help creating your tangles directory, here is an ebook to help you (in French or in English).
Also, don’t hesitate to look around, you might just find something to inspire you.
And if you really can’t practice regularly, get some help!
Choose a few friends to get started with.
Find a class that will motivate you to draw regularly.
Tip #5: Use what you have on hand
You know you had your supplies ready, but you still can’t find them!
Don’t give up.
Are you likely to find a ballpoint pen and paper or something else to draw with? Start with that.
And if you really don’t have anything handy, why not try to imagine what you are going to draw?
Drawing with the Zentangle method is also a state of mind. I know you have it in you.
So take five minutes today, grab a pen and a piece of paper and draw this Tipple monotangle, which I’ll share with you below with step-by-step instructions.
How many different ways can you draw it in a short time?
Want to learn how to draw Tipple? Check out the Mini Course in French.