A Zentangle by any other name is…what?

“Who seeks shall find.”~Sophocles, Greek playwright

Can you create a Zentangle without using tangles?

That is an interesting question posed in this week’s Diva Challenge #123.  A Zentangle is a Zentangle is a Zentangle…right?  If it is not, then you just doodling…right?

That word raced through my head everytime I thought about this challenge. Without specicifc patterns broken down into specific steps, I felt lost in space. There was nothing to grab onto, no foundation to begin with, no framework to create from.

How did I do this before? I used to doodle. I have old school notebooks with little squiggly, swirly shapes and pictures down the left margin. My birds clung on a wire and horses leaned off the cliff’s edge. Those ruled pages just begged for some precarious leap of imagination and I found it day after day. My blue ink pen made scribbles mostly in either comatose Physics or confused Calculus class, but the jumbled penstrokes continued into adulthood with the advent of staff meetings.

I didn’t know any better until I found Zentangle. At that moment, balance was restored in the universe and everything was right within my world. My nose turned down at those past scribbles, meaningless, mindless nothingess. I was too good for the D-Word.



So where do I start now?  The challenge before me, there is no Zen, no foundation to build off of and grow from. With Zentangle, you just do. Doodling is interruptive and uneven with starts and stops. You don’t know what is coming next so you have to plan. Doodling is hard work.

I could sit here and doodle or I could approach this as if I was deconstructing and developing new tangles to find patterns in the world that others had not. After all, that’s how any officially recognized tangle begins: random strokes for different folks.

I sat in a coffee shop and soaked the inspiration from the paintings around me. I chronicled my journey in the margins as I drew: flower leaves were grass and mushrooms had squares. There were penants flying and a brick wall…well, bricking. In the end, nothing looked cohesive, nothing felt cohesive. Even shading did not smooth it out. This was not fun. I fet lost without the security and structure that “Zentangle” provides.

I may have developed new tangles–for me, at least. This exercise made me rethink and evaluate Zentangle. More to come.

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0 Responses to A Zentangle by any other name is…what?

  1. Annemarie says:

    If you had not told otherwise, I would think that you had fun creating this. Anyway, it’s fun to look at.
    Next week we can do a ‘normal’ zentangle again (I hope) ‘sigh’.

  2. dragonmaid says:

    I found it’s funny because everytime I want to sit and tangle I can’t remember any patterns and it’s annoying because I have to take a look in books or old pictures of mine and when I tried to solve this challenge I had only existing patterns in my head! *shakes head*

    Your “Chaos” reminds me of the doodle I made during lessons… It doesn’t look like you had drawn it in one hour but had let it grow over a whole day… I’m not sure I find the right words so you can understand me. But it really looks like fun!

    • dwhirsch says:

      Perfectly clear! Everytime I thought “let me do something with circles” I realized most of my ideas were tangles. It’s hard to break away from the norm, which is why this stretched and pained everyone. 🙂

  3. It really does seem so different now that we tangle doesn’t it? I also had the same sort of response. It was and interesting exercise at least.

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