Half-way through my twelve-week challenge, I’m happy to report I discovered a way to follow the official rules without make swoopy-loop threads. I know that seems fairly simple, and you may wonder how it took your dear blogger six precious weeks to find this new system...but here we are.
One of the official Zentangle rules is to lay out a thread, which creates the main sections of a tile, in one continuous mark, not lifting your pencil to draw a second thread, all while staying inside of the frame you’ve drawn. I think this is supposed to indicate how life is a continuous line that you can’t start over. This is the same reason they don’t want you to use a pencil or eraser, outside of drawing the frame and thread or when shading – and then you only use the eraser to remove the frame and thread lines...never on your shading.
I’ll admit, this does not typically leave me feeling zen, though it may partially be because I fight my “designer” mind which wants to prioritize layout over exercise. Most of the tangle inspiration sheets you can find on Pinterest or other sources have multiple threads and certainly zen-inspired doodles use any number of frames, shapes, and threads to assemble their composition. However, the task at hand was to follow the official Zentangle Method and so, I was challenged to find more creative ways to draw out a thread.
I appreciate that this thread allowed me to consider layout, shape replication, and pattern repetition. Couple that with easy shading and I feel this was a truly successful tile!
I still find myself really looking forward to using multiple pen widths and even dabbling in color at the end of my challenge, but this is one of my first tiles that feels like a cohesive art form and I did find myself regulating breath, focusing on the individual strokes, and feeling a peacefulness in the repetition of each pattern and space. Progress? Here’s hoping!