Zentangling for Stress Relief

I like to Zentangle.

Sounds kind of like Asian kink, but that's not what it is.

Zentangling is an art form which uses the drawing of patterns to instantly shift mental focus from a scattered to a mindful state. It doesn't require any art skills, but rather a patient application of repetitive strokes. It's the repetition that induces the mindfulness.

Each piece takes a few minutes or hours depending on my mood. Some are purely abstract while some are semi-representational with tangling patterns utilized in producing them.

Most people use small artist tiles - 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches specialized art paper - to create their tangles. I prefer to do mine digitally, using the Procreate app on the iPad Pro using the Apple pencil.

There are no rules. The pictorial outcome is not important. It's the shift in focus to a mindful flow state that is the objective. It is calming and meditative and virtually eliminates rumination.

Few of my creations are strictly Zentangles - I digitally paint some fairly conventional fish for example (I'm currently part way through a personal challenge of painting 40 Hawaiian fish in 40 days) - but even many of the fish have some element of Zentangling.

I also paint fish that look like they've been printed from actual fish in the Japanese 'Gyotaku' style. It's particularly fun to try to take a fish reference and transform it into something that looks like a Japanese fish print.

Bottom line, when it comes to digital drawing and painting, the point isn't that I'm an ARTIST (all caps intended) - because I am not. I'm an artist (lower case intended). The difference is that there is no pretension - of skill, mastery of form or composition. My objective is to look at everything with 'beginners mind', as the Zen masters would describe it, and simply explore what I see through a media I enjoy. It's the seeing that counts.

Digital art - particularly Zentangling -shifts me into a flow state where I can remain for hours, and that's the wonderful thing. It never fails to make me feel better.

My Gallery page link (click the heading):

If you're interested in Zentangle, I recommend going to the original source: