Doodling’s a beautiful thing. Whether you’re thoroughly engaged in it, or absentmindedly filling the corner of a paper, it’s a wonderful activity to get lost in. As I filled my divided page with patterns, I started thinking about a particular style of doodling referred to as Zentangle®. Examples are everywhere. Thousands of images are on Pinterest alone. And while they can be quite beautiful, I was curious as to why they were considered distinct from other doodles, to the extent of having their own trademarked name, and a pending patent application. I started nosing around and discovered it’s definitely a controversial issue.
Zentangles are a wonderful way of encouraging doodling and all its benefits. But is it reasonable to try and patent the “technique” which involves a combination of pre-existing ideas like deliberate drawing, and dividing a surface into distinct sections to be filled with repetitive patterns? That’s exactly what this project is about, yet it’s doodling, pure and simple. There’s nothing new about dividing a page into sections and filling it with patterns. There’s nothing new about restricting yourself to a black marker on white paper. And there’s nothing new about doodling in a deliberate manner versus scribbling aimlessly. Have a look at Helen South’s excellent article Doodles and Zentangles. Then have a look at Zentangle’s patent application, and see what you think.
While this doodle has definitely been inspired by the many fabulous Zentangle-like doodles out there, its also been inspired by traditional patterns, textile designs, and whatever happened to roll off the tip of my black marker. And that’s exactly what I would like to encourage here. Happy doodling.
- paper or sketchbook
- fine tipped black markers
- pencil and eraser
1. Using a pencil, divide a paper into sections of varying sizes, by making pairs of lines in all directions. Go over the lines with black marker. You’ll need fine tipped markers to create detailed work, and there are plenty to choose from. I’d suggest going to an art supply store and trying out different sizes and brands, to see what you prefer. I found 0.1mm, 0.2mm, and 0.5mm great to work with.
3. Fill in all the sections with a variety of repetitive patterns. Keep a scrap piece of paper handy to experiment with different patterns, and if you need a little inspiration, the internet’s a great resource. Try looking at textile patterns, black and white doodling, Zentangles, and of course just plain old doodling.