Tonawanda News


June 30, 2013

Zentangle method is doodling with intention

Tonawanda News — It may look a little like the doodling you did on the corner of your notebook during class in high school, but the creators of Zentangle — a method of drawing that promotes relaxation and freeing your mind while drawing a pre-set series of patterns — say it’s anything but.

Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas created the Zentangle method about 10 years ago and within the last few years began certifying teachers in the program, including Niagara Falls resident Mary Sykes. 

Sykes is the only certified Zentangle teacher in Western New York, and offers classes through the Patrick Sean Daley Studio in the City of Tonawanda and to assorted groups throughout the area, like the Amherst Museum Quilters’ Guild. 

Prior to her interest in the drawing method, Sykes had a moderate interest in art and took colored pencil drawing classes at the Patrick Sean Daley Studio. Primarily, though, she was interested in meditation.

Sykes said her attention was first brought to Zentangle through a craft book a friend lent her.

“I kept looking at it, thinking my heart is being pulled,” she said. “It speaks of the soul.”

Roberts and Thomas said the point of Zentangle is to learn a series of “tangles,” or patterns so intuitively that when an artist puts pen to paper, it’s just a natural process that involves no planning or conscious thought.

“They’re simple, basic and they allow somebody to do what used to be called doodling much more deliberately,” Roberts said. “There’s a whole palette of patters — like colors — that you can choose from and you watch them unfold. It creates itself.”

One pattern might involve a series of spirals, another might resemble a leaf, while still others incorporate straight lines and dots. 

Sykes describes drawing tangles as a stream-of-consciousness-like process, one in which she doesn’t have to think too hard about what she’s doing or what the end result will be.

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