usually ever write about art, but recently a friend introduced me to Zentangle. I thought it was fun, so I ordered some materials and when my soon-to-be step daughter came over the next weekend, she was thrilled because she had learned to tangle from her fifth grade teacher. So, I thought some of you might want to try it with your older students.*
Before you run away screaming, the first thing you need to know is that it is not nearly as difficult as it looks. In fact it is fairly easy to make some really cool designs while learning about patterns, lines, and shading. This activity would be great for indoor recess, free time, read-aloud time (if you allow students to draw), and possibly even to calm down an agitated student as it tends to be a calming activity.
I am going to give you the basics here, but if you want to really get into it, there are several books and many websites to help you along the way. There are tons of ideas for patterns (and how to draw them) or you can just make up your own.
So here are the steps.
The easiest way to draw a Zentangle is to make it in a 3.5 x 3.5 inch square. Use decent paper so that your pens don't bleed or show through on the other side. And speaking of pens, these ones work really well and are the ones that the Zentangle folks recommend.
Begin by making four dots in the corners of the paper and connecting them to make a square. Don't use a ruler. Zentangle is not about being perfect. The Zentangle folks say to use a pencil for this part, but I was taught to use a pen and I still prefer it that way. But a pencil might make you feel more comfortable with the process.
Next, draw some lines to divide the square into sections. These lines are called a string and they are freeform. Here is one I drew:This site has a ton of patterns with step-by-step instructions for drawing each one. Or you an just make up your own or a combination of both.
Here is the same one with all of the spaces filled.
When you have filled in all of your spaces, you will want to use a pencil to shade parts of your design to create some depth.
Simple, fun, and kind of addicting. Give it a try, either for your own sanity or with your students! Looking for a place to start? This book will tell you everything you need to know.
*Please note that I am not a licensed Zentangle instructor (yes, they exist) and in fact am only a beginner. There is a whole 11 step process that the creators of Zentangle advocate. This is just a little starter course for those who might be interested. It is all you really need to create Zentangles, but if you want to go deeper, get a book or take a class.