Monday, July 7, 2008

Ever heard of a Zentangle?!?! Neither had I!

A few months back on the ATCsForAll site I was looking thru the gallery listings and came across some ATCs that were doodles called "Zentangles." Don't get me wrong, they were cute doodles and all, but I was thinking...why the fancy name?

So I started looking online and see there's a couple who, with the help of some savvy marketing and New Age psycho-babble, have made doodling into a business! Yep, they sell books, materials and give seminars on how to doodle in a meditative sorta way, with names for their different patterns (or 'tangles', as they style them), special official, specifically-sized doodle cards cut from fancy heavy paper, which they will $ell you in kit form, including a special pen! Special Corporate rates available! They've even got a special gallery for the art that various alumni have come up with. Ain't THAT special?!

That said, I was invited to join in an AFA member's first hosted swap (the first three swaps anyone can host are limited to 12 participants, kinda like Swapmeister training wheels.) - and the subject was (drumroll) Zentangles!

Erm...okaaaaaaay! I'm game for anything once! So I check out what's being posted Zentangle-wise and add my own spin. The primary difference is I don't have the overall pattern totally abstract, instead I start with a theme I can hook it into. And ya know what? Once I get past the original bad taste I got from the merchandising, it's an interesting exercise. I'm pretty happy with the results. Here's what I came up with (all are regulation 2.5" x 3.5"):

Wait! What's this?! I am not alone! While Googling "Zentangle" to see what others might be saying about this marketing phenom, I found another blogger with a similar take: Lisamarina: art in ink & watercolor + cool links & art info.

Nice to know I'm not always out by myself
in left field.


WendyK said...

These are all fabulous Donna

Lisamarina said...

Donna, your zentangles are gorgeous! I really didn't get into them as much as I thought I would, I'm still trying to catch up on my unfinished stuff. I'd also like to thank you so much for taking the time to try and translate Tama's info for me. It came out pretty..umm..interesting.. to say the least.

Your work is lovely, and I enjoyed looking at it here. Thanks for adding me to your blog roll. I will return the favor and add you to mine if you don't mind.

Thanks again!

CattyCat said...

Then there are those who have been doing this style of drawing before it was even called doodling. My art teacher at the University, when I was 21 told me it was not a sketch book, it was my art, so I cultivated it and in the 70-90 was a showing selling artist selling my are (pre zentangles, pre doodle derogatory term). You've maybe seen my art in my ATCs. I call them my recycled art. I have cut up many of the drawings that never sold, and converted the bits and pieces to ATCs, collaging them with themselves and adding more pen work. So you can bet I have an issue with the term "doodle" and with the whole "zentangle" concept. Back when I did my art that sold, no one else did it. OK, thats my rant on your blog.


Donna said...

cattycat, Thanks for expressing your feelings on Zentangles!

You've inspired me to conduct a more thorough discussion on this scene. I'll explain more tomorrow, but I was dissing the merchandizing and rah-rah of the 'mother ship', not the art that was being created by others who used the word 'zentangle' to describe their work.

CattyCat said...

Oh yes Donna I understand that, and I was just commenting to back your diss. I was just going in another direction. But what I do like is that just the word Zentangle gives people a bit of dignity for their art. But I personally don't care who capitalizes on what. I can use the term on my swap on AFA and have fun with the style. LOL I wonder if they have a legal patent on the word Zentangle. Hummmmmm?

Andreananda said...

Hey there Donna!
I have never heard of these until now. I am reminded of another art technique that has been marketed:
"Touch Drawing"...