True Zentangle is a method of drawing that was created to be abstract and unplanned, using repetitive patterns on a 3.5 inch white square tile in black ink.  It was created to be a meditative process rather than to have a goal of creating a planned piece of artwork of a recognisable object.  The process is the aim of the creation, not the finished piece; it is meant to be relaxing and healing, without worrying about doing it right.  There is no 'right side up' to the square when it is complete.  You don't even need to be able to draw.  You just need to be able to put pen to paper.

As a comparison to 'doodling', which people tend to do 'mindlessly' when they are meant to be thinking of something else, Zentangle is meant to be done with the full focus of your attention and thinking of nothing else but the patterns that you are creating.  If your mind starts to wander to mundane thoughts about what you're going to make for dinner then you need to bring them back to focus on the drawing and nothing else if you wish to use this artform as the therapy that it was intended to be.

First I divided up my square into random shapes.  It's all freehand and the lines just go wherever feels right to you.  Don't be hesitant or scared of making the marks.  There is no right or wrong way to do it!

Below I have shown an example of how a true Zentangle would develop.  Obviously mine wasn't truly Zentangle because I was stopping to take photos and thinking about recording what I was doing for this site!

Next I began to fill the spaces in with random doodle patterns.

I just let the patterns grow randomly, choosing them as I went along.

I kept going until I had filled the square.

Once the square had all been filled in with pattern, I decided to shade it in a little bit, using the pen and a pencil.  You can use coloured pens or pencils to make it look really pretty if you choose to.  It's completely up to you!

It is better to use a pen rather than a pencil to make your marks.  Don't worry about 'going wrong', 'messing it up' and not being able to rub it out.  Like I said before, there is no 'wrong'.  If your pen chose to take you where it did then go with it...incorporate it into your drawing and let it grow from the way you made it.  That's the way it was meant to go! 

You don't need fancy equipment and tools to do this craft.  You could just use a scrap of paper and a biro if you choose to.  However, I have found that using a 'fineliner' pen works really nicely because you can get much finer detail using this and they don't tend to 'bleed out' onto the surrounding paper.  You can get coloured fineliners too which give a nice effect. If you struggle to think up patterns and want a bit of extra inspiration there are a whole host of books available to buy that can help.  There are also lots of examples on Pinterest.

As stated previously, true Zentangle is meant to be done within a square if it is to be used as originally intended as a therapy.  Many people however like to expand on the use of Zentangle as a therapy method and create more artistic pieces using the Zentangle methods.  This is completely a personal choice and you can adapt the artform in any way that you choose in order to create some beautiful pieces, filling in shapes such as animals, inspirational words, inanimate objects...whatever you can think of that you think will work...have a go! Art doesn't have to have any tight restrictions, it's just that by doing it this way it is no longer classed as the trademarked Zentangle method.  It is just an adaptation with artistic licence!