I was always that kid in school whose margins were completely covered in doodles. In fact, maybe if I focused as much on the lectures as I did on the drawing, I probably would have improved my grades just a smidge!
I’ve always been known to have a pretty short attention span. Rarely can I stay focused on one activity or train of thought for longer than 5 minutes without growing bored, or being distracted by some other fleeting thought.
I think this is the reason I have always been such a doodler. When you are just absent-mindedly filling a blank page with random lines and shapes, you don’t have to think about anything. You just draw. It’s also a great way to free the mind from anything I may have been worrying about or fretting over all day. Sort of like a form of meditation, except I’m not thinking about every little itch on my body, or how I need to shift into a less uncomfortable position, or pull an itchy sweater out from under my armpit… you get the idea.
I think that Zentangle is the “art form” I’ve always been doing, or at least attempting to do, without actually knowing that there was a name for it, or that it was considered an actual “style” of art. I first came across it while browsing YouTube videos, and was amazed at how intricate some people’s designs were. Seriously, You can stare at one piece for at least ten minutes and keep finding new things to look at. It’s amazing.
There are essentially infinite possibilities for patterns that can be created, and there are many different instructional articles and videos that can teach you how to create many of them, but I find that I don’t really need them. It’s great to browse the web and look at other people’s creations for inspiration, but I find that in the case of doodling, it feels best when I just shut my mind off and draw whatever flows out of my hand, to the pen, and onto the paper.
The other nice thing is it’s a project that you can work on for as long as you want, then put it down, come back later with a new perspective, and start working again. I don’t feel like I have to finish a whole piece in one sitting. Also, I may come back to one that I have supposedly already “finished” and get the urge to add something else to it. There’s really no right or wrong!
These are a couple of the pieces I’ve “finished” up to this point. Who knows, though. I may find that they need to be updated later on.
I’d love to try other things too, like creating actual scenes, or lettering, or even try a digital version in Illustrator. Either way though I’m really happy with my new-found method of relaxation!
What are some of your favourite ways to relax/get creative?