You may have been seeing one of the hottest new trends in the drawing and painting world. That’s a world that I generally only participate in as a bystander. I’ve always loved the feel of a pencil, marking pen, crayon or colored pencil in my hand and the scratching sound they make as they flow across the paper.

Until now, I’ve thought drawing, as a form of expression, was something that would simply not be part of my world.

Then came ZenTangles (a term now trademarked). A pen and ink artist caught herself doodling, found it relaxing and coined the phrase that has started a whole new art form. Doodling’s probably been around for centuries but now if you cover an entire piece of paper with them, you are creating art. Who knew?

There’s a society with certified teachers, named designs and conventions. There’s an official size for this art form, official marking pens, pencils and drawing cases. I love the cleverness of creating a new art form, giving it a cool name and turning it into a business. If I get good enough, perhaps one day I will join that world (highly doubtful) but in the meantime, it’s something that basically requires paper and pencil and is open to anyone with any level of drawing skills.

I’m so glad I found the videos from a great art teacher from Texas, PJ Hornberger, before I visited the official site with its certified this and official that otherwise I may have never tried my hand at Zendoodling. PJ is a folk artist by trade who has become enamored by Zendoodling.

Her video contains some really important messages – anyone can make art, there’s no mistakes and just go for it. Ah, music to the ears of this drawing-phobic crafter.

You really need to check out this Zendoodling video if you’ve ever felt your drawing skills weren’t good enough.

You really need to check out this Zendoodling video if you have ever said, “I can’t draw!”

You really need to check out this Zendoodling video if you want to be inspired to try.

Armed with my new-found confidence and some of my colored marking pens, I gave this Zendoodling thing a try.

First came Charlie…

I don’t know why my first attempt at Zendoodling was a fish but for some reason that’s what I wanted to do.

Once I realized the lips of someone else’s fish drawing looked like a heart on its side, I was off and running.

I used a scrap piece of purple paper from another project. The general shape is borrowed but I drew it all myself. Certainly not ready for the Louvre, but certainly something far better than I’ve done before.

Maybe I can actually draw something worth looking at.

So, with my confidence growing, I gave it another go.

Then came flowers…

What I found in my second attempt was that when petals on the same flower come out different shapes and sizes it is OK. Not just OK but even better. Can you see my cool morning glory? I was bummed when the first two petals were so different. But, then a funny thing happened, I realized that it looked all the more special and unique for not being a flower with four perfectly shaped petals.

I suspect my previous drawing endeavors were hampered by a struggle with making everything match and everything perfect. Zendoodling and PJ gave me the freedom to escape from what has limited my creativity for years – the search for perfection.

PJ repeatedly stated in her video there are no mistakes in Zendoodling. If you go outside the line, just add it to the design.

Could it be that I finally found a way to release my inner artist without having to allow my inner geek define that everything had to be perfectly aligned?

The came the tree…

Ah, yes, the tree. As you can see there’s nothing here. Whether my inner critic took over or I did a bit of over-reaching, my trees ended up in the waste basket. Perhaps trees, as I had envisioned them just don’t lend themselves to doodling. Perhaps, I still have to tame the little voice in my head that says, “You can’t draw.”

OK, so trees are out (for now) and on to something else…turtles!!!…

My math roots are showing a bit on this one. Lots of symmetry here. But, if you look too close you will notice it’s symmetry out of square and you might find the little boo-boo. But, look ma, I’m drawing. And I’m making art. Woo-hoo.

Yes, this is me, Michele and I’m actually sharing with the world something that I drew from scratch without any other person’s work for inspiration or providing guidelines. How cool is that?

Fully jazzed, I handed mother my colored pens and a few index cards to give this cool new art form a go.

First came Blue Kitty…

Mom’s a little embarrassed by her first attempt but I think it’s way cool! She even put a hat and bow on her kitty. And, notice the HT? That’s in honor of our two kitties Hapi and Tali.

Surrounded by leaves, butterflies and flowers, Blue Kitty is a happy piece of art that Mom will use for a bookmark.

Then came Pink Butterfly…

OK, a little cheating went into this one. Mom traced the outline of the butterfly from a magazine. But, she’s totally responsible for the placement of her butterfly and even worked her initials into the design.

And, this Zendoodle has a bit of a happy accident. She included the year of my birth in it too. I’ll leave it to you to figure out where it is and what year it represents.

While they don’t conform to the “official size” for Zendoodles and Tangles, index cards work great! They’re cheap too – only $1 for 100 little canvases just waiting to be turned into art.

And speaking of art, do check out PJ’s. She has several great Zendoodle tutorials posted on YouTube along with several cute ones of her pets. Her website is www.pjhornbergerfolkartist.com (ETA – removed the link. Site is redirecting to junk site. Oh, PJ where are you?)

Thank you so much PJ for making this drawing-phobic crafter let her inner artist come out and play.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. PJ Hornberger

    You have made my day, no, my week… really the next month! LOL What a sweet kind email from you. And then tooting my horn on your blog. You are too nice, but I’m taking every word to my heart. So glad you got what I was trying to say. Zendoodles can be art, or they can be just fun. No rules ever! Oh, and it’s fun to do over text in an old retired book, or phone book. Napkins in resturants aren’t safe either. LOL
    Both of your Zendoodles are perfect. I didn’t see any goofs, so don’t look for them. 🙂 Perfection is what a machine is suppose to do. Not artists. We’re suppose to give it a personality, a feeling to share, a giggle, or amazement. Whatever, but never perfection. That would be boring. Getting the outline of a butterfly is not cheating. You Mom made that butterfly hers. I do love that turtle. You did great. Don’t be saying you can’t draw. It’s not true. The trick is, don’t compare your’s to someone else’s. Copies are boring, and look like copies. Thank you again for you kind words, and for watching my crazy videos. Ethel, Herbert, and Sweetie think they’re going to Hollywood any day now. LOL big hug!

    1. Michele

      You are most welcome!

      Your reply here has me smiling from ear to ear. Maybe even a tear in my eye.

      Please keep doing what you are doing. You are one of those special folks who can inspire others. If you don’t work with children and exploring art with them, I do hope you consider it. Maybe even classes for those of us who had our creativity tramped on by ‘art teachers’ who could neither do or teach.

      Too bad I’m not in San Antonio anymore otherwise I would offer to treat for lunch sometime.

  2. Peata

    I like zentangles. Lots of designs out there that really help you to improve your own doodling. Make good framed gifts too.

    1. Michele

      I couldn’t agree more. They’re fun. And, somehow they free up the soul to just create without so much self-censorship of what is right. I wonder sometimes if that is what leads to great artists – as a child, they never had some schmuck of an adult stomp the creativity out of them.

      Thanks for the comment and I hope you enjoyed my site!

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