I don’t remember how I heard about Zentangles®, because my brain suddenly turned into gooey mush ’round about the time I turned into an elderly senior citizen in need of Life Alert, but it’s an awful lot of fun and I’m using their techniques to get a grip on the shaking in my hands when I’m doing very fine work (like soldering a tiny one millimeter copper ball to a 5mm copper disc).
You can buy a Zentangle® set to get you started, special pens and paper, and a whole bunch of artist paraphernalia, but all you really need is a fine point pen (like a Sharpie), a pencil, and a piece of paper. You could use a whole piece of printer paper and make a big tangle, or divide and cut it into 3.5″x3.5″ squares, which are called tiles.
The concept behind Zentangle® is meditative doodling. You draw a “string” on your tile in pencil, add “tangle patterns” using a pen inside the blank spaces created by the string, and then shade the patterns using the pencil and a shading tool (also known as your finger if you don’t have a paper stub). You can buy books that show different patterns and how to draw them, or you can get tons of them for free on the web at Tangle Patterns. This site also has advice about strings and links to people who are certified to teach Zentangle®. Their blogs are also great resources for strings, patterns and inspiration.
Here are the Zentangle® tiles I have created to date:
This hobby is, oddly enough, very relaxing and I have gradually begun to relax my “death grip” on the pen, so the shakes are not as bad as before.