A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Saturday, April 14, 2012

You can only read this post if you promise not to laugh: My first Zentangle

It's tough having a fetish for pens and paper yet lacking any artistic talent at all. Seriously. I look at the other pen and paper blogs, and so many of them include nice sketches as part of their pen or ink reviews, or at least nice handwriting. Others write fiction. I can't do any of that.

I've read one book recently about writing, and I've got a few more to go, thinking maybe this will be the year I actually participate in NaNoWriMo in November. ( I modified that to ShoStoWriMo a couple of years ago, and actually got some stuff down on paper, but couldn't come up with much of a story.)

Drawing? Hopeless. Them somehow, I ran across something about Zentangles. (Here's a reminder I am an attorney: "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.) This is supposed to be art that anyone can create, based on very small, repetitive strokes creating patterns (each pattern in the piece is called a "tangle"), and the process is suppose to help relieve stress. (Believe me when I tell you that stress relief is something I can use.) Zentangle, Inc.'s trademark expression is "Anything is possible one stroke at a time."

Oh, yeah? They never met me.

Anyway, I bought a book on "tangling," the recommended Sakura Pigma Micron pen (oops, wrong tip size), and went to town this afternoon on a blank #12 R by Rhodia premium notepad.

This is what I ended up with after about an hour and a quarter:

First Zentangle
That patio chair backdrop makes for its own nice tangle pattern, It's a shame I didn't draw it.

Maybe it looks better on an oblique?

First Zentangle - Oblique
Leave it to me to put the worst tangle in the foreground!

If you want to go the whole tangling route, I suppose, you buy these Zentangle tiles, which I might get around to eventually, but I figured it would be better to start on notepads for awhile to see if I stick with it before spending money on the tiles, which run about $0.50 each. The No. 12 Rhodia pad, at 3.3 in. x 4.7 in., is about 25% larger than the tiles, which are squares 3.5 in. on a side.

After just one tangling session, I'm not convinced yet this will become a common way for me to relax. But the concentration required in drawing all those little lines sure shuts out the rest of the world, which is exactly what I was looking for.