Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994
Submitted by: Art teachers of the Art Education list group
With student art from Barbara Rhodes, retired art teacher
Grade Level: Middle Years
Unit: Line and Pattern
Total Sessions: 1
Zentangles® are a fun way to increase focus and creativity. Structured patterns are created from a mind that has been freed up from the cares of the world. The patterns that are created are whimsical in nature and have been used in art therapy as a way to relax and help with insomnia. The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. See the links below for their website. Following are ideas shared by art teachers around the world on the Art Education List Group.
Trading Card Idea:
"I had my 8th grade enrichment art class study Zentangles and then had them create approximately 20 Zentangle trading cards. Some were fantastic and others not so much. I also made them and the day they were due I had the kids put theirs in a zip lock baggie and turn them in. I sorted their projects according to who actually reached the assignment goal and then called each student up individually. Their set of Zentangle cards were laid out and I chose one (with their permission). They then looked through mine and chose one. After the students got their group back then the trading took place with each other. They thought this part was great and some wanted to trade more than once with me. Even the students who did not really meet the requirements wanted to trade; you could see regret in some as to the fact that they didn't take the assignment too seriously compared to others. Overall it was a great project, but I think I would stick in a couple cards a week starting early in the year, so when trading time comes everyone should have theirs ready. I actually didn't have much time during class to make mine, so I spent an entire Saturday on them. I also used some interesting stamps to start the design on many and that helped me on time." - Robin Helsel
"First thing and if students finish their work early I have a large envelope taped up with squares in them so they can do them for 5 pts extra credit. Here is the website: Here is how you do them:
1. Start with a 3.5" piece of paper. With a pencil put a dot in each corner.
2. Now make a "frame" by connecting the dots. They do not have to be a square.
3. Now create a "string", separate the frame with a line that traditionally is continuous, this is what make the Zentangle look complicated.
4. Using a sharpie use different textures to fill in the sections on your Zentangle
Here is a link to my students Zentangles I have been trying to do one everyday, I have also done them digitally with llustrator and Photoshop (Found on the Amazon Adobe page). I have a couple of advanced students who are also doing them everyday.
Have fun!!!" - Tanya
"My kids like to do illustrated letters or Mandalas on black paper (interdisciplinary history/culture) using Gel Pens. The black paper really makes colors pop. Two years ago some students were making trading cards and the boys created cool cars on each card. After I got out the gel pens, they wouldn’t use anything else." - Jan in Tampa
Zentangles for Special Needs:
"I just thought of something I did with my students that caught on with the other art teachers. Have you ever heard of Zentangles? Look it up on Google. it has a great history. It can be used as "therapy " of sorts to calm people down. I drew the whole time I was getting ready for surgery once. It helped a lot. The art teachers started using Zentangles in their classes and said that they had never seen their classes quieter! It also is a great go-to activity when they get done with something in your class or in another class. There are books on it, but there's plenty online you can find and teach yourself. They can Zentangle a mug or cup or whatever. Even students with autism got into doing Zentangles! Also, we did the background of quilts and colored quilt patterns." - Dawn
Click on the images on this page for full size
Patterns and Textures:
"Zentangles are awesome! I did it with Jr. High and High School. With Jr. High, I took them on a "walk about," around campus and they had to find patterns and textures, they could do rubbings or draw them in the sketchbook. Then we went back to the classroom and used what they found in the Zentangles There are lots of great YouTube Videos. I also used them in Sculpture class. (I got that Idea from Scholastic arts) Great Therapy, good teachable moments, and inspirational!" - Sue
"I tested ultra fine sharpies with smooth bristol board for the Zentangles and it worked great. Starting with 7 inch (17.8 cm) squares on first day for grades 3 and 5. I have packets of pattern formation samples that I will show on white board and they will have at their table. You know how some kids just can't get the idea of how to start a pattern and make it more complex without something to actually copy first. Once they copy a few, they GET IT. I also encourage walking around and looking at what others are doing if they get stuck. By the time they get back to their table, the idea will become their own anyway. We once did an entire backdrop (HUGE) for Alice and Wonderland like this... a zillion years ago in a former life, lol. It was awesome. Kids lay on the floor to draw on big taped together rolls of craft paper the length of the room and about 8 feet (2.43 m) tall. So fun. It was amazing when it was finished." - Linda Woods
"I recently went to an art workshop and received some great ideas. The workshop was called Sketch and Doodle from Antiquities presented by Fahmi Khan (a great Art teacher/artist). She presented the lesson: The lesson concentrated on the use of contour figure studies from antiquities which would then be enhanced with doodles (patterns and designs from the 60's). It isn't quit doodling because doodling with some manner of control. The students have to stop every few moments to observe how the lines and shapes affect the drawing as a whole. Prior to this lesson, it is good idea to practice just doodling patterns in a sketch book- an exercise where students are not drawing anything in particular - the idea is to make the hand movements more controlled and to become a disciplined hand in drawing. The lesson can be a little more complicated when the student is asked to draw the sculpture or image from just a glance using more memory." - Erika
Zentangle.com - This site includes a gallery, glossary, FAQ, newsletter, and how you can learn more.
Tanglepatterns.com - With patterns and guides.
One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course - An interactive book teaching the principles of Zentangles as well as offering fun, related drawing exercises.
The Art of Zentangle - 50 inspiring drawings, designs and ideas for the meditative artist. This book demonstrates how to create Zentangle art by showing intricate patterns broken out into several steps.
Design Originals, Joy Of Zentangle - This book is written by a certified Zentangle instructor. This book will introduce readers to the basic theory of Zentangle and provide instructions for drawing over 100 tangle patterns.