Zentangles Course


Zen was drawn up during a “Zentangles” course I attended. Want to learn how this was made? Click on Read the rest of this post…

The session that I attended featured the art of Zentangles (http://www.zentangle.com) by Aline Chan. Aline was a great teacher and her artworks were incredible.


Zentangles is completely new to me, and I was inspired by how free the art form is. It seems to be based on doodles – YES doodles that have a form and some basic rules. These doodles were extended to the letter form and this is what inspired my Zen sketch. I sketched this piece in class. I wasn’t that prepared and ended up sketching it on the back of the agenda which wasn’t my brightest move. By the end of the class the sketch ended up looking like something.

My Zen Sketch (Shown above)

I asked about the construction of the letters, and the instructor uses a pen (not double pencil technique) and simply shapes the letter form until it works. She then decides which areas to add patterns to. I took home my sketch and finished it later that night. The next morning I scanned it and started working it up in both Inkscape and GIMP. Here are some technical notes:

I created this by taking the vector representation of the original scan, scaling it, rotating it, and making duplicate copies of that. All of these were draped on top of the bowl image, an amazing photograph by gmarcelo (sxc.hu/photo/726823). Then i manipulated each copy separately. The vector image was too sharp. I wanted to give it a burnt or stamped look. I blurred one of the images, I painted in very light grey in another image, and I used a faint oilify effect to another. Finally I offset one of the images.

Zen (Card shown below)

  • this is the formal cards that the Zentangle art uses typically 3″ by 3″
  • i simply created a selection (square) -distorted the selection
  • created a drop shadow around the selection
  • this gives the appearance of a Zentangle Card