Zentangling: Art or mere Doodling?

This form of structured, meditative drawing has become a worldwide phenomenon and adult colouring books are popping up in households around the world. I, for one, am an avid "tangler". It’s relaxing and incredibly gratifying. Despite the many benefits that have been psychologically proven, can zentangling be considered ‘art’ or is it simply glorified doodling? I’m a mature university student of Creative Writing and English and Literature and I’ve just chosen to add a Visual Arts minor to my degree because I can’t breathe without creativity. Does this passion for zentangling transcend into the art realm? Do you suppose this practice can be taken seriously when presented as art?

  • What is the difference between art and doodling? Isn't doodling just a quick, unstructured form of art? If zentangling can be considered both art and doodling, then the question becomes: is it good art, worthy of respect as an equal to more traditional forms of art? Or is it a lighter form of art that is not meant to be at the same level as other art form? Just some questions to ponder. – OddballGentleman 8 years ago
  • I am a professor of art education. I have chosen to take zentangling seriously and to present it as art in our faculty exhibition. I presented a piece called 100 drawings in 100 days. It was a 10x10 grid of my best 100 zentagles out of about 250. The squares that come with the "zentagle kit" are 2.5" x 2.5". When I say 10x10, I am talking about the number of square papers, not units of measurement. I think there are ways to take the zentangle experience to a higher level. I tried to do that with the time I put in to each piece, the way I presented the drawings, and the originality of the designs. I also used India ink for variety and to achieve some unique designs that other "zentanglists" had not used. The painted on ink has a stronger, more graphic look than the delicate pens used alone. Mixed media like watercolor layered with pen, adding color or using zentangle designs in printmaking or as a surface texture on clay are a few other ways to lift the process to a more artful level. – Drbarro 7 years ago

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