Once my curiosity was piqued (see March 18 post), I had to try Zentangle for myself. So I met with a local Certified Zentangle Teacher at a nearby Starbucks.* She explained to me how Zentangle is about the process, not the product, and why quality materials matter (more on that later). Then she talked me through the process of making my very first Zentangle. Starbucks is a quintessential Seattle place to meet, but isn't exactly conducive to a state of Zen. Now, I have been known to get so involved in my work while writing and enjoying a latte that I am unaware that the folks nearby, whose conversation seemed so distracting, left an hour ago. Still, Starbucks isn't an ideal atmosphere, so I decided to replicate the process at home.
I find I like some parts of the first one better, and some parts of the second one better. But the point isn't supposed to be the end result. Comparing materials and processes:
- Official Zentangle paper vs. water color paper cut to a similar size: No real difference, as both papers were of similar quality. Mine doesn't say "an original Zentangle" on the back, but that doesn't really matter.
- Recommended pen vs. the best option I had at home: The "official" pen definitely flowed better. I was better able to use a light stroke and have the ink flow consistently on the paper. With my own pen, it sometimes scratched and sometimes left gaps that I had to go over. Not as satisfying.
- Starbucks vs. home: First of all, it is different creating art when someone is telling you, "now we are going to draw sets of parallel lines," than when you are alone trying to remember the steps. But I noticed something interesting at home. I was standing at my kitchen counter and was aware of the ticking of the clock in the stairway. When I work at my computer in the kitchen, I don't hear it. Perhaps part of that is the noise of the keys when I type, but I also think that the sense of just working quietly and being in the moment heightens the senses. And the clock wasn't distracting, just noticeable.
The next step in my Zentangle journey will probably be to take a formal class. And buy a better pen.
*This isn't how things usually go - I waved my press credentials, as I expect to publish a piece on Zentangle in a local magazine. More on that when the time comes.