Mom-inspired Zentangle

Mom-inspired Zentangle


I’m not one for using Instagram, but if you use it, follow @bina_zen immediately. That’s my mom, Bina Damodar, Zentangle artist extraordinaire. She my greatest inspiration, role model, best friend and the most amazing mom a girl could ever ask for. While she’s not busy killing her day job as a Resource Planning Manager for Kaiser Permanente, you can find her doodling in her note book. However, her doodles are not your average doodles. It’s doodles on steroids.

Apparently, this is called “Zentangle.” Simply put, Zentangle is a form or method of doodling. There are a variety of unique shapes, patterns and designs that can be combined into an infinite array of possibilities. The authors of the Zentangle website believe that this method is “an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life,” and I agree!

Anyone can Zentangle! The core principles of Zentangle are:

  • Fun – Let’s face it, it is sooo fun to doodle! Unlike other forms of art that may require unique techniques/materials that are costly and can get messy, Zentangle is the exact opposite. Zentangle has no rules and its a whimsical activity!
  • Unexpected Results – It’s hard for some people to think about going into art not already having an idea in mind of what to draw and how to draw it. It may feel daunting and discourage you from trying. Not with this. Just start drawing, see where your pen goes.
  • Portable – You already doodle in your notebook/pad right? You’re half way there! You can do this almost anywhere without a ton of equipment. All you need to start is a pen and paper.
  • Non-Technical – While several websites have named different types of patterns and markings, the Zentangle “method” is truly non-methodical. Meaning, your creativity is the only limit.

Several other principles are described on the Zentangle website. In addition, there are mental health benefits to Zentangle. As the name suggests, there is a bit of “zen” in the Zentangle method. If you’re ADD like me, doodling can help you develop focus, concentration and memory. According to the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal, doodling serves as an intermediary in the daily fight to keep focus and not wandering off too much into a full-on day dream. Several artists have noted that Zentangle helps them relax, feel empowered, zone out from a stressful situation/state of mind, and brainstorm.

My mom has been doing Zentangle for several months and she expressed achieving similar benefits as well. This was my first attempt at doodling using the Zentangle method and it took about 3.5 hours. I started by tracing a bunch of circular candles from my coffee table. I started doodling in each circle while on the phone with customer service to cancel a credit card, a few subscription services (trying to trim the fat in my life, and budget!) and catching up with my mom. Mom, did I seem distracted at any point during our conversation? 🙂

I hope to do more like this. I’ve been going through a rough patch the past few months and I think this might help. I’ll never be as good as her, but boy was this fun and great for my mind, body and soul!