Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Blog, Tiles, Waxing Eloquent | 24 comments

This has come up a couple of times recently… including among people (and publishers – grr!) that ought to know better… so I need to get this off my chest:  Zentangle is not doodling.

Doodling, by definition, is idle, aimless(1).  Zentangle is distinctly not.  Zentangle, rather than fill the empty spaces of a page or one’s head, fully engages the mind, releasing the clouding static of stress.  This is neither an idle nor aimless pursuit.

To reduce Zentangle to the status of a meaningless scribble is to diminish each and every person who seeks to meditate visually, who strives toward mindfulness in art, in life.  Such a diminishment is an insult and betrays the narrowmindedness of a society that believes art, philosphy, thoughtfulness to be frivolous.

Please, please, value yourselves, your visual meditation, and the resulting art enough to believe it worthwhile.  Treasure each tile, each line, each stroke of the pen.   The pursuit of mindfulness, the reduction of stress, the empowerment that results… we need these so badly in our lives and in our society.  We owe it to ourselves and to the world, a small contribution though it may be.  For we will not have world peace until peace within ourselves is commonplace; we will not solve world hunger until the hunger within ourselves to feel valued is satisfied; we will not know calm and loving communities until we, ourselves, are calm and loving.

No, indeed, Zentangle is not doodling.


Diva Challenge 103

Diva Challenge 103





1 [dood-l] Show IPA verb, doo·dled, doo·dling, noun

verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

1.  to draw or scribble idly: He doodled during the whole lecture.
2.  to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
3.  Dialect . to deceive; cheat.

4.  a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.
5.  Archaic. a foolish or silly person.”

Diva Challenge 103 for Moebius Syndrome awareness and in support of the Diva’s son, Artoo.
Rick’s Paradox



  1. 1-24-2013

    You nailed it Kelley!

    • 1-24-2013

      Thanks, Kimberly – it’s so frustrating, isn’t it?

  2. 1-24-2013

    The fill work on the moebius strip is really elegant and beautiful!

  3. 1-25-2013

    Three cheers Kelley!

  4. 1-25-2013

    There isn’t any doodling here!! I love your piece, and the tangles you used are perfect.

    • 1-25-2013

      Thanks, Rae! (And, yep, lots of intention in this piece!)

  5. 1-25-2013

    You are so right. I tell people it is structered (sp?)doodling to the point that it is an art form. They understand the word doodling, but realize I am talking about art. If I have time, I explain it is patterns that make beautiful art forms for the eye. I try to never leave them thinking I ‘doodle’

    • 1-25-2013

      Thanks, Cat – Great idea to open a discussion and deepen the understanding!

  6. 1-25-2013

    Kelley, I love your zendala, but I LOVE your words even more!!!!

  7. 1-25-2013

    Gorgeous. Interesting background, I have not seen design before.

    • 1-25-2013

      Hi Celia – Thanks! The background is my Tra-La-La pattern – it’s on if you’d like to see the step out!

  8. 1-25-2013

    Thanks, Kelley, for so eloquently describing the difference between Zentangle and doodling. Intention and empowerment and structure are key.

    And I encourage folks who doubt to take a class with a CZT and feel the difference for yourselves!

    • 1-25-2013

      Amen – Taking a class has such an effect on understanding (and benefitting from) the difference! Thanks, Sadelle!

  9. 1-25-2013

    Bang on! Huzzah! Hurray!
    As Kimberly said, you nailed it. 😀

    • 1-25-2013

      Thanks, Margaret – I just had to put that out there!

  10. 1-25-2013

    Wow what a great tile. Perfect tangles and a great background!

  11. 1-26-2013

    This is a stunningly beautiful tile, Kelley. I love it. Your explanation of the difference between doodling and tangling is going to come in very handy. Thank you!

    • 1-26-2013

      Thanks, Beth – I’m glad it resonated with you!

  12. 1-26-2013

    Like the tangles you used to fill the Moebius strip. The shading and the background leaves set it off.

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