Book review | Zen doodle – tons of tangles

A Zentangle has no up or down and is not a picture of something, so you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a Zentangle.

I have been wanting to look at a book about black and white doodles for a long time, but since these kinds of books are not available in Sweden I haven’t had the luxury to do so without having to order it online first. And how can you buy just one book when there are oh so many to chose from – about mandala doodles, zen doodles, tangles and zentangles out there? There is an endless row of new titles coming out about this simple and very enjoyable pastime activity: doodling in black and white.

Zen doodle book cover photo It’s a jungle for sure, and I suspect the one I could really use and like would elude me… Anyway, now I’ve had the opportunity to look into one of these books and thought I’d share a few thoughts about it today. This is the first review of the year, but more book inspiration to come soon, as I get back into reading again when summer arrives… I have a few goodies that I really want to share…

This one is called Zen Doodle: Tons of Tangles by editor Tonia Jenny and Amy Jones. Each doodle is a contribution from a private person who has made a kind of simple step-by-step tutorial to their zentangle-like doodle. The book is divided into a few chapters, like Abstract, Shape and Objects, Animals and Friendship and Love…

Personally I’m a fan of the abstract doodles. I love to repeat a pattern (doodle as an aimless scribble), because to me that’s where I’m most likely to come into a meditative state of mind (zen). I go back to filling notebook pages with flowers year after year, but now I’m trying to evolve my doodling and learn a few new pattern tricks. Though when going through this book I find I’m only interested in about 10-20 percent of the pages, the rest are too much one-time-finished-drawings or too sketchy (without those beloved crisp lines) for me. They don’t inspire me right now. I’m on the lookout for line work.

From the book Zen Doodle

After reading a bit I got online to search for more tutorials of the things that I like…

There are a lot of free step-by-step images to be found out there. Find one on your smart phone, pick up a black marker and start experimenting on paper. It’s really fun to draw up a few squares and fill them with your doodles! And as always, remember that you don’t need a book to doodle, that’s for sure. Just start. Experiment. And pinterest-search! Though another thing to remember, always, is that books are fun to have around. What would we do without books? I’m a big fan of course. So maybe you need to own your own copy, or browse through one at the library if you get the chance… I borrowed this one from a friend, but I don’t feel I need to own this particular one… I’ve copied my favorites from the book to a spread in my art journal, here’s a peek:

Inspired by the book Zen Doodle

I like the inspirational quotes in this book, but sometimes the image quality is not top notch. And for the more complex squares, filled with several patterns, there are not enough work-in-progress pictures to fully understand what to draw first, and how. But still, it’s a nice doodle book that you can browse from time to time and be inspired by I think. Though I’d love to know what you think about it… And if you have a favorite book on this kind of doodling, please recommend it in the comments below!

Thanks and have a great day.

Further Zen Doodle Inspiration

* Zen Doodle: Tons of Tangles by Tonia Jenny and Amy Jones – more info
* Tanglepatterns.com – lots of doodle inspiration here
* My B/W pinterest board – where I collect black and white inspiration
* Book reviews by iHanna – a list of previous books I’ve written about

This book was published by North Light Books in 2013. Quote at top from the official Zentangle(TM) site.

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2 Responses to Book review | Zen doodle – tons of tangles

  1. Elin says:

    Jag har aldrig varit särskilt intresserad av att zen doodles och mandalas i svartvitt, men jag börjar fundera på om jag ska ge det en chans ändå. Jag älskar svarta tuschpennor mot krispigt vitt papper (ljudet!). Jag måste nog ta och investera i några nya pennor tror jag…

  2. Sandy says:

    Hi Hanna,
    I did some doodling/tangling a couple of years ago and you have reminded me that I need to do some more! I found a lady from New Zealand on YouTube and she has good tutorials (Miraculous Mosquito – there will be lots of videos!) . I like them because you can stop and start the videos to keep up with her drawing. I drew little 3.5 inch blocks in a notebook to use for my tangles and I could keep better perspective at that size.

    I so enjoy your blog posts, dear lady.

    Sandy in North Carolina

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