Zentangle for Beginners – Step by Step Tutorial for How to Draw a Zentangle

Zentangle for Beginners – Step by Step Tutorial for How to Draw a Zentangle

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Mr.
New’s Art Class. It’s great to see all of your smiling faces today! Today, we are going
to be using half of a 9×12 sheet of paper, so that is 6×9. We are also going to use a
pencil, a Sharpie marker, and an ultra fine point Sharpie pen. We’re going to begin by
labeling our paper. After you have labeled your paper, we’re going to use a regular pencil
to create six different blocks, in which we will be practicing our Zentangles. The first
step for each of these blocks is going to be to create a different type of “string”.
And the Zentangle term string just means any kind of line that you might get if you dropped
a string on your paper. I’m going to show you 5 simple ways to make a string, and then
in the sixth box we’re going to leave it empty with no string. The first really easy type
of string to make is a wavy string. The second type of string we’re going to make is a simple
curve. It’s just like the wavy, except it only curves once instead of curving back and
forth. The third type of string that we’re going to create is what we call a closed loop.
This is where we loop around and cross – the line crosses itself. The fourth kind of string
that we’re going to make is what we call an open loop. And the fifth and final type of
string that we’re going to create is something that I call a bouncing string. And I call
it that because we, like, come down, hit an edge, and then bounce off at a really sharp
angle. You notice it makes a really tight little V here, a really sharp angle. And then
again we’re going to leave, uh, number six with no string. Okay, now we’re ready to put
the pencil aside, and move on to our Sharpie marker. And what we’re going to do is pick
one space to create a pattern in. On the first block, I think I’m going to do a pattern above
the string. One of the simplest patterns you can make is just a repetition of shapes. I’m
going to start by creating maybe two or three triangles. And notice that none of them actually
touch any of the edges, they’re just very close to the edges. Now I’m getting out the
ultra fine point Sharpie pen, and I can make some really tiny triangles in those spaces.
Fill in those spaces with really nice, clean, small triangles. Now, the last thing that
I’m going to do for this pattern is, I’m going to come and make little notches in some of
the corners on the big triangles. I’m still using the ultra fine point Sharpie pen. And
I just made a little notch in one of the corners there, a notch in one of the corners. You
could do this to every corner on every triangle, but I find it’s more fun to just pick one
corner on each of the big triangles – the triangles you made with the big sharpie. Now,
I’m done with my ultra fine point Sharpie pen. And now I’m ready to switch back to my
pencil. And what I’m going to use the pencil for… I’m going to use the pencil to create
some depth. To do that, what I want to do is shade the space behind and between the
triangles. And a lot of times, to get into tighter spaces, I’ll turn my paper so that
it’s a more comfortable angle for me to color in. I’m right handed, so my hand naturally
makes this movement. If you’re left handed, your hand will naturally make this movement.
And so I just like to turn my paper so that when I’m shading it’s easier to get whichever
space I need to shade in. And the same for drawing lines. A lot of times I’ll turn the
page to draw lines, too. I didn’t do that for my triangles because they were all really
small lines. But especially if I have really big lines to make, really long lines – if
I’m pulling something like this, I’ll make sure that I turn the paper whichever direction
I need to go in order to get that easier for me. Since this is just a practice, we’re going
to do six different types of patterns, one in each of these six blocks that we made.
Speaking of which, while I’m finishing this, I want to talk to you about what the process
for the next pattern is going to be. The second pattern, we’re going to talk about another
Zentangle term called “auras”. And an aura is simply a repeated shape, but around itself.
Here, these repeated shapes are next to each other – it’s a triangle next to a triangle
next to a triangle… triangle triangle triangle triangle triangle triangle triangle triangle
triangle… But with an aura, which is what we’re going to do here, in this second box
– auras are when you have a shape around of another shape. Now I’m switching back to the
Sharpie – I always like to start each pattern with a Sharpie. It really makes you force
yourself to dive right into it. If you try to start with a pencil, then you’re going
to try to use an eraser. You’re going to spend all your time erasing, instead of actually
drawing. And one thing we have to understand about a Zentangle is that, like I said, if
you make little mistakes, no one is ever going to know because the whole pattern will swallow
it up! In box number two, I think I’m going to work under my curve here. In box number
two we’re going to be making an aura pattern, and instead of using triangles I’m going to
use circles this time. Kinda like polka dots. Leave a nice big space between them. And I’m
just going to color these in – darken them up with my Sharpie. And, what I’m going to
do now, like I said, is make auras – an aura would be a shape around a shape. So this circle
here we’ve got a full circle, let’s make another full circle around that one. This one, we
just see part of the circle, but we can imagine the whole circle is there – so we’re making
another circle around that circle. Uh, so right now I have one aura around each circle.
Now I’m going to make a second aura around each circle. I don’t want to keep going on
one, and then move to another. I want to do one layer around all of my circles, and then
come back for more – but ooh ooh, ooh ooh! If I make an aura around each of these two
circles here, they’re going to touch each other right here in the middle. So instead
of making two separate auras, I’m going to make one aura that curves around both of those
circles. See how there’s a space here where they’re touching each other – where they’re
combining into one aura. And now, on the next layer – this is why I didn’t want to do a
bunch of auras around one circle, then skip over here and do a bunch of auras, then skip
over here and do a bunch of auras… You can do that, but then they’ll be overlapped. Here
they merge. And now, I’m at the point where all of them are going to start merging. So
here, if I make another aura around these two circles here – it’s going to include this
one. So if I go here, it goes around there, and then when it is getting in to this little
space here, it’s going to start wrapping around the third circle. And you can imagine it wraps
around here, and then it’s going to merge with the one from this circle. You can imagine
it wraps around here, and it would merge with the aura from this circle. And it would wrap
around here, and merge with the aura from this circle. And it would wrap around here
back to the first circle. But there would also be an aura in this space, because the
aura from this circle would merge with this one, but then it would keep going here. And
I think that’s done. Now, again I’m going to put the Sharpies away. When I switch back
to the pencil, what I’m going to do here with this particular pattern is – I’m going to
shade in alternating auras. So this circle here has a white aura around it, and then
I want to make a gray aura. Another great thing about Zentangles is that there’s no
wrong way to do them. I may want to color or shade every other aura. I may want black,
and then white gray white gray white gray – or, but you may want to do something completely
different with those auras. And that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. And it doesn’t mean I’m
wrong. And it doesn’t mean either one of us is right. It just means you do what you want
to do! And you lose yourself in the creation of your pattern – you figure out what you’re
going to do, and then you do it over and over and over. And that kinda leads me into what
my favorite part of Zentangles is. And, that is – the way that, as an artist creating it,
the purpose – even though it does create a beautiful image in the end, the purpose is
not to create a beautiful image. The purpose of a Zentangle is to lose yourself in the
process, and get “in the zone” – or, as the name Zentangle would suggest, a “zen state”.
A zen state just meaning – you lose yourself in what you’re doing, it’s a meditative, focused
state, where all I’m worried about is creating this. And I’m repeating, repeating, repeating
– doing the same thing again and again. And because I’m doing the same thing again and
again and again and again, I lose myself and lose track of time. And I get in the zone.
Next, moving on to the third pattern – for the third pattern, I want to talk to you about
something called juxtaposition. That’s a big long fancy word, but it just means having
vastly different things right next to each other. So what I’m going to do in maybe this
area that wraps around the loop – I’m going to make some rectangles – because rectangles
are very straight lines, and you see they’re right next to this curved loop. Maybe a square
up here – uh, I guess that’s more of a rectangle too. Maybe I want to have one that overlaps,
and kinda goes off the edge of the square there. And then, I’m going to switch to my
ultra fine point Sharpie pen again, and I’m going to make wavy lines in the background
that overlap behind these rectangles. So here’s a wavy line. And because these lines are wavy,
and they’re right next to and touching and overlapping behind straight lines – it really
gives a kind of clashing feel, like these two things arenot wanting to merge
together. It really makes the foreground pop out – the foreground here being the rectangles.
By the way, if you’re struggling with overlapping – if you’re not sure how to do it – it’s really
easy. I draw until I bump into something, and then I jump over it, and then I keep going.
We call it bumping and jumping. Bump. Jump. That’s how we overlap in Mr. New’s Art Room.
There we go – that’s called juxtaposition. You’ve got this, uh, real straight line square
or rectangle juxtaposed against the wavy lines in the background. Juxtaposing in your artwork
can really help to make things POP – make things STAND OUT! And, uh, so another thing
I can do to help make these stand out is to change the value of either the foreground
or the background. And I think what I want to do, just to help make these pop, is give
them a little shadow. I could pretend that the light is kinda shining in from the top-left,
and I could give a shadow under the bottom-right. What I’m going to do for that is just kinda
copy the same shape. It’s like a little drop shadow. Again, copy the shape of it here,
and just put in a drop shadow – a cast shadow – like these rectangles are raised up off
of the surface, and there’s a little shadow on the surface under them. That’s not happening
very much with my hand here because I’ve got all these lights shining from different directions
on my picture, but you get the idea. It just drops a little shadow on the space under it.
And if we shade it with a pencil, you can still see those wavy line, even though they’ve
got this shadow drawn on them or shaded on them. And there you go. We’re done with the
third pattern. Moving along now to the fourth pattern, I think inside this loop we’re going
to create a pattern. Going with the ideas we learned here of foreground and background,
there’s a really fun pattern – I think it’s one of my favorites. Uh, there’s so many different
Zentangle patterns you can make, and there’s no wrong way to make them, so it’s really
hard to say what my favorite is, but… This is one that I do very often when I create
Zentangle images. You notice what I’ve done inside that loop there – I’ve just created
two parallel lines, and there’s very little space between them. They’re very close together.
Then, I’m going to – at a different angle – overlapping behind those, make two more
parallel lines that are very close together. Same distance apart as the others were, so
it almost looks like there’s a road with another road going under it, like there’s a bridge
here – an overpass of some kind. There! Next, I’m going to keep using the big Sharpie, and
I’m going to color in, or darken in, the area behind or under or around these little “roadways”.
Right now, all we’re doing is darkening in the background. That will just really help
make these bright white “roadways” (or whatever you want to call them) stand out. That’s called
contrast – the dark black against the bright white. It’s called contrast, and that just
– it’s kinda like juxtaposition – or I should say juxtaposing is one way to create contrast.
Contrast just means any way that you can use to make something stand out from what’s around
it. And, in this case it’s value contrast – it’s a dark value next to a light value.
I’m switching now to the ultra fine point Sharpie pen because I’ve got these small spaces.
I can much more accurately get them colored in black with the very fine point, and I can
also get some of these corners a little tighter. Alright, just like each one of these patterns,
we’re going to finish off with the pencil, and the last step for this pattern is just
to give a little bit of a drop shadow – kinda like we did on this pattern. But wherever
we’ve got two of these roadways overlapping, I’m going to make a shadow underneath the
one that’s on top. Whichever roadway is on bottom has a shadow on both sides like that.
The wider you make that shadow… the wider you make it, the more distance it looks like
there is between them vertically. So it kinda looks like I’m looking down on a map and I
see this roadway goes over these two. And that’s the shadow of this top roadway, cast
onto the roads underneath it. And then here again – casts a shadow onto that one. Great!
Moving on now to the fifth pattern. So far, all of these other patterns have been what
I call a “fill pattern,” where it fills all the edges. But this one, I want us to do a
branch pattern that’s going to come up from that corner and branch out. And – I’m going
to put this one away. I don’t want to use the big Sharpie for this. Because I’ve got
such a small space, I’m only going to use this tiny Sharpie, and I’m going to work my
way out. And I don’t even have to fill this whole space. I can choose which direction
I want to branch out. I’m going to start in this little corner. I’m going to make sort
of a teardrop shape – if you kinda turn it up-side-down it looks like a long, stretched
out teardrop. And notice that it came right from the corner at the bottom, and it looped
up. Then, that also makes another little tiny little “v” shape in here, and on this side.
And I can pick which way I want it to go – whether I want it to branch up and to the left, or
up and to the right. I think I want this one – since I already leaned it to the right – I
want to kinda branch up and to the right with it. So in this space between this shape and
this string, I’m going to make another one of these. And it can be the same size, or
smaller, or bigger, depending on how you want it to look. Again another one of those teardrops…
up-side-down teardrop shapes. Now this time, I’m going to go into the space between those
two that I just made, and I’m going to make a third. And I can do a fourth here – between
those two. And I can go outside of my bounds of this box because – I CAN, because I’m an
artist and I can choose – it’s up to me! Um… I don’t have to stay inside this box. But
if I had a square sheet of paper and I got to the edge of it, then obviously I’d have
to stop. But here… I don’t have to stop. I can keep going. And now the next one I can
make either between these two, or between these two, or between this and the string,
or between these two, or between this and the string. I could keep going in whichever
direction I want! But I like to alternate, so I did one, uh… I guess I’d call this
the left, and then the right, then the left, then the right, so I’d go left again, and
I’d come up through my letter “e” here. Then this way again. There’s no wrong way to do
it. But if you want, like I said this is a b ranching pattern – I could branch out and
make another section of it going this way, or another section of it going this way. Yeah,
why not. I’ll go ahead and show you that. I’ll make another section going this way.
Cool. And so, you see, it kinda just branches out. And it can go whichever direction you
want it to go. And if you kinda curve those teardrops, you can make it go in lots of different
directions. Okay, not done yet. I’m still using the ultra fine point Sharpie, and in
each one of these teardrop shapes, I’m going to make a line that starts at the tip, and
comes through the middle, and then I like to kinda end it with some dots. Starts at
the tip, comes through the middle, and then end it with some dots. And I leave a little
space. I don’t want it to go all the way to the end – all the way to the curve. I want
it to kinda stop right in the middle of that curve. And you can make these dash lines…
they don’t have to be perfect. Again, each one of them is going to kinda be different.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the same idea, and I know that there are some
people who are so used to a math class, and a math teacher, who says [mocking voice] “Your
pattern has to be exactly the same thing, every single time. You can never change any
part of it.” But this isn’t math. This is ART. And a pattern in art really just means
any time you’re repeating an idea or a concept. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same thing
repeating. So… Uh… When you’re in math class, do what your math teacher says. When
you’re in Mr. New’s Art Class, MAKE ART! And, just like all the other patterns, we’re going
to finish this up with just a little bit of shading. And that just makes it look like
those are kinda sitting on a surface. And now, for the final pattern, I’m switching
again back to the big Sharpie. And for this final pattern I want to talk to you about
mixing patterns together – because one of the things that really makes Zentangles shine
is when you mix patterns and have a pattern inside of a pattern inside of a pattern. So
for this example, there’s this pattern where I got the circles with auras around them,
and then they’ve got these bars connecting them. And then you can imagine that there’s
other circles off the edges of the page being connected by the same bars. Then, each one
of these main circles has a different pattern, AND each of these spaces between the bars
connecting them has its own pattern. So, a pattern inside of a pattern – what I call
“the Meta-Pattern”. There’s no wrong way to do it. What I’m going to do here is I’m going
to show you two completely new patterns, but still using similar ideas – repetition of
shapes, auras, juxtaposition, high contrast, foreground and background, and maybe some
branching involved here too, but maybe not – we’ll see. Now, if I wanted to be super
simple, I could just color this like a checkerboard, so it’s like black white black white black
white black white boring boring boring boring… Or… Instead of black and white, I can do
different types of patterns. I’m going to use two different patterns. For one of those
patterns, all I’m going to do is make auras. So… I guess I’ll just start with this square
here. Uh, now this – I’m going to leave blank. I’m going to do something – a different pattern
in that square. I’m gonna still do it just like a checkerboard, where I alternate. One
pattern, then the other. One pattern. The other. One pattern. The other. One pattern.
The other. So I’m going to skip this one, and then do auras inside of this square. Alright,
so I think this is the last on my page that needs the aura inside of aura inside of aura
pattern. Next… I want a different pattern to take up these spaces – the alternating
spaces. I want it to be high contrast, so that it looks like a checkerboard with black
squares and white squares. I want it to have… branching would be really fun. I want it to
have juxtaposition – this pattern has a lot of straight lines, so I want to use something
with a lot of curved lines for this pattern in these squares. I want to have overlapping.
Maybe instead of having a pattern that’s here, and then copy that same pattern here… Maybe
I want to have a pattern that goes UNDER all of these squares. I think… I think I’m going
to change this one up. I think I’m going to do very similar to this, but change it up.
So I’m totally making this up on the spot. It’s just this same repeated shape – this
teardrop – except I’m kinda curving them, and having them kinda wrap around each other.
So here’s one that’s going to overlap here – bump and jump. And… Bump. Jump. Shade
it in black – perfect black. So we’re not only getting the high contrast of the dark
black against these white stripes here. But we’re also getting the overlapping of these.
We’re also getting the juxtaposition of the curvy shape next to the straight shapes. Now,
in art terms, these are called organic. These are called inorganic, or geometric. Anything
that’s curved is what we call, in art, an organic shape. Anything that’s got straight
lines, we call a geometric shape. Now, some artists will tell you that it’s only called
a geometric shape if it’s something you would learn about in geometry – like a perfect shape
– like y’know, circle, square, triangle, rectangle… Um… I disagree with that terminology. I
think… In art, you don’t have to follow math rules. So, if something is a geometric
shape in art, that simply means that it uses straight lines, and harsh corners. Whereas,
a shape that’s organic would use curved lines, and maybe have some points – some sharp points
– but never straight lines with hard corners like that. Excellent! There ya go, done. Alright,
so there you have it. You are ready to start creating your own Zentangles. Congrats!

77 thoughts on “Zentangle for Beginners – Step by Step Tutorial for How to Draw a Zentangle

  1. I'm surprised how many lessons, learning moments, or vocabulary you were able to include in a zentangle video. I was surprised and very happy to learn art terminology as I was creating an example of the term.ย So much more effective and fun than just copying a list of terms. You're a great teacher Mr. New!

  2. I totally connect with your teaching method… clear… transparent and fun. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. If you liked this tutorial, you'd probably like my tutorial about how to doodle your own Zentangle patterns: https://youtu.be/lJLuCjQKWB0?list=PLuIKiyIzTkW6dnfxGaOgDMuhASPDRhfiX

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to do this. I really like your style of teaching and it works for me. Looking forward to more vids.

  5. Thank you for making this video for beginners. I am a student from HK, previously I would like to take the Zentangle course but it is quite costly. I really appreciate your teaching, I enjoyed the 30 minutes class with you.

  6. Excellent tutorial, for which thank you very much. I've been trying tangles for a month or so and your tuition is encouraging me to persevere and try my creativity. So many patterns I can't get bored!

  7. Great video !!!
    Highly recommend you on Koocam.com
    They are looking for people who do DIY art etc
    (Especially if you do it as a hobby)

  8. Thanks a lot for the video..a great way to start my journey into Zentangling … I have a question though…are we not gonna fill the 'other' space created my the loops? Ideally it needs to be square right?

  9. Youโ€™re easily one of the best teachers on Zentangle on YT, if not THE best.watching your vids makes it easy to take in new terminology and techniques.

  10. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ’–So like it's my first time watching your channel and I thought u said your name was Mr. Noodles๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’–

  11. TRASH!!!๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคข๐Ÿšฝ๐Ÿšฝ๐Ÿšฝ๐Ÿšฝ

  12. I'm so glad I found your channel! You are the very best zentangle/zendoodle teacher I've come across! You explain things as you go and it makes so much more sense! I'm a new "student" subscriber and it's great to be in your class!

  13. I never considered Zentangles! Ive seen before, but it looks like fun! I'm new into fountain pens, ink,art, drawing, watercolor, calligraphy. It really looks like fun!
    "Losing myself" in this sounds like such great therapy! Thank you for explaining the so well. You make it look like something I could get into!

  14. That was lovely, thank you. I have to say, though, that I've been a math professor for 34 years, and I don't think I've ever said "A pattern has to be exactly the same," particularly in that voice ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. I did this sort of thing as a toddler/young child, before I knew there was a name for it (there probably wasn't, aside from 'doodling,' back then).

    * edited for auto incorrect

  16. I really liked the way you focused on explaining the art elements of the zentangle without making it feel dry and technical. Thank you!

  17. I practicing hatch shading and watching …. really i'm just listening to tutorials one after the other. After about three minutes into this video I just had to comment that you sound very much like Jack Black !!!


  19. hello Mr. News, and thank you so much for this informative and inspiring tutorial. Your voice is so soothing and I found watching you do the Zentangles is almost as good as doing them myself. As I listened to you I began to realize your voice sounds so familiar. Do you also do videos teaching JavaScript?

  20. Zentangle is NOT primarily a drawing technique!its called ZEN-Tangle because the practice of preparing to draw , learning to draw individual Tangles then combining them on 3.5 inch square tiles is to promote a meditative, calming state, that is deeply relaxing and has been very healing for this with depression and other disorders. So the process of drawing is MORE important than the finished art product .so whilst youโ€™re a talented art teacher you are most definitely not teaching Zentangle. Have a look at Zentangle.com

  21. started zentangling to relieve myself of my problems.
    as a middle schooler people can be mean.
    i drew four circles to represent me and my table mates.
    biggest one is thise jerk that doesnt shut up.
    yet he feels to have the right to say shut up to me.
    -_- i made the person next to me a smaller circle but bigger than mine because she is a little mean.
    and the smallest circle is this girl that is super quiet. my mine is the second smallest.

  22. That was cool. Thank you. I got a Zentangle Drawing Kit as a gift and I am looking fwd to using it.! I really like your camera position bc I was able to see everything you were doing. I also like how you talk with your hands. I liked, subbed, hit the bell and saved this video.

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