Many people will look at my work and say, "Cool doodle!" or "Neat Zentangle!"
Thanks. I think.
Let me explain why I am confused, unsure, uncertain and perhaps offer an explanation of the terms. Because there really is a difference between the three types of ink art.
Doodling is defined as an unfocused or unconscious drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. So, something you do in a meeting, on the phone, watching a webinar for work, etc.
Zentangle is trademarked method teaching people who believe they aren't artists to use repetitive patterns to create designs as a way to relax, have fun and learn to be creative. Users are given prescribed steps to learn as a way to release creativity. Brilliant methodology, brilliant marketing.
Drawing is, by definition, is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium like paper, canvas, board and so on.
The last is what I do.
My work is focused and conscious and it's the only thing I am working on so it isn't a doodle. Doodles are very important in their own right and it is proven in clinical studies that people who doodle remember more information and are able to solve problems better than people who didn't doodle while listening (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61496-7/fulltext).
But my work is still not a doodle. It's focused and made while I was concentrating on the art itself.
It's also not Zentangle. I had never even heard of Zentangle and it was actually not invented when I first picked up a pen. Of course, I was in kindergarten when my mother gave me a dip pen and a bottle of ink with paper. I don't follow guidelines to created or work to achieve relaxation as my goal. While my art is typically meditative, I get frustrated and aggravated just like any other working person when things don't go as planned.
Zentangle has introduced a great number of people to patterns and visual textures who were not previously aware that such things existed. I am extremely grateful! I hope the next step the company takes is to let their students know that the patterns they are using are old, ancient and are human, not Zentangle inventions. They can be found in etchings, wood cuttings, stone carvings, silk screen prints, charcoal drawings, pencil drawings, ink drawings and even paintings going back centuries. Even jewelry and metal work found in burial sites has patterns that can be found on Tangled Art, as it is called.
Since my inspiration is elsewhere, I am not a Tangler. I am found of many artists who are and I am thrilled that so many people are drawing when they wouldn't otherwise have had the courage. But my work isn't Zentangle.
Drawing is the only one that fits. I use a variety of drawing instruments: technical pen, dip pen and ink, pencil, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, compass. I use two dimensional surfaces like paper and board. I even draw on a three dimensional surface with wax and ink: egg shells! The word pysanky literally means "to write".
The techniques and patterns I use in my drawings can be found in ancient art from around the globe: illuminated manuscripts from many cultures (European and Asian), Asian tapestries called mandalas, Oriental rugs, Islamic tiles, pysanky, lace patterns, wood prints from all cultures, metal etchings. The list goes on.
Wood block prints and silk screening are rich with texture! Since we silk screened as a family when I was a child, I was introduced to the style of visual texture and pattern needed to produce a design at a young age and it influenced how I create images now. The stylized Gerber daisy pictured left uses traditional ink drawing techniques like cross hatching (back ground), ink wash, hatching, cross contour and stippling.
Is it a doodle, Zentangle or drawing? It's a drawing!
It is my hope that this small essay helps clarify the difference between these common terms and encourage those of you who are actually drawing and didn't know it!
Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to stay an artist once we grow up."
My husband would say none of this is important, that the name of it doesn't really matter. Perhaps. But I love words. And I believe that names are important. A dog isn't a wolf. A cat isn't a lion. Each is similar to its relative but they are different. And the differences count.
Thanks for your time! If you have any questions, let me know. I would be happy to answer.
I am an artist who has a supporting crew of two dogs, three cats, a parrot, some ducks and a pond full of fish for inspiration. My husband, Erik, is technical advisor. My studio is bright and cheery and I spend time every day making something.