Yesterday afternoon, a coworker of mine alerted me to a new art fad that I had been completely unaware of.
Have you heard of a ‘Zentangle’?
If you have not I will find it difficult to accurately describe, as nowhere on the promoter’s website is a straightforward explanation of exactly what differentiates a ‘Zentagle’ from good old fashioned doodling. There is no shortage of flowery paragraphs extolling the virtues of this apparently ‘revolutionary’ new concept (i.e.: “It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing”) but all I could deduce from them was that a ‘Zentagle’ is just a doodle focused on repetitive patterns. Having spent some time browsing the gallery of example art, I will whole-heartedly agree that many of the drawings are in fact quite beautiful. But not a whole lot different from the types of doodles that myself and thousands of other people have been sketching in notebook margins for lifetimes already.
Apparently though, if you want to doodle properly you need to buy a kit, which includes an instructional DVD. Although it is also recommended that you take a class taught by a certified teacher. You can buy cards pre-printed with starter doodles, and look at a reference key for pattern ideas. In other words, you don’t even have to be creative, you can just spend $49.00 to do a bunch of fancy copying. What’s more, many of the stock patterns are things which have occurred in traditional Japanese fabric and washi paper patterns literally for hundreds and thousands of years. So even the official source of this new fad is not supplying material that is all that original.
I will acknowledge that the pens provided in the kit (felt tip Pigma Micron pens by Sakura) have been my very favorite type of drawing pen for many years, so they are at least being truthful when they claim to provide you with high quality materials in your kit. On the other hand you can buy these pens for less than $3.00 a piece at most art stores, so they are hardly exclusive to this kit.
Pardon me if I’m too cynical, but this seems like a scam to me! I think when an art form as basic and intrinsic as doodling suddenly requires rules and expensive accessories it is going to discourage creativity rather than expand it as this manufacturer claims. The entire thing just seems ridiculous to me, I’m sticking to my sketchbooks.