Doodling to Become Zen


I´m sure many of you did feel just as stressed out over the last holidays as I did. Which if you think of it, is ridiculous really, we should feel happy and excited, like we did when we we´re kids. I mean – it´s the holidays, right?

So, to help me get into a more appropriate frame of mind, i.e. feeling more relaxed about it all, I decided to try out something new – the art of Zentangle.

I´m sure all of you have doodled a little something on a piece of paper while talking on  the phone, and this is not so very different in fact.

Take me, I made all of my Zentangles in front of the TV (it does speak volumes about the quality of the programs I was watching, doesn’t it? 😉 ).

Because I didn’t want to add new stress by having to think of a wonderful and original design, I simply had a look online at some patterns and pictures, chose the ones I liked best and that looked like you could do them in about an hour.


I started with a rather easy pattern, the little discs you see below.



Overlapping discs (Micron ink and pencil on paper; Dec. 2018)

As you can see, the lines are nowhere near equidistant to each other at times, and quite squiggly too. But that wasn´t the point of this exercise, at least it wasn’t for me. I just wanted to simply not care about how it all looked in the end but be able to go with the flow and keep doodling.


standing owl

Owl (Micron ink on paper; Dec. 2018)


Pretty fast you will notice, should you be willing to give it a try, that you start feeling more relaxed – in my case my shoulders begin to drop, making it suddenly obvious to me that I was pulling them up all the time. At the same time you also begin to feel very focused on what you´re doing.

This might at first glance seem like a contradiction, but oddly it´s not.

Scientists more on more discover that creative expression of any kind does have a healing effect on both, the mind and the body.



Owl (Micron ink and pencil on paper; Dec. 2018)


As I´ve discovered while doing a bit of research for this blog post, there´s also the possibility to book courses with trained Zentangle teachers should you feel a bit overwhelmed at the idea to do it on your own, which sounds like a lovely way, to meet new people who share your interests and are supportive of your idea to express yourself creatively.



Cock (Micron ink on paper; Dec. 2018)


Because I had a little GoT watching marathon going on before the holidays, this last one of my Zentangles was a wolf, because you know, Winter Is Coming… 😉



Wolf (Micron ink on paper; Dec. 2018)


What about you? Did you ever try Zentangle/Zendoodle/coloring books etc. to help you relax a little? Or do you have other ways and methods that help you? Looking forward to hear all about it in your comments!




89 thoughts on “Doodling to Become Zen

  1. Amazing! So far I only knew Zentangle from Hermine ( But this is phenomenal. I admire the patience. I think I would not be able to calm down drawing this way. Rather the opposite.;-) Thank you very much for posting. Have a great weekend. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad that you are truly thinking about doing the shop. Yes, I would buy your artworks. The cock and wolf in this post do appeal to me. A lot. It would look awesome on t-shirts – and they would make pretty street style artsy outfits, too. I enjoy doodling but never heard of zentangles before. Thanks for introducing me to it. 🙂 Keep well Sarah. Much love!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Dominique! It´s a great way to relax after a busy day and I could definitely see you doing this, what with your love for details. 😉 I look definitely forward to open that shop – I will probably end up buying all the stuff myself cause I always wanted to design clothes! LOL! 😀 Have a lovely weekend! Much love and many hugs! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mine are not as nice as yours but I find that doodling is indeed relaxing. I understand that you’ll want to buy everything… Your artworks are so beautiful. ❤️ Our shop Fashioned by Nature will be ready to launch pretty soon (thanks to Lisa who has been working hard at it) and I want to buy all the stuff for myself! Lol. Keep well Sarah. Sending you good vibes. xoxo


  3. I’m inspired. I am sorting my craft paper out and came upon a stack of fifty square cardboards I bought to zentangle on years ago…maybe I will follow your lead and start doodling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! 🙂 ❤ It really was such fun and I need to get back to it pronto as stress is threatening to make an ugly reappearance! 😉 LOL! Bet you know all about the lovely relaxing effect a bit of doodling can have. 😉 ❤


  4. I love Zentangle. You can buy the kits with tools and materials to get you started; it has been out for a number of years – seems like a long time now. I love it because you don’t think about it and make decisions about what is right and wrong, the way things are laid out, etc. You just let your mind flow free as you do it. It is a good tool for anyone wanting to learn to trust their eye/hand coordination and not have to rely on measuring, judging, and trying to „get it right.“

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne! So sorry for the late reply – your lovely comment landed in my spam folder and I just found it. How wonderful that you love Zentangles too! 😄 I haven’t found the time to do one in January at all but intend to get lost in at least one of them soon again. And you’re absolutely right about it being a great way to train that hand/eye coordination.
      Have a beautiful weekend! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah! These are fantastic. While I love your watercolors, you really have something here. The coloring books that are exactly your drawings? You could design these. And teaching Zen doodling? You could do that, too. Really!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never heard of zentangles before, but they do sound like a very good way to relax. I doodle sometimes, but too often find myself becoming self conscious about their quality, so eventually doodling stops being relaxing for me. I do agree, though, that expressing creativity is so good for us. When I am creative, it calms me down and makes me feel sort of “right with the world.” I believe everyone is creative, just in different ways, and we all have to find the one that works for us! PS: Your drawings are just great!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought the zentangle craze had started to fade but I guess if you have an artistic bent it never will. If I have time on the phone, I can be doing embroidery. I’ve never doodled. No artist here. 😉 Yours are really nice and you are lucky to be able to draw.

    Liked by 1 person

      • No, I misspoke. I do embroidery by hand with the phone on speaker. I have some family that are long talkers. I keep my needlework handy. I don’t have to think about the needlework so listening to the talkers is easy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! That does make more sense than the app idea of mine! 😄 Although you never know. 😉 I used to have these phone marathons too with family, and never really liked it much because I had to held the phone in my hand and couldn’t do much else, no speaker back then!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Peter! And I believe that you could do this too, truly. It just takes a little courage to pick up that pencil and some paper and start drawing. I know from many adults that they´ve been told they can not draw when they were a kid, which is a cruel thing to do, in my mind. Because anyone can draw. Who says it has to be perfect? It´s not about perfection but about creative expression, there can be no rules about that but only fun. I really hope you might give it a try, it´s never too late. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. These are so beautiful Sarah, and i’m so glad that you find relaxation in drawing them 😀😀 I’ve found a little sketching app that lets me play with olour and shape, and am enjoying these explorations. I still have the “can’t draw” hangover from childhood resting on my shoulder. I “know” I should banish it, but one thing at a time, and it’s a way down my list.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, Su! 🙏
      That app sounds like a cool way to pass the time! Do you use a little pen or your fingers?
      And I´so sorry to hear you´ve been told not to be able to draw when you were a child. 😦 It happens to so many people and really is a very destroying thing to do to those little artist´s souls that slumber in every one of us, I believe. And it takes real courage to get out of that hole and start drawing and painting again, no matter what age. When I was a kid I was told I could not sing, which hurt because I enjoyed doing it so much. That was a cruel teacher and I often wonder what might have been possible if he hadn’t said that to me. Not in the way of becoming a superstar or something, no, just to enjoy music other than listening to it, and to express myself and the joy I feel when I do, you know? Now I only sing when I know no-one´s around.

      Liked by 2 people

      • With the daily routine of teaching and everything that comes with it, teachers can lose sight of the fact that their words and actions can have lasting consequences on the children they teach, for good and for ill.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is so incredibly sad that almost everyone I know has a story like this. And so often it has been a teacher who caused the original hurt with such comments. Claire’s classes are full of women who have grown up “knowing” they are not creative, but feeling all the time in their hearts that maybe they are. I was never even brave enough to try singing when others were around because my parents hated any failure on my part, so I learned to focus on,y on the things I was “good at.” I love to sing, but still mainly do it for my own pleasure. T and the boychild are the only people who really hear my voice.
        I use my finger with the drawing app. I thought about buying an iPad with a stylus but opted for a cheaper one without. Maybe next time 😀

        Liked by 3 people

      • It is indeed a very sad thing to happen to so many people. Even my mum, who worked later for the Royal China Company was told she couldn’t draw or paint and got a “D” at school! Luckily her father, my granddad thought otherwise, encouraged her talent and arranged for an interview at the company that back then only hired men.
        But I´m glad that so many are finding their war to that creative spark within later on, like the women in Claire´s classes do. It´s never too late, even if it might seem like that and there´s some grief involved too about that loss of time.
        So sorry you too had to suffer from the singing ban so to speak, but I´m glad that T and the boychild get to hear your real voice, it´s good to be able to let go sometimes, even if we worry we might not be good enough.
        Here´s to finding the courage to become creative no matter what stage in life we are!! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m glad your mother had support from her father, and I’m sure she’s carried that through to you. My mother wanted to stay at on at school and go to university, but had to leave at 15 because my grandfather though education was wasted on women “who’d only get married anyway.”
        There is definitely grief at the loss of so much time, but the joy of creativity is a great healer.
        Cheers to courage and creativity 🥂 💕

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think she did, and I´m really glad her father made her pursue her creative side. He was a fascinating character I´m told. Which reminds me that I wanted to make a post about him! Need to look for some pics first though. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Chris! It´s really amazing how these Zentangles can relieve stress, it´s like zoning out to a happy place, and as I said, anybody can do it! Have a fab weekend! Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve never heard of Zentangle, Sarah, but I’ve certainly doodled. Your drawings are so beautiful. I’m tempted to get out my pen and paper and zone out while the hubby watches football (boring). Lol. Then maybe a little coloring! Thanks for the great idea, and it does sound wonderfully relaxing. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Well done, Sarah, zentangle queen! I love these, especially the cock and the wolf which are not doodles but art, no matter the intent when tangling. I’ve doodled and zentangled (without the vocabulary) all my life because I’m a poor listener. If I keep my hands occupied, I listen better, whether taking notes or sketching mindlessly or drawing something interesting in the room. It still helps me focus and listen better. Since I knew it was true for me, I encouraged my students to doodle as well (no phones though) and found they were also better focused even on art instructions. I’m glad to see this art form take off. Thanks for all the info about zentangles.

    BTW, I think your designs would transfer well to commercial products such as bolt cloth, ceramic mugs (imagine a set with different designs,) note cards, or tee shirts.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Aww – thank you, Shari, that means a lot to me! But I´m nowhere near queen level I´m afraid, just have look at what other people can do online – it´s truly amazing!! But I do enjoy doodling, always did at school too, like you. 😉 My notebooks hold more doodles than notes – lol! And I think I also listen better when I do something with my hands, just sitting in a chair and having a teacher drone at you, makes me sleepy just thinking about it!

      And I´ve been thinking of building/opening up an online shop this year to do exactly what you proposed as so many people tell me that my drawings and paintings would look good on these kind of things. Just imagine someone waling by me wearing a tee shirt with my print on it!! I would be so thrilled! 😀

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much, Linda! 🙂
      I think everybody can draw, it´s just that most people were told at some point in their lives, mostly during early childhood, that they can´t, which is such a mean thing to do. I encourage everybody to just pick up a pencil or crayons and some paper, it does not have to be perfect, it´s just about how it makes you feel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. These are awesome works! These drawings of yours make me want to see when you were drawing them. I do like the wolf inspired from GoT. 🙂 (you can tell I am a fan of GoT too and can’t wait to see the last season coming this year).

    That would also be fascinating to watch. That also reminds me of a ride on a long flight next to a young lady who drew character or a girl figure on that long flight. She had a whole art or drawing book and sort of pen (or pencil) that only seen at the special section in the art store kind. She was a little shy though and sort of concealing from the stranger’s eyes sitting next to her (that was me 🙂 ).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much! 😀 And I can´t wait either for the next season of GoT!!
      It must have been so interesting to watch that young lady draw during that flight – kudos to her for doing that! I´ve never done any painting or drawing in public yet, but the day might come. 😉 Next time you sit beside a drawing artists you should try hiding behind a newspaper for show and watch from the corner of your eyes. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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