A couple weeks back I followed a post by NPR linking to a fantastic mathematics doodling video. (I vote that all her math doodle videos are must-see, but my favorite is the one about circles and snakes... probably mostly because it is rich with puns)
Those videos reminded me of the Zentangle books. Technically I picked these books up for G last year, thinking she would enjoy the step-by-step doodling instructions. Though she looked through them at first, they eventually made their way into her collection of "how to draw" books...
...until a couple weeks ago, when I stole them.
Zentangle is a fantastically wonderful way to learn doodle patterns - one movement at a time - until they combine to form larger abstract work. The idea is to go at it free-form... no set plan, no "over thinking" your design. In other words... pick up the pen and just keep swimming. It takes the frustration of a "perfect end product" out of the equation, and instead focuses on the joy of the process.
Given how oppressive my month of April has been, this is precisely what I needed.
I grabbed a small drawing pad out of my stash of paper, a retractable Sharpie, and began.
Sometimes I would doodle in between difficult work tasks. Sometimes I doodled while watching TV. There were nights were sleep evaded me, and I sat up to finish a pattern or two. I started bringing the pad with me when we went out, and I would scribble away while waiting for food at the restaurant. I googled "zentangle" and found a world of patterns and instructions in both video form and written... which opens up the world of exploration immensely.
My very first attempt turned into a Birthday card, which I mailed out without having scanned it... my next three attempts are here:
D looked over my shoulder at my doodling one night, then drove us over to the art store to buy me a set of "real" pens (of varying sizes for greater shading options)
What I love the most about this is just how soothing it is, to lay out repetitive patterns and add smaller details without worrying about perfection in the end result. It is a series of smaller projects requiring hardly any supplies, it is easily portable, and can be incorporated into just about all of my other creative hobbies. I'm now working on what will probably eventually be a dimensional project, though I'm not setting my sights too strictly on the end destination.
I'm just going to enjoy the journey.