Our philosophy that art has the power to make you feel good means that we try to reach as many people as we can to help boost their wellbeing. While we are closed to the public due to government advice, we're sharing loads of ways to stay creative at home.

"Art for Normals" blogs are aimed at everyone. We want you all to feel good with a bit of art. No artistic knowledge or, dare we say it, talent required!

This week, we're welcoming a bit of calm with an introduction to "zentangles" - a fun, easy-to-learn and most importantly, relaxing, way to create beautiful images out of structured patterns.

There are an infinite number of possibilities for designs, and half the fun is inventing your own. But if you have never drawn any Zentangles before, we suggest you start by testing out some of the different patterns we've created below:

Equipment needed

  • Paper
  • Pen (Any pen works, fine liner, felt tip, sharpie, biro, gel pen, they all produce different effects!)
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Ruler

Got everything you need? We'll start with the basics and go from there.

1. Start by drawing out some squares, which will frame each of your zentangles. We made our 4cm x 4cm, but they don’t have to be exact - you just don’t want them too big.

2. Now fill each square with a different pattern:

Pattern 1: Start by drawing equally-spaced horizontal and vertical lines to make lots of little squares. Then draw little lines diagonally from each corner to fill in one half of each of your little squares.

Pattern 2: This one is a bit more complex. You'll be drawing one continuous line, starting in the top left corner of your square. Draw a line to just below the top right corner of your square. Then continue this line down to slightly to the left of the bottom right hand corner, then take it across to just above the bottom left corner, then carry it on to slightly inside the top left corner, to meet your original line. Continue spiralling around the square, always taking your line to slightly inside the next corner. This one takes some concentration, but the effect is fantastic!

Pattern 3: Draw lines spreading out from one corner of your square. Inside each segment draw a row of circles, all touching, which get larger the further away from the corner you go. Then block out the gaps around the circles.

Other patterns: Have a go at creating some more patterns using the step-by-step images above to help you.

Sometimes the most effective patterns are the simplest, try fish scales, or circles, any shapes and patterns you like!

Now you understand the basics, let's try something a bit more complicated. What about using the patterns to decorate an image? You could try any design, but animals or flowers are a popular choice and look particularly effective. What about a fish?

1. Start by drawing out the outline of your design, keep it simple. Draw it in pencil first then once you are happy with it, draw over it in pen. Remember to rub out the pencil marks afterwards.


2. Then get creative, filling in the space with patterns, shapes and designs. Use some of the patterns you practiced earlier, or make some up. Remember, sometimes leaving blank spaces is just as effective as filling it all in.

There you have it!

As you get more confident you can use different colours, different pens and different designs. Just experiment and see what works. Share your zentangles with us on socials or add them to the comments section below.