We’re so excited to share these 15 zentangle patterns for beginners with you! I’ve written several blog posts about zentangles because I’ve personally witnessed its calming effects on my daughters and students. I’ve been zentangling at home and in the classroom for years but most of the pattern tutorials that I’ve seen have been geared towards adults or experienced zentanglers. So, I thought that my 10 year old daughter and I would create a tutorial for you; one that will teach you a few simple patterns that have been tried and tested by children. We’ve also created 10 free tangle starters for you to use with the zentangle patterns that your children create. Not sure what a tangle starter is or how to use one? Keep reading!
Download your free tangle starter pack below!
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What is a Zentangle?
Zentangles are based on a theory created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. The word zentangle originates from the word “zen” meaning calm, and “tangle” meaning a collection of overlapping patterns.
Zentangling itself may be relatively new, but the basic principles involved are as old as the history of art. It includes ritual—a core practice in ancient and contemporary arts—and mirrors the symbols, designs, and patterns of numerous cultures (Mayan, Maori, Celtic, and American Indian, for example) from ancient through present times. Similar to doodling, creating a zentangle encourages the artist to allow the lines and shapes to flow naturally for supreme expression.
Zentangling has become an international phenomenon because it has been proven to promote relaxation and decrease stress; it also can decrease depression and anxiety, plus zentangling can also increase attention span and concentration.
I have several blog posts that discuss the benefits of zentangling on the mental health of kids and adults. To explore this topic further, you can take a look at the blog posts below, where I go into depth on the incredible benefits of zentangling.
3 Zentangling Tips For Kids and Beginners
Tip #1 – It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
When creating zentangles, especially using a pen, it’s very common to make squiggles and wonky lines that might seem to throw off your whole design. I encourage you to keep going! Those wonky lines and squiggles add to the uniqueness of your final piece. Incorporate the mistakes into your design because every line has a purpose when zentangling. Keep going!
Tip #2 – Experiment With Different Drawing Utensils
I usually use fine tip sharpies in the classroom with my students because they are versatile and durable. I have also used sharpies at home with my daughters, when zentangling, but we also like to use micron pens. The micron pens have a variety of tip sizes and the ink is significantly richer. The ink is also waterproof, bleed free, quick drying and fade resistant. So these are our new favourite pens for sketching, drawing and illustrations. I encourage you to use what your child/student is comfortable with. Perhaps a marker with a larger tip might be more suitable.
Tip #3 – Take Breaks
Remember that your zentangle does not need to be completed in one sitting. The benefits will still be experienced even if it’s worked on in bite-sized pieces. If your young artist has gotten into a rhythm,while zentangling, encourage them to keep going, but follow their lead. The process should be enjoyable and relaxing!
The designs that we’ll be sharing with you in this tutorial are ones that my daughters and students have enjoyed using. These zentangle patterns for kids can also be used as a guide or reference sheet, while completing tangle starters.
What are Tangle Starters?
I’ve often used tangle starters at school for those students who finish their work early and I also use them in the chill out corner in my classroom. A tangle starter is basically an image that is divided into different sections, similar to stained glass. Children can choose a tangle starter of their choice, and using their zentangle patterns guide, fill in the sections of the image. The image below demonstrates how the patterns that my daughter, Chanel created can be used to complete a zentangle starter. I’ve included 10 of our favorite zentangle starters HERE, available for you to download for free. This tangle starter pack has a variety of images for your children or students to fill in with zentangle patterns. I’ve included animals, shapes, flowers and abstract designs.
Here is our YouTube video that will teach you how to create 15 zentangles (patterns for beginners).
Appropriate for Children Ages 4 and up
Prep Time: 5 minutes
For today’s zentangles (patterns for beginners) you’ll need:
- Micron Pens (we used 02 and 08) but you could also use ultra fine point colored sharpie markers/fine tip markers
- Paper or cardstock
- Blank Squares (found in our free zentangle starter pack)
Step 1 – Prepare Your Materials
- Get all of your supplies ready for this calming activity.
Step 2 – Create your designs
- Create your own unique designs or draw your zentangle patterns using our video tutorial above.
Step 3(optional) – Add Shading
Once your designs are complete, you can add shading to certain sections if you’d like. We added some shadows using a pencil to some of our designs.
Click HERE, or the image below, to download a PDF version of the 15 zentangle patterns used in this video.
Step 4 – Enjoy and Experiment with a Tangle Starter
- I encourage you to use the zentangle designs that your children create to complete a picture in the tangle starter pack. It will give them an opportunity to create something unique with the patterns that they’ve drawn.