Saturday, March 30, 2013

"The Art of Zentangle"

As I was rushing out the door to head over to The BeeHive yesterday, I tripped over a small box on the steps. I tossed it into the car and sped away. After I'd let my early students in (Hi Terry and Betty!), but before I'd turned the lights on... I ripped open the box to find...

Brand new copies of The Art of Zentangle!!
This is a very appealing new book from Walter Foster publishing and I had a very hard time waiting until today to examine it more closely! Of all the new Zentangle® books coming out, so far, this is my favorite. Lots of drawings, not so much text! I actually "read" the whole book. :-) I love the way it is designed as a workbook, with nice paper so you can draw along with the inspiring images.

The cover doesn't say so, but the author/artists included are CZTs Penny Raile, Norma Burnell, Margaret Bremner, and Lara Williams. The borders of the pages are color coded by artist, so you can easily flip to your favorite section. MY favorite section is the blue one... Norma Burnell's fairies have my jaw hanging open. But then, I placed my order for this book - last fall - in anticipation of her work!

This book, once again, gives me "page envy". Everyone seems to have so much SPACE these days (wink). Oh what I could have done with 144 pages...  This is typical of Walter Foster style books though - they really focus on showing the steps for drawing. And this book definitely focuses on drawing. I don't see that as a negative - there are plenty of books out there that explain the concept, method, philosophy, etc. of Zentangle. This book does NOT cover any of that. It is a ZIA drawing workbook - with a couple of interesting tangle craft projects thrown in at the end. (I have to try the glitter tangling...)  The subtitle is "50 inspiring drawings, designs & ideas for the meditative artist." And that is a pretty good description. Without that wording, I would have expected "The Art of Zentangle" to be either a gallery of works, or more about the process.

The book won't actually teach you how to draw like each particular artist - their styles are very distinctive... although one exercise feels a little too "Carla Sonheim" for me - they offer lots of great tips and variations for customization. And if you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I am ALL about encouraging people to "make it their own." [Note: that means to be inspired by art and change it to be "you" - don't copy.]

I had bought a few copies of this book for my shop, but it's crazy for anyone to buy this book in a store! Amazon has it for practically half price! They did that with Joy of Zentangle too. I will never understand why they do that? Although Amazon still is saying it is "pre-order" and I HAVE actual copies in my hot little hands (actually, they are rather cold at the moment...).

Oh, just a couple of negatives... $19.95 price - no biggie, it's cheaper online. It's big, not really portable, but nice paper. The font for the text is "hand-written" and hard to read, but there's not too much to read. :-) The cover is crazy and hard to read too, but I actually really like it like that... reminds me of Tangled Fashionista (my original cover).... And the "Getting Started" section feels rather vague. But, like the Harry Potter movies, those of us who have read the books just fill "all that" in in our heads.

The Verdict?
I, Sandy Steen Bartholomew, give The Art of Zentangle," two inky-thumbs up!


  1. Checked The Art of Zentangle through the "inside the book" feature at Amazon. Great! Have just purched it. Terrific! Thanks for the recommendation! ( ! )

    Now then, in addition to my interest in Zentangle, I've been casually interested in mandala development and paisley for decades, and even taught some classes on the subject in the 1970s that were tame and relatively uninformed given the information that is available today.

    So imagine my surprise when YouTubing that I came across information about Henna Mehndi Cones (look up through Google Images), which are brushes fed with Henna dye. From there, I discovered more "how to" information through YouTube, blogs, and of course, books.

    Last year, one of my co-workers mesmerized me by describing how she regularly made chalk paisley designs in front of her door in India and now I have more of an idea on how she did it. You and your readers might like to know more about the subject. Use these techniques to make temporary Zentangle designs on your arms and nether-regions.

    1. Oh yes! I love Mehndi designs! Someday I would like to take a class on how to do the henna tattoos.

  2. I purchased this book from The Book Depository for $16.12 CDN total - no shipping. This is just FYI

  3. If your copy has arrived then mine mustn't be too far off either, having bought it recently through Amazon on back-order. It was ridiculously cheap - even for me here in Australia!
    I'm super excited to get started :) *bouncing around like a kid in a Zentangle-inspired candy store* Thanks for all your great work and inspiration you've given me through your awesome books too!

    1. Bouncing is a good way to put it! That's exactly how i feel when I gt a new book. My newest fascination is with embroidery...

  4. I do a bit of that myself, well cross-stitching actually. But mostly crocheting and knitting for my etsy store with tangling in between! Never an idle-handed moment, who knows what mischief I'd get up to teehee :)

  5. Thanks for the review Sandy. Your blog is the best!

  6. Thanks for the review Sandy - it was a lot of fun to work on this and see it come together...funny, for a while I didn't even know who the other artists were...and didn't see it as a whole until the publisher sent me some copies. Glad you like it and I agree on the hand written is hard to read.

    1. I love your images! Very original - just amazing. :-)
      I think book publishing is a lot like doing ceramics... You put all those mucky glazes on your piece not really knowing what it will really look like after firing... Hoping to get the amazing colors you imagine in your head. Sometimes it comes out better than you can believe, sometimes it explodes in the kiln!



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