In my book, Creative Tangle, I took the predominantly black and white world of Zentangle and threw a big box of crayons at it! No surprise there; it stands to reason that an artist would want to delve into the world of color. As it’s popularity grew, Zentangle became more colorful and artistic…because it could and it was a natural progression: out of the basic black and white, emerged the proud peacock in all it’s glory, aka ZIA’s (Zentangle Inspired Art.) The question is, did this evolution rob Zentangle of it’s original form and purpose?
I believe that the creators of this art form (Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas) developed Zentangle first and foremost, as a meditative method of drawing. They needed to keep it as simplistic as possible by putting black pen to paper. But they also proved just how visually striking the design could be, without the addition of color. I have pinned many ZIA’s on my Pinterest board that are in their basic black and white form…to add a color element, would somehow deplete them of their power. I love to include Zentangle patterning to mixed media pieces. Generally, my tangles are black lines over a colored background, and hence, both areas are covered. Have you noticed the coloring books that have been published recently with tangled designs, patterns and mandalas? There’s definitely a market for them, but I don’t see it pushing the black Micron pens to the wayside. In the end, it really comes down to personal preference…and neither side is wrong! Do you tangle in black and white or do you dance around with several cans of paint? Let’s discuss!