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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Creative Calm with Zentangle

Apr 25, 2019 06:07PM ● By Claire Rabe bimdeedee

Adult coloring books are all the rage, but another type of creative expression is gaining in popularity.

This is Zentangle, a meditative drawing process using joined lines or “tangles” to create intricate and one-of-a kind masterpieces.

Part mandala, part old fashioned doodling, Zentangling creates a free form expression using only a few simple tools—paper, pen and a ruler or straight edge.

Launched in 2003 by creative pair Richard Roberts and Maria Thomas, the Zentangle method is now a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 3,000 instructors certified in teaching the process. And yes, there’s an app for that!

Devotees liken a Zentangling session to meditation, as the rhythmic composition of tangles and absence of rules frees up the creative side of the brain to relax and flow.

Studies have shown that engaging in creative matters, even those as simple as doodling with a purpose, lessens anxiety and quiets mind chatter. There are no mistakes in Zentangling, just different tangles to explore.

Claire Rabe has written for The Arizona Republic, Phoenix Business Journal, Phoenix Magazine, and many other print and online sources. She has written a book on autoimmune health, a popular Arizona restaurant guide, and an e-book on journaling for caregivers. Rabe teaches writing workshops to students age 8 to 80. For more information, visit

Want to Learn More?

Visit for frequently asked questions, and to locate a local instructor or class.

Read Zentangle, by Jane Marbaix (available on



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