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What Are The 5 Styles of Doodling?

Want to start Doodling but a bit overwhelmed and confused about the styles of doodling and what the differences are?  Well in this post I'll take a look at the different styles of doodling (or repetitive art forms) and discuss what makes each of them unique.   

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There five main styles or types of doodle based art are:

  1. Zentangle ® 
  2. Zendoodling
  3. Stendoodling
  4. Mandalas and
  5. Doodle Art

Each style or type has its own specific characteristics and forms and all are equally beautiful!  Let's take a look at each one and see what they are all about and what makes them unique.

Zentangle

Zentangle.com describes Zentangle as "an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. With the Zentangle method, anyone can create beautiful images from repetitive patterns, and even though it is a specified series of steps, it results in a creative expression that transcends its own rules.  

Zentangles are based on:

  • Focus - each stroke is created with intent (even if the final result is a mystery)
  • No Eraser - work your mistakes into your design
  • Foundations (or limits) from the use of 'strings'
  • Abstract - no up or down, non-representative - ie: it shouldn't look like 'something'
  • Ceremony - sort of like a Japanese Tea ceremony for the mind!

Zentangles are created on small 3.5" square paper tiles and are made up of a foundation of 'strings' which are used to define areas which are then filled with 'Tangles' (single repetitive patterns).  Tangles often have specific names and ways of drawing each pattern, in fact, there are books filled with tangle patterns!  The act of creating a Zentangle is called 'tangling' and is a form of meditative art, where the artist focusses on creating each single line rather than a particular image.  Zentangles are constructed in black and white, should not look like 'something' and are absolutely NOT a mindless drawing activity, but rather created with purpose and intent.  If your Zentangle looks like something, it's no longer a Zentangle, but rather Zentangle Inspired Art (Z.I.A.) or a Zendoodle.

These are some of the Zentangles I have created, as you can see they don't look like a particular 'thing', there is no up or down, they are black and white with some shading, they use named tangle patterns and most importantly they were created mindfully, with intention and focus on the process.

Poke Leaf and Munchin Zentangle

 

You can take a class from a Certified Zentangle Teacher in most countries worldwide, learn new 'Tangles' online and even purchase books with Tangle patterns and projects.  
If you would like to learn more about Zentangle go right to the source https://www.zentangle.com   Zentangle is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. and was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.

 

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Zendoodling

Zendoodling has its roots in Zentangling and shares many similar qualities - focus, design, repetitive tangle patterns BUT it can be in colour, on any size paper, a specific shape (eg: word, letter, animal) and may have a top and bottom.  Think of a Zendoodle or Zentangle Inspired Art (Z.I.A.) as using the same or similar tangle patterns to create the image, but with Zendoodling you could draw a leaf outline and then fill it with tangle patterns, you could add tangles to a portrait or even on a 3D object.  Zendoodling is very much like Zentangling - with the same repeating and meditative patterns but with no restrictions on shape, size or colour.

This is one of my favourite Zendoodles.  It's part of an art journal page - in fact, it creates the background, is meant to look like something (which is what makes it a Zendoodle rather than a Zentangle) and it certainly was created in a meditative state, filling all the little components I had drawn took hours.  If you'd like to see how I incorporated Zendoodling into my art journal page you can have a look here.

 

Zendoodle as part of journal page

 

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Stendoodling

Stendoodling uses stencils to create an image outline, patterns within the design and even the individual doodle patterns!  

To create a Stendoodle:

  • Use a stencil or mask to create a shape (eg: a feather), 
  • Then use another stencil to create sections within that shape (eg: sun rays) and finally, 
  • Use smaller stencils (and a fine marker) to create patterns within each section.  

This awesome art form is the creation of Michael Trent, a Brazilian artist - see a start-to-finish example and read more about it here.  I love Stendoodling, as anyone can do this, you don't have to be able to 'draw' anything, or even doodle, you just need to be able to trace around a pattern or shape!  For crafters who already own stencils or masks,  looking for a completely low-stress activity - but not thrilled by Adult Coloring books then this may just be perfect for you!

This is still my favourite Stendoodled project - I combined Stendoodles with free-hand doodle art to create this awesome doodled masked lady.

Copic Mask-15a WM

 

Mandalas

The word Mandala (pronounced mon- dah- lah) is a Sanskrit word that means "circle" and is a very old custom practised by many cultures and religions (Buddhists, Hindus, Native Americans, Christians etc).  Traditionally used in meditation or as a spiritual tool to represent connectedness to the universe, mandalas are now often used to promote mindfulness and relaxation as the act of creating a mandala can be calming and help to focus the mind. 

Though most often circles, or circles within squares, Mandalas can be any shape, but MUST be an integrated structure organised around a unifying centre.  Mandalas contain repetitive geometric patterns, working from a central point outwards, they are most often coloured and can be very simple or hugely intricate. 

Mandalas are created with a purpose in mind eg: wholeness, connection, intentions, the creator should focus on their purpose as they draw.  The creator may feel like using certain words, shapes or patterns while drawing, just let it flow.  The mandala is finished when you feel it is complete, or when you have lost focus.

This is a list of colours and their symbolic meanings to assist in making mandala colouring choices, or you may like to choose colours randomly that appeal to you and then see what they may mean.  Perhaps you are being drawn to colours with a particular meaning or message.

RED strength, high energy and passion
PINK love, intuition and the feminine
ORANGE creativity, transformation, self-awareness and intuition
YELLOW learning, wisdom, laughter and happiness
GREEN physical healing, psychic ability, love of nature and caring
BLUE emotional healing, inner peace and meditation
PURPLE all things spiritual
WHITE spiritual focus
BLACK mystery, deep thinking and individuality 

 

Don't be put off by all the intricate and beautifully coloured mandalas you may see online, drawing these is about relaxing and you don't HAVE to show it to anyone if you don't want to!  

YOUR mandala may be as simple as mine below.  I started off drawing the mandala itself in pencil, added colour and then went back over my design in black permanent ink.  A few shadows and it was all finished.  I picked colours and designs I liked and just enjoyed doodling this.  According to the colour chart above the colours I chose for this represent: love, intuition, the spiritual and physical and emotional healing.  Considering the words I'd chosen to incorporate into the mandala, I'd say my colour choices matched beautifully!

 

Doodled Mandala 2016 WM

 

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Doodle Art, Doodling and all the rest.....

If it doesn't belong to one of the other 4 doodling styles, then it's Doodle Art!  Doodle Art is a catch-all name that is used to describe all doodling that doesn't fit into a specific 'form or style'.  It can be black & white or coloured, be 'something' or be abstract, be a part of a larger artwork or be the artwork, be a complex and intricately composed piece or scribbled drawings as you wait on hold.  

Doodling is often described as 'mindless art' I don't like that description as it doesn't represent the care and attention that goes into crafting some of the amazing doodles people have created.  So instead of using the term 'doodling' I'll call it Doodle Art or artful doodling, as I think that feels a bit more appropriate and honestly slightly less derogatory!  Either way, Doodle Art is the no rules, low-stress FUN form that is simple, fun and once you begin, difficult to stop!  Whether you are drawing a page full of spirals or incorporating doodled flowers into a canvas piece - it's Doodle Art!  If you would like to see how amazingly diverse Doodle Art can be, then pop over and check out my Doodling and Designs Pinterest Board (though be prepared to be there for a while as I swear these can be totally addictive!)

 

Why Create Doodle Art?

Studies have shown that doodling actually helps you pay better attention to things going on around you. So if you are doodling during a class or meeting, though everyone else thinks you are not listening, it is actually helping your mind to focus.  While that may be a scientific reason to doodle, for many people they create doodle art because they like to draw, but don't want to get caught up in something too time-consuming.  The beauty of Doodle Art is that it's fun and relaxing, can be as large as you like, as complex as you like and finished whenever you like.  It's can be a quick form of art, with repetitive elements creating a harmony with as much effort required as you choose.

This is one of my pieces of abstract Doodle Art - if you would like to see the process I used to create this wild abstract page, you'll find it here.

 

LSG Doodle page May 2a wm

 

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I hope you've enjoyed learning about the 5 different styles of doodling, I know it can be a little confusing, but I hope this has cleared it up for you!  
As long as you are enjoying yourself then it's all good and if in doubt just call what you are doing Doodle Art! 

Happy doodling, or tangling, or stendoodling or zentangling or making mandalas!

 

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