I have always been happy with the results from a project I have students do using line, pattern and texture, working with the concepts of balance, repetition and variety. After showing artwork representing these elements of art and principles of design I have students work with each element in turn until they thoroughly understand each concept and can use it. Students are then asked to combine what they’ve learned into an 8 panel folding book form. Each page is supposed to stand on its own, and as the pages are turned, they are designed to relate to and lead into the next panel. In addition, students are encouraged to unfold the book and look at the 8 panels as if they are one piece of art, making sure that the book works well in this format, too.
This is a complex operation, but broken into smaller pieces with each concept thoroughly explored, I have found that students of all ages and experience levels are able to create exciting, unique and successful artworks. They walk away with the confidence and the tools to continue to explore, grow and most importantly, branch out into their own ideas. The structure provides the security to allow people to launch into the scary world of creativity without restricting them to just this one project. By the way, above is an example of an 8 panel ink drawing using line, texture and pattern in a well balanced repetitive yet varied design. Thanks to Kimberly Inness and her wonderful. Many art instructors use similar projects with excellent results.
Enter the Zentangle phenomenon. I discovered Zentangle last week via a friend who had just participated in a workshop. I had never heard of Zentangle. If you haven’t either, feel free to Google it. Apparently anybody who knows anything about anything is doing it. And doing it to the tune of lots of $ for the people who were smart enough to package a simple idea and create a market for it. So in a nutshell, Zentangle is a registered trademark with registered phrases, taking the idea of lines and patterns, packaging “tiles” (heavy paper), a pen, a pencil and some other goodies into a fancy box, for sale. With Zentangle books or the help of a Zentangle workshop instructor (who must be certified), you, too, can create your own Zentangles. There is no end of associated products related to this. Who can argue over a product that as reported by Lucille G., a Zentangle workshop participant, is: “…a movement, I tell you. I envision a world filled with people connecting to their creative spirits, some for the first time since childhood, moving away from fear and anger towards the higher levels of consciousness of Joy and peace. By making Zentangles, they will be transformed, experiencing that life is meant to be filled with the joy of being alive. I envision a world of beings too busy creating Zentangles and sharing their enthusiasm for Life to be doing anything but moving towards Peace with each other.”
Why is this bothering me? I can’t figure out if I’m envious that someone has figured out how to market and make money off of a simple idea, or mad at myself for not being the guy who thought this up. Or because it feels like people are being taken advantage of? On the other hand, what can be wrong with encouraging people to be creative? I simply don’t know what my issue is, but I can tell you that I’ve been wasting a lot of time and energy thinking about it. Help, I’m going crazy!!!