Last Friday, I had the wonderful fortune of learning from my mom about a Zentangle drawing session happening at Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre (DDVC) in Richmond. Zentangle is a form of pattern drawing that is both creative and meditative. Although I’d heard of Zentangle before, I’d never tried it because I don’t usually draw much. Since this was an introductory-level workshop, I was curious and decided to attend.

We began with a piece of square paper and, after listening to some pointers from our leader, Sihan, began drawing. We were told that we could draw anything we liked or use one of the photocopied patterns that were provided for reference, and that we didn’t have to worry about making mistakes because Zentangle is a free-drawing activity.

I started sorting through the photocopies to look for patterns I liked and wanted to copy. While drawing, I realized that I was gripping my pencil very tightly and had to remind myself to relax. When I noticed that my drawing looked different from the patterns I’d been trying to copy, I remembered the presenter Sihan’s words that there were no mistakes and no “right way” to draw in Zentangle, so I decided to improvise. Even though I’m not artistically skilled and don’t draw much, I was very proud of my drawing, as well as my contribution to the group Zentangle drawing.

There were two moments during the session when we stopped drawing to practice sitting meditation, which helped me relax more easily than while I was doing my Zentangle. While drawing, it was sometimes hard for me to let go of my desire to make the image perfect and as a result I became more tense.

I’m very glad to have attended the Zentangle workshop. It was an enriching experience that I’ll never forget.

Written by: Tina Peng

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