“Lend a Hand” Zentangle series


My foray into Zentangling has led to a ton of new sketchbook art! I’m very excited to be drawing this much again, and using this method of patterns of simple shapes is really relaxing. It’s very calming. I’ve been working on these sketches while listening to various meditative music, which only enhances the feeling of being “drawn into” (if you’ll pardon the pun) the picture and away from the stresses of everyday life.

Here is a sneak peek at the sketches for my first themed series of artwork. This is the first time I’ve consciously worked to develop a series of artworks that are united by either topic or media or method or subject, and so far I’m loving how they’ve turned out!

My series is called “Lend a Hand,” and to me, they represent simple things we all should do to make the world a better place. It is an overly simplistic goal, I know. Some may call it naive or childish. However, I think it is possible. We all have hands of many colors, and they all have the same ability to hold and comfort, to encourage and protect, to love and support.

So, here we go.

Number 1: High Five! This is the first in the series: the first hand tangle I designed. This one represents enthusiasm, encouragement, and energy.


Number 2: Life’s Good The “okay” sign seemed appropriate for showing life’s journey into a sunset. This journey isn’t a straight line; it curves around many different landscapes. But the sun is the light at the end of the tunnel. There are good things that come to us if we work and travel toward them. (Also it is fun to note that my best friend asked “Are you supposed to see an inchworm in the index finger? Because that’s all I got. Is this the very hungry caterpillar?” Which made me laugh, and henceforth, I can’t see anything but an inchworm in this drawing. I think I’ll name him Carle.)


Number 3: Cross My Heart The crossing-fingers-for-luck sign I thought mixed well with the heart symbol for love. Hoping and wishing for love is such a basic human emotion. We promise we’ll do it right if we can only find it, and we long for it to show itself.


Number 4: Three Words The iconic American Sign Language symbol is well known, and gives up that yes, we have found the love wished for in Number 3. Those “Three Words” have shown up in literature, pop culture, and song over and over. There are so many ways to say “I love you,” but many times, the silent showing or demonstrating how you love someone are so much more important and lasting. Actions speak louder than words.


Number 5: Untitled. Number 5 is untitled as of yet. I haven’t found the words to fit. (I did resist a strong urge to title Number 5 “Mambo” and draw some hands doing Latin dance moves!) This piece is for peace, for caring of our natural resources, and the mindfulness to do so. This is also the first work that I consciously included many recognizable symbols to support the topic. You will find peace signs, leaves, and recycle symbols along with many organic shapes.



This week I discovered Zentangles!


This method of repetitive doodling with simple shapes into complex patterns is both simple and relaxing! All you need is a piece of paper and a writing utensil of your choice.






Not too shabby, eh?

You can find books like the one pictured above to instruct you on zentangling, or you can google the topic to find multiple websites with instructions and examples. I also searched the hash tag “zentangle” on Instagram and found a TON of awesome artists and their examples, like @cutedesigns and @rufuswealie:



Looking up other artists’ work is a great way to get inspired!