Zen Doodles and Zentangles; When Creativity and Relaxation Collide

zen1Zentangles and Zen Doodling are an art form that has become a new trend. Many are using this artistic endeavor like meditation, others are using it to flex their creative muscles, and others are just trying it because it is new and fun. This art form is using structured patterns or forms. Since it all starts with following a series of steps and set pattern there is no real right or wrong way to go. It does not matter if you think you are lacking talent or a phenomenal artist, everyone’s effort  is wonderful and there is no way to fail. It can be a great way for the art leery to get started in creative endeavors.

zen2If you are ready to go, we have a Zen Doodle Program on May 29th from 3 to 4:30 pm in our Mary Baldwin room. No registration is required, so join in and enjoy. Interested but too nervous to jump on in? Well, you can always check out some of the books we have acquired on Zen Doodling and Zentangles. Most are new to the collection and offer clear instructions and samples to help inspire you.

zen3The art of Zentangle : 50 inspiring drawings, designs & ideas for the meditative artist senior editor, Stephanie Meissner

One zentangle a day : a 6-week course in creative drawing for relaxation, inspiration, and fun by Beckah Krahula

Zentangle basics. 1 by Suzanne McNeill

Zentangle 10 : featuring ideas for origami & paper crafts by Suzanne McNeill

Let’s tangle! the art of zentangle : a step-by-step guide to this simple but elegant art form by Kathleen Murray, CZT

zen4For further reading you might want to explore the Zentangle website or request these books from other libraries: Zen doodle : oodles of doodles edited by Tonia Jenny, Zen doodle : tons of tangles edited by Tonia Jenny and Amy Jones,The beauty of zentangle : inspirational examples from 137 tangle artists worldwide by Suzanne McNeill, CZT and Cindy Shepard, CZT, Zen doodle : tons of tangles edited by Tonia Jenny and Amy Jones, Joy of Zentangle : drawing your way to increased creativity, focus, and well-being featuring contributing artists Suzanne McNeill, CZT, Sandy Steen Bartholomew, CZT, and Marie Browning, CZT, Zentangle basics by Suzanne McNeill, The Zentangle untangled workbook : a tangle-a-day to draw your stress away by Kass Hall, or The book of zentangle by Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas.

The Story Behind Draw a Bird Day

2015-04-09 18.27.16In 1943, Dorie Cooper was a 7 year old living in England. Her mother took her to a hospital to visit her uncle who was wounded in the war. While they were there, Dorie’s uncle was very distraught, having lost his right leg to a land mine. In an attempt to cheer him up, she asked him “Draw a bird for me, please.” Even though he was unwell, he decided to do as Dorie asked. He looked out his window and drew a picture of a robin.

On April 7, 2015 the director of the Cheshire Library put a piece of paper into everyone’s mailbox. The page was blank except for one sentence across the top: Wednesday, April 8th is “Draw a Picture of a Bird Day” followed by the line: Here is my picture of a 2015-04-09 18.25.46bird.2015-04-09 18.25.57

What fun, I thought and took my paper home to plan a drawing for the next day. On April 8th when I arrived at work, several staff had created bird drawings. There were all types from simple line drawings to colorful sketches. Owls, doves, robins, swans, and hummingbirds found their way onto the wall of our staff room.

After seeing her uncle’s bird picture, Dorie laughed out loud and proclaimed that he was not a very good 2015-04-09 18.26.34artist, but that she would hang the picture in her room nonetheless. Her uncle’s spirits were lifted by his niece’s complete honesty and acceptance. Several other wounded soldiers also had their day brightened by the event and every time Dorie came to visit thereafter, they held drawing contests to see who could produce the best bird pictures. Within several months, the entire ward’s walls were decorated by bird drawings.

2015-04-09 18.26.12The next evening, as I was standing there looking at the pictures, I became curious about the source of Draw a Bird Day. So, I did some research and discovered the Draw a Bird Day website. I read with interest about Dorie and her uncle. And then came the third paragraph.

3 years later, Dorie was killed after being struck by a car. At her funeral, her coffin was filled with bird images that had been made by soldiers, nurses and doctors from the ward where her uncle had been. Ever since then, those men and women remembered the little girl who brought hope to the ward by drawing birds on her birthday, April 8th.
2015-04-09 18.26.25

I was stunned. Dorie, the girl who had loved bird drawings, died at age ten? That was not the way I was expecting the tale to end. And then I read a little further.

Draw a Bird Day was never declared an official holiday, but it grew through those soldiers and medical personnel and their families. Today, it is celebrated world wide as a way to express joy in the very simplest of things in life.

2015-04-09 18.26.07I went back into the staff room and looked at the bird drawings again. I had enjoyed making my drawing and viewing the drawings of my coworkers. It had lifted my spirits to make that picture and to see the creativity of the people I worked with. It had, in fact, the same effect that it had in that hospital ward all those years ago.

2015-04-07 16.45.35Seventy-two years after a little girl asked her uncle to draw her a bird, people all over the world are still drawing birds on her birthday. Still celebrating hope and happiness. Still celebrating joy in the simple. Still sharing the fun.

Would you like to learn how to draw a bird? Try these titles:

Drawing Birds     Colored Pencil     Laws guide