Deft doodling: Area woman teaching classes on art of Zentangle | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo courtesy of Matthew Callan / These examples of Zentangle artwork were done by Shelley Williams and Janet Vilke.

Many people doodle without thinking about it, but others doodle with purpose. They say it helps them relax, relieve stress and focus better at work.

Mindful doodling has a name, Zentangle, coined by husband and wife Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas who live in Providence, Rhode Island. They created the craft and have taught classes in it for the past decade.

The couple’s official website, Zentangle.com, describes the “Zentangle Method,” as “an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.”

The method got its start when Maria noticed how calm and focused she felt as she drew background illustrations for a manuscript. Rick told her the feelings she described reminded him of meditation, according to the website. Together, they decided to try to come up with a simple system of drawing that would re-create the same feelings of relaxation for others, even those who aren’t gifted artists, by following basic steps. The method they devised, Zentangle, is simple to learn, and the basic tools it requires are easy to carry.

Shelley Williams, supervisor of adult circulation at Altoona Area Public Library, has taught Zentangle for several years at the library and at other area libraries.

Zentangle first caught her eye when she was surfing the Internet looking at the sites of libraries outside Pennsylvania to see what crafts they offered.

The intricate patterns of Zentangle, coupled with the concept that the patterns are broken down into stages so that anyone can complete them, intrigued her.

“I saw it, and I thought, ‘I can do this,” she said.

Williams bought books and taught herself how to Zentangle, then she started teaching classes at the library. After a while, she went to Rhode Island to learn from the craft’s creators. She spent several days at an official Zentan­gle workshop with 109…

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