Zentangles for getting over the fear of making mistakes

When I was younger, I fancied myself an artist. I never went a day without doodling something. As I got older, that all changed. I stopped drawing and it wasn’t until recently I realized why I stopped. I hate making mistakes!

Well who likes making mistakes right? No one. I let my fear of making mistakes stop me from doing something I enjoyed. Drawing suddenly became something stressful so I started avoiding it. This became a trend. I let the fear of making mistakes stop me from doing a lot of things….my fears started to affect my work, my relationships and my well-being. Something had to change.

Mistakes are part of life, they are unavoidable and the sooner you accept that, the better. The key to living through mistakes is to not let the situation get out of control. You can make A LOT of mistakes before you lose control. This made sense to me, so I decided to start small. Applying this thinking to drawing makes it seem silly to have stopped. Being creative is allowing yourself to make mistakes. It is the mistakes that make your work unique.

To get back into drawing, I started with zentangles. What is a zentangle? It’s a method of drawing structured, repetitive patterns. Repetitive = relaxation and focus. I find it’s a good way to clear your head. When you look at a zentangle for the first time, it looks complicated. The whole idea behind zentangles is that you can do anything, but one step at a time. You focus on the patterns, not your preconceived idea of what the final result should be. Without an expectation in mind, it is easier to make mistakes.

I’ve been doing zentangles for a while. It has helped. It has made it easier to start doodling again. I’m hoping to apply this to the rest of life. I think breaking things into smaller steps will make tasks less overwhelming and not being so rigid about the outcome will keep me from being disappointed and hating myself when I do make mistakes.

“Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones… “

One of my zentangle circles

Here’s how to do a zentangle:

  1. Start with a blank piece of paper. Traditional zentangles are 3.5″ by 3.5″. You can do whole pages if you want, but the small size is much less intimidating.
  2. Make four dots, one in each corner of the paper.
  3. Connect the dots using straight lines, wavy lines or create a shape.
  4. Draw lines through your outline. This creates sections.
  5. Choose a tangle to fill in a section. There are so many to choose from. I use this site as my tangle pattern library: http://tanglepatterns.com/tag/zentangle They show you a pattern and the step-by-step instructions to draw it for yourself.
  6. Use a different tangle in each section.
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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Self-esteem Challenge: Day 3 | Somber Scribbler

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