by Judith Walden

“I’m not creative.  I’m not artistic.  I can’t paint, draw, sculpt”—whatever.  Adults say these things.  Kids don’t have those blockages.  Put kids together with crayons, paints, clay, colored pencils, and art happens with enthusiasm, joy, and complete disregard for what “the rules” are supposed to be.   Somewhere along the line adults lose that ability to just create.  We worry about the “rules.”  We want to do it “right.” We get in our own way.  Maybe that is the reason for the enthusiasm Adult Coloring and Zentangle are generating.

Both Zentangle and Adult Coloring provide the opportunity to create and follow your imagination, but they also have, if not rules, at least guidelines. Their popularity shows in the growing number of books and accessories available.  A trip to a craft store or a quick Google search will reveal multiple choices of adult coloring books from mandalas  through really “adult” adult images.  Tools include simple crayons through high end markers and colored pencils.

Zentangle, which is  copywrited, offers a certification for people who want to teach the “official” Zentangle material.   Heidi Depue, an artist and certified Zentangle instructor describes it as “a form of meditative drawing; it is actually a way to practice Mindfulness.” She points out that “research has shown Mindfulness practice to be tremendously helpful for stress management and numerous other issues.”  Zentangle, like Adult Coloring is easy to learn, takes few tools, and can be done pretty much anywhere.  Established artists and beginners can enjoy it equally.

What do people get out of this?  Someone can simply enjoy the peaceful act of coloring, or doodling—tangling, as Zentangle enthusiasts call it, or it may be a stepping stone to trying other art forms.

Whether you are just interested in a low-key, relaxing way to exercise your creativity, or a stepping stone to becoming more involved in art, a growing number of Adult Coloring and Zentangle activities provide plenty of choices.  In February, Salem Public Library introduced Rediscovering Coloring. Meetings are held the last Saturday of the month, 2-4 p.m. in the Heritage Room. The event is free and open to the public.  There are also monthly coloring groups at Stayton Public Library and Silver Falls Library.

If tangling is more your taste, Heidi Depue will be teaching an introductory class at The Art Department.  Some gorgeous examples of her work can be seen on her webpage.



A correction was made to this story: Salem Public Library’s monthly coloring event is called Rediscovering Coloring. Meetings are held the last Saturday of the month, 2-4 p.m. in the Heritage Room. The event is free and open to the public. The ColorZen program that was mention in the printed article is at the Salem Public Library in OHIO. Sorry.