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Bijou's Be Well Series 2024 - A 21-Day Tangling Journey

Bijou's Be Well Series 2024 - A 21-Day Tangling Journey

Born out of Maria’s pen and our playful imaginations, Bijou serves as a gentle reminder of Zentangle’s philosophies for us to embrace both on and off the tile. As we were planning our yearlong celebration, Bijou enthusiastically asked if we would celebrate him during the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.

For 21 days in May 2024, we embarked on a 21-day challenge where we delved into one tangle, on one 3Z tile each day with a very special Bijou Comic.

We have collected these comics and our thoughts that go with them in a blog for us to revisit whenever we need to.

You can watch all of the videos in this series here.

Day One

Maria writes ...

My childhood was exciting. It wasn’t that I traveled, or lived in a mansion, or that I was a daredevil. It was that exciting things happened in my mind, in my dreams and daydreams. I could be many things on any given day. I was content playing alone, an almost impossible feat, given the size of our family (7 children). Some of my dreams lingered as I grew up: fashion designer, commercial artist, calligrapher, and . . . wait for it ... cartoonist. I was always fascinated with cartoons and had created many myself.

I often thought I might grow up to be a professional cartoonist. I wondered should there be an E at the end, “Cartooniste”, as I had never heard of a female cartoonist at that time in my life. It sounded more like me, being French and all. . . Hey, never say never.

Years later the opportunity arose for my first shot at being a true “cartooniste”. I was doing some work for a design company, and I created these adorable snails for children’s linens and such. Originally named Hervé (pronounced French: Her-vay), named after my dad, a great and good man, I had so much fun developing the concept around the character. The drawings practically drew themselves. I loved every minute of it. I eventually ended up with a collection of drawings of Hervé in all kinds of fun situations: in Paris, climbing mountains, dancing with friends, and so on.

All this happened just as Zentangle was beginning, and that was more exciting than anything else I had ever done before. With only so much time and bandwidth, we decided to pull out of the project for the design company and put all our energy into Zentangle. Poor Hervé got put in a box for a later date.

Flash forwards a few more years, and the crew at Zentangle HQ came to me and said, “We need a mascot, a character that can sweetly and joyfully help us share the fun and meaningful philosophies behind the Zentangle Method.”

Without hesitation, I knew just the snail for the job. All the work was done and literally tied with ribbons. The rest is fate. We decided to change the name but wanted to keep it French … none of us remember the exact way we stumbled upon it but we knew …

… it had to Bijou.

Molly writes...

Since Bijou joined the team, he has been instrumental in helping us communicate and teach the philosophies behind the method. His gentle and happy way make a perfect match for us to send words of encouragement and support to all our Zentangle enthusiasts. Last year, we decided to feature Bijou in a campaign to create Zentangle art for 21 days straight during Mental Health Awareness Month. It was a huge success. We all, including Bijou, enjoyed the experience. Each day we featured a different Bijouism as an inspirational thought for the day.

This year, I thought to revisit my mom’s dream of becoming a “cartooniste”. I asked her to create 21 Bijou comics for each day of the series. So, without further ado, we introduce the first day of our 2024 Bijou's Be Well series, featuring Bijou himself. Enjoy!

Day Two

Practicing the Zentangle Method is obviously about putting pen to paper and creating beautiful artwork, but those who have been practicing the Zentangle Method for a while can tell you that it is about so much more than that. The philosophies that we take away from our Zentangle practice give us a new perspective. Learning to look for beauty in ourselves, in our art, and in those around us is empowering. Learning to navigate our artwork using a no mistakes philosophy allows us to find solutions to problems creatively on and off the tile. Breaking down our processes stroke by stroke makes us understand that anything is possible, one stroke at a time. It is these concepts and more that bring confidence, bravery, and joy to our approach. So, when you start to package all these tools together, it really does start to feel like you have a superpower.

Bijou invites all you tanglers out there to grab your capes and join us in today's tangle.

Day Three

It is very clear that modern life is busy. We are all often pulled in many directions. It is easy to get caught up in what has happened or what we could or should have done. At the same time, we can feel overwhelmed by what is going to happen. In the middle of it all, there is this thing called the present that calls to us. Being in the present moment allows us to focus on all the feelings and emotions of what is actually happening. It allows us to let go of the things behind us and not feel so distracted by all that lies ahead. By focusing on the one stroke at hand, we learn to be deliberate with our current actions, feelings, and awareness of all that is with us right now. We invite you to take a deep breath and connect with yourself and perhaps take a little time to tangle in this very moment.

Day Four

It is very common, especially as we get older, to play things safe. We tend to lean towards what is known, what is easy, and what is dependable and thus also maybe a bit unadventurous. Adventure can be full of first-time experiences, learning new things, challenging your abilities, meeting new friends, and seeing beauty in places you never imagined. Our fear of failure and the unknown prevents us from taking chances. Bijou wanted to invite all of you to consider taking a walk on the wild side. We can use our Zentangle Practice as a place to start. After all, it is just pen and paper. Try a new pen or perhaps a tangle outside your comfort zone. Try the hard thing you never thought you could do. When you try something you have never tried before you might be surprised where it leads you and you will see the benefit of a walk on the wild side. You will still appreciate the things within your comfort zone, but you will see within you an opportunity to grow and learn in ways you never imagined.

Day Five

It is very easy to get caught up in a goal or a destination, that many of us, all too often lose sight of the beauty that lies in the journey. Bijou reminds us to pause for a moment and take note of the beauty that surrounds us at any given moment. Take a deep breath and soak it in.

Day Six

Life today can be busy. More than ever, we are constantly on the go and crossing things off of our to-do list. It can be hard to stop and find a moment just for you.

From the very beginning, Rick and Maria designed the Zentangle Method to be an art form that was accessible. Simple materials. Small workspace. Portable. Basic, easy to learn instructions. The idea being, that you could find a way to tangle almost anywhere at any time.

Whenever you need a moment to yourself, to pause and relax, the Zentangle Method is there. It is always tangle o'clock somewhere.

Day Seven

When we take time to channel our inner artist and unleash our creativity, we find relief from the uncomfortable or stressful parts of life. Just as seeking shade provides relief from the sun, the Zentangle Method allows us to find relief from the stresses and strains of everyday life. With each stroke of your pen, enjoy the peace and relaxation that can be found in your own creativity.

Day Eight

A familiar path can offer security and predictability, but Bijou knows the benefit of stepping outside of our comfort zone and taking the string less traveled. While holding steadfast to the No Mistakes philosophy, Bijou encourages us to step outside our comfort zone, challenge ourselves and open our hearts to new perspectives and opportunities.

Day Nine 

If you start to look for joy in even the smallest things in life, you soon realize there is joy to be found all over. Even when times are tough, we know that there are brighter days ahead. Bijou shares, that when something good does come along, ride the wave, and enjoy it. You deserve it!

Day Ten 

A common scenario we encounter in a Zentangle class is a room full of people complimenting each other's work. There will be a lot of "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" and wonderful comments pointing out all the beautiful details of the artwork. It is a magical scene. Something we often don't see, especially in the beginning, is artists having the same passion and adoration for their own work. From a young age we are groomed to not acknowledge our own successes and beauty. However, seeing the beauty in ourselves that others see so clearly is a powerful part of being true to ourselves. For many of us, this might be difficult. We invite you to give it a try. Look at your own art and imagine it is your child's or friend's. What would you say to them? There is so much beauty in all the marks we make. That means you too. Today, Bijou encourages you to see the artist in you and tell that person, they are an amazing artist.

Day Eleven
Even Bijou has days when things feel a little bit off. Sometimes it's just a reminder to pause, take a deep breath and tangle! Creating Zentangle art brings comfort and helps you focus on the good things. Often you are the only one that knows things are out of line, and in fact that "shaky" hand also creates beautiful strokes! Don't be afraid to experience the method in all sorts of conditions... shaky, crooked, jumpy or smooth, "One stroke at a time" always soothes!

Day Twelve
From the beginning, we have always emphasized the importance of using the best tools and papers available when creating Zentangle art. This idea of using wonderful things whether working, cooking, cleaning, or creating art, feels wonderful! The best pen might be a stick and the best surface might be smooth sand at low tide, but the choice is yours to own. The same is true when choosing how to spend your precious time. Bijou wants to remind us all that even during the busiest days, choosing a moment for yourself is valuable beyond measure and can turn a hectic day into a manageable one. We don't always have time to sit and tangle for hours but carving out a precious 15 minutes can be just as rewarding. Don't forget to take time for you!

Day Thirteen

As we travel through this lovely life, we gather friends along the way. Perhaps you have heard the saying that some friends come into your life for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime. We find friends at school and at work, through our children or our neighborhoods. It may seem that once you reach a certain age, you've met all the friends you are meant to have. NOT true!! One of the most amazing parts of the Zentangle community is the way our common love for Zentangle art connects people of all ages and walks of life and brings them together in a surprising way. When we gather together to tangle all of those "differences" melt away as we appreciate each other's art and tangle in harmony. So don't be surprised if you meet a new zenPal through your local tangling club, at an online Zentangle class or at CZT training. Your new tribe awaits!

Day Fourteen

Just as a flower needs water, soil, and sunlight to grow and flourish, we too need to nourish ourselves physically and emotionally in order to flourish.

Bijou understands the significance of nurturing his soul with creativity. By taking a few moments each day to do something that helps him slow down, breathe and reflect, Bijou can flourish both on and off of the tile.

Practicing the Zentangle Method is a tool that we all have to pause and express ourselves creatively. Investing these small moments in self-care each day can foster personal growth and flourishing, whether on or off the tile.

Day Fifteen

Why is it that we can so easily find beauty in our friend's artwork and so difficult to see it in our own?

The Zentangle Community is so kind and supportive to one another. Sharing words of encouragement and uplifting one another as artists. Bijou encourages you to speak to yourself the way you would someone else. Find the beauty and gratitude in each of your tiles and in yourself.

Day Sixteen

We often say, "Zentangle artists see the beauty in the world."

If you train your eye to spot the beautiful things around you, it is true that it is what you begin to see.

And once you start to see more beauty, you realize that it isn't that there are more beautiful things than there were before, it is that you have learned that wonderful things can sprout from even the most unexpected places. Magnifying or bringing focus to the good in our lives makes us stronger, more confident and brings more joy to our journey on this planet.

Day Seventeen

Bijou is always trying to be a good role model for the Zentangle community. Today he shares how sometimes it is important to turn over a new leaf. This implies that making positive changes in your life can help leave behind old habits that are bogging you down and at the same time adopt new habits that are more nurturing and self-fulfilling.

Bijou knows that each tile is a clean slate and a fresh start and relishes in the opportunity to make deliberate and beautiful strokes.

Day Eighteen

When teaching the Zentangle Method and someone thinks that they have made a mistake on their tile, we will often tell them to "keep going." More often than not, when they complete their tile, that "mistake" is lost in all of the tangles and you don't even notice it anymore.

There are times when tanglers are hesitant to share their tile in a mosaic because of a mistake or concern that their tile is not "good enough." However, when they place their tile in the mosaic, all of those "imperfections" disappear.

Bijou invites you to let go of your self doubt and get lost in the tangles with him.

Day Nineteen

Have you ever noticed how sunshine after a storm is all the more sweet? We need to have the darkness to appreciate the light for all it's glory. Whether it's on your tile, at the playground, on your dinner plate, or in relationships, we all need balance to stay steady. When creating Zentangle art, don't forget to balance your delicate strokes with bold and confident layers of ink. When at the playground, grab a friend to play along! When enjoying a meal.... make it veggies AND cake! And in your treasured relationships, a little bit of you and a little bit of them is the key.

Day Twenty

One of the unexpected benefits of the Zentangle Method is the community that has built up around it. We always say that either the Zentangle Method attracts the best people, or it brings out the best in people. Either way - there is something truly special about tanglers. When you need it most, the Zentangle community is there to provide support, inspiration, friendship and fun!

Bijou wants to remind us to just have fun with tangling. Whether you are by yourself or with your best tangling pal, enjoy and be playful today!

Day Twenty-One

The Zentangle community is one that welcomes all, supports all, loves all, and sees the beauty in each and every one of us. Thank you all for being with us on this amazing journey. And Bijou thanks you too!

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Let us know in the comments what your favorite day/comic was (if you can pick just one!) and we will select a few tanglers at random to receive a Zentangle surprise.

Bijou

32 comments

  • My favorite day is day 7, Bijou under the umbrella.

    LIM CHOU TI on

  • Hats off to Robert Frost – Day 8

    Thanks for the great series

    Linda Dochter on

  • Day 6 – Speaking of mental health month…..during a period of tumultuousness in my life and a wonderful therapist who told me I HAD to find a hobby instead of living to work in a stressful job, I signed up for a Zentangle class. To say I was hooked from the begining, might be an understatement. I very quickly started ordering books, supplies, went down the rabbit hole of all the wonderful CZTs, ordering project packs etc. I struck out on my own and started doing the ABC, CDE, FGH, etc challenges and finished the entire alphabet twice in under a month. Then, I moved from VA to WA – where I know absolutely no one. I live in a cul-de-sac with 33 houses and the 3rd person I met, loves Zentangle too! What an amazing bonding conversation that was! But wait, there’s more. :) I am finally, after more than 5 years registered to become certified – I am going to do the online class in November – so excited!!! If you are still reading, you are probably curious why I picked Day 6 – “It’s Tangle O’clock somewhere” – my new neighbors and I love to happy hour and tangle during the warmer months and I am hoping that once I am certified, to hold classes in front of my fire place with a hot toddy and great conversation with new friend. AND to further the o’clock somewhere – there are amazing instructors all over the world and it great to see the Zentangle fans that stay up til all hours or get up very early to attend to keep the Zentangle community close knit and thriving. Cheers! (get it?)

    Robyn Anderson on

  • My favorite is Day 8, " And he chose the string less traveled." I love the reference to the famous poem by Robert Frost, and how it applies to the Zentangle Method. Very clever!

    Mary Pickert on

  • Dear friends – Maria, Rick, Molly, Martha!
    Thank you for the exciting journey… for the minutes of immersion in the magical world of entanglement… for the shared beauty of colors and shapes…
    I love the zentangle method!
    He gives me everything I need – detachment from problems, immersion in another beautiful world, creativity, impulse, joy, mood…
    It’s scary to end up on the other side, but it’s also a challenge – that’s why I love day 4 and its entanglement!
    Sometimes I am beyond the limits of calmness and then I get confused – I like day 11 and especially paradox!
    I find beauty and gratitude in everything and I love the scenа – day 15!
    I’m not afraid of mistakes – we all make mistakes sometimes (and learn from them). I love to weave marasu – day 18!
    Oh beautiful!Моока -day 21!
    Thank you all for the opportunity to follow and learn!
    Thanks to Maria, who, despite the problem, creates beauty with her hardworking and tireless fingers (which have sores on them)!
    Stay healthy and blessed!
    With respect!

    Дафи

    Dafi on

  • Day 21 gives me hope. As I get older it seems that life throws more challenges my way. When I discovered and learned the Zentangle method I found a way to calm my mind and find moments of peace. I am so grateful for the work you have all put into this venture. Bijou’s inspirational messages have touched me deeply. I wish that the drawings would be gathered together and made into a book. Thank you Bijou and the entire Zentangle team.

    Cathy on

  • I loved this series so very much! The Bijouisms are perfect. I could see having them as little cards… and pulling one a day… I think my favorite, as I write this, is: To “Thy Own Shell Be True.” For a snail shell is always growing… there is always room to discover something new, to learn how to listen to your heart, and to follow your creative song… thank you for the joy of creativity in all shapes and sizes that you all share with us!

    Lea on

  • So hard to choose just one, but I went with Day Five – Stop and Smell the Roses. It is a reminder to pause, express gratitude and enjoy – just like in zentangle!

    Deborah Rogers on

  • Thank you Maria, Rick and your team! Highlighting Mental Health Month in May was an honor to follow. Each tile is unique, but Day 17 spoke to me…“each tile is a clean slate and presents a fresh start. Making positive changes in life helps to dismiss old habits. I also advocate for self-care.” Thank you, thank you~~Patty

    Patricia Points on

  • All the comics were so enjoyable, it’s difficult to choose only one. I’m going to choose Day 16. I’m so happy to see Maria tangling. Thank you for the 21-days of Bijou’s Being Well Series. 🌀💜🌀

    Janet Elam on

  • I find myself singing “It had to Bijou….” as I prepare to tangle these days; so much fun and really is uplifting! The whole series is an exceptional work of art in itself. I really loved all the Bijouisms! That said, Day 10 " To thine own shell be true" has been the most impactful, not only to me, but also my granddaughter who just graduated high school. I am in the midst of tangling this on a tile to present to her as she heads off to college this fall. Thanks so much for all you do to spread joy to the world…one stroke at a time!

    Marmie Hawkins on

  • It’s so hard to pick one! I guess I’ll go with day 8 – the string less traveled. Thanks for this series… it came at a perfect time in my life.

    Nancy Wilcox on

  • Great Masters of Zentangle, Namaste! What a beautiful Bijou cartoon of Every day of 21 Days art Journey.I can’t select favourite Day.

    Prakash Deshpande on

  • Great Masters of Zentangle, Namaste! What a beautiful Bijou cartoon of Every day of 21 Days art Journey.I can’t select favourite Day.

    Prakash Deshpande on

  • I choose to love day 15 as it reminds me never to compare my own mark on the tile with anyone else’s. When my hand shakes, the tile often comes alive to the “me ness” of what spirit was in that moment, and brings me closer to my friends and their individual way of being and expressing. I am so appreciative for this opportunity

    michael ann O'grady Leaver on

  • I love all the comics but Day 2 is still my favorite! I have always had the desire to draw but never felt my artwork good enough to share. It was too primitive. Since I started tangling, my artwork has taken a definite turn … or is it that my mind can finally see the beauty?

    Thank you for this journey, all the teachings, and bringing more beauty to all our lives. I look forward to the next journey…

    Chris Kwiecien on

  • Thanks for all the inspiration from all the days, love them all. 😉

    Darry laing on

  • Day 17 is my favorite!

    Thank you for all.

    Nathalie on

  • I love them all and it is hard to pick a favourite! If I had to pick, it would be day 21. We shell overcome… it is so profound and also very inspiring! Be as soft as bijou but wear a hard shell and you shell overcome…

    Suchitra Komandur on

  • Oh, I LOVED the 21-day Bijou Mental Health challenge! My first — a ZT newbie — and I joined the Mosaic app the end of April. So….. My Fave: Day 15, You are Gourd-Geous! I needed that reminder not to compare, to see beauty, and I was also kind of intimidated when I saw all the beautiful masterpieces in the mosaic app, but I started to share my Bijou mental health tiles, and everybody was absolutely kind and supportive and appreciative of my ‘newbie’ efforts! Oh, made me happy! What a family ZT folks are! THANK YOU to Rick, Maria, crew for making this happen 💜💜🥰🥰

    Laqueta Soule on

  • I love Day 19 – Bijou teaches balance. I find that drawing – especially with Zentangle – creates a lot of balance in my life because I can relax and enjoy the “elegance of limits” when my mind is going in too many directions.

    Dione Greenberg on

  • I loved them all! But day 12 especially spoke to me as a reminder to be more selective in how I spend my time. they would be a fun set of note cards. Thanks for helping me focus on my tangling each day.

    Kimberly Anderson on

  • What, Just One! Ok, Day 2, then a close second with Day 5, 20 and 21. Very inspirational and I can see with my one good eye how much fun this was for ALL of us! Many blessings and hugs, THANK YOU! What a joy! Keep on dancing however you can!

    Julia Davenport on

  • My favorite is still Day 1, “It had to Bijou.” I still hum the tune….

    They were all so clever. Thank you for them and the relaxing, inspiring videos.

    Kendra Page on

  • I like the whole serie, the objective and the idea that bijou conveys this year, especially the cartoon on the 7th made me smile enjoy the shadow and the bijou’s text

    to find relief from the stresses and strains of everyday life. With each stroke of your pen, enjoy the peace and relaxation that can be found in your own creativity.

    carmela on

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