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Giving Tuesday: The Zentangle Foundation

Giving Tuesday: The Zentangle Foundation

Almost twenty years ago, Rick and Maria were inspired to share a method of drawing to help people rediscover the artist within. This drawing method broke down the creation of beautiful art to simple strokes, creating a very easy to learn art form. Before any stroke is made on paper and upon the completion of a tile, the steps of the Zentangle Method are wrapped with Gratitude and Appreciation. Intertwined with the marks on the paper are the philosophies that travel off the paper and into our lives: No Mistakes, Anything is Possible, Tangle Your Own Conclusions, and Turn your Tile. Each of these philosophies allowing for a change of perspective.


There are countless stories of how this simple, yet profound practice of putting pen to paper has transformed lives. It has brought more joy, more creativity, and more friendships to people in all walks of life all over the world. It also benefits people addressing issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, phobias, pain management, traumatic stress, and more.

How It Began...

It was from a place of gratitude that the inspiration for the Zentangle Foundation came. Judy, one of the over 6000 CZTs in 62 countries, appreciated that Zentangle had been a vital part of her life and her healing and called Rick and Maria with an offer of a donation to support others to become certified Zentangle Teachers. From that seed planted years ago, the foundation continues to grow.


This past year the foundation supported the training of two new Certified Zentangle Teachers. One is an educator of children that uses the Zentangle Method with her students. She finds that her “reluctant” learners are more willing to try to draw tangles than other art projects and have more success in doing it. The second scholarship went to a pair of women who are using the method with veterans and their families to help prevent suicides and “heal moral and spiritual wounds of combat deployment”. Our deepest thank you to you all for the work you are doing.


The foundation also supported the introduction of the Zentangle Method to social workers. The intention of the program was for self-care for the caregivers and “to teach this Zentangle technique as a therapy tool that can address trauma, create calm or help regain focus”. A second grant was awarded to a non-profit organization who focuses on persons living with dementia and their families. The proposal is to use the Zentangle method with members, caregivers, volunteers, and staff. With no cure for dementia, the arts are the best option to enhance the quality of life for the members. For everyone, the Zentangle Method provides an opportunity to decrease stress and develop an enjoyable self-care routine.


Finally in 2021, the Zentangle Foundation sponsored a preliminary study on the effectiveness of the Zentangle Method as a possible therapy with persons with serious mental illness. The results are positive enough to merit a follow up study. You can view the abstract on the Zentangle Foundation website.


There is further research needed to understand what exactly is happening. Why is putting pen to paper so effective? Why does it increase focus, creativity, and induce a calmness? Is it as effective as pharmaceuticals with no side effects? Can we find scientific evidence of what is happening when we engage creativity, and we relax into tangles?


Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day devoted to charitable giving. We are asking for your help in growing the seed that Judy planted so that we can continue to support new certified teachers, organizations that see the benefits of sharing the method, and research to quantify what we experience when we tangle.

We know that there are many organizations deserving of your support at this time of year. As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you’ll remember the impact that the Zentangle Method has had on your life and consider making a donation in honor of

To donate, please visit the Zentangle Foundation website.

As we wrap up this letter we close with gratitude. Gratitude for the beautiful community, for those that have supported us along the way, and for all of you.

Thank you!

Jennifer Sumner

7 comments

  • I read the initial abstract of the study done with psychiatric patients and am thrilled to see empirical evidence of what we already suspected—that the practice of tangling changes the brain in positive ways we can only imagine. Looking forward to more.

    Vally Sharpe on

  • Zentangle saved my life….. strong words, but true. After the loss of a child my world became dark, scared, anxiety filled and restless nights. It is interesting I can not remember the exact moment I found Zentangle, but I remember the moment I realized time had passed, the sadness gone and the ache in my heart and body unnoticed. The joy of that and the amazement as I reflected on my art – well- rocketed me into a healthier healing process and renewed my delight for teaching because I had to share this with everyone – because it was life changing……. As a person with mental illness and ADHD I realized as the grief faded in intensity, my mental health and ADHD had also been dramatically reduced….. I became a CZT and am delighted that I can teach knowing that others will experience the amazing benefits and experience the joy that out community has for each other. Wowza….. I’m off to tangle!!!! Thank you

    Kerin McMillen on

  • I’ve been teaching Zentangle for many years and I have only used Zentangle once with a veteran with PTSD but that one experience indicated to me that this could be a wonderful therapy for others with the same condition. The results were amazing. I am so supportive of that line of study.

    Ginny Stiles on

  • CZT 8- I’ve used zentangle for so many years now. I started teaching it at my shop as soon as I was trained at the memorable trip to RI. I’ve brought it to kids attending camps for Kids with Cancer and another group of kids who had diabetes. They always loved it and some shared that they continued to use it over the years. In addition, for the past 10 years, I’ve coached families with addictions and have used it as one of the suggestions for relaxation. I continue to coach and have recently added Grief and Stress Clients. I will bring it to them as well. Zentangle is my daily glass of wine. No matter how challenging things get, I can pull out a journal and do a small tangle. I usually start with a pattern and then mindlessly take it where it wants to go on the page. It is my very best form of evening wind down. Funny thing is that after all of these years, my partner said, “Why don’t yours look like the ones you look at for inspiration?” LOL, I just laughed. Mine is pouring out on the page to clear my thoughts. It does not compare to the way some can take zentangle and create magnificent works of art. All of my tangles, or at least most, bring me so much satisfaction and joy. The process is healing and looking back through the journals is always a treat. Thank you for bringing zentangle to the world. I would be interested in being part of your study as to how and why zentangle is so healing. Please keep us all posted about this work. Thanks again, Heidi

    Heidi Woody on

  • Zentangle has been in my life since 2016 or 2017 when I first saw it, and said, “I need this!” There have been countless days when the only thing that mattered was getting a tile out, along with a pen to draw out of my hand and mind, what was going on inside me. Blessings to you and the way you have made so many people feel.

    Ginger White CZT34 on

  • Thanks, many thanks.

    Alice on

  • It is impossible to repay the debt I owe for the joy, encouragement, and blessing that Zentangle has been to my life! I am one of the many who were blessed to learn about you during the COVID shut down. Being able to step back from the uncertainties of life was invaluable! Thank you for this opportunity to make a miniscule attempt to help others. . .

    LLS on

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