Let’s face it. The world is a chaotic place and it’s not easy to find peace here. No matter how hard we try to remain calm, something or the other is bound to shake us up. Maybe looking for an external source of calm can’t help. Perhaps, going inwards is the only solution. But how do we do that? Some meditate, others pray. Some read books, others cook. Some find it in art; they draw, sketch, paint, sculpt or carve. Each one has their own means of finding solace.
Remember this scene from the epic war movie Troy? Odysseus watches a man carving a toy horse to give to his son upon returning home. Even medieval soldiers are known to have dabbled in art, to find a moment of peace in their war-ridden lives! No wonder creativity and art therapy often feature in anecdotal recovery journeys.
UK artist Adrian Hill is said to have been the first to have used the term ‘art therapy’ to describe the application of image creation to therapeutic experiences. In the 1940s, he’d been trying to recover from tuberculosis and had found tremendous relief through drawing and painting. Hill believed that ‘completely engrossing the mind (and fingers) … [and] releasing the creative energy of the frequently inhibited patient’ could fortify them against life’s ups and downs.
Unlike other forms of drawing, Zentangle requires using a pen. So, that means there’s no room for ‘perfection’, thereby pushing us to simply flow with the ink.
According to studies conducted by John Nordell, a Zentangle trainer, the art form has been found to reduce anxiety in senior citizens and even cancer patients.