We want to stay connected and creative with our community during these unprecedented times. 

Our first opportunity we are sharing is our Virtual Pop-Up. For the next few weeks, arts instructor Elisabeth Herrera is sharing virtual activities to keep you inspired. Follow along with each activity and share your creations with us on Instagram (@atlantacontemporary) with the hashtag #ACMAKES

We look forward to seeing everyone’s creations and continuing the excellent conversations we usually have in person in a digital space.

Zentangle! Mindfulness in Doodling

This activity accompanies our first Meditation Monday released on Monday, May 11.

Have you considered doodling as part of your artistic practice?

Everyone doodles, yes you too! When you get a new pen and put it to paper to start the ink flow, you make markings that are unique to you. You may create feverish zigzags, slow swirling loops, evenly spaced vertical lines, etc. Maybe you doodle when you’re on the phone or in meetings. We are compelled to make markings in the way we find most appropriate. We ask you to consider your natural mark making inclinations when working on this week’s art making experience: Zentangle!

Zentangle “includes a ritual to help get in touch with life while creating beautiful art”. This process “turns drawings into artistic design while reducing stress and improving focus”.
McNeill, S. (2010). Zentangle basics. Fort Worth, TX: Design Originals.

Zentangle is appropriate for all ages and skill levels. We present this pop up in correlation with programming provided by our intern Hannah Joy. Check out her Meditation Monday series in the index section of our website atlantacontemporary.org

Click here to watch a video of the Zentangle processes used.

    Let’s zentangle!

    Materials you’ll need:

    • Drawing paper (or any surface you’d like to create on). Square shaped is recommended.

    • Permanent marker (or drawing media of your choice)

    We recommend using only one color when starting to explore this process.

    You might be happier using a thin tipped drawing tool to make adding small details easier.

      This tutorial offers simple staring points for the zentangle process. There are unlimited combinations and styles of creating your zentangle. If you feel like going in a different direction, go for it!!

      Step 1: Draw a square

      While any closed shape will work, we recommend beginning with a square.

      Tip: your square doesn’t need to be perfect or exact. Rather than getting out that ruler in the bottom of the junk drawer, start by drawing four evenly spaced dots, then connect the dots to create your square boarder.

        Step 2: The Golden Thread

        Next, add a guideline that touches all four sides of your square frame. Your guideline could be a zigzag, loop, X, or any other line variety that touches all four sides of the frame.

        This guideline represents “the golden thread that connects all the patterns and events that run through life”.
        McNeill, S. (2010). Zentangle basics. Fort Worth, TX: Design Originals.

        The golden thread you’ve created has divided your square frame into differing sections

          Step 3: Add Plentiful Patterns

          Try working in layers. Add simple patterns first, then add additional details. Starting with a standard sharpie then moving to a thin tipped pen can add great variety in your tangle.

          Consider the types of doodles you like to make. Cubes, flowers, spirals, or whatever you find yourself doodling can become the basis of the repeating patterns in your tangle.

          Look to your sketchbook, that booklet of your Zoom meeting notes, or your grocery lists to investigate the types of doodles you’ve been making but may not have considered.

          The best part: there are no mistakes! Every mark you make can have purpose in your tangle.

          “With Zentangle, no eraser is needed. Just as in life, we cannot erase events and mistakes, instead we must build upon them and make improvements from any event. Life is a building process. All experiences are included into our learning process and into our life patterns.”
          McNeill, S. (2010). Zentangle basics. Fort Worth, TX: Design Originals

            I started by looking at my sketchbook. I noticed I’ve been doodling lots of lines, circles, and flowers. These became the main elements of my zentangle.

                Step 4: Share your work! Or keep it for yourself :)

                Zentangle can be a mindful way to work through your artistic practice or simply a means to create for yourself therapeutically. They also make lovely greeting cards. Whether you decide to try out this process for a particular purpose or as a way to focus your creative thoughts we want to encourage you to be mindful in your creative process.

                Share your work with us on social media by using the tag #ACMakes. We love to see how you make our programming your own.


                  Elisabeth Herrera-Very

                  Elisabeth Herrera-Very is a teaching artist and art educator working in Atlanta. A former public school visual arts teacher she now focuses on community engagement and museum education. As a teaching artist she develops programming that provides inclusive, thoughtful, and relevant art experiences for participants of all ages and skill levels. Her programming at Atlanta Contemporary encourages patrons to explore their own creative process through contemporary art making practices and exploratory art making.


                  Share your creations with us! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @atlantacontemporary and use the hashtag #ACMAKES.

                  Click here to watch a video of the processes used.

                  Upcoming Events

                  April 27 / 2:00pm
                  Special Event

                  MuSEA Slow Reads


                  Folks get to activate MuSEA’s mobile library by relaxing at the Atlanta Contemporary and reading selected texts out loud to each other.

                  April 28 / 12:00pm
                  Contemporary Kids

                  Contemporary Kids


                  A free and interactive family-friendly program, Contemporary Kids introduces children to contemporary art and artists through approachable media and hands-on activities.

                  May 2 / 6:30pm
                  Contemporary Cocktails

                  Crafts + Cocktails


                  Join artist and educator Sherrice Adams for our adult craft night, Crafts + Cocktails.

                  Imported Layers Created with Sketch.

                  We encourage you to share your images using #atlantacontemporary. Read our full photography policy.