5 Types of Meditative Art for Anxiety

5 Types of Meditative Art for Anxiety

Before I list my favorite types of meditative art, we really should have a mutual understanding of what it is.

My working definition is this: meditative art is anything creative that brings you into the present moment and keeps you from focusing on past trauma or future worries. (The stuff that makes us anxious.)

For this post I will be discussing visual art.

divine dove Zentangle with colored pencil on kraft notebook paper

What are the benefits of meditative art? Well, I’m glad you asked. In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, meditative art can bring clarity and help you examine your emotions, express yourself, and find a sense of freedom and empowerment. However, anxiety is something I know really well.

Zentangle Art

As a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) it should come as no surprise that the Zentangle Method is my favorite form of meditative art. It involves drawing repetitive patterns on small tiles. The folks at Zentangle Inc. have a great YouTube channel if you’d like to give it a try. They are currently doing a 21-day series focused on mental health. You can also learn more about ‘tangling in my guide for beginners.

Neurographic Art

Neurographic art is another meditative art form that can reduce anxiety. In many ways it is similar to Zentangle, but there aren’t patterns to learn, just rounded intuition-guided lines and shapes. Creating neurographic art emphasizes intuition, actually. For a great introduction and turorial, I recommend this video by Jules White.

Mandala Art

In ancient Sanskrit, mandala means “circle.” In art, a mandala is a geometric design or radial pattern that grows symmetrically from the center. The Zentangle Zendala is loosely based on the Mandala, though Zendalas may or may not be symmetrical like a Mandala. The repetition is what makes it meditative. To try your hand at making Mandala art, explore Mandala Drawing for Beginners from Tombow.

Abstract Art

Not all abstract art is meditative, but it has the potential to be because it doesn’t attempt to represent reality. The goal with abstract art is to reach people through forms, shape, color, and texture. But if you’re thinking about what you want to create, you might be missing out on the meditative qualities of making art. Like with neurographic techniques, relying on your intuition will serve you well. Try this video tutorial from Deco Art.

Adult Coloring

Before I became a CZT, I colored. Then, after my dad died, I found it was easier to get to sleep if I watched ZucchiniKitty’s coloring tutorials. From filling abstract shapes with marker to coloring intricate lineart with professional pencils, there’s something truly enjoyable, meditative, and liberating about leaving the drawing to someone else and focusing on the art of color. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite ZucchiniKitty tutorials.

Media Swatching

The first thing I want to do when I get new supplies is swatch them. Professional artists swatch everything for obvious reasons, but the act of swatching is itself meditative, and—to me at least—it’s one of the most satisfying forms of art I can think of. You don’t need a tutorial for this one. Just take the art supplies you already have lying around and have at it!

Meditative art can benefit everyone. I hope you’ll explore and find something that brings you joy, sparks your creativity, and gives you peace in this present moment.

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The Divine Dove Zentangle Design

The Divine Dove Zentangle Design

Things have been going…well, I guess just going here Iately. Father’s Day is tomorrow, and I have lots of feelings, but I don’t feel compelled to write about them. I decided I’d try the Divine Dove Zentangle design.

I’d rather Zentangle.

So, I wasn’t intending to, but I accidentally got the June 2021 “Ethereal Desert” subscription box from Archer & Olive. The box included an A5 notebook with kraft paper in it.

There’s no grid or lines printed on the pages, so I thought maybe it would be a good art journal. A place for me to test things, make notes about what I like, have a little therapy time without the burden of posting and editing video, and come up with some ideas that I might turn into my own tutorials for Patrons.

Wanting to put something down on the toned paper immediately, the first thing I drew was some Zen-scribbling with a white Gelly Roll pen when I was feeling all moody about cancer.

And the second thing I drew was the Divine Dove by Romi Marks, TangledYogi 333—a tangle she designed that is a celebration of life. Fitting for me in this moment. I think I have mentioned this before, but I have been really into her YouTube channel since I took the Jesse Lane art class last month and learned more about using my Prismacolor pencils because she tends to color instead of shade everything with graphite.

In the tutorial, she colors the background between the dove and the flowers where the random tipple orbs are floating. I opted to leave that section untouched. I do love using the white colored pencil to highlight and add dimension relatively effortlessly.

TangledYogi 333 works on a hexagon tile. So I sketched in a hexagon lightly with pencil and later erased the guides. (Tip for creating a hexagon: draw a circle, mark points on the circle every 60 degrees, then draw straight lines connecting those points to close off the hexagon shape.)

I used the colors she uses in the video, but it’s neat to compare the difference in the appearance of the colors on the white paper she used versus the kraft paper I used.

The lighting is weird, but this is the color key I drew in the same notebook, so I could easily refer to them if I want to use them again for another tangle. (Btw, I have a colored pencil board on Pinterest if you’re looking for inspiration for your Zentangle art. Some of the pins include reference pictures with the specific Prismacolor pencils used—which is super handy.)

Materials Used

Archer and Olive A5 Kraft Notebook
Helix circle maker and ruler (for setting up the hexagonal guides)
Graphite pencil (for sketching the design)
Kneaded eraser (for lifting graphite without damaging the paper’s surface)
Micron black 05 pen
Prismacolor Premier pencils (PC 909, PC 1100, PC 1008, PC 1009, PC 1001, PC 930, PC 912, PC 1006, PC 1065, PC 938)
Gelly Roll white 08 pen

Shop Zentangle Sets

You might also like: How to Draw Zentangles One Zentangle a Day

Cosmic Doodle Art: Coloring with Alcohol-Based Markers

Cosmic Doodle Art: Coloring with Alcohol-Based Markers

Outer space is beautiful, isn’t it? Today I wanted to take a stab at cosmic doodle art. I used my Bianyo dual-tipped alcohol markers, and a 3-in x 3-in tile to see what I could whip up. I like how this turned out, and drawing it on such a tiny square kept me from getting too overwhelmed. Blinking cursors on a blank page haven’t intimidated me for a long time, but picking up tools to draw always scares me a bit. I’m usually worried I’m about to waste a perfectly good piece of paper.

Before I met Dan, I wasn’t really into much space or science fiction. It’s not that I disliked it, I just wasn’t in the habit of watching it. But after I met Dan, we started watching science fiction a lot. The first show I remember really enjoying was Stargate: Universe. I remember watching a couple of scenes from the observation deck of the Destiny and just thinking to myself how breathtaking it would be to see space from a vantage point like that.

I also watched the Cosmos series with Neil deGrass Tyson and started listening to audio books about space and astrophysics to lull me to sleep each night. Thinking about the vastness of space was a comfort for a lot of reasons, including that it made brain cancer seem so small and insignificant by comparison.

Anyway, from there I became interested in space photography and the art in science fiction and I thought: I want to try drawing something cosmic. And, well, here we are. I hope you enjoy the video.


Want to give it a try? Use my affiliate links to purchase supplies. I’ll make a few cents to support maintaining this site, but you won’t pay anything extra.

Interested in seeing more art videos? Check out my series on Zentangling.

The Memoir is on Pause

The Memoir is on Pause

I hit the the 50,000 word threshold on the memoir last week, and then I put the manuscript away. It’s very nearly ready to hand off to Dan for structuring feedback. However, there are a few reasons I’m waiting:

  • My postcard writing for the Midterm Election has been moved to the front burner. (I’ve written nearly 240 to date with address to write at least 100 more.)
  • I’m not “feeling it” at the moment, and pushing forward before I’m ready will only result in wasted effort. (Ask me how I know.)
  • I want to print the manuscript, because I need a tangible thing to craft at this stage. But my printer’s out of ink, and it’ll cost about $25 to print the current MS at Staples or Kinko’s. So, next paycheck.

While the memoir is on hold, I’m working at making videos for my YouTube channel.

Sometimes I can’t tell if things are genuinely hard (and would be for anyone) or if my brain is slower because of the cancer and treatment. For example, it took me three long, crank-filled days to figure out why my phone kept forcing videos to record in portrait mode instead of landscape.

Anyway, if you’re interested in looking at the progression of my work, watch my videos on coloring and Zentangling. They’re going to get better, I promise!

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