Just Playing

Day 28 of One Zentangle a Day makes me think of scribbles. Scribbles is something we do to play when we are sitting reasonably still. Lots of scribbles are curvy. Since today’s Zentangle patterns are very curvy, I figure it’s a day to play.
Today’s lesson

Two patterns were introduced in this lesson. Eke is something that reminds me of cursive lessons many, many years ago. The Palmer Method, to be specific. Lots of loops and lines, but mostly loops, it seemed to me. Master the loops and you’ve got cursive down. The second pattern is Sez and reminds me of a bullseye target. Lots of circles within circles. Also introduced were tangleations of Eke, which particularly lends itself to modification. 

The problem is that putting all these curves together, for a novice like me, seems to limit the imagination. Rather than wrack my brain too much, or take some time to explore the Internet for inspiration, I decided to just play around with three simple patters–Eke, Sez, and Rick’s Paradox to break up the curves. And I thought I would throw in more experimentation with the Koi gray pens as shading elements. 

It will take time to learn to manipulate the pens to get shading down, but I need to start somewhere, even if the result is rather messy. 

Using water-soluble color pencils, I filled each space created by my string with one color or another, then added water to smooth out some of the colors. I am not yet at a point where I feel comfortable applying color boldly; hence, the tentative strokes that are more difficult to blend. But I am playing, and doing so directly to tiles instead of in my sketchbook. There are already too many lumpy pages in my pad.

Yes, I’m playing today.

But what is play?

When we hear the word “play,” children immediately come to mind. Children play. They manipulate their environment, they imitate adults around them, they simply have fun. For children, play is their job. It is learning about their world and about their culture. They act out what they see, and often embellish with what they learn from other children, television, cartoons, etc. Their job is to find how they fit in to the world around them.

When adults play, we generally think of them doing fun, adventurous, or exciting things for leisure. But actors play, whether for fun or as a job. Artists play when they try out new techniques or materials. Scientists play when they experiment, even though their play is very structured. And have you ever been asked to learn something new at work, something that you will need to apply at some later point in time? That’s a form of play–learning to do something in a fun or non-threatening way that will be used as part of serious work. 

So, play might be considered learning, especially if it is done in a fun way, and even if the person is unaware that the new skill or behavior later will be used (or suppressed, if the behavior or skill is “bad”) in a serious way. As an educator, I like the idea of learning as a playful, fun occupation. 


For toddlers and young children, play is serious business. For scientists and artists, play is definitely part of their work. Therefore, I am looking at today’s assignment and my idea of play and feeling like I accomplished something positive, even if the result is not necessarily pleasing to my eye. 

Happy tangling!



About DrEMiller

Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Home: Sint Maarten. K-12 teacher for 13 years (Special Education for 10 years); Post-secondary educator since 2002; Education consulting since 1995. When teaching, held teaching certificates in K-12 special education, reading specialist; and secondary social studies. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.
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1 Response to Just Playing

  1. Pingback: Just Playing | omigacouk

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