• Yvonne Westover

20 Minutes to Zen


I sit down with my pen and paper.

I need to organize my thoughts, clear my mind.

I don’t worry about words; I don’t need them.

I need to mark the paper with lines, curves, and orbs.

I need to follow the flow of these repetitive strokes.

I will be in this time and space.


The method of Zentangle is not only a way to draw intricate pieces of art, but a way to quiet the mind, find stillness in a busy day and to connect with yourself.

Putting a pen to a 3.5-inch square of paper is easy when you have a simple method to follow. Zentangle is a step-by-step process of drawing repetitive patterns called Tangles, filling the blank square by just focusing on the next pen stroke. In about 20 minutes, you will have drawn a complex image that you didn’t plan on. You will have shifted your mood, gained focus, and felt refreshed.


Zentangle is a practice, much like playing the piano or shooting hoops. Small amounts of time dedicated to putting pen to paper or learning new combinations of pen strokes will lead you to a set of skills that you can call upon at any time. Carrying around small squares of paper and a good pen will lead to unexpected opportunities to draw, and to slow down and enjoy the moment.


I have been finding the zen in these little squares for over 9 years. They have been created in parking lots, hockey arenas, waiting rooms, airports, and destinations around the world. I enjoy the creative process these squares allow me to tap into at times when it's easy to pick up my phone and lose 20 minutes in scrolling. Having purposefully created in this way gives me a sense of accomplishment and joy.


I have over 1000 squares that I can reflect back on and recall the surroundings, the circumstances or even my thought process as I drew them. Even though I didn’t write words on the page, I have captured a sliver of time that I can contemplate by letting my eyes follow the lines. Not all the squares look good or are perfectl