Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How Much Would You Pay To Learn to Doodle?

           Last week was a terrible week. It was the kind of week that leaves a grown person (me) wanting someone to put a box of crayons and a coloring book (No Disney princesses please) in front of me. And even after that the person might find themselves having the kind of meltdown that lends itself to speaking in escalating volume, “Will someone just bring me a F#@$ing JUICEBOX?!”, alas, no one brought me a juice box. I did, however, go to Barnes & Noble looking for a coloring book. A grown-up kind of coloring book – kind of like the Biology Coloring Book where you get to color in mitochondria and lysosomes. (All right I’m a big weirdo. You KNOW that already). I found nothing amidst all of the “Buy me as a Christmas present,” crap books the booksellers are pushing this time of year.
            The reason I thought I might find a good coloring book without having to search too much was that I remembered seeing a book several months ago that was literally (note correct use of the word literally), a doodling book. And as I thought more about that book while searching for the coloring book in the middle of trying to turn the meltdown back into something solid, I became more and more irritated by the idea that SOMEONE had COPYRIGHTED DOODLING. This isn’t new. There are lots of books out there called Doodle books. And people are regularly trying to copyright things that are neither new nor their own. These Doodle books are not the problem. It’s all out there in the open in a book called Doodle Book or Scribble Book. The particular book that got under my skin is called “The Art of Zentangle.
            According to the description on Amazon:
            “Zentangle® is a meditative process of creating art, wherein simple shapes and lines combine to make a complicated and interesting final piece of artwork. The focus of Zentangle is on the process of creation, rather than the end result. The beauty of Zentangle is that there is no right way or wrong way. If you can draw a line and a circle (perfectly or not), you can Zentangle. Zentangle is an art concept that is engaging, approachable, and fun enough for someone who has never picked up any art tools or created a piece of art, yet is still meditative, productive, and creative enough for an advanced artist to enjoy...”

            I’m sorry. They (Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, supposed “creators”) just took “doodling,” and trademarked it with a name that sounds hip and revolutionary because it has referenced “Zen.” Since “zendoodling” would be too obvious, they changed “doodle” to “tangle” to make it seem like they had created something different. How stupid do they think people are? Clearly, very stupid. There are many “Zentangle” books. You can become a “certified Zentangle teacher.”
            Have people lost SO much of their innate creativity that they need books and teachers to tell them how to take a pen and swirl it around on a piece of paper? Hell, I do that when I’m on the phone with people I don’t want to talk to (doctors’ offices, phone companies, etc.. not friends). Kids used to do this all over their notebooks when they were not paying attention in their classes.  
A few disclaimers about the seminar...
         On the Zentangle website they actually compare learning Zentangle to learning yoga. As someone who practices Ashtanga yoga, I scoff at this comparison. Comparing a lifestyle change with doodling? Come on! Okay, the big question – HOW MUCH does it cost to become one of these “CZT’s” (that’s Certified Zentangle Teacher for us plebes)? Are you ready for this? REALLY ready? Without lodging (it’s a four day seminar at a hotel) it will cost $1495. !!!!!!!!!!! They have a Youtube channel. I refuse to watch any of their videos. It’s just crap. So, there you have it. For almost $1500 you can learn to teach people how to doodle. But more importantly, you’re learning a practice – like yoga,
“We view the Zentangle Method and art form as a lifeskill practice. That is why we recommend attending workshops with a CZT on an ongoing basis.”  So, you had better be ready to keep shelling out the money. God forbid you forget how to squiggle a line on an envelope.



  1. i find it to be completely ridiculous myself and i feel it is a case of "the emperor has no clothes". I am actually incredulous that people will pay $2000 plus to learn how to doodle...rich bored people???

  2. i find it to be completely ridiculous myself and i feel it is a case of "the emperor has no clothes". I am actually incredulous that people will pay $2000 plus to learn how to doodle...rich bored people???