Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marsha, Remember Form… Copyright Issues Part 3 - Zentangle®

Do you Know what this pretty little Red Square means?
Have you heard about Zentangle®?
I have. I had some questions…
A photo I took of my Christmas Present (the ZT kit)
So I find myself arriving at a place that is a bit more clear, still slightly uneasy, about Copyrights. I still have questions as to how copyrights work in Jewelry designing (my original part 3 topic). But I have stumbled into an area closer to my heart and my work - specifically my drawings and a newly found obsession: Zentangle®

I am almost certain to say that I am not alone in my initial reactions to Zentangle®. Delighted, Interested, Confused, Addicted, still a little confused (I have been drawing patterns for a long time like this! How I am just hearing about this)…

Now to keep this post somewhat short and to the point, I think that with all my looking (links are listed below) around, experimenting with drawings & techniques, I feel confident to say that an actual Zentangle® is done in a short period of time, on a small piece of paper, using a string (in pencil) to begin your design, and by filling in the areas (with a black ink pen) within that string by using patterns and lines with each stroke having a direct intent, then use a pencil to shade in the drawing to make the piece "pop" of the page. The main point is to find relaxation and a state of meditation within those said small drawings - the Zentangles®

It is a wonderful way to meditate - really… And very addictive if you are into doodling, drawing, coloring, shading, and the like.

I am no lawyer, law maker, law writer, or professional when it comes to Copyright, Trademark, Patent, etc. But I feel safe again, continuing to draw as I always have done in margins, sketchbooks, napkins, placemats, sugar packets, matchbooks (you get the point right?) and using those items, images, drawings as I want. Here are some pictures of some of my very first clay texture plates (2002) that I carved into clay. 
Marsha Neal Studio Carved Clay Texture Plates
As long as you are not out there trying to re-create what Rick and Maria have created with Zentangle® (they were clever enough to give us parameters, utensils, directions, advice, inspiration, materials - all bundled up in a beautiful green box with a red square on it) then you should feel no animosity towards them for coming up with this wonderful business idea. I thank them for giving me another direction and a purpose (to meditate) through these small drawings.

And as far as I can tell with the coming up with a pattern and naming it - that has got to be for communication purposes. If you were going to teach patterns or reproduce the patterns (in a profitable way) in the method and steps you would probably have to get permission from the Artist or Zentangle® first. It is always best to ask if you are uncertain.

I personally am happy to have a name other than "doodles" to refer to the drawings and patterns that fill my sketchbook and texture plates. And names to be able to call them when I talk to other people interested in drawing like this. 
Marsha Neal Studio Texture Plate and Clay Pendants.
Brings back memories from a business class I took once where they talked about being careful with  branding: Like BandAid® Bandages - there is a brand thing there - the name is BandAid - not the product. Do you ask for a bandage or BandAid®? Do you Zentangle® or Tangle or Draw or Doodle?

Here are some links that I found helpful:
Zentangle's website - legal page.
Zentangle Flickr discussion.
From Sandra's Blog (which has lots of helpful links there).
From Sandy's Blog.
3/5/11 Additon: TanglePatterns.com Copyright 

Join in on the fun! Lots of challenges out there and websites with patterns (I personally had to get some books in hand to be able to sit and obsessively draw out as many as possible to get my head focused).

Want to see some of my tangle drawings? Click HERE.
I would love feedback - what do you think? How do you feel about this? Am I on the right track?

My 2011 Motto: Draw Every Day...


  1. Thanks for the great links. I am a big doodler and have been wanting to learn more about these drawings.

  2. Definitely, on the right track, Marsha. I've been a little confused with the zen tangle copyright as well. (How do you get that little symbol in there?) These are really useful points you've raised and I'm going to go back later to follow all of your links. Thank you.

  3. Thanks! I asked Dave (my computer & tech savvy husband) - where is the special hidden keyboard or commands for special symbols like © for copyright and ® for Registered Trademark. He said - just copy and paste (oh - duh - right… my over thinking head!).

    But then I googled it and found this:

  4. I found this interesting too:
    Since I have been approached here and there to make custom pieces using a black and white drawing on my pendants… I need to have a legal document made up that the customer has to sign off on stating that the image is copyright free or is their original drawing or design…

  5. I think you're right on, Marsha. I think the whole Zentangle thing causes a visceral reaction in those of us who have been 'doing this for years' which is kind of interesting to me. I had the same thoughts when I first saw it but really, I have to admit that it is very clever. While I've done my own satisfying, detailed doodles, I have learned a lot from seeing others patterns that they've come up with.

  6. Lori - I agree - seeing others patterns and work is so amazing and inspiring. It gives us such direction to take our drawings to the next level… And you get to realize how many of us closet doodlers are out there. It's cool to let our sketchbook drawings out of the book in that pile over there...

  7. I am so glad to see that you are "doodling" again!! I should tell you that I am going to take a Zentangle class for fun down at the Art and Soul Retreat in Va!!

  8. I have been doodling similar to zentangle drawings forever too. I also carve polymer beads with similar doodlings... hmmm... you have made me think about this!

  9. Draw every day - definitely achievable! And I like your respectful approach to researching and contemplating issues of copyright; as a beadwork designer I've been ripped off innumerable times, even to having someone publish an ebook using my instructions! I like your interest in being fair / correct / appropriate as opposed to seeking some way to justify a pre-conceived perspective to your own benefit. No wonder one of the things I've always loved best about your work is that even the asymmetrical is so perfectly balanced...

  10. Thanks Christina! It is a lot of work figuring stuff like this out, but until I do it races around in my brain. I've got to get it worked out, settled, then I can sleep at night and find my creative place in dreams and in the studio…

    Marian: will have to check out some of your beads - I "stop" for texture & color ;)

    Oh- Kelly - Art & Soul retreat… one day...

  11. I recently called the copyright office to find out if the "Zentangle" art form and method was really copyrighted. I saw in their website: “The Zentangle art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted.” And I didn't find any records in http://www.copyright.gov/records/ website, where all information is recorded since 1978 and can be accessed in a minute.
    These people have nothing to copyright, exept a few patterns and their own images. They didn't invent any art form (it was already created), but created a word "zentangle" and trademark to re-brand already existing one, created 22 years ago and sell 3,5"x3,5" paper. They just trying to suggest you that they are not what they really are offering the absurdity statements. Read more at http://zentanglestolenconcept.blogspot.com and


I would love to hear what you think…