I also talk about Zentangle-inspired-art, which (while it, hopefully, gives the artist relaxation and joy) may also have the creation of a beautiful piece of art as a result.
ZIA's include Zentangle tiles with color added, Renaissance tiles with brown pen and highlighting, black tiles with white ink, large Zentangle pieces, and (YES) digital Zentangle art.
Some people "find the zen" while tangling with black ink on white tiles. Others achieve that relaxation creating ZIA's: landscapes with color, adding watercolor, tangling on fabric, adding "ZenGems" etc. etc.
So, where does digital tangling come in? It's just another medium to use for tangling! That's all! Of course, you need to learn how to use the tool. . . . Any artist needs to learn their medium, whether it's watercolors, acrylics, or pixels!
Isn't digital tangling "cheating"? No - I learned to tangle just as all other tanglers did. We tangled on Zentangle tiles, then (possibly) experimented with other papers, textures, and surfaces. (One of the many things that I love about Zentangle is that Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the founders of the Zentangle® method, are constantly coming up with various shapes, sizes, and colors of tiles, as well as techniques!) Just remember that using a stylus or iPad will NOT make you a better tangler!! It will not teach you tangles, or how to tangelate or how to morph one tangle into another. The digital medium is just that: a medium with which you can tangle. When I work on a digital ZIA, it takes me just as long (sometimes longer) as it would on a larger paper ZIA. I create a background (just like watercolors on a paper background), then usually make a string, possibly a border, then I tangle with "one stroke at a time". I shade, highlight, and smudge each area. There is no magic or shortcut.
Does Digital tangling exclude traditional art or Zentangle processes? Not at all! I love to incorporate photos of watercolor backgrounds, Gelli-plate prints, AND "traditional" Zentangle tiles in my digital ZIA's. I take the images, and use them as layers.
Some people say that digital tangling isn't "real Zentangle". That's a simplistic dismissal of digital tangling. It's like saying, "using colored markers defeats the purpose of doing Zentangle". An iPad and stylus can be tools to create ZIA's.
Here are some criteria that may help define true digital tangling:
1. Tangles are used. The definition of a tangle is a pattern that has been deconstructed
or broken down into 1- 4 steps, using the 5 'elemental strokes' that the Zentangle method is based on. Tangles have names, so they can be referred to, shared, and replicated.
2. It is hand-drawn. The creators of Zentangle, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas have the motto: "Anything Is Posible, One Stroke At a Time". One of the meditational aspects of the Zentangle process is that you focus on the stroke that you are doing in the present moment. You don't think about the stroke you just did, or what you will do next. This can only be done with a single hand-drawn stroke. (Digital apps such as iOrnament and Amaziograph do not incorporate the Zentangle method. They create computer-generated patterns which are digitally repeated.)
3. The digital media (iPad, stylus, art app) allows for tangles to be hand-drawn. There are numerous apps that are created for hand-drawn art. Some examples are Procreate, Art Rage, Brushes, and Sketch Club, among others.
I absolutely love the Zentangle method, and am grateful for the "happy zen place" that I often achieve when tangling digitally or otherwise. Digital tangling is not for everyone. . . . just as adding color to a ZIA is not everyone's 'cup of tea'. Find what method speaks to you, and enjoy the zen!