Zentangle has added their stamp of approval an some of the supplies I’ve listed below but I tend to use the non-official aka less expensive versions more. There are a couple of reasons for that. If you are getting to an age where your eyesight isn’t as sharp as it used to be, tangling on a small square card feels tedious for me and I’m not really one to follow rules when it comes to art. Not sure what a Zentangle is? Click here first.
Non-Official & “Official” Supplies
If you want to check out a few of the Zentangle tiles you can get this little starter pack sold by Sakura that has 3 black micro pens, 1 graphite pencil, 1 Tortillion, & 5 official tiles 3.5″ x 3.5″.
The Apprentice-sized Zentangle Tiles measure 4.5 x 4.5 on Official Z Paper. Be warned though that these aren’t the exact same paper as the official 3.5 x 3.5 tiles AND they have writing on the back so if you like to tangle on both sides then you aren’t going to be able to.
You can also buy the Apprentice Kit for CZT’s to teach a class on Amazon for about half the price of the official website. Zentangle.com has it for much more.
Tools I have purchased and loved to be ZEN with my Zentangle Art
Micron Pens from Sakura.. I do LOVE these pens and have been using them since the 80s when archival scrapbooking was first a “Thing”. They are relatively inexpensive with this 3 pack of Micron Pigma pens from Sakura. Here are some basics and tips & tricks for Pigma pens here.
I’ve also enjoyed using Staedtler Pigment Liners that come in the same sizes as Sakura and write quite nicely. I also really like the handy plastic case they come in.
Doodle Shading Pencils
Once again, any #2 pencils will work, you know the kind you used on your school testing days back in the day but if you want to get fancy you can get 2B Soft artist pencils. Staedtler Lumograph Graphite Drawing and Sketching Pencils are nice and come in a tin of 6 or Derwent Graphic Pencils in this tin of 12.
You’ll need a pencil sharpener of course but no need to break the bank on this one, but please do find a quality one. My favorite is the KUM brand out of Germany. They work amazingly well for a small price. You’ll need a couple of them because if you are like me, you’ll use them a LOT. I recommend this Kum 3-pack
A decent eraser is a must and I’ve recently become addicted to the pencil style that fits nicely into tiny spaces and stays clean. These are my new addiction Tombow MONO Zero Pen-Style Eraser Refill Round Tip + Square Tip + 4 Refills they are perfect for all erasing!
You’ll need Paper Tortillions (or blending stumps) as well, don’t worry, I’d never heard of these before either but apparently real artists all use them so now that you are going to do Zentangle that makes you a real artist! They are tightly wrapped paper that comes to a point and you are going to use them to shade your Zentangle creations. You can pick these up at any hobby shop.
This drawing kit contains a bit of everything you need too so that’s an easy option.
Where should you Tangle your Zen? The only place to get the official 3.5 x 3.5 Zentangle Cards is on the Zentangle.com website at .52 per card + shipping. ( I did just order some so I could say I truthfully if they are any better or worse than cutting your own at a fraction of the price) I prefer working in an Art Journal so I can see my progress and refer to step-outs I’ve done of some of my favorite Tangles. This one is my favorite and I save it for when I really want to get my Zen on, I love the Strathmore Visual Journal. It is Spiral Bound 5.5 x 8 and it’s a Mixed Media Vellum paper. With this smaller size, I can tuck it into my bag, take along a couple of pens and be able to Doodle anywhere.
It’s perfectly fine to use any paper you have on hand but the feel of nicer paper under your pen and when you go back in to do your shading will make a huge difference. If you want to get a similar feel to the official paper then choose a hot-press watercolor paper or mixed media paper. If you want to tangle on the 3.5 x 3.5 cards simply cut them yourself for a much more economical way to tangle on tiles. Personally, I decided to tangle in a mixed media journaling type of art paper book. They even come in tan or grey paper or even black paper which you use white or gel pens to tangle with (again this is a no-no to official Zentanglers but it’s really gorgeous!
Best of the Best Paper for Zentangling
I was recently introduced by this paper from Rhodia that is just SOOOOOOO nice to draw on. My hand-lettering instructor recommended it for practicing letter forms because it comes in grid, dotted, lined and plain. The markings on the paper are SUPER light so if you have a hard time drawing a straight line like I do, this type of paper really helps. It’s hard to describe what it feels like when your pen touches the paper but wow.
Check out my latest Zentangle Pinterest Board. Follow this board: Zentangle in Color on Pinterest. Your options for ways to color your Zentangles and Doodles are pretty much unlimited.. The difference in price and quality will show up with whether or not the markers smear easily and how bright and vibrant the colors are. Again the Sakura Gelly Roll pens have been favorites for years and years.. not just since Doodling and Zentangles arrived on the scene.
Adding Color to your Zentangles & Doodles
Officially all Zentangles must be black white and shades of grey you make with your pencil but if you need color in your life, these are the supplies I use and recommend.
Gelly Roll Pens I Love
Sakura 6-Piece Gelly Roll Assorted Colors Stardust Meteor Pen Set This Gelly roll stardust meteor set is gorgeous! Colors included are: silver, marine, copper, pink, green and blue.
Sakura 10-Piece Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen Set – Fluorescent Moonlight colors are not fade-resistant, but no smears, feathers, or bleed-through on most papers. Best effects on black paper and can be used on white paper. I haven’t played with these very much since I tend to use white paper but they are on my next thing-to-try list. CLICK HERE TO BUY
Sakura 10-Piece Gelly Roll Metallic Gel Ink Pen Set – LOVE love these pens It’s really hard for me to decide if I like the glitter pens (aka Stardust) or the metallic ones best. Metallic colors include silver, copper, blue, red, green, purple, pink, emerald and 2 golds.
–The Souffle dries lighter and pastel than when you first draw it on. The Souffle looks fabulous on darker papers or on top of darker inks or paint. The set consists of-Yellow, Orange, Green, Pink, Purple, Light green, Light orange, Blue, Gray and White. Joanne Fink is a big fan of Sakura. Find her on Youtube for demos of all of the products. CLICK HERE TO BUY
If you already know you are going to want everything then you can splurge on this jumbo pack of Sakura Jelly Roll pens that have all the glitters, metallics, golds, silvers and moonlights as part of the pack. The problem with these packs are the large number of gold and silvers. I use those only for accents but this pack has a TON so you might be better off with just getting exactly what you want in the smaller packs. I DO really like that storage case though… looking to see if I can find one that is similar. CLICK HERE TO BUY
Colored Brush Pens
Koi Coloring Brush Markers – This is a 12-color set that works just like watercolors so you can get really pretty and blended effects in your coloring and Zenspirations and Zentangle Inspired designs. CLICK HERE TO BUY
Flair Pens – Maybe it’s just because I grew up coloring my folders with these pens but I’m still a big fan of Flair pens. On Amazon check all the different packs for the best price that day, this seems to vary WIDELY.
Tombows are artist-grade dual-ended markers with a bullet & a brush tip. They come in SO many colors so if you are an artist that LOVES lots of colors these might be for you.