A Chameleon is Zentangled

It’s time to embark on a peaceful journey of zentangle and chameleons! Zentangle is the art of creating abstract drawings by creating patterns with a sense of flow and rhythm. It’s similar to doodling, but with more attention and deliberation. Doodling is personal, but zentangle is purposeful. It’s supposed to generate a zen-like feeling of focus and relaxation (which is not what I felt while working on this project). And no, it’s not an ancient art form. The Zentangle Method was created in 2005. Chameleons, on the other hand, have been around for centuries. They are reptiles who are part of the iguana suborder, some of the only animals capable of changing their skin color.

The assignment was to create a simple contour drawing of an animal, like in the contour line project, and fill it with zentangle patterns to show value and depth. As you can guess, I choose to draw a chameleon. I need a reference image, so I choose a picture of a striped chameleon with a super derpy expression. Then it was time to get started on the rough draft.

Rough Draft




I drew the chameleon according to the reference image. I also labeled areas of value on the chameleon so that I could fill in those areas with corresponding zentangle patterns, to give the image some shading and more depth. I traced the drawing onto a thicker piece of paper for the inking.


IMG_3320[1]IMG_3322[1]IMG_3323[1]IMG_3324[1]IMG_3326[1]IMG_3328[1]IMG_3329[1]IMG_3331[1]I went over the lines I had previously drawn with a fine point sharpie and micron fine liner pen. I drew in the zentangle patterns using the micron fine liner. I wanted to draw the patterns with the natural curve of the chameleon, so I drew the thin stripes on the side of the chameleon’s body as guidelines for my patterns. I tried to use different zentangle designs to simulate value changes. Patterns with more black were used for darker values, and patterns with more negative space were light values. For the stump the chameleon is perched on, I wanted to use a wood grain pattern with another where the colors are inverted, to show that part of the tree trunk is in shadow.

This project took a lot of work (and zentangling!) but I am satisfied with the result. This now concludes our journey of relaxation and discovery. If you  have any questions or want to see more work like this, feel free to comment below.

Until next time!



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