WHITINSVILLE, Mass. - Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts say if you can write your name, you can do the Zentangle Method. But you may be asking yourself, what is the Zentangle Method?

"An easy to learn, relaxing, fun way to draw beautiful patterns, but using really simple and easy to learn steps," said Roberts.

What You Need To Know

  • Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts created the Zentangle Method roughly 20 years ago

  • The method was brought to local libraries and book stores, before expanding across the globe

  • It's described as being an easy-to-learn and relaxing way to create images by drawing structured patterns

  • There are now more than 7,000 certified teachers of the Zentangle Method

Thomas, an artist, said the idea came to her years ago while she was drawing. She had slipped off into a day dream when Roberts interrupted it.

"I didn't have any memory of doing any work at all, and I had been doing these small, easy patterns," Thomas said. Roberts, who was a practice monk for 17 years, said it reminded him of his experience with meditation, and so, Zentangle was born.

The two said the method is more than just drawing, it's about taking things one step at a time.

"Doing one stroke after another, and not worrying about what comes after," Roberts said. "So there's enough structure to just relax into the method without knowing what it should look like."

Thomas and Roberts started bringing the method to local libraries and book stores, and their business started to grow. The Zentangle Method is now in 72 countries, and they’ve trained more than 7,000 teachers.

"It just started to go, especially during COVID when people were at home alone," said Thomas.

"We had people that were having really severe issues with depression, pain management or substance recovery, that this was working for them when nothing else was," Roberts said.

The two are now working with colleges and hospitals, hoping the Zentangle Method can help people with their mental health. But just like the drawings, they're taking their future one step at a time.

"What's the next step, and how do we do that most beautifully, most elegantly, most honorably," Roberts said. "And then, review the situation, and pour all of our focus in the next step that comes after that, now a changed situation."