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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Paulette Harvey: A Little Zentangle can do Wonders by Fran Joyce

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Paulette Harvey took her first Zentangle class in 2011. It was relaxing and even though she never considered herself an artist, Paula was pleased with the images she created. She was hooked, but didn’t consider becoming certified to teach it until a friend suggested taking certification classes in 2013.

Zentangle uses a combination of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs which are called “Elemental Strokes” to create structured patterns called tangles. These patterns are drawn on 3x5 sheets of paper called tiles which can be assembled into mosaics. Traditionally, the tiles are made of white paper and black ink pens or dark gray pencil lead is used to draw the shapes.

Zentangle Art is unplanned and not meant to specifically represent a certain shape. There is no up or down. You focus on each individual stroke instead of worrying about the finished picture. Traditionally, pencils used in Zentangle do not have erasers because life comes without an eraser.

According to Paulette, “Every pencil mark is intentional. There are no mistakes in Zentangle only detours or opportunities to forge a new path.”

Zentangle classes are popular with people of all ages and ability levels because a tile can be completed in 15 minutes – one hour. Creating something unexpected and beautiful in such a short time is especially appealing for people who think they can’t draw.


In addition to making them feel better about their artistic abilities, Paulette’s students report improved focus and concentration and a positive influence on creativity, self-image, and problem-solving.

No official studies have been conducted, but people in Zentangle classes have reported positive experiences coping with phobias, addictions, pain management, conflict resolution, and workplace burn out.

“My granddaughter was having trouble in math class,”said Paulette. “After she started taking Zentangle classes, she was better able to focus on the steps needed to solve equations. I recently gave a class to a group of fifth and sixth grade girls. A few weeks later the foster mother of one of the girls contacted me. Her foster daughter had been removed from an abusive home; she had basically shut down and was having trouble connecting with her new family. After the class, she started drawing Zentangle tiles to help express her emotions. She was finally able to share her experiences through her art and begin the long process of healing. It was gratifying to hear this and I’m excited to discover the possibilities Zentangle holds for others.”

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Paulette Harvey graduated from Duquesne University and teaches Communications and English for Westmoreland County Community College.  In October in 2014, she received her certification in Zentangle, a form of art that help with focus, relives stress and is fun.  The Zentangle motto is “Anything is possible one stroke at a time.” Paulette teaches continuing education Zentangle classes at Westmoreland County Community College and various places.  If you are interested in a class please contact her via WCCC. 

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