Art Class Takes “Zen-like” Approach to Design

Students taking Two-dimensional Design at Catskill High School recently found themselves engrossed in a drawing project that explored the world-wide phenomenon of coloring books designed for adults. The market for adult coloring books has exploded in recent years, due in large part to the fact that, just like meditation, coloring allows a person to focus on the moment, helping clear the mind and creating a sense of relaxation and well-being.

“We call this project the ‘Zen Project,’ which uses two of the many principles of art, contrast and pattern,” explained high school art teacher Wendy Doney, referring to the trademarked drawing method that uses intensely intricate, repetitive patterns, or “tangles,” to create larger designs. “The students have created either a shape or an animal that they can draw these patterns in, using black and white as the contrast to replicate what you see in adult coloring books.”

Zentangle-like patterns are the principle designs found in many popular adult coloring books, and creating all those tiny patterns provides the same therapeutic benefits as coloring them in.

“I love drawing. It calms me down and you don’t have to worry about much,” said junior Lynzie Darling, as she penned pattern after pattern into an outline of a dog she was creating. “It takes a long time because you have to think of every pattern you want to use and how you are going to split them up to make the animal.”

“Learning how to focus, this project does that. It gets you into that Zen-like mindset where you are relaxed and focused,” added Doney.

When the class had completed their black and white coloring book designs, the students then had the opportunity to enjoy coloring them in.

The Zen Project is just one of many exciting visual methods the Two-dimensional Design students will be exploring this year. The course, which is new at CHS, allows students to relay their artistic visions onto paper using many different techniques, such as drawing, painting, and block printing.

This school year marks a significant increase in visual art opportunities at Catskill High School, thanks to additional funding for art in the 2016-17 school budget, which was approved by voters this past May. Along with Two-dimensional Design, students can now study Three-dimensional Design, Studio Art, and Digital photography.

Posted in High School.