Friday, November 24, 2023


New postcard design

A friend who is approaching ninety years old told me she just purchased a book called Change Your Mind: 57 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Self by Rod Judkins. My friend is a wonderful artist, especially of animal portraits, and continues to learn every day. She is hope.

According to a very small study of art students in 2014 skills developed by drawing increase the areas of the brain that control spatial recognition and fine motor performance. A good reason to take up the practice of doodling. I knew before I read about the study that there was a good reason to make art and it is not just the old mantra of left/right brain thinking. This study showed improvement on both sides of the brain.

Doodles I turned into a book

This past year I have been able to take several Zoom art classes, which have been good time savers for someone with a long to-do list. They offered me the chance to relax, learn some new techniques, and see people I haven't seen since the pandemic. I recently took a class from Roxane Glaser, who is not only a lettering artist but a yoga instructor as well. She began her class with some yoga exercises before we picked up a pencil.

Roxane used her abstract watercolors as the foundation for holiday cards. The designs she used were similar to ones I had produced several years ago.

by Martha Slavin

In listening to her design process, I discovered something new to me: neuropathic art, which is a technique used by art therapists to help overcome anxiety and other mood disorders. Artists have adopted the technique and enhanced the process with color and shapes. Similar to Zentangles, which is another form of doodling, neurographic arts starts with a line. Rather than using patterns inside shapes as Zentangles does, you start with a thin marking pen at one edge of the paper. Once you notice the direction you are going, you change the direction and repeat that process until the line goes off the page. Artists have taken this line pattern further by rounding off each corner, adding color, and overlaying shapes on top of the line. The design can then become the background underneath a cutout shape.

Neurographic art in six steps

I have been doodling since I could hold a pencil. I tried Zentangles and then adapted the idea to include my own patterns. Whether I am sorting lead type for letterpress printing, doing calligraphy, doodling, or creating a piece of neuropathic art, I can confirm that doing this type of artwork has a meditative quality that improves well-being by getting into the zone of creativity where I become oblivious of the world around me and time doesn't matter.

Zentangle design using their prescribed patterns

Check out Roxane Glaser's work here:

Articles about the effects of art on the brain: 


  1. I love this stroll through your art and thoughts!!! I'll have to try the neuropathic technique. That seems to be more my style. Other people's zentangles are beautiful to me. Mine just look like random chaos! :-D

  2. Thank you, Chandra, for your comments. Try the neurographic technique. I find it is calming to do. I had to laugh about your Zentangles. I agree.

    1. I have added trying neurographic technique to my Christmas break to-do list. I'll let you know how it goes.

    2. It is a calming influence to sit and draw those lines -- anything you do that puts you "out of yourself" for a while.


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