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Fred the Gray Owl

My brother was in a motorcycle accident August 25, 2021. He suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Todd spent 6 months in a Brain Injury Rehabilitation facility in Ankeny Iowa, USA: On With Life. OWL for short. It was a great facility and everywhere you turned there were owls. I was inspired!

For 6 months my sister and I alternated spending weeks with Todd, and I had lots of time to sit and try to stay calm. Of course, I turned to the Zentangle Method for that. I was gifting the tiles to staff members who were caring for Todd, and I continued to be inspired by all the owls at OWL so I started to create Zentangle inspired Art or ZIA owls for the staff.

I continued to draw ZIA owls after Todd came home to live with us. I created Fred in those first few days. And I fell in love with him, and I knew I wanted to share him with all of you and inspire you to create your own Fred, or Gary, or Jane or Shannon…I think you get the point!

So why create this ZIA in black & white? Often ZIA pieces include colors. Each artist has their favorites and I do too. My favorites are watercolor and colored gel pens. But I really love all the mediums and I like to switch it up. So back to the question. I love to encourage my students to use whatever medium they have, and I almost always create a tile in classic black & white to demonstrate that the piece looks great with just the basic tools. I think Fred looks great in black & white and shades of gray; like he’s all dressed up for an evening on the town!

It turns out that gray owls have symbolic meanings that are so appropriate for our project. Much like a Zentangle journey, owls represent balance, trust, and inner wisdom. Trust that the path will unfold in front of you and focus on this moment, this line, this step and have faith that these will all come together to create a beautiful piece of art. Although this is a ZIA class, we will be using the Zentangle Method to draw our owls.

In this class we’ll be drawing with Standard Zentangle tools, and a few extras because we want to add white with chalk and highlights with gel ink.

Fred the Gray Owl Class – COVERING:

• How to draw a simple whimsical owl using Zentangle tangles or patterns
• Techniques for shading with graphite and highlights with white
• You’ll gain practice, and perhaps a new perspective for drawing familiar tangles. WHAT'S INCLUDED?
• 1 hour of instruction and play!



Although it’s always a benefit to have completed a basic or introductory level Zentangle class prior to this “ZIA” class, you can follow along with this class easily, even if you've never drawn Zentangle patterns before.


• 1 white Zentangle Phi tile, (or paper cut to 3”x5" or 7.62cm x 12.7cm)
• Black Sakura Micron 01 pen
• Black Sakura Micron PN pen
• White Sakura Gelly Roll pen
• Graphite pencil
• White chalk pencil
• Tortillions or blending stumps – 1 each for pencil and chalk pencil 


About Your Teacher

Brenda Campbell is a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), trained by Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas, the founders of Zentangle, in Providence, Rhode Island USA. (CZT 29, June 2017) Brenda owns Angel Whispers Art and teaches The Zentangle Method online via video classes and occasionally via Zoom*. You can also find Brenda’s free videos on YouTube.

In addition to teaching Zentangle, some classes include a variety of art mediums to include painting and mixed media and paper crafts.

Do you want to learn more about the Zentangle method of drawing? Sign up for my emails and get my free Zentangle Quick Start class! Sign up here: the form is on my home page!

The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at