Of zentangles, tribal tattoos and some doodling!

I love to doodle. I make patterns because they are soothing and I love to look at a blank sheet of beautiful paper turn even prettier with every trace that I get to make. The whole process is so comforting that I sometimes don’t realize that I have doodled away on a big drawing block with a micron pen. And then later when I look at it, I get amused. Do you know what ย I mean?

Let me go on.

For a while now, like a few years, I had this habit of doodling and filling strings of lines with patterns and just “go with the flow”. A few months back I realized that what I was doing was actually a form of art! It is called Zentangle. You can google it and you will be amazed at the patterns you find. I was overjoyed to see that there are so many people who have formed clubs and have actually started doodling with a purpose. Err. I know that sounds funny and majorly oxymoronic but it is true!

And the best part? I had been drawing some patterns unaware that they are some of the patterns that are found on the web as well. It is amazing how there are so many zentanglers out there who have similar ways of doodling. Incredible, isn’t it? And just looking at a pattern will make you want to build on it.



This was something I made when I was idling in the MRT station waiting for a friend. I love black and white. And I love the way I can just do anything and still feel happy about it. Much as colours add spice to life, I can’t stop loving black and white. It is clear; it is vintage and it is beautiful.

And then I got fascinated with straight lines without using a ruler –



You can kind of make out that I haven’t used a ruler but that makes it look “authentic” ๐Ÿ˜›



Those circles reminds me of one of the first things my mother taught me to draw using a compass ๐Ÿ™‚ I now have a bunch of pilot pens and other microns.


Though I love drawing landscape and favourite characters by memory and with some help from the right hemisphere, I cannot draw a lot of caricatures without a model or another drawing as reference. So the above ones are drawn by looking at a model. That yellow guy says “Think before you trash” and I had half a mind to put it up near some dustbins where people seem to throw everywhere except the dustbin. I love drawing these little funny guys whoย say and conveyย messages.

And then I started developing this interest in tribal tattoos. I don’t have one but I love tattooing my drawing block and someday someone will be so impressed that I will be doing it on real unforunate people as well!

Some of the first tattoos I did:


Sometimes the prospect of doodling without the intention of creating something beautiful (not necessarily) is itself very endearing. Mechanical, creative, engaging and perceptual, all at once, they surely add beauty around. I like art when it leads you to what it wants to be. At the same time, being inspired by something around me is equally stimulating. And that for me is a perpetual mystery.

Let me go back to finish up my inspiration board.





  1. Phatichar · November 22, 2012

    My oh, my! Beautiful sketches/doodles/lines… no words. Hmmm, a superb writer, a superlative artist, great mom….errr..anything else we should know about, J ? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      Who is J ? and a great mom? I am not a mom yet Sri ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Phatichar · November 22, 2012

        Oh, that’s so dumb of me. A thousand apologies, seriously…I think I have too many blog subscriptions coming into my inbox…just above your email I had the blog entry of another blogger. I saw her name, but ended up opening your entry..hence the faux pas. Apologies again..but, just cut that part out, the rest holds good. Alwa? ๐Ÿ˜›

        Brilliant…so let me rephrase that now…a great doc, a superlative writer (read travel & food), and now this. Anything else? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      Thank you Sri ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you liked them ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012

        hehe it’s okay! Offff, was pulling your leg. Definitely there is more but that only time will reveal (my attempt at being mysterious) ๐Ÿ˜›
        Thanks so much Sri! You are very generous ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Smita · November 22, 2012

    wow!! You are good!! Seriously!!! The patterns u draw also remind me of Mehndi patterns!!!

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      hehe yeah, funny I never thought of mehendi until recently ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Smita ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. privytrifles · November 22, 2012

    Hey toffee….these are beautiful!! Seriously and from the first one I thought of mehendi too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      Thanks Privy! hehe, yeah, the first looks like mehendi and I realized it very late ๐Ÿ™‚

      • stace · February 19, 2014

        Hey there love your doodles. May I ask how you keep it so clean and lines streight and perfect curves and circles? I have tried this and I seem to get shakey lines.


      • kismitoffeebar · February 20, 2014

        Hi Stacy!

        Thank you! I usually don’t have any strategy other than doodling when “in the mood for it”. I just relax and let my fingers move without any compulsion to get them straight ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Bikramjit Singh Mann · November 22, 2012

    That is a lot of doodling ,, you know when I was in school and we use to have to cover our notebooks with that Brown covering paper etc , to keep them safe etc, put our names

    well I had this thing that once i did that , I would take a pencil or a pen and start to just DOODle as you say , no reason and no idea , but just comer the space and Sometimes the sketches or things that one could see in all that were lovely.. My english teacher Ms. christopher use to love them and she use to find so many things a bird or a small animal or anything in all that and I did not draw them thinking of them …
    I dont know why i stopped doing them and when I stopped it ..

    but your designs are absolutely awesome

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      Thanks Bikram! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I can so relate to what you said. I did not draw on covers but did that on the last page that was for “rough work” ๐Ÿ˜› And it amazed me to see how what started off as a curve became one intricate umbrella or a pitcher.
      Am so happy to meet a doodle-r ๐Ÿ™‚ It is really an amazing feeling!

  5. Destination Infinity · November 22, 2012

    The patterns are outstanding. I guess one needs a lot of patience to draw patterns like this! No wonder I have never attempted doing anything like this ๐Ÿ™‚ So, how much time does it take to draw the pattern shown in the first diagram? Not that I am going to attempt it or anything, just want to know…

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      Thanks Rajesh! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Oh I do it when am like not consciously trying ot replicate. I start slow but can pick up soon. The first one was done in about 20-30 minutes I guess because that’s how long I waited for my friend the other day ๐Ÿ™‚ However, the triangles took longer because of “straight” lines that required focus! ๐Ÿ˜›

  6. Yash the PolymathGeek · November 22, 2012

    Thats some awesome artwork!

  7. Jas · November 22, 2012

    Wow! that is lot of doodling and pretty good… Despite not using ruler, the pattern has come out so nice.. The best ones though for me are the mushroom ones… really good Toffee ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kismitoffeebar · November 22, 2012

      Thanks Jas! ๐Ÿ™‚ hehe, thanks especially for that ruler thingy. I am quite obsessed about drawing straight lines without a ruler ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. anisnest · November 22, 2012

    lovely lovely lovely…

  9. sumitra · November 22, 2012

    Your lines and curves are so neat. My doodles are always way too messy. Awesome work!

    • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012


      Super happy to see you here after a while ๐Ÿ™‚ Thankee ๐Ÿ™‚

      • sumitra · December 3, 2012

        My pleasure. Sorry for the long absences, I’ve just been caught up. And thanks for checking in on my blog, it was super-sweet of you ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Arch · November 23, 2012

    Toffee, all this is so beautiful. You can make bookmarks, envelopes, greeting cards..oh! the possibilities are endless.I used to do this during college too, but later abandoned it! Reading your post makes me want to grab back those pens.

    • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012

      Thanks Arch! Yes yes, I made a bookmark and mudged some ink on it as well ๐Ÿ˜› I have no clue where I kept it.
      Go on, grab those pens and get doodling ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Amit · November 23, 2012

    You have a steady hand and a beautiful imagination. Try exploring with colours as well. They can create magic with what you have created.
    Your post reminds me to scan my own crumbling sketches and put them on my blog. And here is something that might interest you – http://mashedmusings.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/paintings/

    • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012


      Loooooooooooved your art. Such lovely colours and such finesse with the brush. Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for your generous comments. I feel like scanning more. Yes, you are right. i must experiment more with colours. I just did one of Calvin and Hobbes on a canvas yesterday in black and white. K refused to frame it until it was coloured ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. ashreyamom · November 23, 2012

    the first pic looked like a mehandi design, second one was a deconstructed design with just lines.. loved the the pictures.. in fact in first year of my college for basic design course, we were asked to make these for credits.. there a lots of things like open lines, closed lines pattern, abstraction etc etc. i am sure you would have god good grades :). please do create more patterns and post the pics too.. :).

    • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012

      Hey AM!

      Kind of you ๐Ÿ™‚ I never knew a lot of what you said until now. Thanks. I will definitely share more here ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ashreyamom · November 23, 2012

        i mean line drawing were part of architecture course.. :). so i though you would have done well if u had opted that course..

      • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012

        Ya got it ๐Ÿ™‚ But I did not know you studied all those types of line and line systems. My cousin is studying architecture and she is super happy with it because of the drawings ๐Ÿ˜›

  13. The Girl Next Door · November 23, 2012

    These are simply LOVELY. I never knew there was an artist inside you as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are so talented!!!

    I know a few people who doodle, and I have always admired them. I don’t think I can do this – or can I?

    I would love to know more about this stuff – doodling. What is a drawing block? Do you use special kinds of pens to create these?

    I love it when art takes you where it wants to be, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel the same way about writing, often.

    I vaguely remember someone saying – a doodle shows your frame of mind at the time you were doing it. I wonder….

    • kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012


      Thankeeeee ๐Ÿ™‚ Drawing block is this thick paper available as a book (not the thin sheets of the drawing book we usually see) and it has a very paint friendly surface with the feel of handmade paper. I just used pilot pens, nothing special ๐Ÿ™‚ any micron pen wwith a crazy mind will do.
      Hmmm, it reflects a person’s frame of mind? Interesting ๐Ÿ™‚ What blew me away was that sometimes our minds draw very similar patterns. For eg. I didn’t even know about some universal patterns you know! But to think it is a form of art – wow!

      Yes you are right. I like writing to be that way as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks TGND! You are too kind.

  14. Visha · November 23, 2012

    Why is this particular thought hovering around my mind that you enchanted K showing these astonishing doodles ๐Ÿ˜›

    Each and every one of these is so beautiful and pretty Toffee…seriously, you are all-in-one talent powerhouse in way too many aspects ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. kismitoffeebar · November 23, 2012

    hehehehehe what a thought! I shared what you have written about enchanting, with K. He is laughing ๐Ÿ˜›
    You are too kind Visha! I just doodle for fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Thankee dear. You just made me feel awesome ๐Ÿ˜›

  16. chattywren · November 23, 2012

    This is amazing work! you are very talented, and thanks for sharing info about zentangles and patterns. I am going to show your ‘doodles’ – only I personally think that is some superb artwork to my daughter, all of 6 yrs old, but very interested in drawing too. Hopefully she gets inspired!

    • kismitoffeebar · November 24, 2012

      Thanks so much for all those lovely words Chattywren ๐Ÿ™‚

      Wow! Your daughter loves drawing ? I will share some more things with you then ๐Ÿ™‚ It is an awesome activity and a more awesome hobby !

      • chattywren · November 24, 2012

        I just showed her your work. and she kept saying Wow! How did she do it? Have introduced her to the paisley pattern and let’s see what she does…..Agree, it’s a super hobby to have.

      • kismitoffeebar · November 25, 2012

        Thanks to the little one ๐Ÿ™‚ I am sure she will come out with great looking paisley as long as she does goes wild with them! That’s the secret of doodling, I guess.
        Would love to see her patterns ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. pixie · November 24, 2012

    Well! Thats amazing!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your doodles are so much more than “just” doodles! Kismi, you are really talented! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kismitoffeebar · November 24, 2012

      Hey Pixie!

      and you are too nice to say all that ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanke Pixie! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Ritika · November 25, 2012

    They are seriously amazing ! I couldnt take my eyes off them ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    I am so bad at drawing though, it used to be my least favorite period in school ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • kismitoffeebar · November 25, 2012

      Thanks so much Ritika! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I was thinking of you this morning. I want to try dal baaTi so badly and was wondering if I should make it at home ๐Ÿ˜› And obviously, Indore means Ritika to me now ๐Ÿ˜›

  19. Little Fingers · November 26, 2012

    Waw all of them look beautiful, you are so talented ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Dew · November 28, 2012

    WOW!!! They look awesome… ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Roshni · November 28, 2012

    Those are beautiful…especially the ones on the colored paper! Hope you make some holiday cards out of them!!

    • kismitoffeebar · November 29, 2012

      Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I am not sure what I’d do out of them or just let them be…. card is a wonderful idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. rama ananth · November 29, 2012

    Lovely, and as you said this is an art which has a name. I am going start doing this too. What an inspiration!

    • kismitoffeebar · November 29, 2012

      Hi Rama! Thanks for visiting and a big welcome ๐Ÿ™‚
      Would love to see your work ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Pingback: My Autobiography – Crazy about Signatures! | Destination Infinity
  24. alkagurha · December 26, 2012

    Awesome is the word. Requires some patience and perseverance….sadly I dont have both.

  25. techie2mom · December 26, 2012

    very creative, very beautiful!!! you have a very clean hand…

    • kismitoffeebar · December 27, 2012

      I wash them everyday (kidding! since you said I have a clean hand)
      Thankee ๐Ÿ™‚

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