Welcome to BLOG Zentangle. To learn about Zentangle, visit our website, read our free newsletters, take a class with a local Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), and best of all . . . create your own!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Welcome Seminar 21 CZTs!

Please join with us to welcome and meet the 21st class of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) who recently came to Providence, RI . . .

This blog post is a companion to this newsletter so that you can enjoy the newsletter images a bit larger and also additional images that we did not include in our companion newsletter.

Enjoy this feast of ideas, inspiration and camaraderie!


This link will take you to the list of Certified Zentangle Teachers around this world. Contact one to arrange some Zentangle classes. 


The winner of our previous blog post giveaway is:

Marilyn R.



Sunday, July 12, 2015

Welcome Seminar 20 CZTs!

Please join with us to welcome and meet the 20th class of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) who recently came to Providence, RI . . .

This blog post is a companion to this newsletter so that you can enjoy the newsletter images a bit larger and also additional images that we did not include in our companion newsletter.

Enjoy this feast of ideas and inspiration!

Click this link to find a CZT in your area and arrange to take some Zentangle Classes!

With best regards always,

Rick and Maria


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Another Side of Opus

Rick begins:

This morning at breakfast I heard Maria laugh. "You have to read this," she said. And with a big smile, she handed her computer to me. I began to read an email from Lesley Roberts, CZT, in UK:

. . . I have stopped teaching my Zentangle courses for July and August now, and they will begin again in September. At the last classes I showed my groups Opus tiles [10.5 inches, 27 cm square], to see if they might like to have a go at tangling on them, slowly, under no pressure, over the summer break. The reactions varied – from sheer excitement to anxiety. 

At the first class I showed the blank Opus tile, someone admired the back of the tile and said it was a shame that the inspiring words were not on the front of the tile as they would make a great border around the tangle.

Well, that was all the inspiration I needed! I immediately began my tangle on the back of the tile. I wanted to show them that you can just begin with no plan. I tangled – spontaneously and happily for between 2 - 3 hours a day for 8 days until the tile was complete. I shaded as I went for while, then decided to leave it all till the end, so I did not lean across the shading and smudge it.

I took photos along the way of creating it, as I knew I’d want to share them with students later on, and I’d never otherwise have remembered how I did it.

The first photo attached is taken by Martin, and I thought you might like to see it. 

I began to realise – from a teaching and learning perspective that all I’ve seen so far on the Internet are completed Opus tiles – lovely, amazing, awesome ones – but possibly very off-putting to those who have not worked that scale before, so I thought you might like to see all the stage by stage photos – for yourselves, and maybe to share them with a wider audience, if you think that might be valuable.

Sorry it’s such a long email, but I so, so enjoyed tangling the back of the Opus tile . . . and was very happy with the process and the end result. I limited the number of different tangles, and found that I kept creating variations of tripoli, on different scales – it seemed to bring it together for me.

I also liked the opportunity to tangle both on a very large and very small scale, it seems to add balance. Anyway, bye for now – have a lovely weekend. [. . .]

I said to Maria, "Let's do a blog post on this, today!"

Maria sent her an email and Lesley wrote back:

I would be very happy for Rick to do a blog about it – and very honoured.

I think that Opus tiles offer up so many opportunities to tangle in new ways, yet it is that bigger freedom and scale and possibilities which are so fearful for many people that they don’t know how to begin, so they don’t even go there.

In strange ways the Zentangle process – no mistakes, focus only on the one stroke you are drawing, no need to seek perfection – holds even more true than ever. I had thought it might be the opposite until I tried it out. If you were to look ahead at all the tangling to come, you might not do it! So you really have to be in the now.

Maria continues:

We are so grateful to Lesley for taking the time to put her experience into words for us all.

To see someone take something so simple as a Zentangle tile and use it like this in a completely unexpected way is invigorating. I love the way Lesley used the flourishes of my calligraphy for her border and then began with some pretty large tangles and used them to establish an inherent string.

It just goes to show, there is always something new to learn on this Zentangle adventure.

Rick comments:

Lesley sent more in-progress photos:

In this enlargement of the above photo you can see what Maria was describing about Lesley using her flourishing as border:

In this next enlargement of the same photo, notice how Lesley took inspiration from some of the printed elements, such as the horizontal lines, and totally ignored others, for instance, the typeset words:

Notice how Lesley continued to use the hollibaugh method of drawing behind to layer her tangles one behind another and how the text basically disappears under paradox:

Maria continues:

This is also a great reminder for all of us to be receptive for new opportunities, whether a fleeting image or a casual comment such as Lesley heard.

In my life, it has always been my children that teach my most profound life-lessons. And now, our compassionate students join them to guide us through this world of Zentangle discoveries . . . through their comments and their art.

We listen, learn, and evolve.

So, dear Tanglers, have you learned something you'd care to share with us about Zentangle ideas that perhaps came from a student or friend, that enabled you to the see impossible/improbable/crazy/unthinkable ideas that shape your art?

We'd love to hear your stories.

We will randomly choose a name from our commenters and send you, of course, a set of our Opus tiles!

Please have some way we can recognize you by a name or email. We cannot do this with a comment from "anonymous". ​


We did not really announce that we would choose a name from our last blog post, Art, Method, Sales and a "J", but we had so many fabulous comments, we just had to pick one!

Pat Floerke, please send us your snail (Bijou?) mail address to maria (at) zentangle (dot) com and we will send you a little something!

Many thanks to all for this glorious journey.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Art, Method, Sales and a "J"

Maria writes: 
​So . . . at breakfast early this morning, (drinking a perfect cup of coffee that Rick had just made) . . .​ I was emailing a woman from Australia who sent us photos of some of her work. She thought they looked like Zentangle art. She created them about 35 years ago. ​

I replied to her that we know that pattern drawing has existed throughout history in many (all?) cultures​ and in different mediums. However, we developed the Zentangle Method as an easy-to-learn and fun way for almost anyone to enjoy this artform . . . people who may not have knowledge of it or know how to go about drawing in this manner.

In writing my letter to her, something occurred to me that I had not thought of before.

I have been creating art and selling it since I was very young. At about 5, I sold my painted rocks at the local church bazaar and I sold every last one. I have sold paintings, illustrations, typefaces, invitations, illuminated manuscripts, awards and presentations, designs for china, gifts and signs, to name a few. (I am sure there are others in the last almost 60 years of my art) The only two things that are on my (artistic) bucket list, is to create a wine label and movie credits. (So, if you know someone who has a winery or is a famous movie producer, please, if you can, casually drop my name, I would be ever so grateful!)

But I just realized this morning that (I believe) neither Rick nor I have ever sold any of our Zentangle tiles. (Of course, I have an occasionally selective memory, but for the most part. . . . )

We have given them away, donated them to non-profits (that may have sold them), traded a few, but in all the exhibits and gallery presentations, we just put them out there for people to get familiar with the art form. While we do market tools so others can create Zentangle art, and seminars so others can teach this art, it just struck me this morning as fascinating that neither of us have ever sold any of our original Zentangle tiles.

We feel that Zentangle is unique in terms of art. Rather like yoga, meditation, or contemplative stillness . . . there are no blue ribbons, no critiques or bad practitioners . . . a personal art . . . to have, to hold, to appreciate, to be grateful for . . . and a community of artists . . . to admire, to encourage, to share with and to learn from, and again, to be grateful for.

So, I wonder what made it different than all my other artistic endeavors. I had no problem selling those.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Rick adds:
When I began keeping bees about 7 or 8 years ago, I had the idea of selling honey. I still keep bees and I love it. But now I don't sell the honey. We enjoy it as a family and now we share the rest. Maybe there's a parallel since our tangling and my keeping bees are both labors of love and not what we depend on for income.

We love that other people sell honey. We love that other people enjoy selling their Zentangle art. It just seemed so bizarre that we had never thought about this until now, so many years later.

Maria continues:
We will send a tile to a randomly chosen responder, as we have in the past. (again with the giveaways. . .)

The winner of the 2 tiles from the last blog is:

Roslyn, please email your snail mail address to zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

Oh, yeah and just for a bit of eye candy . . . here's a piece I did for my grand-nephew who just graduated high school.

He was also the youngest CZT for a while. I used the classic (letter in a box) format for an illuminated letter, but thought a creative young guy like Joe would appreciate something unexpected, a bit quirky, not so heavy. I did this on a Renaissance Zendala and mounted it on a cream paper on which I tangled a border. I used Micron black and brown inks, graphite pencil, white charcoal pencil, a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, 24k gold leaf and a watery blue gouache.

I held it out, turned it this way and that, and decided I liked it . . . enough to give it away.

Tangle away!


Sunday, May 31, 2015


Maria writes:

What is all the hullabaloo with erasers? Can we really erase something we have done?

When I look back at why we included this principle in the Zentangle Method eleven years ago, nothing exacting comes to mind. Although, as an artist, I tend not to do rough drafts or purposeful sketches. I do think about my work before I start. I have a sense of what I want (or need) to be in the composition. I like the idea of creating as I go along. This has served me well. It has given me a space that allows growth and unexpected change in my art over time.

Rick and I agree that Zentangle tiles we create with no plan in mind, and which include so-called "mistakes" that happen along the way, shine above all others.

Zentangle provides, aside from other fabulous things (!), an opportunity to take chances, try new approaches and forge ahead, no matter what happens.

I love how this has meandered into my private everyday life, helping me not to schedule too much, or be upset by the inevitable "plan B" that sneaks into our days.

Our motto used to be "Embrace Plan B," but now that has changed to a more accurate description, "Embrace Plan Z!"

Rick adds:

Often I start a tile like I might plant a seed. When I plant a seed (tangle), I know where I put that seed in my garden (tile, border, string). Then I watch it grow and take its own twists and unexpected turns . . . much like I imagine some authors feel as they write their books, not knowing what their characters will do until a decision point arrives.

Maria and I recently enjoyed reading this article from the BBC, "Are erasers in school 'instruments of the devil'?" and we thought you might enjoy it, too.

I can remember times in my life when I wished I had an "eraser." But now I feel so grateful that I did not have one. Otherwise I might not find myself here/now with Maria and our family . . . and our extended Zentangle family.

Please share with us your thoughts about erasers. We will randomly choose a commenter (for whom we have contact info) and send that person these two tiles from us both.

With thanks,


Click image for larger view.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Welcome Seminar 19 CZTs!

Please welcome and meet the 19th class of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) who recently came to Providence, RI . . .

This blog post is a companion to this newsletter so that you can enjoy the newsletter images a bit larger.

You can find these and other CZTs in your area at this link.


With best regards,

Rick and Maria