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!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Betweed

We though you might be enjoy seeing Maria's original sketch pages for betweed.

Now that you've "met" betweed, here are some Zentangles (some new, some previously published) that include betweed and show its beauty and versatility.

It has been such a rush to read your comments on our first YouTube. Thank you all so much. And thank you for sharing and linking it so more can see it.

We were so grateful reading the comments because we could tell that people really "got" what Zentangle's about.

For instance:
This is the first time that I really could understand the difference between zentangling and "d......." [ed. "doodling"] Now I understand that it is a structured meditation and that it is the structure or tangles which make it that much more powerful.
As informative as videos can be, there's something special about a Zentangle Workshop with a Certified Zentangle Teacher. You get so many additional insights. You share your experience with others. You can ask questions in real time and enjoy seeing everyone's Zentangles arranged together. We encourage you to contact a CZT in your area to attend or arrange a Zentangle workshop. Molossus (linked on our sidebar) puts it best when she says:
I think the video shows what the benefit of attending classes by a CZT would be.

You can look at drawn out steps until you are blue in the face, but sometimes you just need to see someone drawing it.
 Thanks Molossus.

Click images for larger views.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I ♥ Zentangle

Margaret Bremner, CZT, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada sent us this photo of her beautiful recent Zentangle creation.
I found some interesting flecked all-hemp paper recently and had to share this with you. The heart appeared among the tangle so, of course, I had to call it "I ♥ Zentangle" :-)  !

-- Margaret

Margaret used sepia and brown inks with brown shading. Piece size is 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30.5 cm).

Thank you so much for sharing that with us and everybody here.

Click image for larger view.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28, 2010 Newsletter and Video

Our September 28, 2010 newsletter has been published. You can sign up for it on our website. It's free. You can view all our newsletters here.
In this newsletter we introduce our new tangle, betweed, and also our first video. Below you can see larger views of the Zentangles that we create in our first video.

Please refer to our this issue of our newsletter for written instructions for betweed.


Click images for larger view.


Yesterday Maria invited suggestions for a Zentangle challenge. One suggestion was to create a Zentangle with just one tangle.

In this next example, Maria used only crescent moon in its basic format, only altering its size.

In this second example, she used a variety of interpretations of bales.

We welcome your comments and your additional challenges!

Click images for larger views.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A is for Angela

Angie Vangalis, CZT from Texas, just sent us a picture of her completed Master Class project.

It's beautiful, Angie! Thank you for sharing this with us.

If you are interested in taking a Zentangle class from a Certified Zentangle Teacher like Angie, please visit this page for a list of CZTs and their contact info.

Maria had so much fun challenging herself to do a Zentangle with just straight lines that she's looking for new challenges. If you have a challenging suggestion for creating a Zentangle, please offer it and we'll give it a go.
Click image for larger view.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sonnet 116

Maria was given a commission to reproduce Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 for an upcoming wedding. She researched lettering styles of the late 1500s, early 1600s to find this popular lettering style of that era.

She used that as her inspiration for her initial letter, except she incorporated Zentangle tangles for its surrounding filigree. Finished piece is approximately 13 x 26 inches. (We smudged the bride's and groom's names for privacy.)

Here's a close-up of that "L" in all its tangled glory . . .

This paper has such a beautiful laid pattern that I had to hold it up to the light and take a picture so you could appreciate its pattern.

Maria had so much fun with that "L" that she did an "R" on a Zentangle tile this morning. (Thanks, Maria!)

In case you've recently joined us, Maria keeps up her day job as a lettering artist and designer. You can see some of that work here.

Click images for larger view.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Zentangle's slogan is "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time."

A fun story came our way from a Zentangle CZT:
I am in the process of moving my fiber arts studio to another city . . . . a very cool thing, but I've got TONS of stuff, and it's about 45 minutes away.

As I was driving up the highway, the thought came into my head . . .  "You can move anything... One Prius at a time" . . . which is how I am actually doing this... :)
Maria created this Zentangle to celebrate your move . . .

. . . while looking out our window at this.

Notice how most of Nature is not woven, but in a hollibaugh style of "behind."

Read about what's behind our slogan here.

Click images for larger view.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Maria writes:
What is a tree . . . simple yet complex . . . branches & leaves . . . over and over.

Yesterday Rick planted a tree given to him by my brothers and sisters to commemorate the passing of his dad.

Much like this tree, Dick was simple and complex, elegant and beautiful, giving and supportive. He gave Rick his roots and support, his strength and wisdom.

Rick adds:
My dad was 97. Vibrant and healthy, he was walking a couple miles a day until three weeks ago. Outgoing and conversational, he remained sharp and engaged until a few minutes before he left.

He was a grateful man with a gentle elegance. In his gratitude, he received the blessings of many friends, a grateful son and a loving family.

Click images for larger view.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Note from Germany

We received this wonderful note from Stephanie in Hamburg, Germany. We are sharing her letter because she brings up two points that we want to emphasize.

First, her gratitude for the many blogs that are linked here. If you are a new reader, we encourage you to take some time to explore them.

Second, her comments about taking a class from a Certified Zentangle Teacher. There is something very special about taking a Zentangle class taught by a CZT. We encourage you to understand why by contacting one near you.

Here's Stephanie's letter:
Hi Maria and Rick,

A few days ago I found your site and – as many people before – I´m totally intrigued by this wonderful art, meaning especially the process of Zentangle . . .

Since then I never getting tired looking at those beautiful images all the people published in the great blogs you´ve linked. And fascinated by Zentangle© I already created my own sketchbook to collect these nice tangles.

Every day I try take some time for Zentangle . . . to reconnect with my inner self.

Unfortunally there is no CZT nearby to learn the art of Zentangle in depth – but I keep on reading your blog and newsletter to grasp every bit of it . . .

Thank you very much for sharing your work!
Stephanie (Hamburg, Germany)

Thanks for writing, Stephanie. Now, we want to see what's inside!

Click image for larger view.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Learning Curve

Cookie received a woodburning tool kit in July, just after she had gotten into Zentangle. She used Zentangle's method to learn the techniques of her new medium. Here are some pictures she sent.

Thanks for sending those images, Cookie!

Zentangle's approach to creating art provides a great way to learn new tools and media.

Rick ponders rock carving.

Smiling, Maria rolls eyes.

Click images for larger view.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Elegance of Limits

A basic component of Zentangle is its concept of the elegance of limits. Limits of a deadline inspire creative juices to flow. Understanding our mortality, we can more deeply appreciate our blessings.

So too, our Zentangle concept of string and tangle sets in motion a dynamic that is simultaneously limiting and liberating.

Yesterday, Maria limited herself to strings and tangles of only straight lines. If you have seen any of Maria's creations, you can understand how challenging this was.

We encourage you to appreciate and play with limits and to use them as an inspiration to further creativity - in your art, and in your art of life.

To explore further this concept of limits, we recommend Gyorgy Doczi's The Power of Limits, Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture.

Click image for larger view.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alphonse Insists

Our Alphonse (ever grateful for his rescue from a lonely bat-filled attic) wanted in on this blog.

He says he's particularly fond of this Zentangle that Maria and I published earlier, but we think he just wants to show off his new coat (and hands).

He likes to rest his new hands on an old plant stand that Maria painted and tangled.

Materials used:
  • Marble bust
  • Formal vintage jacket
  • Rick's grandfather's hat
  • Weighted acrylic bookend hands that we bought at Sandy Bartholomew's store. (She a CZT in Warner, New Hampshire.)
  • Gouache painted plant stand with pointed pen tangles

Click images for larger view.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quilt Surprise

Pat Ferguson, CZT, dropped by yesterday with her mom to pick up some Zentangle supplies. She also brought some small quilts. As soon as we saw them we asked if we could share them in our blog and she agreed.

These Zentangle quilts were about eight or nine inches on a side. On the square ones (and since a classic Zentangle has no obvious orientation) Pat had sewn a diagonal pocket in each corner on the back so they could hang in any direction with the aid of an inserted dowel. Nice touch, Pat!

Here's a closer view of the above quilt's reverse side.

You can see more of Pat's quilting at her website.

Thanks again, Pat, for bringing those wonderful quilts and letting us share them with our readers.

Click images for larger view.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Fine Line

Maria writes:
Anyone who plays a musical instrument knows you can get a variety of sounds from just one note. Learning subtle potentials of an instrument makes playing and listening more interesting.

And so . . . the pen. You can scream out a line, dance a rhythm or tickle the edge of the paper! This Zentangle is done with one 01 Sakura® Pigma™ pen. Notice the subtle nuances this pen can create - from bold lines to lacey auras. This adds interest and fun for both artist and viewer.

Click image for larger view.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to Basics

As Fall falls upon us once again, we are reminded of back to school, back to basics, refamiliarizing ourselves and our families with routine (and comforting) ceremonies.

This is also true for Zentangle. Every once in a while, it's good to revisit our roots . . . remind ourselves of the beauty, simplicity and comfort of an original Zentangle. So if you're not already doing this, we encourage you to touch base with the core of Zentangle from time to time. One way to do this is recreate a simple Zentangle (maybe a variation of your first one) and remember the thrill of creating this tiny work of art for the first time.

Notice how your ease and confidence has changed. Are you becoming more comfortable with teasing out slight variations to your tangles?

Relax and reacquaint yourself with Zentangle's ceremony of simple patterns, with no worries about outcomes, or overusing a favorite tangle, or trying new tools on new media. It's just you and your relaxed focus on that black ink flowing onto that beautiful paper. Since you are not trying to "draw" anything in particular you can allow yourself to be surprised and delighted with unexpected outcomes, one exquisite stroke at a time.

So, go find a blank Zentangle tile . . .

. . . gather your pencil and pen, settle in a comfortable spot, and . . .




Now take your time and enjoy your favorite tangles. Shade, sign and - most importantly - hold your tile at arm's length, turn it this way and that and appreciate once more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Master Class Bee

Another Master Class attendee, Sandy Bartholomew, CZT, has completed her two Zentangle Master Class projects. Here's one of them.

Be sure to visit Sandy's blog entry to see her other beautiful creation and read what she has to say.

We had such a wonderful time at Master Class. Just as with all things Zentangle, it's marvelous to see how each individual's uniqueness manifests within Zentangle's "elegance of limits."

Thank you, Sandy!

Click image for larger view.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homage to a Gentle Rain

Our morning sky is bright with eastern sun, loud with northern thunder and soft with gentle rain. Sounds of giants bowling strikes arrive long after their flashes - a royalty free soundtrack to this morning's Zentangle.

This Zentangle was inspired by this morning's weather and Maria's museum visit.

Note that she did not fill every section that her string created.

Click image for larger view.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Master Class Video

We thought you might enjoy taking a video peek inside our recent Master Class in Newport, RI. These were taken by Suzanne McNeill, CZT. 

Here's part of what she wrote:
Wow!  I just finished a wonderful week in Newport, Rhode Island with the innovators of Zentangle, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.  I didn't want to let another day go by without letting other tanglers know that the ' Zentangle Master Class' was full of excitement.  Rick and Maria created fantastic projects, shared some wonderful techniques, chose a totally awesome setting, planned fascinating  tours to mansions and museums, and most of all  provided the opportunity to get together with fellow tanglers and be truly inspired. 
      If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Zentangle class , or better yet to attend a CZT class  (certified Zentangle teacher) with Rick and Maria, do go.  Your life and relationships will be influenced in a positive manner for the rest of your life.

To see these full screen you can click the "four arrows" in the lower right. To get out of full screen view, just press your "escape" [Esc] key.

To find a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) in your area, see this page.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Museum Walk

Maria met her sister for lunch at the Worcester Art Museum yesterday. After her sister left, Maria walked around the museum looking for new tangles.

She took pictures with her phone of portraits . . .

. . . and details of patterns from hundreds of years ago . . .

. . . as well as more contemporary patterns.

Here are some pages from her sketch book.

This next image was inspired by a collection of blown glass paperweights.

We'll refine these patterns and deconstruct them into simple repetitive strokes that characterise Zentangle's approach. This gives you an idea of how tangles are developed.

And if you're wondering why those pages have a black corner, read this. (It's a great story!)

Click images for larger view.