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!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Traveling Tangles and . . .

Rick writes:

At our CZT reunion last year, we held a silent auction to fund scholarships for CZT seminars. Several of the items available were original art by Maria and me. The effort was successful and because of it, we were able to help several people attend seminars in 2017.

After the auction, several people asked that if they matched winning bid for our art, could they also get one. We said, "Sure!"

We thought we had sent them all out until earlier this week we received a call and learned we had not. Yikes!

So we gave this lovely person a choice of tiles and she chose one which Maria then matted and framed. When I saw what she had done, I interrupted her (as I often do!) so I could photograph it. This piece was just too beautiful not to share. It would also make a great blog post.

Here it is:

Maria began the tile with a gentle field of mooka "sprouts." I added the indyrella over it.

If you have the Zentangle Mosaic app, you will recognize this tile as part of a conversation we're enjoying about layering tangles. (You can find them all by searching with the #tranzending hashtag.) While you are searching, also search the hashtag #travelingtangles. This refers to tiles that two (or more) people create. In this case, Maria and I were only across the table, but many traveling tangles are created across the world. It is inspiring to see the blending of different styles and techniques!

Maria mounted the tile into a piece of the Tibetan lokta paper that we used on our first Zentangle Kit boxes. Then she tangled and embellished the double thick matte and we signed it.

Here's a close-up:

Beautiful, Maria!


You can do all the searches discussed in this blog post with the free version of our Zentangle Mosaic app. It's available for Android smartphones, iPhones and iPads.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Feast for the Eyes!

Martha Writes:

 I love to cook. From early on in my childhood I was drawn to the kitchen- not so much a hunger to eat but a hunger to create. I felt comfort in the process of preparing food to share with others. I was lucky enough to meet a chef who wanted to teach me and I spent the summer of my 15th year learning to use a knife - to chop an onion, to mince garlic, to peel and dice a carrot, some celery. It was all about practice and passion. He taught me to have respect for my tools and inspired a confidence in my abilities as a “creator” of food that I have never forgotten. I learned that even the most complicated recipes started with the same fundamental ingredients that I had just prepared and that was all I needed to go forth and create!

Recently, I began prepping a meal for a gathering of friends. I set out my old cutting board, my favorite blade in hand, and began to chop. This recipe is one that I have made dozens of times. My ingredients, carefully selected and washed, are similar to the last time but always some variation becomes necessary. Hmm, I’m out of this but that would be a great substitute! As it often is, I am alone in my kitchen, my territory, and I quickly get into a quiet rhythm of peeling, dicing, mincing, chopping, and squeezing all the while getting lost in my chore. (sound familiar?) At last, these seemingly simple tasks spawns a glorious, nourishing dish for all to enjoy.

 I am not sure why it was this specific day that the thought occurred to me. This process, this repetitive task, is so much like Zentangle! When we first learn the method, we practice our crescent moon, our hollibaugh and printemps. We learn that only the best tools should be used for this future masterpiece. We learn that we are artists and that it feels amazing when someone appreciates you and your artistic ability. Then confidence ensues and we get a bit daring- a dash of dingbatz, a pinch of sparkle, a dollop of diva dance and before you know it you have a completely unplanned treasure for the eyes!

With only a few basic ingredients (tangles) we have all the tools we need to create the most comforting feast for the eyes. Yes, there are days when we feel courageous or have a bit more time but both have boundless enjoyment for all to share. So, what’s your favorite Zentangle Recipe? Do you like simple, fundamental ingredients, or are you more adventurous and willing to take risks? Like all good recipes, Zentangle is meant to be shared. We would love to hear your favorite tangle combinations- inspiring us all to try something new.

 Bon Appetangle! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What's in a Name?

Molly writes; 

 In the famous play, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, Juliet speaks to Romeo,

 “What's in a name? that which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet.” 

I love this phrase. It makes me ponder many things. I think about what a beautiful thing it is that people and many animals alike have developed sophisticated ways to communicate. I think about the complexity of both the spoken and written word. I think about how practically everything has a word or a name that labels it or describes it. And then how different words are used in different languages, cultures, or geographic locations to describe the same thing. And to think about this system again ... does that "thing" change at all without that label or word to identify it? Do we see it differently? Does a different word change or alter its existence? We use words to inform, identify, educate and communicate, but as Juliet says, "What's in a name?"

 For instance, here is a word that is frequently used and has very important meaning in so many places across the globe. In English we call it love, but in other languages you will see it as basque, voljeti, обичам, estimar, voljeti, láska, elsker, liefde, armastus, rakkaus, amour, amar, liebe, αγαπώ, szerelem, elska, is breá, amare, mīlestība, meilė, сакам, imħabba, elsker, люблю, љубав, láska, ljubezen, amor, älskar, любов, caru, ליבע, 爱, and 愛. And this is only to name a few. Each word identifies the same thing but the word itself that is used is different in each language.

Another example is when I was a little girl, my mother would make this casserole made with layers of ground beef, corn and green beans and topped with mashed potatoes. It was called Pâté Chinois. I thought our family invented it. Years later I was at school and on the menu was this thing called Shepard's Pie. When I saw what it was, I thought, that is not Shepard's Pie! That is Pâté Chinois! Did they steal our family recipe and change the name? How dare they? So it turns out my family did not invent this recipe, they didn't even name it. It is a very old recipe. With more than a handful of names and variations. Does what it is called change the way it is made or alter the flavor? Perhaps in our heads a little ... but not really.

What does this all have to do with the Zentangle method? Well I think about the vocabulary of Zentangle. How we have such fun words to reference techniques and terms and we have names for all these amazing patterns we call tangles. This language is so helpful to identify, communicate and learn the Zentangle Method. We use language to teach this method. And we love to use it, but can we learn it and use it without any language at all? YES! We totally can! That is what is so amazing about this method. It can be beautifully understood, practiced and shared without a single word ... written or spoken. It crosses cultures, continents, religions, and generations. Zentangle art becomes a language in itself.

We put names on tangles and their step-outs so that we can identify them and learn how to create them. It does not mean that we invented the pattern or that we were the only one to ever discover it or create a step-out for it. Are their some tangles that are perhaps original patterns? ... maybe? but many of our tangles are beautiful patterns rediscovered from history and nature. We just come up with a way to draw them and identify them. So is it possible for one tangle to have more than one name? Sure it is. Is it possible that the same tangle has multiple step-outs? Of course. Can there be multiple variations of the same tangle? Yes again.

“What's in a name? that which we call crescent moon
By any other name would still be the same beautiful tangle”

Tangle on my friends.


The winners from our last blog are:

1. a free year's subscription to Zentangle Mosaic: Mary (Biology professor)

Please email julie [at] zentangle [dot] com

2. Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time Print: Linda JF

Please email your shipping information to maria [at] zentangle [dot] com

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Make Your Mark!

Rick writes:

I often hear, “Go out and make your mark!” But people are so used to consuming what others create, they forget they can make their own marks.

Maria and I believe that life is an art form. We also believe that each person is an artist. However, most forget that creativity is easy, natural and fun.

Ask students in any 3rd grade class, "How many here are artists?" and every hand will reach for the sky. But ask them again in high school and rarely will a hand move.

As you take tests throughout years of schooling you learn there are predetermined right answers. Everything else is wrong. When you solve crossword or Sudoku puzzles, each has one predetermined solution. Even coloring books convey the subtle message that someone else is authorized to create the marks within which you must color.

When you do not use your creativity, it atrophies.

So how can you regain your creative passion? Our (predictable) answer is . . . the Zentangle Method, of course!

The Zentangle Method teaches you how to make marks and then (most importantly), how to make them your own. In Zentangle art, there are no predetermined “right” answers. However the Zentangle Method offers the necessary structure so you can express your marks with ease and confidence.

You have an infinite reservoir of creativity. With the Zentangle Method you will begin to appreciate the vastness of that reservoir. You will discover how good it feels to exercise your imagination and express your creativity. You can make a mark on your world. Begin that process by discovering how fun it is to make your marks on paper.

With each stroke, more imagination, creativity and confidence show up. You discover that the necessary stroke shows up when you need it. Gratitude shows up. You admire what you create.

What will be your contribution? . . . your service? . . . your offering? What mark will you make?

Life is an art form.

You are an artist.

Anything IS possible, one stroke at a time.™

Make your mark!



How has the Zentangle Method helped you to make your marks, your way? Please tell us in the comments below and we will choose two names to receive one of the following gifts with our gratitude:
  1. A year's subscription to the Zentangle Mosaic app!
  2. A print of Maria's beautiful "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time" poster

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Welcome CZT 29!

Thank you to everyone who attended our CZT 28 seminar at the Providence Biltmore from June 25 - 29.

We are thrilled to introduce you to the CZT Class of 29!

In this seminar we shared all things Zentangle with people from:
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand, and
  • 27 states in USA
After this class, we now have over 3,000 CZTs in 40 countries . . . Wow!

Many students shared amazing examples of their Zentangle art and Zentangle inspired creations:

Peter Ouyang joined us from Sakura of America to help us better understand how Sakura pens work to create Zentangle art:

As always, the mosaics of Zentangle tiles drew everyone's attention. It's one thing to see your own tile you just created, it's another to see it in a mosaic of over 100 other tiles!

"Speaking" of sharing your tiles in a mosaic, Julie Willand (of Zentangle, Inc.) explained how to use the Zentangle Mosaic app to share your individual Zentangle tiles in a world wide mosaic:

We look forward to sharing the seminar magic with you in person at future seminars. They are magic!


All of us at Zentangle HQ are SO grateful for all who traveled from near and far to make this experience all that it could be.

Thank you!

For all who are about to come or who are considering attending, we look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Until next time . . .

Rick and Maria

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Welcome CZT 28!

We are so grateful to all the wonderful people who joined with us at CZT 28 at our new home in the Providence Biltmore from June 18 - 21.

And here they are . . . please welcome the CZT Class of 28!

In this seminar we shared all things Zentangle with people from:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • The Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan, and
  • 31 states in USA
Once again, students were so generous with sharing their Zentangle art and Zentangle inspired creations with us all:

Our time in the classroom was fun . . .

. . . and engaging.

Everyone admired the mosaics from each exercise as each unique tile contributed to so many masterpieces worthy of contemplation.

We look forward to sharing the seminar magic with you in person at a future seminar!


All of us at Zentangle HQ are SO grateful for all who traveled from near and far to make this experience all that it could be.

Thank you!

For all who are about to come or who are considering attending, we look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Until next time . . .

Rick and Maria

The winners from our last blog are:

1. Leslee Feiwus
2. Alice McCullum
3. Deborah Butterfield CZT 19 

Please email your shipping info to maria (at) zentangle (dot) com.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Unexpected Outcomes

Maria writes:

Not too long ago, I got a (slightly) panicked call from​ one of my daughters while driving her children to school. "Stop the car, I'm gonna be sick," one said.

Pull over, emergency avoided, turn around . . . and head back home.

"Mom, can you take the other child to school?"

"I can't, but Rick can."

An hour later she calls back, "False alarm – ate more breakfast and wants to play – we're going back to school!"

The teacher was not surprised. She knows how much this child dislikes public speaking and today was this child's turn to speak in front of the class.

Flash-backward. . . 50 - 60 years, and I can remember exactly the same thing happening to me like it was yesterday! The symptoms precisely the same, the fear worse than I could imagine. This fear stayed with me all through life, never being big into groups, not wanting to teach, and for sure never wanting to speak in front of any size group.

As I replayed these memories over the last couple days, I realized those fears have totally disappeared.

What changed in my life?

Zentangle, of course.

We get heartfelt messages, letters, emails and conversations from folks telling stories of how creating Zentangle art helped their lives. . . but I had never pondered how it helped my life.

When the Zentangle Method "presented" itself to Rick and me, the first words I said to Rick were, "We have to teach this to others." 

It didn't occur to me at the time that this meant I had to become a teacher and a public speaker. And when tanglers of the world asked "Where are your books?" I became a writer, too.

Creating Zentangle art did not make me an artist. I had been there, done that since I was 5 years old. But what did change was I became a fearless teacher, speaker and writer . . . and I am having the time of my life doing things I never thought I could do. (Anything really is possible . . . !)

And that, my friends, is what I am grateful for.

How cool is that?

So now, the big question is . . . "How has practicing the Zentangle Method and creating Zentangle art changed your life?"

We'd love to hear your stories, and others will, too.

As usual, we will choose a name at random (we use an online random number generator) and send some fine goodies your way!

We love being able to do that.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Humble Beginnings

 Julie writes:

Last week I wrote about how we need to stop comparing our Zentangle art to others and embrace our practice. Well, Maria liked the blog (and your responses) so much that she suggested I write one about comparing our Zentangle art to… our Zentangle art. Are you scratching your head? That’s ok. It will all make sense.

Consider this – a world class ballerina’s first step as a baby was probably a wobbly one. Michael Jordan probably missed his first basket and Julia Child probably burned her first soufflé. They all may be known as exceptional in their field, but they all started somewhere.

And so did we.

The more you practice something, the better you get at it. The same rings true with your Zentangle practice. The more you tangle, the better you get at it. By “better,” I mean, you become more comfortable with the pen and paper. You refine your style and master techniques and tangles. You find a safe space where the pen meets the paper and you grow. But, you had to start somewhere.

 After last week’s blog, Maria thought it was a good idea to find the first tile she ever did and encouraged us to do the same. It was humbling to compare where we started to where we are now. To see how our Zentangle practice has evolved and our styles have emerged. It is also a good exercise when you are feeling inadequate about your work, to see how far you’ve come.

Julie, 2004

Rick, 2004

Maria, 2004

Molly, 2004

Whether you have been tangling for a week or for years, we encourage you to compare your first tile to your most recent tile. The tiles tell the story of your Zentangle journey.

Join us in this exercise on the Zentangle Mosaic app by uploading your first tile(s) using the hashtag #humblebeginnings. You can also download the app for free and search #humblebeginnings to see where Zentangle artists from around the world got their start.

If you are not on the app, you can find your first tile(s) and hang it somewhere you will see it often, to remind you how you’ve grown!


When I wrote last week’s blog post, I hesitated before I hit “publish.” The irony was not lost on me that I was feeling insecure about posting a blog about overcoming insecurity. I am so glad that I did. Your responses were heartfelt and I was filled with appreciation and gratitude for all of you that shared. We selected one commenter at random to receive a Zentangle surprise:

J. Stough

Please email your mailing address to julie (at) zentangle (dot) com

Happy Tangling!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Embracing your Zentangle practice

 Julie writes: 
I really do believe that we are our own worst critics. When it comes to our Zentangle art, we know there are no mistakes and no preconceived outcomes, but sometimes (it’s okay to admit it) we compare our work to others and feel inadequate. One comment I get from many Mosaic App users is "I love looking at everyone's work but mine is not good enough yet to post." Today's blog is to tell you to embrace your Zentangle practice, let go of this insecurities and (literally or metaphorically) post that tile!

 If there is one thing that I know, my Zentangle practice is much more about the process, the journey, than it is the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, I love finishing a tile. The satisfaction that I created something, a beautiful piece of artwork, is not something I had until the Zentangle Method. The real beauty to me is not in my finished work, it is in the process of getting there.

I was fortunate enough to have grown up next door to Rick and Maria and was a Zentangle “guinea pig.” I have been tangling for almost half my life but it was not until 2013 when I started working for Zentangle, Inc. that I really kicked my practice into high gear. In the beginning, it was intimidating. I was surrounded by the artwork of Maria, Rick and Molly each day and when my tiles did not look like theirs, I will be the first to admit that I felt discouraged. I felt pressure to tangle more, to learn more tangles and to be better. Where did this pressure come from? Myself. It was all my own insecurities.

It was not until I settled into my Zentangle practice that I was able to let go of my insecurities. I was able to do this when I began to embrace the process, the act of creating, and not just the finished product. It was okay that my tiles did not look like anyone else's, because I created it, one stroke at a time. It was okay that my tiles did not flow like Maria’s, hold as much graphite as Molly’s or have the geometric edge that Rick’s had, because that was their style and I had mine. It was okay that I did not know all the tangles because all I needed was a few of my mac and cheese tangles to make a beautiful tile. It was okay to draw marasu over and over (and over) again as long as I enjoy creating those tiles. Creating Zentangle art is such a personal process, my tiles should not look like anyone else’s.

Share with us in the comments below how you embrace your Zentangle practice and we will choose a commenter at random to receive a Zentangle surprise!

Thanks for reading!
- Julie 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

John Nordell, CZT

CZT Family Tree
We always say that the Zentangle Method attracts really awesome people. We have had the pleasure of working with wonderful Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) all over the world and we are excited to share these wonderful people with the entire Zentangle Community. Through our series, CZT Family Tree, we will introduce individual CZTs.

Today, we are excited to introduce John Nordell


Name: John Nordell

CZT#:  8

Hometown: Cambridge, MA

Photo Credit: Beth Reynolds

Favorite tangle: Cubine

Favorite place to tangle: In front of the class, teaching the Zentangle Method to my college students.

How I use the Zentangle Method in my life:  I look for possibility in what I might initially perceive as a mistake.  This ability to crack open the door to possibilities beyond my imagination is a gift.

My favorite story or memory about teaching the Zentangle Method is:  I was set up to teach a Zentangle Workshop for a Cancer Support group, a mix of patients, survivors and oncology nurses.  As participants entered the room, one woman, after seeing the display of my pieces of Zentangle art, announced, “There is no way I can do that.  I am not an artist!”  I assured her that “One Stroke at A Time” she could do it. Towards the end of the workshop, she started to make some positive declarations.  After completing her Zentangle tile, she exclaimed.  “I made some art.  I am an artist.  I am going to frame this!”

Through my experiences as a CZT, I have learned:  The first time I taught a class for payment, I was nervous and messed up teaching a tangle.  I was sitting there mortified, wondering to myself if I needed to hand out refunds.  I finally decided to be honest, become vulnerable, and admit that I had made some errors teaching the tangle.  I was gearing up to ask the students if they wanted their money back.  They would hear nothing of it, echoing back to me the Zentangle philosophy I had just shared:  “There are not mistakes, only possibilities.  Isn’t this what you have been talking about?”  I was humbled by their forgiveness.

If I’m not tangling, you will find me…: Creating art that relates to the intersection of environmentalism and technology.

Website/Blog:  www.createlookenjoy.com

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How many times do we have to tell you?... Cut it out!

Rick writes:
In 2007, we started BLOG Zentangle and began our enjoyable series of conversations within our Zentangle community.

In reading through these blog posts with their insightful comments, we decided to bring a few of them to your attention from time to time. It is easy, for me anyway, to sometimes think of old information as stale information. But these insights and conversations are anything BUT stale!

So, we invite you to enjoy this post from 2011.

                     Begin previous post . . .                  

Maria writes:
"Mom!!!!! (always screamed in two syllables!) . . . He's (my older brother) teasing me again . . . CUT IT OUT!!! Mom, tell him to stop . . . knock it off or I'll tell Dad . . . I said cut it out!"

David yells back, "No! YOU cut it out!"

Some of us have had those childhood nightmares (daymares?) of a sibling making our lives intolerable (or so it seemed). In actuality, it was never so bad. It just interrupted the rhythm of whatever I was doing. I was always content playing by myself, amused with my art or tiny dolls . . . but I guess my brother wasn't so much.

Of course, today we are both in our 60's and he's a really great guy, always was, love him to bits. It must be some sort of rite of passage to go through this routine, choreographed in the heavens by well-meaning beings getting us ready for what life lies ahead.

What does this have to do with Zentangle, you wonder? Well I took this chant to heart. Perhaps it was really angels telling me what to do.

"Cut it out!"

I always listen to my guardian angels . . . albeit somewhat late.

This one is done on a blank Zendala tile, folded once to create a sort of rocking horse effect.

With this next one . . .

. . . I folded the top (white tile) and back tile (black) along the diagonals. The white one folded with the crease facing out vertically, the black one creased inward horizontally. I stitched the white tile (yes, with needle and thread!) at two corners,

then I made a small horizontal slit at the top and inserted the top corner of the back tile into the slit.

I cut these tiles with an X-Acto® knife, something I am comfortable with. But you could use some cuticle scissors or fine embroidery scissors (if you don't mind using them on paper). Then, I tangled around the cut-outs.

A fun project for sure.

On this last one, I used 2 square tiles, white on the back and black for the front. I traced a circle (using the cap of my cayenne pepper jar, about 2" diameter) and cut out the center.

Then I folded the black tile in half (with art facing out), opened it and folded in half the other way (again with the art facing out). Then opened it up flat.

This just gives you a way to form the black tile into 3-D and the circular hole ends up looking like a square!

On the white tile, I cut 2 slits in each corner, (see example) big enough to slip the corners of the back tile in the larger slit, and out the smaller one, of each corner. Voila! A 3-D "Cayenne-tile"

This last little Zendala-ette is the piece I cut out of the blank square black tile. I just couldn't toss it!