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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paradox - Q&A

We recently had a conversation about our tangle "Paradox" which was taught in this newsletter. Here's part of that conversation:

Hi Rick and Maria. First, I love your site and learning patterns for Zentangles. I am hooked. I am having a really hard time learning your Paradox pattern however. I can't get mine to curve like yours. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I was wondering if you would do another lesson on your paradox that goes further than the one you have on there now. I really want to learn this one but just can't grasp it.

I wrote back:

Two key items to keep in mind are (1) Always make your lines straight, and (2) Always turn your tile each time you draw a line. This latter step may not seem necessary but for me it is, otherwise I lose my place. First draw a triangle, or square. Then, per newsletter instructions, turn your tile each time so you draw your straight line in the same direction. It is easiest to draw my line towards me. We call this tangle "paradox" because by only using straight lines, you create beautiful spirals.

Recently she replied:

I sent you an email a month ago asking you for help with Paradox. I am attaching three Zentangles with Paradox to show you how much your help was to me and how much fun I am having in doing these. Thank you so much.

Here are two she sent. Beautiful! (Trivia note: This tangle is sometimes called "Rick's Paradox.")

[Click any image for large view]

When you create adjacent paradoxes, you have a choice of which way to "rotate" your paradox. In this next Zentangle, I rotated adjacent paradoxes in opposite directions. You can see more examples of this effect in this newsletter.


Here's that same effect translated into 3D:


This shape is a cuboctahedron and was a favorite of Buckminster Fuller. To create this I tangled a square and an adjacent triangle, made copies and assembled those. Here's its original before shading:

All of these inner lines are done by hand - no ruler. If you look at any one line in the above image, you'd  see that some are pretty shaky and erratic. Embrace that! Once you're done, it becomes part of your pattern's overall color.

On another note, you may have noticed that many of our tangles are only one or two strokes that repeat over and over. We put a lot of time and thought into deconstructing familiar and seemingly complex patterns down to their essentials. This allows you to get into Zentangle's process without trying to draw something.

Imaging if someone asked you to draw a logarithmically spiraling pyramid . . . "Huh!?" 

But with Zentangle's approach, simple repetition of basic elements (in this case, a straight line) allows something quite beautiful to unfold in a very enjoyable way.


Shelly Beauch said...


craftydr said...

Thanks Rick for sharing my zentangles of Rick's Paradox and your other ones. Now I have to go and try the one you posted.
I hope all see the two stars this created on Rick's Paradox #2. I didn't know that was happening until I saw it. Now I do it on purpose.

craftydr said...

Thanks Rose, they just happened and that makes it very cool I think.

Donna Hornsby said...

Paradox is one of my favorites. I had been doing a variation of paradox and never knew it until I read how paradox was created!

craftydr said...

Hi DJ. I love doing the paradox. It is my favorite zentangle to do. Now that I know how to do the fan as well as twisting it, I am doing them like crazy and I love them. I also tried a circle with really nice results. I am glad you to like the paradox and I would be interested to know what you variation is.

Anonymous said...

I was recently looking through some vintage 60s and 70s men's clothing for sale online. And what do i find? Paradox all over a men's shirt from the early 70s! I thought to myself, hmm, i wonder if that used to be Rick's shirt ! ha ha What a small world...

Anonymous said...

I love paradoxes!!! Their so mindbreaking ;)

Anonymous said...

I didn't knew its full blown art, and is called zentangle.

I used to scribble those patterns in notebooks when I was bored, many years ago.

I used to make toroidal rope like structures though. Yours are way more advanced :)

Anonymous said...

can you guys please have a template for the 3D one so i can cut it out like a boos please