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, December 29, 2011

A Thought

Rick writes:

In this morning's websurf, I landed on, Why You Learn More Effectively by Writing Than Typing.
The act of writing helps you clarify your thoughts, remember things better, and reach your goals more surely. Here's a look at the science and psychology behind writing, and why the pen may be mightier than the keyboard. 
Zentangle is all about putting pen to paper, so I wanted to read this. I encourage you to read it, too.

Today there are fewer and fewer reasons to put pen to paper. So when you do put pen to paper, it has a greater impact. Putting pen to paper creates an intimate closed loop as your eyes focus on your pen and its ink. This experience is primal and immediate.

In other systems that loop is broken. If your fingers are on a keyboard, mouse or tablet, your eyes are usually on a screen. If you're watching your fingers type (even on a typewriter), the result is also elsewhere. Even if you are using a stylus on a touch screen there is a technical gap between stylus and screen image. As your movements are translated through computer processors and software into pixels on your display, your stylus never really "touches" your creation.

My takeaway from this article (not surprisingly) is that the magic of writing longhand is in what happens because you put pen to paper, not just because you are writing.

This article reinforces how valuable the practice of Zentangle's method is. The benefits of putting pen to paper don't depend on how good you are, they depend on doing it. Zentangle's method provides the structure and freedom for you to enjoy this process without expectations or self-criticism. I think that's an important and easily overlooked reason for the benefits and enjoyment that Zentangle provides.

As you enjoy creating something in a Zentangle way, fresh and creative ideas have a way of popping up. Keep another sheet of paper handy to capture those idea jewels!


Oh yes, to answer our puzzle blog . . . "The envelope please!"

Click image for larger view.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Puzzle

Here's a larger image of a Puzzle Christmas Card that we described in this newsletter.

Why is this a Christmas card?

We invite you to post your answers and comments below.  (But if you've already seen this and know the answer . . . "Shhh!")

As we said in our newsletter,
. . . We are so grateful that you are part of our Zentangle community. Thank you for your purchases. Thank you for sharing your Zentangle enthusiasm and creations with us and with others. And for all of you whom we've had the pleasure to meet, thank you for your friendship.
We look forward to sharing a wonderful 2012 with you all!

Click image for clearer view of puzzle.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


It's nice to be reminded of the joy in simplicity.

Thanks to Jeannie Mahood, CZT, we received this elegant reminder.

Wishing you all the simple joys of this season.

Rick & Maria

Click image to see larger view of pointed-pen tangling of swarm and other tangles.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Move over Elf!

Maria writes:

You may have heard about the "Elf on the Shelf" tradition that's all the rage with kids this holiday season. It is a book and a small elf toy that you put in a different place each night for kids to find in the morning. Sounds like fun. But those of you who don't have kids (or if you want to play with this idea year 'round) . . . here's something else you can do.

For many years my lot in life has been to tangle Zentangle art and tiles in really unorthodox places. I have tangled on floors, pillows, lamps, napkins, clothing, shoes, purses, porch pillars, windows, eggs, dishes, kitchen items, lamp shades, vases, seat cushions, bathroom walls, mat boards, bulletin boards, stationery, paintings, finger nails, tattoos (fake and real!), Christmas cards, Christmas ornaments, mobiles, tongue depressors, ties, pies, table tops, sidewalks, beach sand, clip boards, Easter eggs, body art, motorcycle helmets, name tags, a car(!), a podium, napkins, place cards, bowling pins, flags, murals, bug illustrations, teapots, my medicine cabinet, frames, illuminated letters, a footstool and bed posts. I have covered spots on clothing, hidden holes in plaster walls and repaired a dent in our car's fender. And the list goes on, I am sure. Is there any other art form so versatile?

So, intrepid Tanglers, here is my challenge to you . . . draw a Zentangle somewhere that challenges your sense of "Oh, my goodness, I couldn't possibly do that!"

I have to say when you do something that is against the rules . . . sometimes it just feels good to be just a little "naughty AND nice"!

If you can't think of something, the first and easiest one to try is:

Trace a Zentangle tile on your wall in pencil. It could be a white wall but that's not necessary. Trace it so that a little corner of it seems tucked into the door frame or wall moulding. Use your 01 Pigma™ micron to tangle and a HARD pencil to shade (so it won't smudge off so easily). Shade a bit around the tile itself on 2 sides (right and bottom, usually), so that it appears to be a real tile. Don't do this if you are apt to wash your walls (I don't). But I gotta say, I have some that have been there for many years and still to this day, they bring a smile to me each time I walk by . . .like "you go girl" type stuff.

Sometimes I'll draw a Zentangle tile somewhere in the house and wait to see how long it takes for someone to discover it! (My idea of a good time! LOL.) And, it doesn't cost anything, because most of us already have the supplies on the shelf.

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas . . . or whatever you and your family celebrate. And bring a simple smile to yourself and others . . . maybe everyday.

Click images for larger views.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Family Tree

About a decade ago, Maria started a new tradition, our family (Christmas) tree:

Appropriately, this tree is decorated with pictures of our family and odd trinkets with treasured family memories.

A Zentangle tile is right at home on this tree. It reminds us of all the wonderful new friendships that Zentangle has brought to us. Words cannot describe how lucky we feel.

Thank you all for enjoying this wonderful unfolding Zentangle adventure with us!

Click images for larger views.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From Tile to Quilt

Elaine Huffman, CZT, created this tile in response to Laura Harms' "Biggify" challenge:

Then Elaine proceeded to translate that pen/pencil/paper Zentangle image into a thread/cloth Zentangle inspired creation:

Elaine blogs the steps she took to make that translation with some great pictures from her quilt studio in this blog entry. This is Elaine's second blog entry and we've added her Sew Tangled blog to our "Links" section.

Speaking of "Links," over the past few weeks and months we've added many new links to Zentangle related blogs.

Enjoy surfing!

Click images for larger views.

Friday, December 9, 2011

One Stroke at a Time.

Two quotes caught my eye recently:

Small things, done consistently, in strategic places, create major impact. What are [your] top 'small things' right now?

— David Allen:
Author and productivity consultant

Great acts are made up of small deeds.

— Lao Tzu: Philosopher

When I (Rick) read those quotes, it was natural for me to think of individual strokes in a Zentangle creation. Each stroke is a small thing. Each Zentangle creation is made up of small individual strokes. 

Then I thought of our Zentangle slogan . . .

 . . . and I realized that not only is anything possible, one stroke at a time, but that most things are ONLY possible, one stroke at a time . . . at least for me. My activities are more successful and certainly more mindful and enjoyable when I am able to do them one at a time.

However, there is a Zentangle paradox at work here, too: When you can't concentrate at all, creating something in a Zentangle way can help your concentration.

Some weeks after after Maria and I had given a Zentangle workshop at our local book store, a woman stopped us on the street. She said she regularly went to church with her two sons. She also said she never remembered the sermon, but continued to go for her sons' benefit.

One Sunday she was sitting in church and thought to herself, "I'm not going to remember anything so I might as well tangle!" So she took out a Zentangle tile, a pencil and a pen and tangled during the sermon.

"I remembered everything he said! . . . for the first time ever!"

So, however small a thing you may be doing (or thinking, or saying, or planning, or . . .), appreciate and savor it, "one stroke at a time."

And if the tumbling tumult of (seemingly) big things becomes too distracting, grab your Zentangle tiles and tools and treat yourself to a Zentangle moment.

Click image for larger view of small strokes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Seeing Stars!

We received this beautiful image . . .

. . . and this lovely note from Susan Breen Silvy, CZT:
Rick and Maria,

The holidays are here in full swing, eh? I've always integrated my artwork into my Christmas decorations. When we unpack our decorations every year there are the kids art projects -- and mom's. LOL This year I came up with a simple holiday project that I posted on my blog and the teachers forum and I've gotten a lot of response from it.

Since these are so simple I thought maybe you would want to share the how-to on your blog or in the newsletter.

The stars are just a fun way to work Zentangle into the holiday festivities. So if you are looking for ideas, please feel free to use this.

Thank you so much for sharing that!

Please take a look at Susan's blog post for her simple instructions on how to create amazing 3-dimensional stars from a single sheet of paper.

Click image to see bigger stars!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Laura Harms' current (50th!) challenge is to "Bigify!"

Here Maria uses Zentangle's embellishment technique of "dewdrop" on mooka.

See other examples of this challenge at Laura Harms' (CZT) blog.

Click image for larger view of "dewdrop" on mooka (on a hemlock stump).

Welcoming Friends!

We had friends over for supper last night. Maria tangled our front door glass as a special welcome.

She used a black Chalk Ink® Artista Pro marker, the one that only washes off with an ammonia based cleaner. (Her wrist is doing much better!)

Using mooka as a primary tangle, it didn't take long to do because mooka is a great tangle for covering large areas quickly.

This is old glass. Notice how it distorts the birdbath in the background. This glass also distorts the light coming in as you can see in this blog entry.

And speaking of "Welcoming Friends," we look forward to doing just that at our February Seminar (which is filling quickly).

Click image for closer view of tangled glass.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Registration Open for February 2012 CZT Seminar

We just sent out a newsletter announcing the opening of registration for our Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) training seminar on February 21-24, 2012 at Hotel Providence in Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

As we write in our newsletter,
This is such an exciting event for us and all who attend. It's a time to have fun, make lifelong friends, get deep into what Zentangle is all about . . . and learn how to earn gratitude and income by teaching the Zentangle method.
If you are interested in attending, please register soon because these seminars tend to fill quickly.

If you are wondering what this is all about, you can learn more on this page.

We are using an online registration system this time and you will find instructions in this newsletter.

See you in February!

Click image for larger view of Hotel Providence chandelier.
Photo: Daved Levitan

Monday, November 28, 2011


Maria writes:
Spraining your wrist kinda knocks the wind out you. I keep thinking I should be able to do (seemingly) simple things, but then I realize it was dumb to even try.

So I decided to tangle left-handed for a while and "feel the burn," as in a "difficult exercise!"

I slowed down and appreciated and understood the intimidation some people have when they first start tangling. Their comments are often, "No way can I EVER do this!"

And now here I'm saying, "No way can I draw with my non-dominant hand!" But, after all is tangled and done, I realize as long as my shaking is consistent throughout my tangling, it all looks pretty darn cool!

Click image for larger view.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'Tis (almost) the season . . .

Well, it's always a good season, as that song goes, "to be jolly." And this is also a good season to tell you about some new goodies that we've been holding back on until our new website went online.

We (along with Snowman and assorted penguins) are happy to introduce a compilation CD of Native American style flute music, called Sounds.

This CD includes all the songs on our instructional DVD in our Zentangle Kit plus enough more songs to make it about an hour long.

Rick used to make Native American style flutes. This CD is Rick playing flutes that he made. Sounds is a great accompaniment for creating Zentangle art and it's a great gift.

In case you missed it in our recent newsletter, we have also introduced black Zentangle square tiles and ATC sized Zentangle tiles (3.5 x 2.5 inches) in both white and black. To tangle on our black tiles we offer white Sakura Gelly Roll® pens and white charcoal pencils.

Here are a couple samples that Maria tangled last night:

In this example above, see how Maria uses her white Gelly Roll® on top of black ink on this white ATC size Zentangle tile. It's a fun exploration that these new tools make possible.

And in this example above of white ink on a black tile, she just had a blast.

There will be more later.


Click images for larger views.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tangled Shirt

Barbara sent this email to her Zentangle teacher, CZT Jeannie Mahood:
Look what I did!!  This is for an MG fund raising auction to be held in Athens, GA.  It was fun and has more than 25 different variations of patterns!  I'm very proud of myself as you can tell!

Six artists were given white cotton shirts to re-create for the auction.  It's this weekend and I hope it is a good fundraiser! 


Jeannie suggested she send it to us. We're glad she did.

Here's a closer view:

Nice work, Barbara!

Click images for larger views.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Molly came up with a new tangle that we call fife. We give instructions for it in this newsletter.

Here are some of Molly's Zentangle tiles which show what you can do with fife.

I think Indy helped Molly with this next one:

Thanks, Molly (and Indy) for that wonderful collection!

There's much more to read in this newsletter, so please take a look if you haven't already.

Click images for larger views.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Website

Today we have switched over to a new website. Although it has a similar look as our previous site, its underlying structure has been completely rewired.

Imagine someone totally replacing the plumbing and wiring in a house. It may not look different, but behind its walls and underneath its floors everything is changed. And just like that house, the address didn't change . . . it's still zentangle.com.

We have a new and increased appreciation for well designed and smoothly functioning websites. We are grateful to Artifextech and their web development team. This new site works because they are really good at what they do. They are also fine people who have been to our home and studio and appreciate what Zentangle is all about.

As you can see, we've kept the same layout and colors, but we've reorganized the structure, added features and laid a foundation for growth and development.

Some key changes include:
  • Creation of a membership feature
  • Individual pages for each Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) that each CZT can edit
  • Integration of a secure store within our own website
  • Automatic reply with tracking number when we ship your order
  • Change home page images to display on iPads (We replaced Flash with Java.)
  • Online registration for CZT training and other events (We will turn this on in about a week from now.)
  • Reword text in light of trademark protection best practices
  • Lots of additional information (that keeps growing)
We've been testing things for a couple months now with our CZTs and we've cleaned up quite a few glitches. We expect that you will find some more things that will need fixing or could be improved. Please feel free to comment about them here on this blog or email us. If you email us, we ask your understanding in possibly not getting a reply. We do read and appreciate everything, but the volume of mail is such that, much as we'd like to, we don't always get to answer every email.

Thank you for playing with us on this wonderful Zentangle adventure. Enjoy our new website and please let us know if there's anything that needs fixing.

Sometimes it can take a while to propagate the new address pointers throughout the world wide web. So if you don't see the new site right away, keep checking. 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Comfort Tangles

Maria writes,

I think there exists in every tangler's repertoire, one, or maybe two or three, "comfort tangles" . . . a Zentangle version of mac & cheese, chicken soup or chocolate chip cookies . . . that, just the very image of them brings on a sense of well-being. Drawing the same tangle over and over, is not only a great exercise, but it also inspires us to maybe tweak it a bit each time so that it morphs into a more personal expression.

These comfort tangles are great for those, "I don't want to think about ANYTHING!" moments.

I recommend always keeping one or two comfort tangles in your mind's cupboard, ready to serve at a moment's notice whenever you need them.

What are your comfort tangles?

Click image for larger view and to appreciate the play of early morning fall sun on this tile.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanks, Synchronicities, Hoodies and Schedules

Thank you all for your support, messages and understanding while we attended to the passing of my mom. Services were yesterday and it was a beautiful blue sky day here. She would have loved it.

Synchronicities and Hoodies
Molly came by this morning to visit with Indy. Molly and Maria had randomly dressed exactly the same way with jeans, a grey vest and our long-sleeve light-weight Zentangle "hoodie." Indy, however, either didn't get the memo or chose to ignore it!

We'll be adding these hoodies to our store soon after our new website comes online. We made these for staff to wear at our recent CZT seminar and everyone wanted one, so were going make some. They're high quality bias-cut jersey with red and white printing.

Speaking of new websites, we've been working on our new website and although events delayed our schedule a bit, we're looking to go live next week. It wouldn't be a surprise if we discover some things that need fixing. So we ask in advance for your patience and also for your comments as you surf through it.

Again, thank you so much.


Click images for larger views.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Maria and I haven't been blogging much these last couple weeks because we're spending time with my mom who's not well.

We did have time to read the amazing comments on Laura Harms' blog celebrating her 200,000th hit. In celebration, Laura is giving away some wonderful gifts to a random few who will be selected from those who answer, "How has Zentangle enhanced YOUR life?" If you haven't had a chance yet to visit (or post) there, please do. You will read an amazing collection of stories and comments.

We have a new website ready to roll. It was scheduled to go "live" on Monday, but it may be delayed by a couple days due to our changed schedule.

When we contemplate our Zentangle journey and all the friends we have made and will make, there are no words to express what we feel, but gratitude fits best.

Thank you all so very much.

Monday, October 31, 2011

An Artist's Cushion

Maria decided that this tapestry pillow she made twenty-something years ago needed a Zentangle makeover.

Using a black Sakura IDenti®-pen and a grey Fabrico® dual tip marker, she tangled away . . .

Here's a close-up:

One of our favorite Zentangle themes is that "Everyone is an artist." When you are an artist you can do things differently and people will admiringly explain it to themselves with, "Oh, that's OK, she's an artist!"

For example, if you look at that second picture above, you will notice that our couch cushion is patched. It's a wonderful couch and a comfortable couch. It's also an old couch. When a cushion was stained, we didn't want to get a new couch so Maria "fixed" it with a piece of tapestry.

Everyone who visits thinks it's a great idea and quite okay because, after all, we're artists and artists do that sort of thing.

And with Zentangle's method, you also have a justification (if you need it) for all sorts of creative inventiveness, like patching your couch cushion or bringing life to a tired old pillow, because after all, you are an artist!

Click images for larger views.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Take a chance!

Our friend and passionate tangler, Margaret Bremner, CZT, is celebrating her blog's one year anniversary with a wonderful act of generosity. (See this blog entry for details.)
 Credit: Margaret Bremner
In the midst of so much daily Zentangle info, we want to bring this opportunity to your attention and to give a hearty "Happy Anniversary!" shout out to Margaret.

Margaret has been so generous with her time and talents through her words and her precious Zentangle creations in her blog posts. She carefully acknowledges the names of all tangles and describes in detail her step-by-steps. She takes the time to share really wonderful tidbits and snippets of interesting things she has come across (that may not, at first glance have anything to do with Zentangle), and she sets a tone of artist and teacher in a relaxed and intimate manner.

Here's to Margaret!

Click here to take a chance at some beautiful Zentangle creations.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We know it's best to store your Pigma Micron® pens horizontally. Still, we kept putting them vertically in cups on our kitchen table.

Then, Maria broke a crockery jar cover and voila, the perfect horizontal pen holder:

There are no mistakes (in Zentangle)!

Click image for larger view.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Punzel and . . .

. . . Newsletter

We sent out a newsletter last night with a new tangle, punzel. (You can access the newsletter with step-by-step instructions here.)

Here are some of the images from that newsletter at higher resolution for you to enjoy:

We also noticed that Laura Harms, CZT, is using punzel for her next challenge. We look forward to seeing your punzel contribution there!

Thanks again for enjoying this wonderful adventure with us. If you have any questions or comments about this issue of our newsletter, you can post them here.

Click images for larger views.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CZT Seminar #7

Certified Zentangle Teachers
Class of October 2011

Here's one amazing group of talented and passionate individuals! It is such an honor and thrill to be associated with these people with such diverse backgrounds and stories and who are excited to share Zentangle.

Everyone had a wonderful time making new friends. We heard inspiring stories of people's Zentangle experiences, plans and projects. Countries represented at this seminar are Australia, Canada, India, Japan, South Africa and the United States.

In the days and blogs to come we will share in pictures and words some of our adventures. But the pictures and words can only hint at the powerful personal experience we all shared.

We are beyond grateful to all who chose to spend time with us, to all who helped this event to run smoothly, and to our family.

MUCH much more to come and to share.

We will also link to others who are blogging about their experience. Here's a sample from Linda Farmer of TanglePatterns.

Click image for larger view. 
Our thanks to Daved Levitan for taking this picture.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Strength, Courage, Hope

Maria writes:
This is "I Am the Diva's" Challenge No. 42 . . . "Strength, Courage, Hope."

To me, this was a difficult one to illustrate without using language . . . which is how I like to do it . . . Zentangle-style.

I decided to focus on STRENGTH. I used a variation of the Zentangle tangle chainging.

This chain-like image represents strength . . . of family, friends and community. We depend on each other, whoever that may be.

I like the simplicity of the single chain and the gossamer background representing the fragility of the world we live in.

Love these challenges.


Rick adds:
After Maria gave me these tiles to photograph, my morning web surfing took me to YouTube simulations of our galaxy moving through space and the intertwining spiral paths traced by the planets' movement. I noticed a beautiful symmetry between those patterns and what Maria created.

Click images for larger views.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thankful Blessings

We just received this and thought you might enjoy it as much as we did.

"J"'s accompanying note read:
In Honour of the Day and of course thankful for all the wonderful Tangles that have come my way, here is my Thanksgiving card that I am emailing out to friends and family this year.

I had taken a picture of a collection of squashes and gourds at my local Safeway, printed it out first on ordinary copy paper so I could plot my Tangles, then once I was happy, printed it again but this time on matte photo paper and spent a few happy nights busily filling it in.

I am particularly fond of how the Puf tangle still shows the original colour of the squash underneath it, even though the surface is literally all tangled up!

So credit and praise to Ms Carole Ohl [CZT] for her Puf tangle on which my variation is based!

Happy  ‘TangSGiving!’
Thank you for sending that, "J"! At first we thought you had tangled the squash directly. Cool idea using the photographed squash as your string.

Click image for larger view.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Threads

Lee Vause, CZT, and quilter from Langwarrin (Victoria) in Australia sent us this image:

Lee writes:
I have attached a photo of just one of my simple samples that I am using for my classes. It is in the main all thread with just a little bit of grey Fabrico pen to create the pop effect as Maria suggested when you both looked at my coffee table sample book at the end of the CZT #6 session. I first introduced my class to Zentangle via pen and paper and then led them into Zentangle with thread. Overall the results and feedback were very positive and a higher level of confidence was evident so I was satisfied with my approach.
Congratulations and thank you for sending that, Lee.

Click image for larger view.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Duotangle Challenge

Laura Harms brings us a "DuoTangle" Challenge this (forty-first!) week. Her challenge is to use only jonqal and opus tangles.

Here's Maria's . . .

Thanks, Laura!

Click image for larger view.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Zentangle Display Boards, Part 2

Maria followed her own instructions from yesterday's blog entry and created this:

She spray painted an old discolored and chipped frame she picked up at a yard sale for a couple dollars. She used flux to tangle its inner border. Here's a close-up.

And here's a look at its back.

A is a small finish nail that holds the foam core in the frame. B is some of the double sided carpet tape showing. C are straight pins holding down the folded over fabric.

Someone asked in yesterday's blog how Maria did her hinges on those A-frames. Here's a closer look at an A-frame laid flat.

Each side of that gap is stitched to leave enough fabric between the foam core boards so when it's folded it looks like this.

Of course, if you can work at this size (these A-frames are about 20 x 30 inches) you can work a bit larger. Here's a quick phone camera snap of Maria at our kitchen table creating a "slightly" bigger version for our upcoming Certified Zentangle Teacher seminar.

Check out the floor. That was our inspiration for florz.

Click images for larger views.