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!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Can you measure how well crescent moon is drawn?

Whose ruler?



Some other's whose tile you just saw?

When we made our DVD for our Zentangle Kit, it wasn't to show you exactly how something was supposed to look. We wanted to show you an easy method, an approach to your inner door of self-expression, creativity, and fun. We wanted each and every stroke (step) to be one you'd see and say, "I can do that!" And if you can do one stroke, you can create Zentangle art, one stroke at a time.

And just as we point out that there's no eraser in a Zentangle Kit, there's also no ruler.

Here is a picture of the first tile we did for that DVD. Although we chose which tangles to do, we didn't have a plan of what it would look like. The entire video was done in one take.

Is this the way crescent moon, or florz, or any other tangle is supposed to be done?

Who knows?

Who's to say?

Every time we see a new version, we find a new way it can look and we take inspiration and appreciate it.

If you set out with a ruler to find something that fits your expectations, what will you do if you encounter something that exceeds your expectations? Would you even notice it?

Ken Rockwell, writing about how to take pictures, describes the importance of keeping an open mind:
"I never set out with any preconceived notion of what sort of photos I'm going to make. I just head out and see what I see, and when the light is hot, I just might get something interesting. [...] I've found going to places already on someone else's map to be far less productive than just wandering around with open eyes.
How eloquent! And how appropriate for creating Zentangle art.

New worlds aren't found on old maps.

As we describe in our book, having no predefined right answer is both a charm and a challenge of the Zentangle Method. There is no "right" answer to look up in the back of the puzzle book and no one (at least, we hope not!) to look at it and say, "Correct!" or, "Incorrect!"

So . . . what does crescent moon look like?

Better to ask yourself, "What does my crescent moon look like at this moment on this tile?"

Only you can find out.

Each and every time.

With a relaxed focus and leaving rulers and preconceived notions aside, expect to be surprised and delighted.

Naturally, passion and gratitude help.


Click image for larger view. (No, we're not giving this one away!  :-)


Cris said...

Beautifully said. It is something that needs to be reinforced often. Thanks for the reminder.

Bridget Robbins said...

Wonderful post! My solution to the crescent moon question was a plate. Is that considered a "ruler"? Often times, when quilting I go without a pattern and a ruler; this infuriates the traditional quilter, but I find the freedom, this open-ended, ruler-less approach to the creative process invigorating, inspiring. There is always the possibility of creativity and structure, in tandem, produce amazing results too. My last two blog posts, 'The Darkside of Selene' and 'Lunar Croissant' demonstrate and perhaps attempt to respond to your 'cresent moon' question. Use of the plate(ruler), template hand drawn butterfly patterns and free form zentangling.
I adore your blog, so happy it exists.

Bridget Robbins said...

Sorry, forgot to leave my blog address: http://butterflyblot.wordpress.com/

Carole Ohl said...

One of the things I love most about the Zentangle process is the element of surprise that often happens during or at the end of a tangle. Not only is the process itself a thrill, but the unexpected, unplanned result has a magical and flowing quality. I would have missed many of those thrills had I used a ruler or grid outline. Cattywampus rocks:)

Unknown said...

I think I'll print this post and have it at the ready next time a student says, "Is that how it is supposed to look?" Sadly, so many people seem surprised at the notion that your art is your domain and that you are free to make your own decisions regarding what a tangle might look like at any given moment in any given tile...
Thanks for a wonderful post!

Margaret Bremner, Artist said...

Yes! What Cris said. And Carole and Angela. Absolutely.

TToon said...

I love your attitude about Zentangle. I think the beauty of Zentangle is the freedom to create. You are like the Momma and Pappa Zentangles watching the little children "take off"....and I see you smiling.

Endment said...

Thank you - what great encouragement

Lena said...

A fabulous description of how to view our creations. We get inspiration from other variations and the original tangles, but if we try to create a zentangle tile replicating an inspiration, we aren't really creating a zentangle the way you designed.
Thank you for all you offer, from tips to tangles, inspirations and tangleations, and different ways to look at the world.

Jane said...

You have expressed Zentangles so eloquently. For me it is like viewing life through the eyes of a child, wonderment, and exploration.