Sunday, 1 April 2012

Zentangles Step by Step

I’ve discovered an awesome Zentangle site which has great instructions for doing loads of different designs, and over the past couple of days I’ve been working on some of them. I decided to do what they call the “step-outs” for myself so I can easily access them from my Art journal.

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I particularly like the one on the right, entitled “Cubine” – I tried to draw this the other day, without much success, but once I’d found the step-out, it was easy. It’s so three-dimensional, and you can decide from which angle you are looking at the boxes by where you draw the black squares – I’ve tried several variations here.

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Braids and twists take quite a lot of practice to get them even. I’m still not there yet but hopefully eventually I’ll be able to do decent ones without even thinking about it.

The one at the bottom left on the above photo, repeated on the left page below, “Finery”), I haven’t got quite right – but it’s coming! It’s a very pretty flowing pattern which would be suitable for the edge of a design. On the right hand page below, I love the “Spotlite” one, and also the woven design, which looks really hard to do, but if you line up your dots or squares, it’s easy – and you can get different looks.

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Image removed for copyright reasons.

“Nzeppel,” bottom right in the above photo, I drew too small, and it was hard to fill in the detail, but I redrew it, and was very pleased with how it came out, especially the one on the left, drawn as a complete design with other patterns..

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Here it is in detail.

19 Nzeppel

I struggled no end to get to grips with “Paradox” – a gorgeous pattern of curves made up of straight lines, and just couldn’t get my head round it until I found Suzanne McNeill’s Youtube video where she uses them to embellish a Christmas decoration. Suddenly it clicked, and now I’m doing them like a pro!! (Well, nearly…)

20 Paradox

There are many variations on how these can be used, and I discovered a marvellous web page with exciting things to try. (Looking at the heading of this lady’s blog has inspired me to revamp my blog as I’m fed up with the background which I’ve had from when I started it – this is a job I must get on with!!)

Finally, here are details of a few more of the designs – I love these circular floating motifs! In the second photo, the woven design is so easy to do, and very effective, and I love the “laced” one – really fun.

21 Jelly Roll and Jetties

20 Keeko and Laced

In my Art Journal, I’ve started jotting down a few ideas of shapes to use for tangling. A couple of years ago we went to the National Marine Aquarium and in the passageway on the way out, they had a series of framed photographs of electron microscope images of plankton and other microscopic marine life – they were so beautiful, and I took quite a few photos of them. I am going to dig these out, as I think these unearthly looking creatures would lend themselves very well to this technique!

I hope you are enjoying sharing my journey of discovery into the wonderful world of glorified doodling!!


  1. Wow! I might have to give this a go!

  2. Wow, you are really enjoying your zentangles aren't you. I always thought this was filling in empty sections of designs with completely free doodles. I hadn't realized there were actual named patterns. I love the paradox. In my student days I filled a huge canvass with stitched ones of these as part of my maths course. Kate x

  3. Wow, those are amazing. I've seen lots of art with zentangles, but I've never really gone into it in depth, saving the idea for a rainy day with nothing else on. They are a lot more complicated than I realised and I never knew there were set patterns with names.

  4. there is a very excellent tutorial on Margaret Bremner's blog (EnthusiasticArtist) on Rick's Paradox. Not to be missed.

    Have fun. Tangle on. Best, Maria

  5. I want your book LOL, you are getting so good. I'm gong away for the weekend so I'm taking my zentangle kit with me, see what I have to offer next WOYWW


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