What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

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When and where do you tangle?

Let's discuss it!That’s a great question that loyal supporter Cindi would like to see answered by our Gentle Readers.

“It would be great to know when and where readers like to tangle. For instance, my co-worker, Jenn, and I love to tangle during our lunch break. We have 1-1/2 hours for lunch on Tuesdays. We go to a quiet restaurant, get a big table, order a light lunch (that won’t spill or drip!) and tangle away. The nice thing is that we don’t feel that we have to talk to each other – we tangle in silence and occasionally comment on each other’s drawings. Doing this allows both of us to “get away” from the office and releases the stress from the morning, leaving us fresh for the afternoon. Jenn only works 2 days a week, and Tuesday is the only long-lunch day. However, I try to draw at least a half-hour at lunch on other days when she’s not there. If only we could do this every lunch hour – it’s so much fun!

I also enjoy Tangling just before bed. It’s very relaxing. Really helps me fall asleep.”

I too would love to hear from you on the subject of when and where you like to tangle. Do you play music? Like it quiet? Work on a table (in a restaurant, even), at your desk, in your lap? Is one part of the day better for you than another? Certain days of the week?

Have fun sharing your “tangle habits” and ideas with us in the comments! Over to you …

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60 comments to When and where do you tangle?

  • Krystal

    Anywhere I go! And anytime I have!

  • Cyndi Watkins

    I tangle when I get home from work to help me unwind from my day. I have a lap desk filled inside with blank tiles and pens.

  • Vicki

    After the day is done and I finally sit down to relax in the evening, I tangle for a couple of hours on a board in my lap. My husband and I have a few favorite tv programs that we watch each night, while we read or “tangle.” I have discovered that if I tangle before I go to bed, I seem to sleep better!!!

  • Hi Linda, first of all, thank you for all those wonderful zentangle patterns, you and other nice people create! I discovered zentangle recently and i’m already addicted! I participe to an artistic french forum and when i proposed the participants to draw zentangle on a Skinny card,they loved it!!!!Some people were new at zentangle and all had a great time!Personally, i mainly draw zentangle patterns in my Art Journal and very often at night, in my bed.That kind of let go exercise is great before falling asleep!
    I wish you all a great week!

  • My favorite place to tangle at home is on my Dining Room Table. It’s big and there’s plenty of room where I can spread out my zentangle materials to reach at my fingertips.

    I also tangle at work when things get slow (or when my computer gives me issues and it takes forever for it co-operate with me) then I pull out the zentangle and start drawing instead if fussing. I never tangle anyplace else.

    I do have a craft room, but it’s very cluttered and needs cleaning out for space to do other crafts. My dining room table has a light that hangs right above it which is just right and I’m near a window. I use to tangle while the TV was going, but since my TV quite working, sometimes I bring my Husband’s portable wind-up radio and listen to 107.7 the Bone or just tangle in silence.

    I bounce back and forth on what I draw zentangles on. I completed a papier mache skull I bought over a month ago. I zentangled a paper mache box I got around the same time. This week I completed a Zentangled T-Shirt (yellow) for myself and I’m working on a white Zentangle T-Shirt for my Husband. He’s loving it. He comes from the back room to visit me and see my progress and is blown away everytime he see’s it. I will have his T-shirt done before this coming weekend and he looks forward to wearing it at is audition to a new band he wants to try out. My Husband plays an electric base and We went on line to find a picture of the exact one he has and I drew it on his t-shirt with zentangle all around it. It’s going to be awesome. I look forward to working on it each day I get home or finish with other chores I have. One you get started, it’s tough to stop even just to eat something or to go to the bathroom (but sometimes you have no choice).

  • tiwice

    hi ! i discovered zentangle recently and now it’s anywhere and anytime like Krystal, I’ve already paper and pen in my bag !! i also draw in my bed….it’s a real pleasure to learn with all the shared patterns, i thank you !!! my english isn’t so good I hope you will understand…

  • I’m like Vicki.I work on my lap at night. I too have found that I sleep better, and deeper since doing the Zentangles! So THANKYOU for your site, inspiration…. several people have now come to this type of drawing through my Blog…so it goes on.
    I think drawing is a very good thing to do.it’s quite a mental exercise to work out how to do the patterns I see around me.

  • Anna Wood

    I tangle waiting at all kinds of appointments. I tangle at home in the morning with my first cup of tea, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. Sometimes I have a cat helper. I rather like doing pyramids.

  • Kathy Baumann

    I tangle all the time- I’ve done it in the Dr’s office- orthodontist- airplane- (OK I admit even at meetings that are… dull.) When I do tangle in public people find it facinating to watch- and I have had some very interesting conversations. (This excludes office meeting-tangles because that would not be right:)

    The main reason I tangle is that it has helped through my grief process- my dad passed away three months ago- and I find myself at times feeling overwhelmed. Zentangle’s philosophy of “one line at a time” has become my mantra- when I find that my emotions are off the charts and it is hard for me to focus on everyday activities I say to myself “Stop- take it one line at a time” and I can focus better. I will take out my journal and create a tangle. It has helped calm me- focus- and find peace. I would like at some point to help others by the use of tangling because I see the theraputic benefits of this technique. I am considering getting certified to teach, and combine it with my counseling background-

  • Jill

    I zentangle at work sometimes during meetings or at lunch. I find it very relaxing and it focuses me on the conversation during the meeting. I also zentangle at home in the evenings or on weekends. I don’t usually listen to music but it doesn’t have to be quiet either. Really anytime is a good time to zentangle.

  • Elise Sandwick

    I take my purse size Tangle box to my doctor appointments and chemo treatments. Time flies much faster while tangling and almost always starts a discussion. I have lost the ability to do many hand crafts and this has filled that void most delightfully. I now make birthday, wedding, sympathy, and get well cards with my tangles.

  • Deborah Williams

    Whenever I’m at a difficult spot at work I begin to draw zentangles. This helps to release my stress and surprisingly free my mind to think through the problem. I can then go back and finish my project. I also zentangle at odd hours, whenever I feel like drawing and need stillness to calm my anxieties.

  • I’ve been tangling at school when I need a stress relief or have a few minutes of down time. I’ve also started a Tangle Club Tuesday at school. Once the kids saw what I was doing they got all jazzed up and wanted to learn too. I printed several on fabric and included them in a quilted wall hanging recently.

  • Nic

    I discovered a rather interesting thing. I made a weighted stuffed turtle for my youngest son who has PDD, and before dropping it off at school, discovered that it made a decent lappad. Not only was it comfortable, but i think i tangled better with it… my focus was deeper I guess, maybe… Of course now i need to sew another one for me!

  • Wanda

    I want to say thanks to everyone who posts patterns here and elsewhere. I have a notebook full now, and keep adding more. You know what zentangle is? Zentangle is just plain fun! Fun for grown ups (and children too, but they have lots of fun things to do. We grown ups sometimes find it harder to find fun.) Of course it’s more than fun, it’s therapy, and relaxing, and enriching, and all of that wonderful stuff. But when I pick up that Sakura micron pen what I mostly feel is pure, simple delight! As a result, I have rearranged my living room so I can sit in my recliner with a lap desk, and my cat nestled on the footrest, and zentangle away all evening. I have an art cart next to the chair where I can keep my paper, pens, and all the other things I use in the course of a “zentangle session.” The TV or radio plays, and nothing else can be heard but the sound of my pen on paper as wonderful,utterly unexpected bits of beauty emerge from my pen one stroke at a time. Boy, am I having fun! I haven’t tried doing it on fabric yet, but I did take a graham cracker box, turn it inside out, and cover it in Zentangle. It turned out quite nicely, and I use it to store paper scraps in. Let’s zentangle everything!!!!

  • Ginny

    I do most of my zentangle sitting in my futon chair. It is so relaxing, and I can hold my small drawing pad close to my body. Fibromyalgia has made it difficult for me to do so many other kinds of art, but tangling has spurred an interest in drawing!

  • I just discovered this artform about a month or so ago, and it has become very ADDICTIVE! Like so many, I find it relaxing, and everywhere I go, I see things differently, such as “that would be a great tangle pattern!” I, too, tangle at night before going to bed.

  • Artistetoo

    I live on an island and I tangle while waiting for the ferry and when I am travelling on the ferry. I like the zen quality of playing with patterns.

  • Christina

    The principal at my school loved the tangles designs many of my students were making and asked that I show the classroom teachers. We are allowed to “tangle” during staff meetings; a great way to focus at the end of long days when we have to stay late for important meetings! (shhh, I’ve always drawn tangles during our meetings; it’s nice now that I don’t feel I’m being sneaky!)
    A personal favorite tangle time for me and my family is when we are waiting at restaurants where they have paper on the tables for drawing on.

  • Denise Daniel

    I have an anxiety disorder and do not like being in large crowds for long periods of time…like the airport, meetings, doctor’s offices. I carry my zentangle supplies in my purse and tangle to calm me. I have found it to be a lifesaver. It relaxes me and soothes my soul…much better than the Rx I take. :D

  • Kisan

    I always have some papers around me. If not then I open up junk mail covers or any junk mail paper and start sketching. It any be anything. This I have been doing for years. This helps me practice my drawing skills. Drawing horizontal lines, vertical lines, oblique lines, curved lines, squares, circles and triangles becomes difficult to draw if you not in touch with it. Some of my sketches turn out to be real art, doodle or tangle which I either scan it or store it. I enjoy doing this whenever I get stuck with some work like solving a difficult problem, cold booting of my computer, talking over a phone (useless conversation), in boring meetings, waiting for people or just waiting for anything to happen. Doing this keeps my mind free and does not make me angry or tense.

  • Melva

    I tangle in the evenings on my lap whilst watching tv. My husband cannot help but peep over my shoulder to see how I am geting on. He is fascinated by how the patterns fit together.I have told various people about Zentangle as it is relatively unknown here in Spain.

  • I zentangle every where. I like to have my laptop up for pattern referencing. I keep all my tools on the side table next to my couch. It’s a wonderfully centering exercise and feels like the mindful walking meditation practice I’ve experience at the Zen Buddhist temple.

    I do feel like I should be in a 12 step group for tanglers… Hi, my name is Danni, and I’m addicted to the zentangle process! I even find myself dreaming about patterns. It’s a great way to shut off my mind and focus, relieving the stresses of the day, one stroke at a time.

    I always carry my pens and drawing pad with me and will share my passion without much arm twisting. I’m currently using a sharpie .3mm fine point pen and a small, hard cover PRO ART drawing book I got from my sister.

  • Maria

    oh my goodness…when do I zentangle? Well how ’bout every time I’m sitting still! It is the most relaxing thing I have ever done! It has opened up my creative side and spilled over into every other area of my life! Now I see zentangle patterns everywhere I look! Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us!

  • EVERYWHERE!!!!! But mostly in these boring meeting I have to attend all the time. At night before I go to bed and at dawn. And any chance I got.

  • joey

    OK, I’m not proud of this, but I tangle in my office during the work day – if I think I can get away with it. I can shut my office door most of the way and it looks like I am working hard. Of course if I have a deadline, work comes first. I feel better now that I have confessed.

  • Zhi

    I tangle in the evening and often in bed before I go to sleep. My mind drifts into that twilight space between awake and asleep and I let my hand take over – sometimes when I look at the piece the next morning, I’m surprised at what I see.

  • Claudette

    I like to tangle on the weekends or evenings when I have free time. I haven’t done a lot but I’m really excited about the ones I’ve done so far. I did try at work during a long lunch once but for some reason it didn’t “click” for me there. Not sure why. But it’s sure nice to come home and grab a tile and relax!

  • Judy

    If an addiction can be good, Zentangling is mine and I’m proud of it! This art form was introduced to me at my local calligraphy guild meeting and I immediately became an ardent “tangler”! Since then, I have managed to finish a tangle-a-day and now feel that my day is not complete unless I have tangled. I am rapidly filling an art journal. The evening is usually when I tangle, while watching (make that “listening” to) television and I work on a lap desk sitting in my easy chair. I do find myself tangling while on the phone and I am now carrying a small moleskin notebook with grids in my purse so that I can create new patterns while waiting for a dental or doctor’s appointment. Such fun and so relaxing!

  • shirley mccarty

    some of the patterns have a * by them but do not have any
    place to find the pattern or who is the author of the pattern. I would like to be able to have access to all of the patterns. Is that possible?
    zenpen

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi Shirley, the asterisked patterns are ones that do not have online instructions (yet) and usually they are official Zentangle patterns. I just enjoyed figuring them out and drawing them. I added them there for identification purposes. I think the only one that isn’t official is Buttercup, from Sandy Bartholomew’s Totally Tangled book.

  • Sara

    I Tangle everywhere! As for what I tangle in, I use multiple Journals etc.I use the same pen as Daniele O’Brien, the 3 mm sharpie.
    I started Tangling in February or so I saw an article in ‘Cloth Paper Scissors’. I live in South Australia so I can’t attend any workshops, unless Jane Monk or one of the two in Melbourne come up to Adelaide!

  • Wow, people are working everywhere!!! I just discovered this on Saturday at a demo. I try not to get caught up in the things I learn … I love crafting. But I had to buy a pen right away to at least finish the tile I started. I love this (and other) design site. I have been carrying the tile everywhere and it is almost filled. I had it out at a few places and people thought it was great. I make no claims to be an artist … just a crafter. I wish certification classes were closer.

    We will see if I am still “addicted” in a few months from now. The designs are endless. Am I correct in thinking that most of the designs on this site are not “official” zentangle designs? Are these then made up by subscribers? Oh my goodness!!

    Talk to you all later!!

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi DeJa, all of the “official” Zentangle patterns that have online instructions on how to draw them are here on the site. Click on the tag “zentangle” in the sidebar for the list. There are also several “official” patterns included in the page top images that don’t have online instructions yet – these are indicated with an asterisk. All the rest come from Zentangle enthusiasts around the globe – and there are lots more patterns to come, so be sure to subscribe.

  • Ashley H.

    At night in bed while my husband snores next to me. :o)

  • Had another great day zentangling at a local demo class. The instructor was amazed at what I picked up from the last brief section and how “addicted” I have become already … lol.

    My next challenge is a wooden tissue box cover. I am going to paint it white or lavender and use a Sharpie to do the tangles and then varnish it. I intend to take it to the full workshop the local instructor plans to have in the beginning of 2011.

    Again, I can’t thank Linda enough for THIS site. It is great for those of us who can’t wait for a workshop or go to MA!!!

  • Jen Smith

    I do when waiting ( like when I had my oil changed in my car)& frequently just before bed instead of reading….

  • I usually tangle at home, either at my desk or at the kitchen table. The kitchen table is better for me, since it is usually free of clutter (unlike my desk! lol). I am disabled and cannot work, so I make Zentangles whenever I feel like it. Zentangles are especially good for when my anxiety kicks in. I love tangling!

  • Rhonda Benedict

    I just returned from a staff meeting which gave me a lot of tangle time. Of course, I was listening!

  • Ginny Markley

    I tangle everywhere! I carry a ziplock bag with pen, 3.5 inch sq. cardstock, pencil and eraser in my purse. Thanks to this Web site, I now have all the patterns available via my I-Phone. This is not as convenient as using my index cards because of the way the I-Phone loads the patterns but it works in a pinch. Thanks tanglepatterns.com!

  • Bix

    Is there a Zentangle gallery to see the use of these lovely doodles! Bix

    • Linda Farmer

      The Zentangle group on flickr has a ton of stuff posted every day in fact it’s getting to the point of being overwhelming because so many folks are becoming addicted (in a good way). About 95% of it is Zentangle-inspired art which is lovely too, but every now and again an honest-to-goodness Zentangle gets posted there. Those are my personal favorites.

  • Pam Nixon

    I Tangle any where at any time.

  • Gill

    I realised I have always doodled during meetings and now I am not working and have discovered Zentangle I’m just blown away by it all and just love to Zentangle any time.
    I live in Australia and have not seen many pages etc from oz but I am sure it is going to catch on here. When I go to bed and close my eyes I see patterns does that happen to others?

  • Beth

    I also like to tangle either when I first get home from the office or later at night before I go to sleep. Where really doesn’t matter–sometimes I sit at my dining room table, or in my living room with a lap board. I’ve also sketched doodles while sitting in bed with my sketch book or lap board.

  • Most evenings I research tangles and do new ones in a journal Ive started so I learn how to do them all. Ive started doing bigger ones to see what they are like to do. I have named one place I noticed isnt mentioned here..on a plane!! My son and granchildren live on the other side of Australia to m e, so I have to make long airflights. Last flight home became very tedious and I still had 1 1/2 hours to go. So I brought out my zentagling kit and began. As I do quite detailed work, it took an hour to complete and it seemed like 5 mins!!Not only was I entertained, so was the lady next to me who watched, and wanted then to know about what I was doing. I think another one to join the club!

  • I work from home and am involved in a lot of virtual meetings — me listening and watching the screen — and I end up tangling my way through them. Delightful meetings!

  • I work nights and sometimes find my self Tangling when its slow @ work to keep me awake and focused on what I’m doing. Some of the staff has seen my work and have had two offers to do some work for them. I have also started losing weight since I started tangling because I’m more interested in what turns out rather than food, 13 lbs so far!

    • Linda Farmer

      Congratulations Debbie, that’s fantastic. I think you’re the first person I’ve seen to credit Zentangle® with weight loss! Yet another fine endorsement.

  • Just learned this interesting piece of info…not that I didn’t already “know” it…I have always been a D-worder, especially during meetings, training classes and other places where I needed to concentrate on “lecture” type material.

    “According to a study published in the scientific journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling can aid a person’s memory by expending just enough energy to keep one from daydreaming, which demands a lot of the brain’s processing power, as well as from not paying attention. Thus, it acts as a mediator between the spectrum of thinking too much or thinking too little and helps focus on the current situation.”

  • I started unofficially tangling in Nova Scotia on vacation a year ago. Getting ready to go back. I love to tangle sitting at the picnic table looking at the ocean in front of our family cottages. Fun when family wanders by to see what I am doing or I can carry on a conversation and keep my hands busy.

  • chaun

    I usually can’t stand to just watch t.v., and have to be doing something. So, I tangle while I’m “listening” to t.v. I have difficulty getting to sleep, and I swear tangling helps me relax. It’s right up there with my yoga classes! Also, I usually keep my Zentangle books and supplies in a canvas bag that I grab whenever I leave the house. It often happens I have to wait someplace, and waiting is wasted time. So, I get out my Zentangle supplies.

  • Bobbie Lathrop

    Wow good question, where do I NOT tangle would be so much easier. I was introducted to tangling when my hubby had been injured in Afghanistan and medivac’d to Ft. Hood, TX. So I love to tangle among the wounded soldiers and watch the change in there healing due to the ralaxing art of tangling. It allows me as well as them to think about other than pain and opens minds and hearts to a freedom like no other. I even tangle on some of the ceramics that I pour for the soldiers to paint on during one of three of there sessions dealing with stress, anger and family member support groups that the soldiers attended during there healing process. I just love to tangle anywhere.

    • Linda Farmer

      Thanks for sharing Bobbie, truly heart-warming. The Zentangle® art form certainly helps countless people, in countless ways. We all have Rick and Maria to thank for that. Hugs to you and your hubby.

  • Deborah Lalonde

    Where do I tangle? Everywhere. All my life I wanted to draw, but was not good at it, but then I discovered Zentangle Jan 2011 and I can’t stop. Whenever I am sitting I get anxious to tangle, so I take paper and pen in my purse wherever I go. I tangle bookmarks, crosses which I laminate, cards, and pictures. My family and friends can’t believe I am doing this. NEITHER CAN I!! When I give a card to someone, they are thrilled and talk of framing it. Like others, I find it helps me get to sleep, so when I wake in the middle of the night, I pick up pen and paper and tangle until tired again. Thanks everyone for your insight and tangle patterns!!!!

  • Chris

    I have heard this word “Zentangle” for a while now and as I am exploring the meaning of it I came across these posts. (they are fun by the way) I used to do this all over my high school notebooks before it had a name. It did help me think maybe not about math though. I still do it in some of my drawings and paintings.

  • Sue Zanker

    Interesting to see how so many people can tangle anywhere. I guess in comparison, my spots are boring! Mostly, I tangle in my art/craft/calligraphy room at my desk, with a magnifying lamp and air conditioning (we live in a hot climate!). Occasionally I go out on our back verandah surrounded by my mini garden and tangle there. If I am outside I take my magnifying head loupe, as I love working “small” so I need a bit of help, eyewise!
    However, wherever I tangle, I am happy doing it and although I only discovered tangling in February 2012, I am totally and utterly addicted and usually need to do one or two or sometimes three Zentangle tiles in a day. I honestly don’t know what I would do now if I couldn’t tangle!

  • Susie D

    I am new to Zentangle, my husband and I have just moved into our new office/craftroom and I love it, all my crafty bits now have a new home. I found Zentangle by accident on pinterest and I am glad i did i am now hooked after two days of tangling at my desk. I have started a couple of Tiles and am really pleased with them so far. I went to pick my son up from work early today and was half an hour early so I put on some lovely relaxing music from my iphone, and tangled in the car. The time flew by, it was nice to know it was not wasted time. Oh so hooked and glad to see help is available on designs

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