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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Revisiting the basics one year after

TanglePatterns' 1st BirthdayIn various places around TanglePatterns.com I recommend if you are new to Zentangle® you begin by learning to draw the official patterns.

These are tangles created by Zentangle® founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and each are composed of 2 or 3 simple, deliberate strokes, repeated. Authentic Zen tangles. And they are the patterns that formed the basic core of the site’s content when it was launched a year ago.

I think it’s important to learn the official patterns first for a few reasons. First, you will experience the meditative intent of Zentangle® through them. Second, you’ll gain a firm grounding on the existing patterns created for the art of Zentangle® and what makes it different from the “D” word (doodle). And third, with dozens and dozens of patterns to choose from you will not get bored any time soon.

On this first anniversary of the launch of TanglePatterns.com in May 2010, I offer the following official patterns that were among the first published on the site and encourage you to incorporate a few of them in your Zentangles. It was way more difficult than I anticipated to pare down a list of (current) favorites from all the wonderful official patterns so I squeezed in a couple more. And if I had to do it again tomorrow, my list would very likely be different! I’m fickle like that ;-).

  1. BALES – As Sandy Bartholomew writes in Yoga for Your Brain, “Bales is the ultimate Zentangle! It is a very simple design to draw, and yet the variations possible are infinite.”
  2. CADENT – pretty much the same can be said about the variations possible with Cadent
  3. CUBINE – a cool 3D pattern and lots of possibilities
  4. EKE – a good exercise in line control
  5. FLORZ – another pattern with many possible variations
  6. KEEKO – so simple and fun to draw. It’s one of the few patterns I used to do in my school notebooks. This, and goofy little daisies. Baskets and daisies, hmmm …
  7. MEER – for some reason Meer has a sophisticated appeal to me, as does HIBRED
  8. PARADOX – many find Paradox a little mindbending, but it is SO satisfying when you get it
  9. POKELEAF / POKEROOT – CZT® Jella Verelst draws these two like no other
  10. XYP – again, another pattern with oodles of variation possibilities

BTW – When you visit these patterns, please bear in mind I drew them a year ago and my examples are pretty raw. Tempted as I am to replace them with “better” versions, I remind myself that in Zentangle® there are no mistakes and I can appreciate my own learning curve when I look at them (and try not to blush).

So how about it, which official patterns are your go-to faves?

You can find the complete list of official tangles here – and every official pattern that has online instructions is published on TanglePatterns.com. The others you’ll have to learn from your local Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT®).

After you’ve gained mastery over the official patterns you’ll be ready to branch out.

Between the official Zentangle® kit, the books available and the web, there are well over a thousand tangle patterns already published. In addition to exploring all the tangles on TanglePatterns.com, adding the books to your library is an inexpensive way to expand your repertoire well beyond the official tangles. You can learn about the books by visiting the BOOK REVIEWS tab at the top of the page.

What’s Next?

I’m really looking forward to seeing what Year 2 will bring, for sure there will be many more tangle patterns for you. And I’ve already got some excellent new drawing tutorials lined up too.

My thanks to each and every one of you for accompanying me on the ride so far, for sharing your touching personal stories in the comments and by email, and for your donations and comments of support.

A very special thank you to Rick and Maria and all the creative folks whose patterns we love. It’s been a great year of personal development, patterns learned and friendships created. I’d sure love it if you’ll honor me with your company for the next one.

Happy Tangling, all!

Related Posts:

  1. Linda’s List of Official Tangle Patterns
  2. Directory of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZTs)
  3. How to get your own FREE Gravatar

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26 comments to Revisiting the basics one year after

  • Thank you Linda for posting this list (and links) of official patterns. Having just purchased a beginning set of tools, I have felt a bit overwhelmed as to where to start. This really helps and of course, it makes sense to start at the beginning!

    Congratulations on your first year tangling and serving as a resource for the rest of us!

  • Happy Birthday and Congratulations!!! What a year for Zentangle; truly explosive growth. It’s been wonderful to be a small part of that.
    Looking at your “faves” list, I was nodding, “yes, yes, definitely…” I almost always find a place for Bales and Meer and there was one phase where I “Florz’d” over everything :)
    Thank you, Linda, for all your efforts, I’m really looking forward to Year 2!

  • Mary H

    Thank you Linda I just love this site!! I got my kit about a month ago and I just LOVE it!! I am at the beginner stage but I really enjoy it. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!! :) :)

  • My faves are Nzeppel, Hibred and Bales. I find myself coming back to them again and again.

    Congratulations on your first year. Your site has become the must-go-to place for zentanglers. This is where I come when I’ve got a question I need answered.

  • Thanks Linda for all you’ve done. Having one place to come and find most of the wonderful patterns that are generated by this fabulous group of creative tanglers is such a gift. A gift that keeps giving and giving… And having a talented organized designer like you take on the task is HUGE! You really help make the process so much easier for tanglers new and old (seasoned?). Happy anniversary to yoooooooou!

  • Happy Anniversary! Tangle Patterns is such a fun place to visit. I enjoy my daily tickle to check out another pattern. Thanks so much for all you’ve done and I truly love the way you respect and promote the original Zentangles and those who creatively add to the collection. Bravo!!! Keep Smiling – Karen

  • Anne Webber

    Happy Anniversary Linda!
    Thank you sooooooooooooo much for you gathering ALL these patterns and information to share with us – we really appreciate it. Every morning I look forward to checking my email to see if there is a new pattern (I’m like a kid at Christmas) it brings me a lot of pleasure. The thing I like most, apart from the beauty and fun of creating, is that you can take it anywhere! and you only ever need paper, pen and pencil – everyone can afford to do it …. I LOVE IT!
    Thank you again and thanks to the ‘other’ people that send in new patterns. I look forward to another exciting year.
    Many Blessings to you. Anne from New Zealand

  • What a year! Congratulations Linda on your wonderfully informative site. I absolutely love the way we have been connected from all over the world by the passion of Zentangle, thanks so much for your helpful contribution and inspiration!
    Bales is certainly a favourite, along with Purk and Nzeppel!
    Hugs for another tangling good year!

  • Dawn

    Wow, a year already. I am a relatively new tangler, (less than a year), and I just took a class from our only CZT Teacher Heilani, on our Big Island of Hawaii. It was fun and informative and I just love tangling. I love Nzeppel, Bales, Florz, Zander, geez, I think I love them all.
    You are always a great inspiration for me and always look forward to the next e-mail.
    Aloha to all of the tanglers our there.

  • Linda,
    Thank you so much for creating & maintaing this site. I really appreciate you & all the fabulous people that contribute. I always look forward to seeing whats new at Tanglepatterns. Here’s to another successful year!

  • Lady North

    cONgRATULATIONS! I have loved your site since the beginning and though pretty much a ladycomelately, have enjoyed exploring all those newfangled err.TANGLEd pieces that you so artuflly display! Happy Birthday..and many many more! LN

  • Kim Gabriel

    Congratulations, Linda, on a well run informative site. I suspect my list of favs. would be different every time you asked but always rotating up there in the top ten somewhere would be Shattuck, Ahh, Hibred and Yincut.

  • thanks for the site. I’ve been trying to draw one tangle a week, to get used to the patterns. It’s calming for me to set aside this time to draw in my busy schedule! {:-Deb

  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rosy Elliott

    Thank you so much for all you work. Congratulations on your anniversary!!! I truly enjoy your sight and sometimes just come look when all I have is a second on the computer for that little inspiration to keep on going. This sight is such a blessing to me. Thanks again.

  • andrea

    thank u Linda for the wonderful info u share with us…i started tangling in feb this year and i’m soooo addicted … i gave my sister my “completed” zentangle journal , yesterday when i saw her ,for mothers day…she cried !

  • Linda – As I read all the expressions of gratitude being sent your way, on this your first “birthday”, I feel compelled to go out on a limb here and make the following suggestion.

    I realize that you started this venture because of your own passion for ZenTangling, and that that is what still drives you. However, with all that you do to provide such inspiration and joy to the rest of us, I would like to see you compensated – if only a little! – for the hours you devote to us each day. How about considering a $10/year subscription?

    To all of you reading this who benefit from Linda’s amazing organizational skills and keen artistic eye, what do you think? Is what this website gives worth $10 to you? Would $10/year break your bank? It seems like it’s time for us to return the support and loyalty that has been so graciously extended to us the last twelve months.

  • Congratulations Linda, and thanks for the site.
    It has given a lot of inspiration.

  • Hello,

    It’s hard to believe this site is only one year old !!! anyway, a big “congratulations” on this professional site.

    I’m quite new in zentangling, but it intrigues me..
    I love the visual impact of the zentagles and I hope to incorporate them with my other creations.

    I know about zentangles for a while, but didn’t quite DO something with it.

    I went to a craftshow in London in april and met some UK friends.
    In our hotelroom one of my friends showed some patterns and I got the first patterns in my “zentaglebook”.
    When I came home I knew I didn’t want it to end it here.

    I recieve your daily message and I started to try out 1 pattern.

    Now I zentangle every evening in my bed with my little book and pens with me… Just experimenting with patterns. I love the visual aspect it has and it is calming just before going to sleep.
    Although…yesterdayevening I went to bed at 22 hours with an intention to zentangle for a quarter of an hour…. it was almost 23.30 when I put out the light…LOL

    THANKS to you and all the people who share their step by step instructions !

    greetings from belgium

  • LindyLu

    I enjoy this site very much & have learned a lot from all of you and I agree that Linda should be compensated. I pay $20 per year ( voluntarily) on another art site & would be more than happy to do the same here. However, I WILL NOT pay through PayPal. Linda, if you are willing to accept a check ( bank cashier’s check, personal check) or a money order, or a bankcard, I would not hesitate to send funds to you. If that works for you please e-mail me your address.
    Keep up the great work…everyone!!!

  • Young at Heart

    I recently discovered your site, and just came across this post. Congratulations on your anniversary, and thanks for the list of basics. I use most of these frequently. Another of my absolute favorites is betweed. It not only looks wonderful, but I find it particularly relaxing to do.

  • Congratulations, Linda! I love your site and everything you have done with it in this past year-great work! I refer all my students here. Looking forward to another wonderful year. Take care, Sue

  • Marieke Schellekens

    Happy Tangle birtday Linda and thank you so much for all the work you did this year.
    I am a Tangle beginner and looking at your site and receiving the emails since a few weeks, my love for Tangle became bigger and bigger.
    Most beautiful Tangles are difficult for me to make, but I am going on and try and try and try and after all I have succes.
    Your beautiful Tangle site gif me the power to going on, thank you so musch for that too!
    Love and greetings, Marieke (Netherlands)

    • Linda Farmer

      Welcome Marieke, thanks for your wishes! The more you practice, the better you’ll get and it’s fun to look back at your first Zentangles and see how you’ve grown. I’m delighted you are having so much fun.

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