What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher

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Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2016 Edition to help you select tangles. See Page 6 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings.

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Tangle Refresher 134 – Featuring tangles for beginners

Tangle Refresher!This summer has brought lots of new tanglers to Zentangle® and to TanglePatterns. An influx of new tanglers also happens over the Christmas holidays when gifts of Zentangle books introduce many to this wonderful meditative art form. Inevitably I receive emails asking “which tangles should I start with?“. Which ones are good for Beginners?

So today we’re revisiting a previous Tangle Refresher that addresses this very question …

While it’s true there’s a mind-boggling array of great tangles on the site, as Rick and Maria say “Anything is possible … one stroke at a time.™” This applies to drawing tangles (aka tangling) and the mindful practice of deliberate stroke-making.

My personal advice to beginners is to start with what are sometimes referred to as “the official tangles” — the official tangles are the Zentangle-originals (from Zentangle HQ) that are listed and linked on the top menu bar under ZENTANGLES > LINDA’S LIST OF OFFICIAL TANGLES.

You could create Zentangles for the next year with just a few of the Zentangle-originals with instructions available from that list and never get bored playing with them and variations you come up with yourself.

From the list of Zentangle-originals, here are few that are perfect to get everyone tangling:

  1. Crescent Moon – with this tangle we learn the technique of the aura and it’s the classic starter tangle. Rick and Maria consider this their “signature tangle” and it features prominently in their Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1.
  2. Hollibaugh – with this tangle we learn the technique of drawing behind
  3. Bales – a basic grid tangle that is almost infinitely variable and it’s a core official tangle
  4. Printemps – a fun tangle full of swirls
  5. Cadent – a little more challenging than the first four, but another classic tangle that’s infinitely variable as you’ll see in CZT Margaret Bremner’s fabulous mind-bending tutorial. This tangle alone could keep you tangling for weeks.
  6. Ahh – so simple and can add a bit of lightness and a burst of movement to a tile

To my CZT colleagues: you are welcome to recommend your favorite Zentangle-original tangles for beginners in the comments!

Another little tip … for best results try to use up to 3 or 4 tangles at most in a tile, more than that and your Zentangle will probably look very busy. If your string has several sections, repeat a tangle in two or three places. Monotangles are also very popular, this is where you use one tangle (with or without variations) for a Zentangle. For explanations of these unfamiliar terms, see the ZENTANGLES > ZENTANGLE TERMINOLOGY page.

My TanglePatterns BEGINNER’S GUIDE to Zentangle also contains a longer list of tangles that are good for beginners but these few are a great start.

Just jump in and tangle! Zentangle tiles are designed to be small and manageable so you’re not overwhelmed. And as you do more and more of them you’ll be delighted to see your art improve with each one.

Want proof? These are my own examples of Printemps. The one on the left is the one I first posted for Printemps when I started TanglePatterns in May 2010 as a complete novice at drawing. The example on the right is one I drew to replace my original after a couple of years of tangling. Practice improves your fine motor skills and thus your pen control.

printemps-before-and-after

Keep all of your tiles! Sign and date the back. In a few weeks you can look back at your first tiles and see just how far you’ve come.

And once you get going, remember to have a go at more of the Zentangle-originals on LINDA’S LIST.

I leave you with a quote from the article “Brené Brown on the Physics of Vulnerability and What Resilient People Have in Common” on brainpickings.org,

Creativity embeds knowledge so that it can become practice. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands. We are born makers, and creativity is the ultimate act of integration — it is how we fold our experiences into our being… The Asaro tribe of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea has a beautiful saying: ‘Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.’

* * *

The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from a year (or two) ago for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too.

BTW as you visit these tangles please do leave a comment of thanks and encouragement to show the artists you appreciate them for sharing their creativity to inspire yours. And please share a link to your favorite tangles with your followers on all your social media. Thanks!

Zenful tangling!

Buried Treasure from the tangling past
Zentangle pattern: Assunta. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Assunta
Zentangle pattern: Signalz. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTSa RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Signalz
Zentangle pattern: Pea-Fea. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTSa RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Pea-Fea
Zentangle pattern: JJ. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTSa RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. JJ
Zentangle pattern: Pand. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTSa RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Pand
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 106

More good stuff …


TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2016 Edition

TanglePatterns.com TANGL GUIDE, 2016 Edition The current Edition of my TANGLE GUIDE. This instant-download digital eBook contains all the tangles on the site from May 2010 through December 31, 2015. It's a must-have tool for using the site.
Visit the BOOK REVIEWS page for more details on its features and view a sample page.
Visit the STORE > E-BOOKS page for more information and support TanglePatterns.com by getting your copy now!
If you're new to Zentangle® and tangling, my TanglePatterns.com BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ZENTANGLE is just what you need to get started. Also available en Français and en Español.
Zentangle Primer Volume 1 Remember you can get your official Zentangle supplies here too, including the fabulous new Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1. It's your CZT-in-a-book by the founders of Zentangle®! Visit the STORE tab on the top menu bar or click on the image. For more about the content and to read the rave reviews, visit the BOOK REVIEWS tab.
"Absolutely the best Zentangle Book yet! As an accomplished artist I used to think I did not need instruction on this art form. How wrong I was! My tangling improved by leaps and bounds after reading this book. If you think you have Zentangle down then you need this book more than ever!" ~ Kris H
The Official Zentangle Kit Another great jump-starter for new tanglers is the original Official Zentangle Kit. The Kit includes all the supplies you'll need to get started properly: Sakura Micron Pens, Zentangle Tiles, pencil, sharpener, tortillion, a booklet and an instructional DVD by co-founder Maria Thomas. Click on the image for more information about the Kit and its contents.

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