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.


Is posted on the bottom of every page and described on this page.

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TanglePatterns.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2014 Edition to help you select tangles. See Page 4 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings.



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Submit Your Pattern

If you have deconstructed a pattern you’d like to have considered for TanglePatterns, here’s everything you need to know …

Note: the only “official” tangles are those created by Zentangle® founders Rick Roberts, Maria Thomas, and Maria’s daughter Molly Hollibaugh.

Is it really a tangle? (aka Maria’s Rules)

A tangle has no pre-planning with pencil guidelines, grids or dots, no erased lines.
It’s just pure Zentangle magic . . . one pen stroke at a time.

A pattern is not always a tangle. Tangles are hand drawn structured patterns with very specific attributes:

  1. they are simple enough to draw without using a pre-printed grid such as graph paper
  2. they do not use pencil guidelines or an eraser
  3. they do not use rulers, stencils, or any other mechanical aids
  4. they are abstract, non-objective (non-representational)
  5. they have no up or down orientation – no “right side up”
  6. generally they are at most 2 or 3 simple (“elemental”) strokes, repeated
  7. they are usually an all-over pattern that grows organically, rather than a single motif
  8. they are elegant, unique

Is it new, is it unique?

If a tangle isn’t new or it’s a variation of an already published pattern, it is unlikely it will be published on TanglePatterns. So if you are relatively new to the Zentangle® method please be aware of the following:

When we think we have created a “new” pattern it’s only natural to get excited to jump in and publish it. But if you are new to this art form it’s a good idea to do your homework first. Not only because it’s fun and you’ll learn a LOT, but also because it’s up to you to make sure yours IS actually a new pattern. We are often subconsciously “programmed” by other patterns we’ve seen, and many patterns are simply universal in nature.

Between the Zentangle books and online, there are hundreds of patterns already published. So check these sources first and become familiar with existing patterns, particularly the official tangles. Have fun drawing them and if in the process you prove to yourself that your pattern is new, then go ahead and submit it.

Naming your pattern

As Rick and Maria have written”we describe Zentangle’s method as ‘non-representational.’ It’s also why (for the most part) we give our tangles names that have little relationship with what a tangle looks like.”

We usually choose names that don’t create a preconception of how a tangle should look.

Also for this reason, tangle names are not phrases but usually a unique single word.

See if you can come up with a great “non-representational” name for your tangle too. Be creative!

How to submit your pattern

I am especially interested in as-yet-unpublished patterns. In other words your pattern is not online or in print anywhere yet and it will appear first on TanglePatterns.

That being said, I am always interested in including the best patterns on TanglePatterns. So even if you have already published your pattern online feel free to send me an email with your pattern name and the website page (URL) where you illustrate the steps so I can link to your page. Please note that I do not link to galleries, videos or Facebook.

If you don’t have a website or simply prefer to have the instructions posted with your pattern here on TanglePatterns:

  1. please use this PDF to draw the steps: TanglePatterns Tangle Submission < right click for PDF.
  2. if you prefer to use your own format please note that the steps should be drawn on blank paper, not graph or gridded paper (see “Is it really a tangle?” above).
  3. scan the finished page as a jpg file at 300 dpi in color so the red steps in your instructions are clear (see a very good example here)
  4. then rename your file(s) with the pattern name and your name, like this: pattern1-joan-smith.jpg, pattern2-joan-smith.jpg etc.
  5. email your scan(s) as an attachment, do not insert them into the body of the email
  6. whether you have already published your pattern online or are submitting it here for first publication, it would be great if you would also include a brief comment about its inspiration, tips on drawing or shading or variants, or whatever you’d like to say about it. And a couple of sentences background about yourself to share with our readers too.
  7. And please, no computer-generated drawings. The Zentangle® method is all about pen and ink.

My email to send your pattern and information is: linda [AT] tanglepatterns [dot] com. Please don’t flood my inbox with patterns, choose your favorite and start with that.

Please note: Due to the volume of email I receive, it can take up to a week before I can respond to your submission. Rest assured I do review every email and I will reply.

I do not give feedback on patterns. Sending your pattern does not guarantee it will appear on the site but if it is both new and unique it stands a good chance. In general, variations of existing patterns are not published unless they are very unusual — and simple.

Thanks for your patience.

Thanks, everyone for your contributions to this Zentangle® resource!

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