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.


All contents of this website are Copyright © 2010 - 2015 Linda Farmer, TanglePatterns.com, and artists where named, and protected by United States and international copyright laws.
Copying content in any form other than for your own personal offline reference, is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.


Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2015 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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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 “official” tangles are the ones introduced by Zentangle® founders Rick Roberts, Maria Thomas, and Maria’s daughter Molly Hollibaugh. You can find the list of Zentangle-original tangles on the ZENTANGLES > LINDA’S LIST OF OFFICIAL TANGLES page on the menu bar at the top of every page.

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. (Un motif n’est pas toujours un tangle.) (Un diseño no es siempre un tangle.) Tangles are hand drawn structured patterns with very specific attributes:

  1. a tangle is abstract, non-objective (non-representational)
  2. a tangle has no up or down orientation – no “right side up”
  3. a tangle is usually an all-over pattern that grows organically, rather than a single medallion-type motif that must be repeated
  4. generally a tangle is at most 2 or 3 simple (“elemental”) strokes, repeated
  5. a tangle is simple enough to draw without using a pre-printed grid such as graph paper (note: steps should not be drawn on grid/graph or matrix paper)
  6. a tangle does not use pencil dots, grids, guidelines or an eraser
  7. a tangle never uses rulers, stencils, or any other mechanical aids
  8. a tangle is 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. I’m sure you can appreciate that “message” tangle names would not be very Zentangle®-like.

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. Your pattern should have its own unique URL.

Your illustration should demonstrate how you’ve used your pattern in a Zentangle.

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 must not be drawn on graph or gridded paper (see “Is it really a tangle?” above). Include a Zentangle featuring your pattern so others can see your pattern in use.
  3. Steps drawn using a ruler (or any other mechanical aid) are not eligible. (See “Is it really a tangle?” above.)
  4. 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)
  5. Then rename your file(s) with your pattern name and your name, like this: pattern1-joan-smith.jpg, pattern2-joan-smith.jpg etc. (replace “pattern1″ etc. with your pattern’s name)
  6. Email your scan(s) as an attachment, do not insert them into the body of the email. Note to Mac users: please see this page about how to prevent Apple Mail from downsizing your images, please send scans actual size.
  7. 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.
  8. Be sure to include some type of message in your email because blank emails with attachments are treated as Spam and will not be delivered.
  9. And please, no computer-generated drawings. Zentangle® 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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