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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TANGLE GUIDE to help you select tangles. See Pages 7 and 9 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings: simply pop in any number in the range of 1 to 250.


How to draw PARADOX

Zentangle pattern: Paradox. Image © Linda Farmer and 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.Paradox is a fun three dimensional tangle pattern to do and it can be a real mind bender.

The key to this tangle is the ability to remember to turn your tile! Variants include all the options of shading and solid colors as well as filling various shapes and other tangles within it.

Paradox is a Zentangle®-original tangle; Rick writes “We named this tangle ‘Paradox’ because it consists only of straight lines which create beautiful spirals.” The link to Maria’s illustrated instructions is here.

Paradox examples are shown in another issue of the Zentangle® newsletter here. Scroll down past the instructions for Opus.

And more “fun with Paradox” examples are shown in this issue.

UPDATE: August 25, 2011 – CZT Margaret Bremner posted an excellent tutorial, “Paradox and then some”, here. Be sure to check this one out!

UPDATE: August 26, 2011 – Zentangle co-founder Rick Thomas was inspired by Margaret’s post to explore a two-sided version of Paradox here on the blog.

UPDATE: June 22, 2012 – Margaret is at it again, she’s posted a variation she’s named Feathered Paradox. This technique also works using rounding in place of her triangles and I think I prefer the rounding version, it has a softer look.


UPDATE: November 11, 2017 – Project Pack #1. In this project series, in this video (12:57) Zentangle co-founder Rick Roberts demonstrates Paradox using White Sakura Gelly Roll Pens on a black 3Z Zentangle tile.


Update: December 20, 2017 – Project Pack #2. As part of the Twelve Days of Zentangle (2017 Edition), in this Day 10 video (13:49) Maria’s daughter, CZT Martha Huggins, tangles an enlarged version of Paradox and fills each triangle with Marasu-like bands using a white Gelly Roll on a black Apprentice Tile. At the end of the video Martha shows several tiles using Paradox as a framework filled with some Zentangle-original tangles (Purk, Printemps, Well).


Update: March 21, 2020 – It’s been a while since Rick and Maria posted a Kitchen Table Tangles (KTT) video but today in this one “Rick and Maria explore Tessellation possibilities with the paradox tangle on a Flower of Life string.” (19:08)


Update: April 23, 2020 – Canadian CZT Margaret Bremner adds a post called Crazy Paradox where she explores another version of Paradox and includes downloadable steps.

Check out the tag zentangle for more Zentangle®-original tangles on

Related Links

  • Linda's List of Zentangle-Original Patterns — here is the complete list of original tangles (aka "official tangles") created and introduced by founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, including those not published online. If you are new to the Zentangle Method I highly recommend learning a few of the published Zentangle classics first.
  • A pattern is not always a tangle — here's what makes a tangle.
  • Un motif n’est pas toujours un tangle — Qu’est-ce qu’un tangle ?
  • Un diseño no es siempre un tangle — ¿Qué es un tangle?
  • How to submit your pattern deconstruction to TanglePatterns
  • Zentangle terminology — a glossary of terms used in this art form
  • For lots of great FREE tutorials on TanglePatterns, click on the TUTORIALS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page
  • Looking for tangles by Artist or Type? For details visit the ABOUT > HOW TO FIND TANGLES BY ARTIST OR TYPE page on the top menu bar of any page on the site.
  • Strings! Have we got STRINGS! Click on the STRINGS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page for 250 different (free) Zentangle-starters. More than enough for any lifetime!
  • What is a Zentangle? — if you are new to the Zentangle Method, start here for the fundamentals


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