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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Joanne Fink’s Zenspirations patterning techniques

Joanne Fink's Zenspirations monogramCalligraphy fans might recognize the name of Joanne Fink as co-editor with Judy Kastin of the 23rd edition of The Speedball Textbook (A Comprehensive Guide to Pen and Brush Lettering). [Note: this link is for the current Edition]

This is one of the first lettering books I added to my library when it was published in 1999. The original first edition was published in 1915, so this publication has a long and rich tradition.

The Speedball Textbook is an excellent compact introduction to calligraphy with stroke-by-stroke instructions for 15 alphabet styles, techniques and examples of layout and designs, and beautiful and inspirational artwork from 100 lettering artists. But I digress …

When Joanne’s videos for Sakura were first posted I was reluctant to add them to TanglePatterns because her Zenspirations artwork is not the same as Zentangle®. (And you know I’m a purist.) However, the videos are about pattern and design and I know we all love to learn new drawing techniques so I’m adding them as another creative resource for your learning and enjoyment.

And now, here’s Joanne …

1. Zenspirations patterning techniques

In the first video in this 4-part series, Joanne teaches 5 simple and easy patterns to add interest and texture to your designs. (PS – you might recognize her “loop” or squiggle pattern as the pattern we call Eke.)


2. Zenspirations shape and edge patterning

In the second video in the series Joanne demonstrates an easy way to add pattern and interest to simple doodles and drawings.


3. Zenspirations monograms

This one’s my favorite! In the third video Joanne applies these designs to creating monograms. She adds color and blends with Sakura Gelly Roll Pens.


4. Zenspiration borders and frames

In the final video in this series, Joanne applies her patterning to drawing borders and frames and enhances them with watercolor. (PS – Joanne uses the pattern we call Tipple in one of the examples.)


Sakura has posted PDF reference sheets for these videos here. But don’t miss visiting Joanne’s website where she has these and more downloads here along with delightful examples of her art.

I’m sure you can think of lots ways to adapt tangle patterns to the concepts you’ve learned from Joanne in these videos.

Thanks to Joanne and Sakura for sharing with us, and I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I do.

Related Links:

  • Videos on TanglePatterns – or visit the “Video” link in the alphabetic menu at the top of the page.
  • Joanne recommends using Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Paper– it comes 24 sheets per pad of 80 pound / 130gsm paper with a variety of paper sizes to choose from. This link is for the Medium surface pad, and I think I’d want the Smooth surface. But you can at least see what it looks like for when you’re out there visiting your favorite art supplies store.
  • my review of Joanne’s brand new Zenspirations book – located on the TIPS & TOOLS > RELATED BOOKS tab


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20 comments to Joanne Fink’s Zenspirations patterning techniques

  • Gwen

    Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us. I’m anxious to try all these new techniques.

  • Lee

    What a fantastic resource and thanks so much for putting it forward.

  • Virginia

    Joanne Thanks so much for sharing all these lovely and fun patterns and the video were just great. You have inspired me to do more zentangles.

  • Barbara Albrecht

    Thank you so much for posting these videos. I have learned a lot just watching them each once. I WILL go back and watch them several times more and draw along with Joanne.

  • Kelley

    I’m heading to Joanne’s site. Thank you for sharing this information.

  • Ann

    Why do the pens skip? Which pens have any of you used that DON’T skip? I find that when I have skips, and then have to go back and correct the skips, it makes my work look sloppier.

    Does anyone else find this to be true?

    • Linda Farmer

      Sometimes I find if I’m pressing too hard I get skips, but I really don’t know if that’s the same cause for everyone. With the white pens especially, Maria Thomas recommends to just tickle the surface of the paper with the nib and the ink will flow smoothly.

      Anyone else with suggestions?

  • Ann

    Oh, and I LOVED watching the videos! Very talented and creative, especially the lettering – can’t wait to try!

  • Janneke

    Fantastic! I like calligraphy and zentangle. Thanks for these nice patterns. I like them and I am going to use them soon!

  • chaun

    Loved the videos. However, I have a hearing loss and have a problem sorting out voices from background music. I find videos with background music distracting.

  • Diane

    I’m so glad you decided to share these with us! I can’t wait to try these techniques. Thanks, Linda!

  • John C.

    Hi Linda,
    You are a doll for putting these on your site! How can I “save” these video tutorials to my computer HD for later reference? I’m sure it’s pretty easy…can you show/tell me?
    All the best.

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi John, as far as I know there isn’t any way to save these to your computer. So unless someone else can tell us how, you’ll have to bookmark this page and visit when you want to view them. 🙂 Cheers, Linda

      EDIT – Okay, I went to my alternate techie source, my husband Robert. And here’s what he showed me to do. This should work in either Windows or Mac, RealPlayer has both versions.

      1. If you don’t have RealPlayer, download it here –
      2. Install the software.
      3. Open RealPlayer and click on Preferences on the dropdown menu in the upper left corner.
      4. A box opens with lots of preferences, but look down towards the bottom and click on Download & Recording
      5. Enable web recording for your browsers and also browse to the folder where you want your videos stored (if you don’t want their default location).
      6. You might also want to increase the time the “Download” button shows for (I went for 20 seconds rather than the 5 default).
      7. Now when you visit a page with videos like this one, when you hover over a video (or you might have to click on the play button first) that “Download this Video” button will appear above the upper right corner of the video so you can click on it and download the video.

      Thanks! I learned something new today too. Note that this doesn’t always work because some publishers prevent downloading to protect their work.

  • Love all the things you did here!!! I hope you will show other cool videos in the future!!! Love the “R” it is my last name initial!!!!

  • andrea

    thanks linda, for posting joanne’s great videos … they inspired me 🙂

  • Cheryl

    Love these videos! Thank you to Joanne (and Linda) for sharing with us. 🙂

  • Peggie Schurch

    Really love the initials and am hoping to buy you Zenspirations book. Am a calligrapher myself (Australia)and am always working on Initials so appreciate your original designs, especially as I am forever doing Zentangles. Look forward to seeing more of your work. Best wishes Peggie.

  • Marla

    Thanks SO much for posting this……Isn’t it amazing, the true the work of a Master, is to make it look like it’s easy! Joanne is not only generous with her talent, but shares all of her “toys”——She’s AMAZING!!………I’m totally ZEN-spired!

  • Patsy B.

    Linda, thanks so much for this post, as I have several of her books and ‘many others’ that post on your website. I Will be getting the new books soon as they are to me a beautiful extension of the Zentangle method of ART. Thanks again for all you do.

  • Dessie Arnold

    Thank you Linda for revisiting these, and thank you Joanne for the beautiful videos! It will be fun using these ideas.

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