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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Exploring the elegance of Zentangle in a larger format

Recently Australian CZT® Michele Beauchamp (pronounced “Beach-um”, aka Shelly Beauch) shared some advice on working with Spiral Strings in her article It’s Spiralicious! A Zentangle Spiral Guide. Michele often works on ZIA’s as large as 32 x 22-inches (82cm x 57cm), exploring the elegance of Zentangle® while keeping to its basic principles. Today she answers some often-asked questions about creating her Zentangle-Inspired Art.

* * *

Michele Beauchamp's "Secret Garden"There are unlimited ideas for stretching our Zentangle experience to larger works of art and adding to our treasure chest of creations and moments of artistic pleasure and relaxation.

Lose yourself in fine lines and intricate tangles or go bigger and bolder.

Relax and allow Zentangle to be your guide, keep to the basic principles and enjoy the process of adding your own touches of colour and medium.

Here are the answers to questions often asked about how I create my Zentangle Inspired Art.

Do I draw a string?

Yes, a string is a wonderful foundation to build on. A few squares, circles, spirals and curvy lines soon grow into something unexpected.

Do I have a plan?

Not usually, I like the element of surprise. Most of the time ideas form after drawing a string. I prefer to go with the flow and avoid expectation and disappointment if the plan goes haywire.

Extra tip!

I like to keep my favourite tiles to expand into a larger format.

Do I worry about making a mistake?

No! Of course wobbly bits happen (that’s life) but they soon disappear into the big picture. Keep going, focus on the good bits.

What paper do I use?

I like a nice thick watercolour paper, bamboo is good, and lately I have been enjoying Lokta paper.

What type of colour pens do I use?

My favourites are the Pigma Micron pens in sienna and brown, and for extra colour Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I like adding just one or two shades to make decisions easy.

Do I use a template?

Only when drawing circles. I know we should appreciate what we create but my unbalanced wonky circles look a bit dodgy so I like to use jar lids, small bowls or plates.

How long does it take to create a ZIA?

Many hours of focus and joy!!

I am happy to leave a large sheet of paper on my desk or kitchen table and add a stroke at a time, 15 minutes here and there. Sometimes 15 minutes disappears into an hour.

Where did that time go!!!

Preview of “Secret Garden”

Secret Garden by CZT® Michele Beauchamp

“Secret Garden” by CZT® Michele Beauchamp. Copyright image used with permission.

Be sure to visit Michele’s blog and enjoy a larger version of her exquisite Zentangle-Inspired “Secret Garden” – size: 51cm x 65.5cm (20″ x 25 1/2″).

Interested in owning an original of Michele’s beautiful ZIA’s? Visit her etsy shop.

16 comments to Exploring the elegance of Zentangle in a larger format

  • Great to see how one’s individuality can really be expanded upon through ZT. Michele works both outside the box (string) and within its’ structure. Beautiful.

  • I’m new to tangling, within the last couple of months. I know it’s supposed to be carefree and relaxing — and I’m enjoying it a lot. But I can stare at a blank paper and wrack my brain over what kind of string to draw. (That’s not how it’s supposed to work, is it?) So this article was wonderfully freeing for me, if only for the knowledge that a string doesn’t have to look like a ribbon swooping around the paper. I’ve been wondering if I would be thrown out of this artistic movement for not using a string, since the hard thing for me is to draw that string. And is it OK to use a different size of paper? Yes, now I know that it is. Colors? Also OK. Yay! Thanks for a great interview.

  • krissy blandford

    Since starting to tangle over a year ago I have found great pleasure in creating large tangles. I usually work on paper that is 18×20. I still use a string and work in small sections but I have the luxury of adding mnew elements as well. For christmas this year my dad requested a tangle done using words instead of lines. I created his tangle as a handahla with 5 of my hands throughout the piece and over half the lines were quotes. I may be entering it in our state fair this year in the new tangle category 🙂

  • Hello and thanks for sharing this. I have been playing around with the idea of doing something larger to hang on the walls – I may have finally found my courage.

  • KimMJ

    Wow that is just gorgeous! Thanx so much for sharing this and for all of the endless inspiration 🙂

  • Ann

    I love doing large Zentangles, my walls are covered in them, the size varies from 30cmx30cm to 50cmx 40 cm. I love using artist canvases. Several people have asked me to do one for them. My latest designs, and good idea when your stuck for string ideas, is to grab common items and trace outings on a page, usually A4 in size, overlapping the items. Just completed one and people love trying to guess what items I used.

  • Peggie Schurch

    Hi, Beautiful piece of work! I have tried to do larger than normal tangles but am never satisfied with the attempts because of the size of the pens I use. I used to tink that the U.S.A. had a better assortment of pens available than here but seeing you are a fellow Aussie, now know what you use must be available in Australia. Would you share the details of which pen/s you use? Your Secret Garden has given me much inspiration to have another go. Peggie Schurch

  • Sue Zanker

    What a lovely piece!….and PIECES Michelle has done. I did a slighter larger than normal piece the other week, it was 16 x 16cm (roughly 6 and a half inches square) and enjoyed doing it. I have also done ones in different sizes to go on the fronts of greeting cards, but have always felt a tad guilty that they weren’t the ‘usual’ size. I also like the term ‘ZIA’ (Zentangle Inspired Art) I think I shall experiment with different sizes more in the future. Seeing Michelle’s work is an inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, I’ve just received my purchased poster of the Zentangle “102 Tangles” and that is FULL of inspiration and ideas ! Worth the money and the wait!

  • Thank you Linda and Zentangle friends for your exceptional inspiration that you all pass on to me.

    Peggie, other than the coloured Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens and the different colour microns which are available at most art stores, I use the microns available from

  • Judi

    This was a wonderful article. Thanks so much. Your ZIA here is fabulous!! Now I’m going over to explore your blog for more ideas……..

  • Ann

    Peggie try art supply shops and I got a lot of my pitt pens from They have them cheap now and then, though have not seen any for awhile. I get my pigma Micron pens from my local art supply shop, though they store their pens upright so they tend to not to last long. There is a website in queensland that sells pens as well,they will try and get you what ever brand you want, you just have to ask. Dont remember the name though sadly.

  • Amber

    I almost always make my tangles large. I have an art book. I have given some as gifts that I have framed. I love it. I also have recently incorporated colors. So fun!

  • Mindy Dahl

    Greetings, I am sooo new to Zentangle and having a great time. I create greeting cards and have been trying to come up with a new idea…came across this wonderfully fun art on Utube. I am creating like mad and now have come to add water color and really liking my primative attempt at a new art form…THank you for all I am learning from you….and for the inspiration to continue…seems way too simple….

  • Really love this new found art style.

  • I’ve found it really helpful reading both the website and the comments people have made. I’ve only been tangling for a few months and am still self conscious about my poor draughtsmanship but, the more I do, the better I feel about them. Looking at these larger works gives me the courage to be a little more adventurous. Thank you,


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