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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Artists for Respect
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How to draw TRA-LA-LA

Zentangle pattern: Tra-la-la. 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.Kelley Kelly is another graduate of the recent CZT#9 class and Tra-la-la is her first tangle pattern on the site.

Did you know there are now well over 700 CZTs all over the world? You can always find the list of Certified Zentangle Teachers® by looking for the link in the left sidebar on TanglePatterns under “Source Websites”.

There’s another certification seminar coming up later this month (CZT#10, Sept 23-26) – for more information on teaching the Zentangle® Method, visit this page. It’s possible the class is full at this writing but you might be able to get your name added to the waiting list. As soon as the 2013 schedule is announced I’ll post it on the “Teaching” page and give you a heads up.

Kelley introduces herself:

I discovered Zentangle through a friend this spring and fell in love instantly (with Zentangle, I already loved the friend!). It seemed as if I had been preparing for it my whole life – if you look back at my college notes, any of the notes I take during meetings? They are covered with serious doodling. All my life, drawing in the margins kept the busy little golden retriever in my brain from running after every squirrel it saw and this beautiful, wonderful artform struck a chord so deep within me I’m still not sure where it rang from!

As for my everyday life, I live in central Connecticut with my long-suffering husband, our 3 children (between the ages of 2 and 6), and our should-be-naked-she-sheds-so-much cat.

I suspect it might already be obvious to you that I don’t do random particularly well. Hence the strong attraction to grid tangles. So my brain found Tra-la-la a tad confusing to decode.

But Tra-la-la has an intriguingly different look to it so I stuck with it and studied Kelley’s completed Zentangle below for my lead. I got  Steps 1 through 6, but didn’t really know how to make it grow from there gracefully.

After quite a few practice runs – like, well over a dozen – I just looked for the pair of curls and backed up another pair to them. I think I faked it sufficiently well that she won’t be insulted with the effort.

What I find really neat about this pattern is how what a different feel the two variations have when they’re hooked together – the spiral-ended one is cheerful and almost lacey, the simple “lily” end version is a good deal more stark but cool.

Here are Kelley’s steps for drawing Tra-la-la and a completed Zentangle with example variations. You can learn more about Kelley by visiting her blog.

Steps for drawing Kelley Kelly's Tra-la-la tangle pattern

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please feel free to refer to the step outs to recreate this tangle in your Zentangles and ZIAs, or link back to this page. However the artist and reserve all rights to these images and they should not be pinned, reproduced or republished. Thank you for respecting these rights. For more information, click on the image for a discussion entitled “Artists for Respect” by several prominent artists.

If you have any tips to share after you’ve tackled Tra-la-la, let’s hear ’em in the comments! (Just remember: no pencil, no eraser.)

Check out the tag kelleyk for more of Kelley’s patterns on


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7 comments to How to draw TRA-LA-LA

  • Sue Zanker

    What a lovely cheerful name to be greeted by this morning! How can I NOT try this tangle ! It dances delightfully !

  • Simple but nice, love it!
    Thanks for showing us!

  • Joyce Blodgett

    What a fun tangle to draw! I really like the spiral-ended one (I love doing “curlies”!); tons of possibilities with this one 🙂

  • Way too cute! Can’t wait to try it in one of my tangles 🙂

  • LindyLu

    I like it….a lot!!!

  • chaun

    Love it! I bought two paper mache letters, put 2 coats of gesso, and a couple coats of white craft paint on them. (I used a white pearlized paint). Then I tangled the top side of them (not the sides or back of the letters), using an Ultra Fine Sharpie. I didn’t do any shading, but the letters look great. They are for my secret pal in my calligraphy guild. Tomorrow night is the reveal of our secret pals, and these two initials are a last surprise gift for her, since I don’t have time to mail them. I just know she is going to love them. Wish I’d known about this tangle before I finished them last night!

  • Stephanie

    Congratulations, Kelley! This is just so simple and yet so elegant… Filler or Border. Just the kind of Tangle I love to use again and again.

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