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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw MAELSTROM

Zentangle pattern: Maelstrom. 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.Recently the Zentangle® newsletter from co-founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas featured the article Grid (Un)Locked presenting a “recipe” for creating grid tangles and including a grid of imaginative examples by Maria. You might recognize a few of the official tangles in Maria’s examples.

Each square is the “seed” of the overall pattern created when the seed is repeated in either a regular or a totally random fashion.

In grid-based tangles, you may have noticed that all you need is one square, just one. Then whatever stroke is placed in one square resonates throughout your grid.

Perhaps you draw one stroke in each square, then the next stroke in each square; or maybe you tangle all one square then move on to the next. Either way, inspiration abounds. Such a dance . . . simple and elegant!

It is so much fun to create a simple grid element and then see what the overall tile looks like when they are “drawn together.”

Zentangle pattern: Maelstrom. 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.This tangle pattern, Maelstrom, from Linda Dawson uses exactly that concept – and whatever you do with Maelstrom you can produce a storm of possibilities. As Linda writes, “There are endless variations made by turning the basic [seed].” In my example on the right, I used just part of Linda’s fourth variation shown in her examples (below the steps) for the basic design. This tangle has SO many possibilities!

Linda’s first tangle on the site, Miasma, posted a few months ago also uses this concept and the variations made possible by “flipping the design in different directions.”

Linda points out you can vary the density of the lines within Maelstrom to create shades of gray within the design. Her monotangle Zentangle features the Maelstrom seed used in a completely random fashion on a wavy grid.

Steps for drawing Linda Dawson's Maelstrom 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.

Check out the tag lindad for more of Linda’s patterns on

BTW – This post is also filed on the TUTORIALS tab so you can always find the reference to Maria’s “seeds” there in the future.


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9 comments to How to draw MAELSTROM

  • Joyce

    This is SO pretty! Makes me think of Rick’s Paradox combined with Shattuck (the curved version Sandy Steen is so fond of drawing).

    This is my favorite kind of Zentangle pattern (though I enjoy drawing almost all of them)–grids are so much fun to work with and in. I love miniatures, and each square of a grid lets me miniaturize any Zentangle pattern.

    Have to try this one tonight!

  • This is lovely; looks like fun to do! I also like your version, Linda, with the black bits.

  • Linda, thanks for sharing this! It’s a great pattern, so versatile. I have to try this one!

  • Wow! Linda and Linda …… this is one versatile tangle. I absolutely love it. It’s simple, only two different strokes, and can be turned any way you like it to create all kinds of variations. A true grid seed! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • marie galtieri

    I like the order and simplicity of this design. will definitely play with it.

  • Linda Rainsford

    Thank you so much for sharing this tangle. I’ve been having so much fun playing with it this week. It has brought back the
    Zen. It’s so easy to draw and so versatile that it has become an instant favorite of mine.

  • Glenys Baguley

    I have just started doing Zentangle and enjoying it. Looking for different variations and this one is fantastic will keep trying it in the different images. Thanks for showing it.
    Cheers Glenys Baguley

  • Love it! Thank you 🙂

  • Trish Paquette

    Hi Linda! I just love this one!! When you think you’ve tried all the different ways, you can come up with even more!! Lots of fun — and yes, the time just slides by!! 🙂


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