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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw CHI

First I’d like to wish a very Happy Bastille Day, or Fête nationale, to all our French tanglers! It’s only fitting that a French cyclist is riding with the coveted yellow leader’s jersey in Le Tour today, and our German friends are celebrating their glorious win over Argentina for the World Cup. All is well in the sports world 🙂

Bastille Day in Paris

Bastille Day celebrations in Paris

* * *

Zentangle pattern: Chi Chi is a lovely new tangle pattern from Ohio school science teacher and counselor Cynthia Gannon, and it’s her first on the site. Cynthia is also a graduate of CZT seminar 10 and owner of the Cleveland Bead Company.

Chi is a grid-based tangle with lots of potential for variations. My example here is just a slight variation of Cynthia’s original version.

Zentangle pattern: ChiUsing your tortillion to smooth out graphite fills really makes a big difference, it gives almost a polished finish to the fill. The top two rows of my Chi example on the right have been blended and smoothed with the tortillion, the bottom row has not and I think you can see what a difference it makes.

Lately I’ve been using a 4B pencil by Koh-i-noor and really enjoying how its soft lead performs. Be sure to try using a tortillion or blending stump on your graphite shading and fills if you haven’t done so yet. I think you’ll be very pleased with the results.

Zentangle pattern: ChiThis is an example of another Chi variation. Proving that there are no mistakes in Zentangle, I thought I’d followed Cynthia’s steps correctly and came up with this. Then I realized I’d done something a little different but the result is also very pretty. Can you spot how I went “wrong”?

And as always, although I used a square grid in my examples, I want to remind you that grids do not have to be drawn exactly square. Make your lines curved, or warped as I like to call them, and see how much fun you can have with pretty much any grid-based tangle.

Here’s Cynthia,

My husband and I went on a cruise with my sister and brother-in-law out of Venice recently,  and one of the ports we cruised to was Mykonos, the Greek island in the Aegean Sea. The colors of the water, the sky, the architecture, the food– it was quite a fabulous place. The windmills are an important landmark of the island and, for me, they are a symbol of its beauty.

[For my tangle name] I came up with the Greek letter ‘Chi’ (pronounced ki with a long i) because it is an ‘X’ and that’s the shape the vanes on the windmills. It is also the Roman Numeral for the number 10 and that’s the Zentangle Seminar I attended with Rick and Maria for my certification to teach Tangling!

Cynthia lives and teaches in Highland Heights, Ohio, and you can find information about her class schedule here.

Cynthia illustrates the steps for drawing Chi below and shows ways to vary it. If you find the angle of the strokes in Step 1 a challenge to judge, try starting by placing the triangles of Step 4 first, but don’t make them too big because you need to allow space for the rest of the shapes. It also helps to imagine a small circle in the center of each grid square and that’s where all the points meet up.

How to dfraw CHI by CZT Cynthia Gannon

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. Republishing or redistributing pattern deconstructions in any form is prohibited under law without express permission of the copyright owner.

Check out the tag cynthiag for more of Cynthia’s patterns on


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