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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw XPLODE

Zentangle cofounders: Maria Thomas & Rick Roberts

Zentangle® co-founders, Maria Thomas & Rick Roberts. Image courtesy of

As I’m sure you know by now, yesterday Zentangle® co-founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas celebrated 10 years of teaching and sharing this beautiful art form with the world.

As Rick wrote on their blog while announcing their milestone, “We taught our first public Zentangle class at the annual meeting of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) in Providence, RI, July 17, 2004. ” [I had to look up engrossers too 😉 ]

All week I pondered what to do that would be special until I realized it’s their anniversary to announce and celebrate. So today I simply want to pass along our heartfelt congratulations and our gratitude in abundance to Rick and Maria for this wonderful gift we all share through your grace.

Thank you for all the happiness you have brought to us, and for all of the lives you’ve blessed for the better.

Happy 10th, Rick and Maria and all the lovely folks at Zentangle HQ. We look forward to sharing this amazing journey with you for many more wonderful and inspirational years.

 * * *

Zentangle pattern: XplodeXplode is a cool new tangle pattern from tangler Margaret McKerihan of Perth, in Western Australia, and it’s her first on the site. It’s also sort of a celebratory tangle and appropriate for the occasion, don’t you think?

Xplode is a relative of Jennifer Hohensteiner’s Lichen and Theresa Glover’s Trumpits, both similar “minimalist” tangles.

Margaret has provided steps for the basic Xplode and a very pretty aura version of her tangle and honestly I’m not sure which one I prefer, they’re both very striking. For my example I’ve used the straight-up version with a very light touch of shading. As Margaret points out, you can top the lines with any shape.

Xplode can grow organically in any shaped section of your Zentangle® — note how Margaret stretches it out in her first Zentangle example below — and both versions offer endless fun in their potential variations.

Margaret introduces herself:

Since discovering Zentangle in March 2013 I’ve become an avid tangler. I connected with CZT Michele Beauchamp for my initial supply purchases, and when I saw her Zentangles… my love of the art really took off. I love the art just for my own sake, I love the practice of doing it as well as seeing my results, but then to enjoy the beauty of the work of other truly gifted tanglers … well, where is there NOT joy in this art? I have a soft spot for Zendalas and a soft spot for metallic pens and black paper … there is so much more for me to explore in this art and I continue to wonder just what the next tile will bring.

I’m a writer by profession and a homeschooling mum of two kids and two cats. I love art journalling and knitting and all sorts of other things, but to be honest, they’ve all been pushed a little to the side since I found Zentangle.

 And describes her tangle:

Xplode is simply a lot of straight lines emanating from a single point and topped with a right-angle triangle. It’s variations are, of course, endless.

The lines can be topped with any shape, the shapes can point in one direction or many, the shapes can be filled or empty.

The beauty of the tangle is when the lines begin to go under the firstly formed inner shapes to extend further. My white-on-black monotangle with the larger inner triangles shows this well. The shapes can be all the same size, or can go progressively small to large, or large to small, or can be totally haphazard.

When I initially conceived Xplode (it was a repeating image that came to me when I slept or meditated) it was the aura variation, but I found myself gravitating to the singular version to draw, as it is simply easier and somewhat quicker to produce. Thus the aura version became a variation of the basic Xplode tangle. However, I find the aura variation offers much more variety in terms of filling (the lines, the background, the negative spaces created etc).

Margaret illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Xplode below and she features it in a beautiful Zentangle.

How to draw XPLODE by Margaret McKerihan

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.

Here Margaret illustrates the steps for drawing the aura version of Xplode.

How to draw XPLODE by Margareet McKerihan

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.

And here is her beautiful monotangle on black Margaret refers to above in her pattern description. Although she drew this one with white ink, I’m tempted to get out the Sakura Gelly Roll metallics and fill a few of of those cute little “flags”. 🙂

XPLODE monotangle by Margaret McKerihan

Check out the tag margaretm for more of Margaret’s patterns on


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8 comments to How to draw XPLODE

  • Carla Szczuka

    Just tried this and totally enjoyed it. There are so many variations you can do with this. Thank you.

  • It’s beautiful and “exploding” with possibilities! (Sorry for the bad pun, I couldn’t help myself, LOL!)

  • Barbara Brandl

    The white on black is just spectacular!!

  • Margaret McKerihan

    Thanks, Linda, for sharing my tangle on your wonderful site. Thanks all for the lovely comments, and Leslie Nelson? I wish I’d said that 😉

  • Barbara

    Thank you so much for the wonderful Tangle Guide. You have put so much work into producing this and the Zentangle site is very lucky to have such a talented, dedicated lady who works so hard for us.

    I have only recently discovered Zentangle and it has been a life changing mediative saviour following the death of my husband. I am total hooked and have been purchasing Zentangle books like crazy! Are there any ladies in Nottingham, UK who would like to get together to share this inspiring craft?

    Barbara, UK

  • Gail

    Hi Barbara, I’ve recently discovered Zentangle too and am in Nottingham, UK. I’d certainly be interested in a short course or something of that nature!

  • Meldra Driscoll

    I’ve used this twice now and love the pattern! Thanks for sharing!

  • Daniel

    I discovered Zentangle only about a month ago (yeah, super late on the bandwagon, I know) and am hooked! This pattern is really fun to draw, and it looks really great when you use it to divide a simple shape like a circle or square into segments, then fill them in with the “Maryhill” tangle. Thank you Linda, for creating such a great site for us Zentangle enthusiasts!

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