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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw SNAIL

Zentangle pattern: SnailThe lovely Snail tangle is one of the 102 original tangles introduced by Zentangle® in their first teacher certification seminar (CZT®) in 2009.

As you most likely know, this has now grown to 148 Zentangle-original tangles and you can always find the list of all of them on the ZENTANGLES > LINDA’S LIST OF OFFICIAL TANGLES tab at the top of any page.

A couple of tanglers have submitted a version of this tangle pattern so I’ve decided to post the steps sent by the first person to do so, Sayantika Ray. Sayantika was visiting California earlier this summer and made note of several patterns she spotted which she later deconstructed. Woodlock is another one of Sayantika’s California-inspired tangles. She named her Snail deconstruction Cali, unaware that it was one of the Zentangle-original tangles. “I haven’t attended the CZT seminars. I guess that’s why I wasn’t aware of this pattern.

Snail is one of my favorite tangles, it’s just very delicate and pretty. In Maria’s original steps for drawing Snail, she begins at Step 2 below and then adds auras along the outside edges of the line of spirals. I find I really have to focus to get consistency in the size of the Printemps-like spirals and so they meet up against each other just right on the return loop (if you get my drift). Sayantika’s version with inked outer bands helps with that a great deal. Snail also looks great if you make the bands of lines of Step 1 come towards each other to a vanishing point, or keep them parallel and curve them.

Here are Sayantika’s steps for drawing Snail, or as she called it, Cali.

How to draw SNAIL by Sayantika Ray

While we’re on the subject of snails, Snail was long the precursor to the recently-introduced Bijou. I thought you would enjoy this video of Maria drawing Bijou with her Oblique Pen used for Copperplate calligraphy. If I recall correctly, Maria’s pen is a very special antique she’s used for many years. (As most of us pen-aholics would attest, she probably has several in her collection.)

Check out the tag zentangle for more Zentangle®-original tangles, and sayantikar for more of Sayantika’s tangles on

Related Links

  1. Looking for tangles by Artist or Type? For details visit the ABOUT > HOW TO FIND TANGLES BY ARTIST OR TYPE page on the top menu bar of any page on the site.
  2. What is a Zentangle? — if you are new to the Zentangle Method, start here for the fundamentals.
  3. Zentangle terminology — a glossary of terms used in this art form.
  4. How to use the site — an excellent free video tutorial showing how to use the site as well as pointing out lots of useful features you might have missed.
  5. Linda's List of Zentangle-Original Patterns — here is the complete list of original tangles (aka "official tangles") created and introduced by founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, including those not published online. If you are new to the Zentangle Method I highly recommend learning a few of the published Zentangle classics first.
  6. "A Zentangle has no up or down and is not a picture of something, so you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a Zentangle." Thus patterns that are drawings of a recognizable naturalistic or actual object, figure, or scene, are not tangles. A pattern is not always a tangle — here's what makes a tangle. TIP: tangles never start with pencil planning.
  7. How to submit your pattern deconstruction to TanglePatterns
  8. For lots of great FREE tutorials on TanglePatterns, click on the TUTORIALS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page.
  9. Strings! Have we got STRINGS! Click on the STRINGS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page for 250 different (free) Zentangle-starters. More than enough for any lifetime!
  10. Never miss a tangle! FREE eMAIL NEWSLETTER - visit the SUBSCRIBE page on the top menu bar of any page on the site and sign up to get notices delivered free to your inbox.


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