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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Tangle Refresher 103 – Featuring thoughts from Maria about what it means to draw each tangle with deliberate strokes

Tangle Refresher!

“Anything is possible … one stroke at a time.”™

In Zentangle® we CZTs frequently remind our students that every single stroke is to be drawn deliberately. This means not rushing, but taking pleasure in each stroke of ink from your pen.

In this excerpt from an early post on the Zentangle blog, Zentangle co-founder Maria Thomas talks about this:

Draw your tangles more deliberately. Zentangle is not like any other art form. You want to draw every LINE deliberately, enjoying watching your pen create each line. The patterns fill the spaces created by the string. The string is just a suggestion and not a demand to where you put your tangles. You may start to place your tangle in one area, but maybe you want to finish that space with another tangle or leave it blank.”

Maria continues,

“if you are doing the tangle ‘Tipple’ – the one that looks like a sink full of bubbles – you want to draw each bubble slowly and not so much round as beautiful.

[The Sakura Micron] pens are somewhat pressure sensitive so if you press a little harder on one side of the bubble and let up on the other . . . you create a rhythm of sorts . . . like music. If you played piano pressing every note the same, the result would be less than pleasant.

If the weight of your penstroke was on the same side of each bubble, it creates a “shade” and adds to the pattern. You can do this to every pattern. Static . . . when doing the zig zag lines . . . the first zig is a light line, the next is heavier . . . consistently all the way down . . . then repeating the same pattern on each consecutive line. So simple, but very dynamic.”

Are your Zentangle bubbles beautiful?

Anything is possible ... one stroke at a time.™Welcome to the long Memorial Day weekend! Ladies and gentlemen, start your grills …

The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from a year (or two) ago for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too. Zenful tangling!

BTW as you visit these tangles it would be great if you’d take a moment to leave a comment of thanks and encouragement for the tangler who’s shared with us, and please share the tangles with your followers on all your favorite social media. Thanks!

Buried Treasure from a year ago
Zentangle pattern: Mooka. Image © Linda Farmer and Mooka
Zentangle pattern: Pax. Image © Linda Farmer and Pax
Zentangle pattern: Tipz. Image © Linda Farmer and Tipz
Zentangle pattern: Window Grilles. Image © Linda Farmer and Window Grilles
Zentangle pattern: Spiro. Image © Linda Farmer and Spiro
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 75

More good stuff …


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7 comments to Tangle Refresher 103 – Featuring thoughts from Maria about what it means to draw each tangle with deliberate strokes

  • Linda Wedge White

    I really must thank everyone who shares their designs and patterns here on this site. I am fairly new to Zentangle, but already find it an essential part of my pain control routine. I carry a pad in my purse for times when I must sit and wait in doctor offices and other such places.
    I have two questions I’d love to get some feedback on. First, is it common to find one pattern that you are very drawn to, and find yourself repeating in many of your tangles?
    Second, do any of you share my pen seeming phobia of drawing with a pen? I am free and relaxed with a pencil, but when I pick up the pen I tense up and my brain freezes. So far I am doing my tangles in pencil then going over them with pen when they are finished.

    Any hints or tips to get me past this?

  • Carol Barry

    I think it’s normal to have favorites that you’re drawn to, especially if you become good at them. I love pokeleaf and pokeroot and try to work them in my designs. As for your “pen phobia” just let it go and dive in. It’s just paper and you can try it again. No one ever did anything perfect the first time, so just relax and have fun with the learning process. You will amaze yourself. I know you can do it. Happy tangling.

  • I agree it is normal and desirable to have one or a few favorite patterns that you can practice and grow with. Patience with yourself is a beautiful thing too. One thing that might help you with your pen phobia is a wonderful article right here on Linda’s fabo web site on how to sharpen your line drawing skills by Simone Bischoff. You can find it by scrolling in the Tutorials section or by following this link:

  • Oh, yes, Linda, it is very common to get on a “kick” for a favorite tangle. I find mine change after a while and then I’m on another kick – Mooka for a while, then Wheelz, then NZepple, or whatever. Drawing a familiar pattern puts you in that zone that is the reason for Zentangle in the first place. Enjoy! As for the pen fear, I have been tangling for a while, and I still get that frozen place. I’m OK with a standard tile or my messy sketchbook, but give me a journal page or some object like a box and I get anxious. I guess it is the human condition. We – you and I both – need to relax and just begin. If you “mess up”, there is always Bronx Cheer or Black Pearlz or just plain black ink that you can top off with a white Gelly Roll pen, or just keep going and be assured in the end, no one will notice a little “variation” in your pattern. Honest!

  • Pat Floerke

    My anxiety kicks in when I’m tangling on expensive paper like official Zentangle tiles, which I don’t want to “waste”. When tangling on ordinary paper, I actually find it quite freeing to use a pen and take what I get, knowing that if I don’t like something, I can always play with it to see if I like it better another way or just say, “Oh, well, they can’t all be little gems.”

  • DeniseC

    Play with the pens. The more you do, the easier it gets, like anything new you learn. I also fall in love with some tangles on sight. Mooka and Aquafleur are two such tangles, and it took, probably, over a hundred tries/practice attempts on scrap paper before I finally got them to look good. I am still trying to figure out how Carol Ohl made that gorgeous, flowing Aquafleur Christmas tree Zentangle/ZIA the Christmas before last. That made me search the internet for instructions, but it wasn’t there. Finally, Maria and Rick posted the step-outs. Phew! I am still practicing Aquafleur so that it flows easily for me. I haven’t truly mastered it yet. My “go-to” tangles are Tipple, Ennies, Fescu, Knightsbridge, and Diva Dance. Hang in there, and don’t be critical, and it will begin to fall into place.

  • DeniseC

    If a tangle on a good tile or paper goes “wrong,” I often “walk away” for a bit. When I come back to it, sometimes it doesn’t look as bad as I thought. But I I still don’t like it, then I try to work it on or over it. One of my “go-to” tangles for this is Cracked. I have some Sand Swirls, that I did earlier this week, that look awful, so I drew Cracked over it. Some of the Swirl lines show, but it looks much better.

    Also, some “mistakes” turn out to be “happy accidents,” perhaps a new variation, new tanglation, or new tangle. Stay open to the possibilities.

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