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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw RIO

Zentangle pattern: RioHere’s a tangle for those of us who love an equal balance of black and white. And mindful inking-in of large areas.

Rio is a tangle pattern from recently-minted CZT Cari Sultanik of the 18th certification class and it’s her first on the site.

Cari is from Doylestown PA, and her bio tells us she’s “a digital marketing director for a large software company by day, and a mother, wife, dog and cat-lover, reader and artist by night.

Cari writes that her inspiration was an Instagram photo of a mosaic walkway “at Ipanema Beach in Rio De Janeiro … I loved the mosaic, but didn’t try to recreate that, instead focusing on the overall dark/light placement of the larger diamond shapes.

Logo of the Pittsburgh SteelersThe minute I saw this tangle I thought of the Pittsburgh Steelers although I had no idea Cari was from Doylestown, another Pennsylvania city. Robert and I once lived in the lovely Pittsburgh for four wonderful years and you know we’re sports fans.

So … if you tilt your head about 45° either to the right or left looking at my example of Rio, you’ll see the iconic hypocycloid that turns up in a set of three in the Steelers logo shown here on the right. And yes, I just learned the word hypocycloid when researching the history of the Steelers logo. Hypocycloids are diamonds with inward-curving edges.

Actually hypocycloids are a bit more than that, per Wikipedia:

In geometry, a hypocycloid is a special plane curve generated by the trace of a fixed point on a small circle that rolls within a larger circle. … Curves similar to hypocycloids can be drawn with the Spirograph toy. Specifically, the Spirograph can draw hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. [Wikipedia has cool animated gifs showing how this works.]

A hypocycloid can have several “cusps” but the one with four cusps like a curved diamond is known as an astroid. Not a typo, assuming Wikipedia is accurate.

Cari illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Rio here on her blog. As I’ve mentioned, there’s another way to draw Rio. Again, if you tilt your head a little to the right or left you’ll notice our familiar squared grid and within each grid-square is an astroid. So Rio can also be drawn with astroids!

Check out the tag caris for more of Cari’s tangles on


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2 comments to How to draw RIO

  • Cari, I love Rio. I see being able to use it on place of something like Knightsbridge. Congratulations!

  • Melena

    Cari, I really like this tangle. I can see using it in a ZIA with color too. And I love what you did with filling in the spaces with other tangles. Although I would probably do one much smaller than yours. That was quite an accomplishment and came out very beautifully. This looks like a lot of fun.

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