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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw STRUTZ

Zentangle pattern: Strutz. Image © Linda Farmer and ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.Strutz is a fun, quirky tangle in the Hollibaugh family of “drawing behind” from British tangler Sarah Fowler and it’s her first on the site.

Sarah introduces herself,

I live in Ruislip which is kind of west London. My husband’s brother lives in Texas and it was his wife that introduced me to Zentangle back in August 2015. Like so many other people it came along just when I needed it. Boy was I hooked! My mum used to be an artist and was always on at me to find something creative….. I was a fingerprint officer for twenty years so I think the fact that I had been looking at fingerprints all that time (at tiny details under a magnifying glass) something clicked with me and Zentangle.

Now both our sons are off at university I suddenly have “zen-time”.

I have been overwhelmed by the welcoming and friendly community I have discovered with Zentangle and mentally thank my sister-in-law every day for telling me about it.

Here Sarah describes how she came across Strutz and offers some great advice,

Strutz just turned up one day when I was tangling away and felt that the tangle I was drawing needed some support … I used to love the illustrations of Heath Robinson: with those ridiculous, convoluted inventions of his and that’s what Strutz reminds me of.

It’s a very forgiving pattern… can add more steps or not, you can make them large and fill them with other tangles. Don’t be put off by the straight lines. Speaking as someone that has an on/off tremor, once you’ve shaded it adds a bit of character 🙂 .

Heath Robinson?? Oh goodie, another rabbit hole!

“William Heath Robinson (31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist and illustrator best known for drawings of ridiculously complicated machines for achieving simple objectives.

In the UK, the term ‘Heath Robinson’ entered the popular language during the 1914–1918 First World War as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contrivance, much as ‘Rube Goldberg machines’ came to be used in the US from the 1920s onwards as a term for similar efforts. ‘Heath Robinson contraption’ is perhaps more often used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations.” ~ Wikipedia

From an article in WIRED magazine:

“Heath Robinson: the unsung hero of British eccentricity and innovation. Heath Robinson’s name has been used to describe absurdly complex, makeshift contraptions since the early 20th century.”

And from the Heath Robinson Museum site.

“William Heath Robinson is best known as the creator of weird mechanical devices and strange gadgets, usually held together with knotted string. … Heath Robinson is an artist whose work, whether in his well known humorous drawings or his illustrations for Kipling, Shakespeare or children’s stories, is integral to British cultural heritage. His name entered the language as early as 1912 and is still in daily use to describe the kind of ad hoc contraptions that featured in many of his cartoons.

He was a genuinely good person – there was no bitterness in his humour, he never made racial jokes and he steered clear of politics. It is this that ensures that his work appeals to people of all ages and diverse backgrounds.”

It’s entertaining to check out some of Heath Robinson’s creations, he certainly had an ingenious way of looking at things. Although his time was much before it was founded, I think his cartoons could easily have found a home in Mad Magazine. Perhaps his novel way of looking at life provided inspiration to the cartoonists who followed …

As easy as Strutz is, and looks to be, I will say it can be a bit of a challenge to get the long strokes meeting up with the supporting “steps” when drawing the Strutz behind. Just sayin’. I had fun doing several versions of Strutz, I particularly like how it looks when Steps 1-3 are drawn with rounded “corners”, rather pipe-like. [Update: See Sarah’s tip in the comments below about drawing the “poles”.]

Sarah illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Strutz below and she features it in a whimsical Heath Robinson-esque duotangle with aura-ed Tipple bubbles trickling through their vise-like grip. Sarah’s shading on the bubbles gives some great texture to this piece.

Image copyright the artist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please feel free to refer to the step outs to recreate the tangles from this site in your Zentangles and ZIAs, or link back to any page. However the artists and reserve all rights to these images and they should not be publicly pinned, reproduced or otherwise republished. Thank you for respecting these rights.

Sarah also sent along this lovely Zendala with Strutz on chocolate-colored paper and a bit of Shiraz in the center black paper. In the caption Sarah explains how she constructed this piece.

“The paper I used for the circular example is cut from a large sheet of Daler-Rowney card (I think this one was called chocolate, which is probably why I picked it! 🙂 using a compass cutter, and then cutting a smaller circle from another colour and sticking the smaller one on using double-sided tape.”

And here’s an example combining Strutz with the Zentangle-original, ‘Nzeppel.

As you enjoy any of the tangles on the site, please do leave a comment of thanks and encouragement to show the artists you appreciate them for sharing their creativity to inspire yours.

Check out the tag sarahf for more of Sarah’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!
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32 comments to How to draw STRUTZ

  • Donna Dastrup

    Love the whimsical possibilities of Strutz. Thank you for sharing this delightful tangle.

  • Jody Genovese

    Congratulations Sarah! Love Strutz as it is so versatile and fits anywhere. You have created a great tangle. You know I am a fan! J# :o) Hope to see more of your creations.

  • Linda Dochter

    I was an engineer in my professional life. Still think like one in my artistic life. Strutz just may become my new mac ‘n cheese.

  • Jutta Gladnigg

    Sarah, I have always loved your strutz! So good that it has now found entry into!

  • joe kirby

    this is a great “steampunk” tangle.

  • Jennifer Sparrow

    Oh, wow! This is such a great tangle, Saffy! I love how you’ve used it in your tiles. (I think the first is my favorite. It’s just too funny!) Can’t wait to try it!

  • Dessie Arnold

    “Heath Robinson?? Oh goodie, another rabbit hole!”

    You are too funny, Linda! When she mentioned Heath Robinson, I made a mental note to Google the name, and then I got to your line, above. Made me laugh to know that others think this way too!

    Love your site and your emails with new tangles.

  • Joyce Blodgett

    What fun this is! I’m strongly reminded of the drawing lessons I took in the late 1980’s when Mark Kistler–remember “Commander Mark”?–had his television series. One thing Mark says in his books and on the former shows was if something doesn’t fit one way, put bends and curves into it so it fits in a different way. Since I seem to have a slight problem with visual alignment of the Strutz pipes, I chose to put a slight curve into them as I neared my connection; shades of Commander Mark, it works!

    I very much enjoy cartooning, have done so for nearly six decades, so this tangle pattern, coupled with my former instruction, is making for a truly fun project to work on 🙂

  • Sharon Jerkovic

    This is such a cute and fun tangle !

  • Denise Potter

    This looks like LOTS of fun! I especially like your examples where another tangle is being squeezed through strutz.

    I’m like Dessie Arnold, I was off to Google Heath Robinson until I read the next line. Great minds think alike!

  • Betsy

    Love it! Can’t wait to try it out. So very different and intriguing.

  • Sarah Fowler

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments…..hope you have fun with this 🙂

  • Sherry Gaillard

    I really like this one! Sort of industrial but can be combined with any others.

  • Hannah Rottman

    Thank you for Strutz. I too have a tremor and find tangling helps.

  • Many congratulations from Cologne Sarah! I like strutz very much because of its technical style…
    And I am with Jody: strutz is so versatile! You have created an inventive fun tangle…. 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing it : to you and to Linda! Best wishes, Nadine

  • Cheryl English, CZT 17

    Soooo much fun to draw this tangle. The possibilities are limitless. Thank you.

  • Rosemary Turpin

    To Dessie and Linda
    I too love Internet Rabbit Holes! You never know where you`re going to end up, except it`s almost always fifteen or more minutes later!

  • Candace

    Reminds me of a scene from Samson and Delila when Samson pulls down the temple columns. Thank you for a creative tangle.

  • Polly Martin

    Sarah, yea, I really enjoyed going down the rabbit hole of Heath Robinson, it all gave me smiles, and your tiles too, really a different take on Zentangle which has opened up new possibilities for me,, so THANKS, you done good dear.

  • Angie

    Awesome! SArah, I love the way your drawing of Strutz creates movement. I like them all but the Strutz & Nzeppel is wonderful with shading & highlights!

  • Gosh, Hollibaugh with a distinct vibe. Like it.

  • Very unique and a little bit steam punk. Delightful.

  • Wonton

    Brilliant tangle that adds dimension and quirky character! And, a bonus lesson involving one of England’s famous cartoonists. Perfect for Friday. 🙂

  • Congrats for this wonderful special but also easy tangle!
    I’m gonna use that pattern definitely

  • Sarah Fowler

    Wow! Thank you everyone. A little tip on how to draw the longer strutz so that they are in line when they get to the other end…..draw the pole first and just draw all the way till you are nearly at the end and then add the second lot of steps to fit 🙂 Happy tangling 🙂

  • Anna cheer

    Nice one Sarah. I particularly like the way you have combined the straight lines of Strutz with curvy lines of a second tangle. I am now reaping the benefit of commenting as, scrolling down to write this, I have found your tip re lining up the poles. Brilliant! Am now off to have another go as my first attempt has some distinctly kinked Strutz!

  • Jane

    Lucky me! Sarah comes to my Zentangle get togethers and inspires us all with her artwork – I can’t wait to try this tangle !

  • Terri Delaune

    I love this pattern and am thrilled that it was finally shared with the Tangling community. All your patterns delight and inspire me, can’t wait to see more. And thank you for the tangling tip and brief lesson on Heath Robinson, as well. Fabulous 🙂

  • Nancy Pearson

    Sarah- Your STRUTZ is wonderful! I have felt that some of my Zentangles needed something and this is the eye-catching spice that would be great. Thank you!

    And, thank you, as always to you Linda for all your hard work. I don’t understand what goes in to running a website but I imagine it is time consuming and sometimes grueling. So, thank you. Nancy

  • Joanna Quincey

    Fabulous, Sarah!
    Such a great ‘supporting’ tangle….very appropriate as Zentangle gives so many a ‘support in life’.
    I love Heath Robinson so will definitely be using Strutz.
    Thank you, Jo (Zenjo)

  • Saffy, since I first discovered Strutz a few months back, I discovered YOU on Zentangle Mosaic. Just now I decided to add it to a traveling tile I’m completing so went to this site to look up the stepouts and found you are the one who deconstructed this fabulous tangle!! BIG smile … It’s a great one and I thank you for sharing it. 🙂

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