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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw PETALS

Zentangle pattern: Petals. 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.Petals is a tangle I found on Boulder, CO calligrapher Lindsey Bugbee’s The Postman’s Knock website.

Lindsey has many distinctive and creative mail art tutorials as well as her calligraphy tutorials. And if you’ve been exploring around TanglePatterns at all, you will have learned that I am captivated by calligraphy.

When I get time away from emails and sifting, sorting, testing and writing about tangles, one of the sites I love to explore is Lindsey’s. I’ve been following her work for a long time and purchased several of her lettering exemplars and guides. I’m about to reacquaint myself with dip pen calligraphy using an oblique nib holder and Nikko G nibs. I can personally recommend Lindsey’s eBooks if calligraphy is a subject that interests you.

However, you don’t need an interest in calligraphy to enjoy exploring Lindsey’s site. In fact I think you might be happily occupied all weekend learning from the creative tutorials she’s shared.

Petals is a pattern Lindsey incorporated earlier this year in a Mother’s Day card and I think it’s a lovely simple idea for a tangle with just loads of potential for variation.

Thus, I’m adding Lindsey’s Petals design as a tangle (I’ve named) to our collection so you can enjoy playing with it as much as I am. As you can see from this practice run, it’s a blank slate for decoration and embellishment. I went minimalist for my example above and liked how the black dances the eye around the “tile” almost forming an abstract pattern of its own.

Lindsey often uses mail art as a mini calligraphy tutorial project and she writes,

I love envelope art because it requires minimal time commitment, and it gives you the opportunity to experiment with new lettering and art techniques. As an added bonus, your recipient will get something in the mail from you that makes them happy!

I thought we might coordinate the creative activity of making Zentangle-inspired mail art — #ZIMailArt  — and give it a home: Feel free to add images to this fledgling Flickr Group. Suggestion: ribbon-style tangles are a good starting point for simple and attractive envelope borders. (I’m scanning a few I’ve received and will add add them to the Group.)

In the instructions for her Petals card Lindsey writes,

draw clusters of petals throughout the card. While the petals in each cluster will be a different size, the points of all petals [in a cluster] will aim in the same general direction. …

None of the clusters should form a complete circle. Limiting the amount of petals in each cluster will keep this … from looking overly floral.

The result is a lovely abstract design that fits the definition of a tangle perfectly. Focusing on the size and placement of each petal is very absorbing in a Zentangle Method™ way.

Lindsey illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Petals here on her blog. Instead of the ink embellishments we use in Zentangle to fill the petals, Lindsey uses a black Gel pen and a damp watercolor brush to feather out the gel ink and fill them with very subtle shades of gray. Elegant result.

Here are some links to a couple of topics you might enjoy exploring on Lindsey’s site. Look for the “Categories” and “Tags” section in the right sidebar of her site for more topics to check out.

And you can meet Lindsey and learn more about her here.

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

Enjoy a creatively beautiful weekend! 🙂

Check out the tag lindseyb for more of Lindsey’s tangles on


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3 comments to How to draw PETALS

  • Very nice, thanks for the demonstration with watercolours, looks lovely!!!

  • Donna Lamoureux

    I love this idea! I send out birthday cards for an organization. I’m going to put my Zentangle on the envelope.

  • Anna

    Love this pattern and am delighted to find such a beautiful way to use all those pens and markers that I have bought and found to be non-waterproof. Sadly, it has never occurred to me to think of exploiting that fact rather being annoyed about it! Thank you, Linda, for introducing me to Lindsey’s lovely blog.

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