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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw SKELTER

Zentangle pattern: Skelter. 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.Norwegian tangler Debbie Raaen shares her Skelter tangle with us today and while it’s our 39th heart tangle, it’s her first on the site. Debbie writes that she’s coming to Providence RI in June to attend CZT#30.

Skelter starts out somewhat like its inspiration, Livia Chua’s Hearty — and BTW Livia’s tangle isn’t constructed the way you might assume by looking at it! Livia has a unique way of constructing a chain of heart shapes that is more Zentangle-like than “drawing a heart”.

First let’s have a look at Debbie’s beautiful Renaissance Tan tile featuring Skelter with the Zentangle®-originals Fescu and Scena. Lots of movement and texture going on here and a fine example of highlighting with white charcoal pencil, and the sparkle tangle enhancer.

Debbie introduces herself and describes how her tangle and its name came about:

I live just north of Trondheim in Norway with my Norwegian husband, but was born in London England. I have been hooked on tangling for a couple of years now and especially after joining the Mosaic App in September 2016. Loads of lovely people on there!

I have booked for the CZT seminar #30 this June and am really looking forward to being with like-minded people as Zentangle is fairly unknown it seems here in Norway. No CZT’s as yet I believe!

I was playing around with Livia Chua’s Hearty and this tangle emerged. It reminded me of a Tube slide like you can find at a playground which in turn reminded me of holidaying in Southend-on-Sea. (A seaside town on the estuary of the Thames where we used to go each summer.) There is a permanent fairground there called Adventure Island and when I was young there was an old fashioned version of the tube slide called a helter skelter. I thought Skelter would be a fun name for a tangle. Hence the name.

This tangle is fun because you can create a lot of depth with shading which is one of the things I love about this type of tangle.

It starts off with a stack of hearts and by auraing on every other heart, snakes it’s way upwards. To finish the tangle at the bottom I just drew a circle and aura-ed it instead of the heart. This was what triggered the memory of the helter skelter as it reminded me of sliding off the end of the slide.

Skelter can also be used as a single heart shape by continuing the aura around the heart and in 3’s or 4’s as in the tiles.

Here’s another of Debbie’s Zentangle tiles with Skelter and “with gems, enyshou, bales and festune.

Debbie illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Skelter below where she features it in a lovely tile with the Zentangle-original Finery and sprinkles of the recently named Therefore (aka Tri-dots).

How to draw the Zentangle pattern Skelter, tangle and deconstruction by Debbie Raaen. Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please feel free to refer to the steps images to recreate this tangle in your personal Zentangles and ZIAs, or to link back to this page. However the artist and reserve all rights to these images and they must not be publicly pinned, reproduced or republished. They are for your personal reference only. Thank you for respecting these rights. Click the image for an article explaining copyright in plain English.

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.

Check out the tag debbier for more of Debbie’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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