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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw EL-OH-EL

Zentangle pattern: El-oh-el. 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.Happy Monday y’all and here’s to a beautiful Spring or Fall week, depending on your hemisphere …

Ohio tangler Joan Stark is back today with her Spring-like El-oh-el tangle. Not unlike Abeko, but a little different, Joan notes it’s also similar to LO’s and Looby-Loo.

Joan has written a manuscript, so I’ll turn things over to her:

I work part-time as a pool supervisor at the local recreation center. I open the pool several days of the week clocking in before 5am. I’m on my own with the swimmers until 9am. I get some time to think and randomly draw on my notepad.

I was playing with circles and loops. I may have seen something funny and unconsciously wrote “lol”. This tangle is a story about the “lol”. I don’t think it’s possible to feel unhappy or down about anything while laughing out loud. So I felt very positive drawing this tangle and found myself smiling as I watched the lol-ing develop. I hope that this tangle does the same for other people.

I named it “EL-OH-EL”. lol

  • It starts easy enough with a row of medium-to-large orbs. These are the O’s.
  • Next I added a loopy cursive “L” between each of the orb starting at the BOTTOM of the orb. We now have lolololol’s.
  • Turn your paper upside-down and add more loopy cursive “L”s again starting again at the BOTTOM of the orb. Either way you look at it, you are ‘laughing out loud’ multiple times.
  • You can stop right there.. or continue.
  • To fill in empty spaces, I liked adding rice shapes on each side of the loopy “L”s — top and bottom.
  • And them embellish and shade as you like! And there are soooooo many variations.

The example in the step-out shows the tangle as a radial design in the center of the page. The rest of the example shows multiple lines of “EL-OH-EL” using some of the possible variations – different size orbs and loops, different spacing between lols, and lots of embellishments. See if you can find the “lol”s in each border sample!

Joan illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing El-oh-el below and she features it and a host of variations in a ZIA.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern El-oh-el, tangle and deconstruction by Joan Stark. 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, altered, reproduced or republished. They are for your personal offline reference only. Thank you for respecting these rights. Click the image for an article explaining what copyright means in plain English.

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Check out the tag joans for more of Joan’s tangles on

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  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.
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10 comments to How to draw EL-OH-EL

  • Sharon Jerkovic

    What a sweet and happy tangle!! Makes you smile!???

  • Patricia Cosiano

    Love it, Joan! Thanks for sharing.


  • Elaine Novak

    Must try it Joan. Thanks fo posting.

  • Joyce

    The finished tile Joan did makes me think of an entire audience laughing out loud at something very funny 😀

    A very happy-drawing tangle, and thank you, Joan, for giving us a fun and flexible flowing “fountain” of funnyk (i.e., lol)! Alliteration intended, just for the fun of it 🙂

  • Joyce

    OOOPS!!! Didn’t intend for the “k” to be at the end of the word “funny” in my previous comment; I think both hands were striking keys at once, but shouldn’t have been 🙁

  • Fun and smiling. Happy tangles always welcome.
    Thanks for the share.

  • Joan Stark

    Thanks for all the great comments. This tangle is meant to be fun and positive. Imagine “laughing out loud” with each stroke. 🙂

    I want to clarify that I *DO* watch my swimmers. I don’t want anyone to think that I neglect them in order to tangle. That would be unsafe. Instead of twirling my whistle, I let my pen do whatever it wants on a notepad– usually without looking at the result until later.

  • Bunny Wright

    What a fun tangle. It reminds me of when I used to teach cursive writing. I would teach lots of ‘pattern drawing’ as my class practiced their loops and circles, a happy memory of my teaching days. So sad that cursive writing is hardly taught now if at all!

  • This looks like big fun! Thanks for ALL the variation ideas … such a great invitation to play, and play, and play … 🙂

  • very relaxing and beautiful tangle to draw!

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