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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Zentangle pattern: Paradox Reversed. 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.German tangler Anselm Peter joins us today and shares his tangleation of the Zentangle®-original Paradox, Paradox Reversed. This is his first tangle on the site.

After I mistakenly addressed my email to Peter and sent my apologies, Anselm replied,

don’t worry, even my German fellows are mixing up my first and my last name because “Anselm” is a very rare first name ;-).

By the way, it is an ancient German name, combined of two parts: “Ans” from the name of the ancient German gods and “Helm” like helmet and has the meaning “the one that is protected by the gods”. Not bad.

Anselm shares a little about himself and explains the inspiration for his tangleation:

I live in Berlin, Germany. In school I took the advanced courses mathematics and art. A strange combination but great for me. Then i began working as a software developer. But still i was looking for a non-technical hobby. Looking for years i was trying some kinds of fine art. And then I found Zentangle by chance.

I was looking for some pens for the children at an online shop and got an advertisement for Sakura pens. Went to them and got an information about a book on Zentangle. Got there and thought: Such beautiful small pictures. I read more on this kind of art and was electrified when reading about the ideas behind it. I bought some pens and papers … and that’s it. Since them i am tangling from time to time.

I discovered this pattern on a journey, having much time for Zentangle. I was reading the book “Zentangle Primer Vol. 1“. The chapter “More Tangles” told at Huggins: “Huggins illustrates two useful tangling techniques that we call alternate and mirror.”

I began playing with some well known patterns using alternate and mirror … i played with Paradox and added mirror by changing the direction on every round. And that’s it.”

Paradox Reversed really is a fun one to play with, but it can scramble your brain a little. What I found worked for keeping mine from looking like a scribble was this: when I was doing a 4-sided shape as in my example, I counted 4 strokes in one direction. Then at the end of the 4th stroke, you reverse the pen stroke’s direction and count/do 4 more strokes. And keep this up until you reach the center. Counting helped keep me from reversing direction too soon, or too late and both are easy to do.

Zentangle pattern: Paradox. 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.

The Zentangle-original tangle, Paradox.

Lots of possibilities for interesting effects with fills and shading … will Anselm’s Paradox tangleation launch more explorations?? (Margaret?) 😉

Anselm illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Paradox Reversed here on his blog where he includes a Paradox Reversed monotangle on a tile divided into 4 triangles. Update December 2022: Anselm’s blog appears to be blocked so until that situation is remedied here are his steps for your convenience.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern LParadox Reversed, tangle and deconstruction by Anselm Peters. Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. These images are for your personal offline reference only. Please feel free to refer to the images to recreate this tangle in your personal Zentangles and ZIAs. However the artist and reserve all rights to the images and they must not be publicly pinned, altered, reproduced or republished. (Small side note: if you look at the legalese in Pinterest, you are legally responsible for obtaining permission to post every photo that gets ‘Pinned’. Giving credit or sharing the source link doesn’t count.) Thank you for respecting these rights. Click the image for an article explaining what copyright means in plain English. “Always let your conscience be your guide.” ~ Jiminy Cricket

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. Your comment helps motivate them to continue to share.

I hope you know how much I appreciate you all for taking the time to stop by, and for participating in the comments!

Check out the tag anselmp for more of Anselm’s tangles on


"... And then some"

Canadian CZT Margaret Bremner has a wonderful series of tutorials she calls "... and then some" where she takes several Zentangle®-original tangles "on a wild ride of variations". Truly, you do not want to miss these creative and inspirational tutorials. Look for the links to Margaret's tutorials on these pages:  

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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7 comments to How to draw PARADOX REVERSED

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