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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw XLNT

Zentangle pattern: Xlnt. 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.It’s Friday. And it’s November. And we’re so near Election Day on Tuesday after an emotionally exhausting 650 days.

It would be nice to think all the vile political ads will go away after Tuesday, but with 2020 elections looming that’s such wishful thinking. There’s no getting way from it.

Unless you tangle.

Today’s XLnt tangle sure is a fun one to while away some down time in exploration. It’s great aura practice too.

XLnt is another excellent (!) tangle from NY CZT Jody Genovese who recently shared her Wigwag and Twilight tangles with us. XLnt is her 7th on the site. Jody writes,

It seems like I go in spurts with patterns. Many times they come about when I am trying to learn a new one and am practicing in my journal. I’m sure that is the case for many of us. I’ve always loved the flow of the cadent style tangle and this is in that family.

Naming is always the next tricky thing and one of the images made me think of Medusa. I was going to try and do a fun spin on that, but when I looked up some of the images they were just too creepy so I went with my first choice which is XLnt.

I included a few variations on Bijou tiles to show that:

  • it can fit into any shape with auras
  • can be done wonky with unevenly spaced black pearls
  • can be chunky with extra auras
  • and can also have extra ‘arms’ added once the initial shape has been created for a blossom style.

XLnt is very flexible, it can begin with any number of black orbs/pearls with even or uneven spacing in Step 1. In the examples below, the first on the left is what I started with to create my main example above, adding “extra arms” as Jody just described and then some Crescent Moon bits peeking out from behind. The other two were practice rounds, just exploring and trying to get my trick thumb to cooperate on the curves …

Zentangle pattern: Xlnt. 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 Cadent has so many potential variations, it’s certainly a fun tangle to explore and you can find a list of all the tangleations on the site by visiting the Cadent page.

Jody illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing XLnt below with the tiles she describes. The important thing to remember with XLnt is where you start the auras at Step 3. The first set of auras go on the side where the orbs are “facing”, if that makes sense – see the closeup below. And as Jody points out at Step 4, “Keep turning to the right. 3-4 auras looks nice, but experiment for different effects.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern XLnt, tangle and deconstruction by Jody Genovese. 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. For more information, click on the image for a discussion entitled “Artists for Respect” by several prominent artists. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” ~ C.S. Lewis

(BTW – am I the only one who gets a craving for Lindsay black olives whenever a tangle includes those little black orbs? Here’s me: “Step 1: tangle some black olives … “) 😉

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!

Check out the tag jodyg for more of Jody’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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15 comments to How to draw XLNT

  • Joyce Blodgett

    Intriguing tangle! It took me a minute of head cocking to see how to properly aura the orbs after the initial drawing was begun, but now I see it’s quite easy 🙂

    It also took me a second to read the name of the black olives correctly because at first, even though I’m familiar with that brand, I read it as “Lindsay Black” olives; a second or two later, I thought, “No, silly! She’s asking about Lindsay (brand) Black Olives!”
    Just a chuckle for a gray day 😀

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Glad you got a smile, Joyce, and its nice to know “someone” actually reads the whole thing! 🙂

      As far as XLnt goes, I think the thing to remember at Step 3 when you begin the auras is to start on the side the black olives are facing, if you get my drift. It’s a fun one to explore.

      Update: I edited “Lindsay Black Olives” to lower case, that might help avoid similar confusion.

  • OK, OK continuing on the olive theme…I laughed out loud..YES, I too, read the whole thing and I love these posts as well as olives. Thanks for the chuckles and also to Jody. I like tangles that offer many variations….not unlike the range of olive variations at my local deli. Now I’m hungry!!

  • Tomàs Padrós

    Senior level tangle. High quality. Fascinating. Congratulations Jody.

  • Very nice, love anything with a cadent beat to it. Will be a fun one to explore.

  • Jutta Gladnigg

    eXceLlent and inventive use of aura! Great pattern, Jody! Love it!

  • Dessie Arnold

    I read the whole thing, too, and knew what you meant. If we didn’t think of black olives before when we saw or tangled these black orbs, we will now! This was especially funny to me, because I’ve been trying to get my Dewd to look right, and have drawn a number of the black orbs recently!

  • This one is really cool. It can look very ordered or very whimsical. I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

  • Linda Dochter

    Does anyone else see faces (sort of) in Jody’s round string or is it just me?

    • Dessie Arnold

      Yes Linda Dochter, the faces remind me of that emoticon that looks like a winking face with a finger close to the closed eye.

      • Linda Dochter

        I knew it, Dessie Arnold. ! I know classic Zentangle is nonrepresentational but as I turn my tile, I often see faces and flowers and all kinds of stuff I did not put there intentionally. Sometimes I shade specifically to bring them out. Anyhow, fun.

  • Joan

    What a nice tangle! It makes me feel so clever. Thank you Jody. You are truly the clever one!

  • Bette Abdu

    Another nice tangle from Jody! Bravo!

  • Jasmine Jehangir

    I am overdosing on ‘Black Olives’! 🙂 what a fantastic way to have echo Zen!

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