How to sign up for a free subscription - never miss a tangle!
What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


All contents of this website are Copyright © 2010 - 2023 Linda Farmer,, and artists where named. Copying content in any form other than for your own personal offline reference and inspiration is expressly prohibited. No content may be reproduced, pinned or republished without express written permission. This work is not allowed to be used in training AI systems. Commercial use of any content is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Artists for Respect
Your support helps keep TanglePatterns available!


Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TANGLE GUIDE to help you select tangles. See Pages 7 and 9 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings: simply pop in any number in the range of 1 to 250.



How to draw SHIRLEY

Zentangle pattern: Shirley. 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.Yep, he’s baaaack …

Today’s Shirley is another cool tangle from Spanish tangler Tomàs Padrós who most recently shared his extruded mesh Fontana tangle with us.

He also shares two beautiful Zentangle tiles featuring his tangle.

Shirley, he explains,

has the appearance of a double helix that reminds me of two linked confetti ribbons or also ringlets, like those of Shirley Temple, the child actress of the 30s. That’s why I’ve named it Shirley. I love the classic movies.

By Charles Lamont – Glad Rags to Riches, Public Domain.

Tomàs gives some tips:

“In the first step it is important to draw the two directions of strokes symmetrically, opposite each other.

We join the two series of segments diagonally.

I like to decorate Shirley with a linear motif because it reinforces its depth and rhythm but I do not consider it necessary if we want a more minimalist look.

In the first example, I show Shirley dancing with Sea Wave and Sez.”

Shirley is like an advanced version of CZT Sue Jacobs’s Coil. If you’re a member of the Zentangle® Mosaic app, last week Rick and Maria posted a KTT video inspired by a photograph they had taken in the Egyptian section of the Metropolitan Museum. In the video Rick tangles a somewhat similar concept to Shirley where he combines “Hollibaugh & Auraknot”. In the case of the video, the “cross bar” over-and-unders are paired, if you get my drift. Coincidental timing.

Tomàs illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Shirley below, noting “In this example we see Sez, and Sea Wave once again and Afterglo, Jonqal, Fleavy and Strircles also invited to the party.

How to draw the tangle pattern Shirley, tangle and deconstruction by Tomàs Padrós.

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

I was confused by an optical illusion

When I first attempted my example of Shirley, I compared Tomàs’s Steps 1 and 2 above and could not see how it followed his own instruction: “In the first step it is important to draw the two directions of strokes symmetrically, opposite each other.”

I emailed Tomàs to ask him about this and he kindly took the time to create this diagram:

However, before I received his reply I thought I could explain my confusion better if I used his original steps to demonstrate what I meant. So I got out my ruler and a pen with blue ink. And to my utter astonishment, the strokes in Steps 1 and 2 do align exactly the way he instructs. It was just an optical illusion of his example on a diagonal that had my eyes/brain completely confused.

Net result: I used a straight line version for my example to avoid further illusion-confusion. 🙂

FWIW, I offer two suggestions for creating Shirley. The first is that using dots to determine spacing/placement for the paired strokes in Step 1 – à la Coil – can be useful. The second is that the “take off and land” technique really helps join up these segments a little more smoothly than simply stopping where the strokes meet.

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 tomasp for more of Tomàs’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.


Enhance your Zentangle experience while supporting TanglePatterns:

CURRENT EDITION! TANGLE GUIDE, 2024 Edition TANGLE GUIDE, 2024 Edition The 13th Edition of the TANGLE GUIDE is an instant-download 109-page interactive digital eBook/PDF containing approximately 2,000 tangles on the site from May 2010 through December 31, 2023. It's a great resource and a must-have digital tool for using the site. Visit the STORE > E-BOOKS page and help keep going by getting your copy now!

"Linda, Thank you! I was relying on too few and getting stuck after 3 years of daily working with Zentangle. This has inspired me to ‘begin again’ with renewed excitement." ~ Barbara R.

See the BOOK REVIEWS page for more details on its features and view a sample page. Note: this is a digital product you download immediately when you place your order, nothing will be physically mailed to you.
GIFT ORDERS FOR ANOTHER PERSON: To give the TANGLE GUIDE as a gift, visit this page to place your gift order.
If you're new to Zentangle® and tangling, my BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ZENTANGLE is just what you need to get started. Also available en Français and en Español.

Zentangle Primer Volume 1 This is the only Zentangle book you'll ever need: the fabulous Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1. It's your CZT-in-a-book by the founders of Zentangle®. Visit the STORE tab on the top menu bar or click on the image. For more about the content and to read the rave reviews, visit the BOOK REVIEWS tab.
NEW! Now available in KINDLE format for $9.99. Spanish Edition here. Japanese Edition here.
"Absolutely the best Zentangle Book yet! As an accomplished artist I used to think I did not need instruction on this art form. How wrong I was! My tangling improved by leaps and bounds after reading this book. If you think you have Zentangle down then you need this book more than ever!" ~ Kris H


11 comments to How to draw SHIRLEY

  • Jody Genovese

    I had to read and re-read this a couple of times to understand whether the lines should line up or be offset. After seeing Linda’s blue lines I am amazed at the illusion this creates. Having said all that I really love this pattern. I am such a fan of coil so I know I will love trying this one out too. As always thank you for your generosity Tomàs. Fantastic!

    Thank you Linda for your input as well. It really helped.

  • Thanks Tomas and Linda. I must say the optical illusion of this one is quite challenging. Had to play with it several times before I felt like I might get it. Will be an interesting play for a while on this snowy afternoon.

  • Tomàs Padrós

    Thanks for your excellent work, Linda. The anecdote of your check with the ruler and the blue pen is great. And very visually didactic. And you add some very interesting tips. You take care of all the details! Many thanks

  • I LOVE your name for this one, Tomàs! Very creative. 🙂 I saw this tangle in some of your work just recently but hadn’t gotten around to figuring it out yet, so Linda, thanks for posting it! Wonderful cousin to Sue’s Coil.

  • Thanks Tomas for the beautiful new pattern Shirley. And many thanks to Linda for suggesting the dots to create parallel lines. After some five practice times, I understood the optical illusion of this tangle and finally cracked it. Now, I am so glad and happy for the way this tangle got created.

  • Mary D'Angelo

    Thank you Thomas! I have a handy place I keep my very favorite pattern Creators creations and you have a growing section there. I had natural “Shirley” curls when I was a child and am much happier to have them in this format, on paper! Mary

  • Judy Stough

    I love a challenge and have struggled with this pattern. This makes me all the more determined to learn it and then to practice it until I get it right. The comments and information here are quite helpful. It is comforting to know I have not been alone in my challenges with “Shirley”.

  • Jean

    Oh wow, I was just telling hubs that steps 1 and 2 were different and was trying to figure it out and then scrolled down. Glad it wasn’t just me being a hamster brain! Thanks for the clarification!

  • Kristi Berg

    Tomas, you are such an inspiration!! Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful new additions to the Zentangle world. I am so happy that you have joined us – you are a superstar!!!
    Linda, thank you for the extra attention and information. You are such a blessing.

  • Jolanda Gentilezza

    Tomás Padrós? He is a must, without a doubt! and very challenging…

Leave a Reply to Jan Brandt, CZT Cancel reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.