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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw BLAW

Zentangle pattern: Blaw. 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.Black and white = Blaw.

Recently UK tangler Jem Miller (aka Ragged Ray) has been exploring tangles that don’t need pencil shading, and specifically the ones we have grouped together as notan tangles.

In her explorations she discovered Blaw, her seventh tangle on the site. Most recently we enjoyed exploring her Divi tangle.

Jem writes,

In brief Notan is a Japanese artistic technique that uses only black and white to create striking and varied images or patterns. It’s a style that lends itself to Zentangle. There are a handful of tangles that Linda at Tangle Patterns groups together under the tag of Notan – including a few Zentangle originals, of which we’re all familiar, and probably use quite often in our work.

Whilst Notan tangles look great in black on white tiles, they also delight on more colourful backgrounds. I prepared my backgrounds by blending three shades of Distress Inks (Crushed Olive, Peacock Feathers, Dusty Concord) on a piece of Strathmore Bristol Smooth.

I then cut this into two 4×4 and 4 2×2 tiles to fill a page in my binder. …

While I played with other Notan tangles I started to devise one of my own – loosely based on the structure of Bales.

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Blaw – named after a contraction of the phrase ‘black and white’.

Just a few steps to build the basic frame, and then fill as you desire.

Jem has kindly given me permission to share this variations image from her post to tempt you to imagine the further possibilities (which could also include pencil shading!):

Blaw variations by Jem Miller

Image © 2019 Jem Miller and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Jem illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Blaw here on her blog complete with some great tips and lovely examples of notan tangles together with Blaw.

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 jemm for more of Jem’s tangles on

Registration for the CZT35 seminar is now open!

CZT35 takes place April 26-29, 2020. Visit the ZENTANGLES > TEACHING ZENTANGLE > HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED ZENTANGLE TEACHER page on the top menu bar for more information and a link to the registration page for this certification seminar.

Registration for the CZT36 seminar (November 8-11, 2020) is not open yet, a link to its registration page will be added as soon as it is announced.

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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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.
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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


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