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How to draw HOKUSAI

Zentangle pattern: Hokusai. 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.Another very happy Monday to you as the month of August trucks us onward towards Fall …

Today’s fun tangle Hokusai is from Japanese CZT Sayomi Koike and it’s her first on the site. Hokusai is a surprisingly versatile tangle composed of simple repeated strokes.

The wave-like motif of Hokusai was undoubtedly inspired by the “internationally iconic” woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849),

“a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Born in Edo, Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”

By After Katsushika Hokusai - Restored version of File: Great Wave off Kanagawa.jpg Public Domain,Sayomi is from Ichinomiya, Aichi, Japan. She writes,

I discovered Zentangle® two years ago when I was taking care of my father who was suffering from dementia. Sadly, my father passed away but I’m still tangling even after he left us. He loved drawing, so it’s like he has left me Zentangle. Whenever I draw on a tile, I remember him.

I came up with this tangle I call now “Hokusai” just after I discovered Zentangle. At that time, I didn’t know that there were so many tangles that people came up with.

Even only with the basic and simple version of Hokusai, your tile will be lively/dynamic but this Hokusai could be very useful when you want to emphasize other tangles as well.

Hokusai is very easy to draw. First, you draw big and small U-letters and between the letters you draw V-shapes that connect the U-letters. You’ll get a dynamic Hokusai then. Hokusai is a wonderful tangle whose variations can be unlimited!

(My friend translated this text from Japanese to English. Thank you! )

Zentangle pattern: Hokusai. 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.Hokusai is an interesting and easy tangle that works well as a ribbon-style design and an unusual frame, in addition to the gem-like version Sayomi presents and on which I fashioned my main example.

Sayomi illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Hokusai below and she features it with several variations in a dynamic duotangle with the Zentangle-original Onamato.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern Hokusai, tangle and deconstruction by Sayomi Koike. 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. “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!

Check out the tag sayomik for more of Sayomi’s tangles on

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For details on how to submit your pattern for consideration visit the SUBMIT YOUR PATTERN page on the top menu bar of any page on the site. On that menu you will find these two pages:

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The first page includes instructions on how to prepare and send your file. It also includes a link to this PDF submission form - NOTE: be sure to right click the link to download the file. I've recently updated the form with more information so if you have an old copy, you might like to download the current edition.

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12 comments to How to draw HOKUSAI

  • Margaret

    This is fabulous!

  • Excellent stepout! Reminds me of part of Icanthis from ZTHQ. Drawing it as a continuous line rarely gives these sharp results! I look forward to drawing this one. Thank you, Sayomi!

  • I like this one a lot – really appeals to my jagged and graphic style. Thanks for sharing Sayomi and Linda!

  • Ilomay T.

    I’ve always loved that wave picture. My imagination is going wild in my head!

  • I like your tile and especially the pattern Hokusai that plays the leading role!!! Thanks for sharing

  • Bunny (Frances) Wright

    Our son was a technician for a children’s art show on Canadian TV that featured this beautiful art piece as the show started. The show was called ‘Pirates’. I love the fact the it was the inspiration for this tangle! Super!

  • Joyce Bruns

    This is beautiful, Sayomi, thank you for sharing it. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father.

  • Melena

    I love Japanese art, and this tangle definitely embodies it. My Mother has a few Japanese prints that were from her brother who lived in Japan for a few years. My Father also had dementia, so I understand what you were going through. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Debra Huff

    This is wonderful!

  • Raya B

    Looking forward to working with this.

  • Joan

    So good! “Mistakes” are not possible. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jill Barber

    Konnichiwa Sayomi. I’m sorry to hear about your father. I’m glad you are carrying on tangling in his memory. So much of your post brought back fond memories of my time in your lovely country in 1984. Your tangle is beautiful. Thank you. I took four 11 year old children to a C.I.S.V. International camp at Chukyo University in the Aichi Prefecture. The goal of the camp was world peace with children from 13 different countries. All of the leaders were given a print of this famous picture by Hokusai. I look forward to playing with this tangle some more. Happy tangling.

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