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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw BENIO

Zentangle pattern: Benio. 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.Today’s Benio tangle is from Japanese CZT Hiroko Matsuo and it’s her fourth excellent tangle on the site.

Yesterday Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Hiroko’s home country declared a state of emergency in large parts of Japan. This coronavirus is an insidious enemy we are all dealing with and fighting together around the world.

Hiroko writes,

Recently I’ve been staying home spending most of my time tangling. Tangling really helps me stand this situation. If I didn’t know Zentangle, I couldn’t stand this “stay home” situation. I guess many of you feel the same way.

Benio is pronounced rather like “bay-knee-o”.

It’s a grid pattern. In Japan we have had many old patterns for paper, cloth and kimono.

The original traditional Japanese pattern is called “Yagasuri” or “Yabane”. It is the pattern of the shaft of feathered arrows. 

As a tangle I named it after this strong woman in one of my favorite old comic/cartoon called “Haikara-san-ga-toru” or in English “Here comes Miss Modern” created by a manga artist Waki Yamato. Because every time I see this pattern I think of her, Benio, who was always in kimono (and hakama) with this pattern in purple and white.

This reference is rather new and not the same cartoon as the one I was watching when I was little. But it gives you the idea:

Here is Hiroko’s sample Benio tile …

I loved doing both versions of Benio and especially like the curvy, flowy version. I found in Step 3 if I drew double lines in the sections where I wanted the white space down the middle, it made it easier for me to preserve that white space while inking in on either side of the lines. If you get my drift …

Hiroko illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Benio below. “The original paper/cloth/kimono pattern is only using straight lines and rather two-dimensional without no shading, but as a tangle, I added some shading and tried curvy one as well. It’s a bit like Knightsbridge and can add drama to tiles.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern Benio, tangle and deconstruction by Hiroko Matsuo. 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. Thank you for respecting these rights. For more information, click on the image for the article “Copyrights and your blog.” “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” ~ Albus Dumbledore

Hiroko notes, “I was exploring Benio myself and found some variation. So here they are.

Variation 1 – At Step 2, instead of drawing a V between all pairs of lines, you can draw a V and an upside down V alternating.

Variation 2 – At Step 2, instead of drawing a V between all pairs of lines, you can draw Vs between two pairs of lines, and upside down Vs between the next two pairs of lines alternating.

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 hirokom for more of Hiroko’s tangles on


CNN correspondent Chris Cuomo explains “the secrets to kicking the Coronavirus” – this is so useful to know!

Many of us have watched New York Governor Cuomo in his excellent daily briefings while displaying the caring, compassionate and informed leadership sorely needed for our whole country.

Governor Cuomo’s brother Chris, a CNN correspondent, is recovering from Covid-19 and in this brief video (4:48) he explains his experience and “the secrets to kicking the Coronavirus” from advice given to him by a pulmonary expert.

This is one of the most powerful Public Service Announcements I’ve ever seen,” said my husband Robert when he alerted me to it. This is such important and useful information to know and to share with your friends and loved ones.

How NOT to wear a mask

And for good measure, see this article from The New York Times,How NOT to wear a mask“.

This is something I see people (including nearly every reporter on TV) doing all the time:

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they fidget with their masks, and pull them under their noses or completely off their faces to rest under their chins.

You should absolutely not be pulling up and putting down your mask while you’re out,” said Shan Soe-Lin, a lecturer at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. “If you’re going to go to the trouble of using a mask, leave it on.”

Why anyone would wear a mask and then pull it up and down to spread potential (deadly) germs from it all over themselves is a complete mystery to me.


And lastly, Laughter is the Best Medicine

Today’s smile is courtesy of another one of Joan Stark’s finds:

SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! for all of us in the community who don't do social media (there are many, including me) if you've seen something funny that "takes the mickey" out of our current sticky situation and you'd like to give a smile to your Zentangle friends, email the image (with credits if at all possible) to me ( using the subject line "Laughter is the best medicine" and I'll select the best ones to add to the upcoming posts for a while. Let's see what you've got!


Happy Passover

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.


How to submit your pattern to TanglePatterns

Everyone is invited to submit patterns, you do NOT need to be a CZT. In order for patterns to be considered for they must be submitted to me by email. In other words you have to let me know about them.

Be sure your submission isn't “a thing to draw” rather than a genuine pattern (“a repeated decorative design”).

From The Book of Zentangle:

Keep it Non-representational. Zentangle artwork is intended to be non-representational. Zentangle’s elemental strokes are also non-representational.

We don’t teach complex elements such as hearts, stars or flowers. Tangles are also non-representational.

Remember that tangles never start with pencil planning.

"A tangle has no pre-planning with pencil guidelines, grids or dots, no erased lines."

If you need a refresher on what makes a tangle, read the A PATTERN IS NOT ALWAYS A TANGLE page on the ZENTANGLES menu bar at the top of any page.

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:

    1. How to submit your pattern deconstruction to TanglePatterns, and
    2. Why hasn't my pattern been published?

The first page includes instructions on how to prepare and send your JPGs. (Please save me time and do not send PDFs). It also includes a link to this PDF submission form.

When your examples include additional tangles from the site, please list them in your email. (This saves me time and my memory some wear and tear.)

If your pattern is posted on your blog, attach your steps and tile JPGs to your email and be sure your email includes the direct URL so I can link to it.

And remember, to quote Zentangle's co-founders Rick and Maria: tangles should be "magical, simple and easy to create", non-objective patterns of repetitive strokes that are easy to teach and offer a high degree of success to tanglers of all ages.

"Keep the tangles as little like 'drawing something' as possible."



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