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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Tangle Refresher 220 – Tangles and tips for beginners, a random string and how to draw Festune, Wavlin, Tupuk, Tupi and Earjool Buried Treasure & Tangle RefreshersWelcome to 2021 AND the first TanglePatterns Tangle Refresher of the year!

I hope you had a lovely holiday season and are looking forward to a healthy, happy, brand new year of possibilities. My personal motto/mantra has always been “Expect Good Things” and that is one to hang onto these days!

Did my appearing early like this come as a bit of a surprise to you? Rest assured I’ve been working away on the TENTH edition of my TANGLE GUIDE and my goal is to have it ready for you a week from today (Friday, January 8th). I’ll announce when it’s available so if you aren’t already subscribed, be sure to sign up for the free email subscriptions so you’ll be notified.

HOWEVER, there are many newcomers to the Zentangle art form and this is the perfect Refresher for newbies and old hands alike to explore over the weekend. So off we go …

Tangle Refreshers are an occasional series presenting “buried treasure” from the site together with a random string and five tangle gems from the past to explore.

The contents of this article today — recommendations of tangles and some tips for newcomers to the Zentangle® art form — have become a bit of a tradition to start a new year.

The holiday gifting season always brings many new people to our worldwide Zentangle community. And then I get emails asking “which tangles should I start with?“. Which ones are good for Beginners?

While it’s true there’s a mind-boggling array of great tangles on the site, keep in mind as Rick and Maria say “Anything is possible … one stroke at a time.™” This applies to tangling and the mindful practice of deliberate stroke-making.

Getting started: tangles and strings

My personal advice to beginners is to start with what are often referred to as “the official tangles” — these are the Zentangle-originals (originating from Zentangle HQ) that are listed and linked on the top menu bar under ZENTANGLES > LINDA’S LIST OF OFFICIAL TANGLES.

You could create Zentangles for the next year with just a handful of the Zentangle-originals with instructions available from that list, together with the 250 free TanglePatterns Strings, and never get tired of playing with them and variations you come up with yourself.

From that list of Zentangle-original tangles, here are few that are perfect to get everyone tangling:

  1. Crescent Moon – with this tangle we learn the technique of the aura and it’s the classic starter tangle
  2. Hollibaugh – with this tangle we learn the technique of drawing behind
  3. Bales – a basic grid tangle that is almost infinitely variable and it’s a core official tangle
  4. Printemps – a fun tangle that helps practice pen control and one of the tangle enhancers, sparkle
  5. Cadent – with this tangle we learn the take-off-and-land technique, Cadent requires a little more focus than the first four but it’s another classic tangle that’s infinitely variable as you’ll see in CZT Margaret Bremner’s excellent tutorial linked on that page
  6. Ahh – so simple and can add a bit of lightness and movement to a tile

Another tip … for best results try to use up to 3 or 4 tangles at most in a tile, more than that and your Zentangle will probably look very busy.

Monotangles are also very popular, this is where you use one tangle (with or without variations) for a Zentangle. For explanations of these unfamiliar terms, see the ZENTANGLES > ZENTANGLE TERMINOLOGY page.

My TanglePatterns BEGINNER’S GUIDE to Zentangle also contains a longer list of tangles that are good for beginners but these few are a great start.

Just jump in and tangle! Zentangle tiles are designed to be small and manageable so you’re not overwhelmed. And as you do more and more of them you’ll be delighted to see your art improve with each one. Be sure to keep all your tiles, signed and dated, so in a few months time you can go back and see the visual evidence of just how far you’ve come.

In past iterations of this post, fellow tanglers shared some of their favorites. Here they are with thanks:

But Wait, There’s More!

Two more can’t miss, priceless and FREE resources here on the site are the two tutorials of the TanglePatterns Shading Mini-Clinics series. Everything you need to know about adding shading to your Zentangle art (tip: we ignore the art “rules”) is in two easy step-by-step tutorials:

  • Part 1 – by Marizaan van Beek, CZT
  • Part 2 – by Sandy Steen Bartholomew, CZT

Please feel free to share your tips/advice to all our new tanglers in the comments!


Many tanglers like to use these occasional Tangle Refreshers as their Zentangle® challenge-of-the-day.

This TanglePatterns String was selected for today – either to go with today’s Buried Treasure or just to use as a starting point for your day’s tangling. The RANDOM TANGLE SELECTOR in the left sidebar makes it simple to choose a String-of-the-Day from the 250 free strings in our resource. Or just click on the STRINGS tab in the pink alphabetic tangle menu bar and choose one at random yourself.

Think of this as your tangle Challenge, if you’re so inclined. TanglePatterns String 033 is from CZT Esther Piszczek and was originally posted here.

TanglePatterns String 033

Right click and SAVE to your computer; then print. Pinning or republishing content from this site is not permitted. Copyright notice is posted on the bottom of every page. Thank you for playing nice and respecting these rights.

Remember that Zentangle strings are always drawn freehand in pencil so that they magically disappear when you’ve finished tangling the tile.

A string is a simple device to “divide your drawing surface into sections to be filled with tangles“. Or even leave blank sections if that takes your fancy.

In THE KEY “only one you need” Zentangle book for your library, the Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1 (now available in paperback for $23.95, or as an instant download Kindle Edition $9.99) there’s an entire section devoted to Strings which in part explains:

As you tangle, your strings disappear as if by magic. This adds to the charm and unified appearance of your completed art.

If you had used a pen to draw your string, you would still see the initial sectioning in your completed creation.

Strings are not intended to be the focal point of your tile, Zentangles should not look like coloring book drawings.

More String advice from The Book of Zentangle (now available in paperback for $19.95):

A string is a useful reference, but it is not an impenetrable barrier. Practice going outside your string. It will help increase your ability to think outside the box.

To download eBooks containing all 250 TanglePatterns Strings, visit the STORE > EBOOKS page.


The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from the past for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too.

BTW as you visit these tangles please do leave a comment of thanks and encouragement to show the artists you appreciate them for sharing their creativity to inspire yours. And please share a link to your favorite tangles with your followers on all your social media. Thanks!

Zenful tangling!

Buried Treasure from the tangling past
Zentangle pattern: Festune. 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. Festune
Zentangle pattern: Wavlin. 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. Wavlin
Zentangle pattern: Tupuk. 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. Tupuk
Zentangle pattern: Tupi. 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. Tupi
Zentangle pattern: Earjool. 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. Earjool
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 191

More good stuff …


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4 comments to Tangle Refresher 220 – Tangles and tips for beginners, a random string and how to draw Festune, Wavlin, Tupuk, Tupi and Earjool

  • Ken Hazel

    i have really enjoyed the 12 days of zentangle project 2020. I did try most of them. I look forward to doing some more during this year. Thanks for sharing.

  • Debbie Turner

    Thank you for supplying us with a wealth of tangles and strings. I look forward to dipping in and out of tangles and strings during the coming year. Happy New Year everyone.

  • Terri Young, CZT16

    I read this post this morning instead of skimming it. What a great way to start the new year with reminders of things we may have forgotten about. I use your sight as a major reference when I am tangling and need an idea. I appreciate all the work that you put into TanglePatterns. Thank you

  • Barbara K

    I too read this entire post, instead of skimming! . Boy a wealth of great information. Today I’m ordering and downloading the Tangle Guide 2021. First time order. What a lovely way to assist Linda in maintaining this site.


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