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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw CAISS

Zentangle pattern: Caiss. 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.Happy Friday y’all!

There’s a touch of cooler temperatures in the mornings now as we inch our way towards Fall. Here in the south we keep our eyes on the tropics to see what might be brewing out there. Checking NOAA’s National Hurricane Center site first thing each day is a way of life for us from June through November.

As you may or may not know, hurricanes are named alphabetically and we have yet to have our first — the “A” storm of the year. Lest we get too complacent with that thought this late into the hurricane season, and although it was 30 years ago we vividly recollect Hurricane Andrew‘s landing in South Florida at Homestead on August 24 in 1992. This monster Category 5 storm (>157 mph/252 km/h) was our first of the season. At that time Robert and I lived in Fort Lauderdale and even at 70 miles north of landfall our area was also severely affected as roofs were blown off and the landscape changed forever with many trees in the area blown down like matchsticks. Vivid memories, as I said. As I write this, all’s quiet in the Atlantic at the moment and we’re very grateful for that.

Today’s Caiss tangle is from Belgian CZT Ria Matheussen and it’s her 33rd tangle on the site!

Ria explains that she was inspired by seeing a picture of a little girl with a pinwheel.

I was thinking of forming a new tangle … So, I searched further and found a photograph of a stained glass with a kind of pinwheel on.

I started to draw and kept going on the whole Sunday. First I deconstructed the picture of the stained glass. Than I wanted to see what would happen when I multiplied it to form a grid because I never saw that before. I liked what was appearing on my paper and noticed a kind of spontaneous coffering technique (Caisson) by forming this small grid.

She also gives us detailed guidance for tangling Caiss

Maybe Caiss looks a bit difficult at first sight but in fact it is very easy. Take your time and draw slowly and relaxed, one stroke at the time, as Maria said.

In the third step, you can notice that I colored the triangles red. In fact, that is to make it easier and not be confused with all those strokes. I don’t fill these triangles with a pen but very lightly with a pencil.

In the fourth step I have drawn a square behind those triangles and created also more of them. The bigger ones are left white and the smaller ones are filled with a darker pencil. I finished in the fifth step with more small triangles that I filled with ink. It is nice to create some shadow for the final touch.

Caiss is very versatile: it looks good when you like to use only black/white (combination of pen/pencil) but it can give also a nice result when you will use colorpencils. I didn’t draw the tiny square in the middle but just a little tipple. Of course when you prefer a square that’s okay too.

Using more pencil (or ink) strokes like I did in the first drawing, gives a different result. I think there are several variations possible… And of course, Caiss can be a string too that can be filled with other fragments/tangles like I did in the third drawing.

We have several pinwheel-inspired tangles on the site including my very simple Gewurtz from way back when. Caiss actually reminded me in a way of Brad Harm’s Phicops.

Ria illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Caiss below, be sure to read her advice about Step 3 above. Ria also includes two Zentangles and a ZIA demonstrating different ways to  explore this engaging tangle.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern Caiss, tangle and deconstruction by Ria Matheussen. 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. (Small side note: if you look at the legalese in Pinterest, you are legally responsible for obtaining permission to post every photo that gets ‘Pinned’. Giving credit or sharing the source link doesn’t count.) 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

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 thanks helps motivate them to continue to share! And please share a link to your favorite tangles on social media. Thanks!

Check out the tag riam for more of Ria’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!
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18 comments to How to draw CAISS

  • Beatrice Aronas

    Very cool, intricate tangle! Thank you for sharing , Ria!

  • Jolanda Gentilezza

    Very nice! Congratulations

  • Susan Kelley Pundt

    Another super pattern, Ria!

    • Ria Matheussen

      There are several variations possible on this one dear Susan, I’m glad you like Caiss and hope you ‘ll have fun while playing with it. Thank you very much for your comment.

  • Deborah Davis

    This looks like a fun tangle to do. I like the looks of it too. Seems it will join my list of favorites.
    Thank you

    • Ria Matheussen

      That’s very kind of you to say so, thank you very much, you can achieve pleasant results by using different colors. Wish you succes.

  • Fun one Ria. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jody Genovese

    This is very lovely Ria. I like the layering pattern effect when you have multiples next to each other. It is easy to draw. It may be my favorite of yours so far.

    • Ria Matheussen

      What was appearing when I multiplied this tangle was also for me a nice surprise, I’m glad you like this one and thank you very much for giving such a nice feedback!!!


    A wonderful addition to our toolbox, Ria! I know it will be fun and relaxing to draw!

    • Ria Matheussen

      So glad to hear from you dear Jennifer. I hope everything is okay and I wish you fun while exploring this new tangle. Thank you very much for your nice compliment.

  • Ria Matheussen

    I’m grateful that I could add another one to this great database. There are already many tangles and it is not easy to find new ones anymore, but I think there are still little jewels, hidden and waiting to be discovered…Let’s go for it!
    Thank you very much dear Linda for this great source of inspiration for everyone and for publishing Caiss!

  • Priscilla Ware

    The goodness keeps coming! I am new and so I have a lot of learning to do and I am trying to get an organizational system going. The rest of my art projects are taking a back seat! I would love to learn how others are organizing their tangle instructions and samples.

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Hi Priscilla and welcome to TanglePatterns and the Zentangle art form! Many have shared their ideas in the comments section on the ORGANIZE YOUR PATTERNS page so be sure to check that out. You’ll find that page on the top menu bar on any page on the site. Enjoy!

    • Ria Matheussen

      Maybe a little addition to the advise of Linda:
      When you are totally new, it seems a lot that you have to know before beginning a tile. Maria Thomas has given a wonderful note: “anything is possible, one stroke at a time”. I have learned so much from the book the Zentangle PRIMER, just by following the described lessons in your own pace, step by step… I wish you succes!

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