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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher

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How to draw CHAINMAILLE

Zentangle pattern: Chainmaille. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. 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.Hi there!

For those of us who aren’t busy finding super post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping deals, or for when you’ve wrapped those up for the day, here’s an easy tangle for you to explore.

Chainmaille is from Texas CZT Suzanne McNeill and it’s from her Zentangle 6 – Terrific Stencils and Cards booklet.

When we explored Suzanne’s Foghorn tangle recently I noted these tangles come from her multi-part series of booklets focusing on Zentangle®-inspired projects. “If you’re looking for inexpensive inspirational gifts to give, these booklets are a good range to choose from and help launch another Zentangle Zealot.”

According to Wikipedia, chainmaille “consists of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh. It was in common military use between the 3rd century BC and the 16th century AD in Europe, while continued to be used in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as late as the 17th century.”

Today making chainmaille or chainmail or maille jewelry is a fascinating handicraft with a lot of dedicated fans.

Chainmaille has applications in sculpture and jewellery, especially when made out of precious metals or colourful anodized metals. Mail artwork includes headdresses, decorative wall hangings, ornaments, chess sets, macramé, and jewelry. For these non-traditional applications, hundreds of patterns (commonly referred to as “weaves“) have been invented.

Here’s a small taste as an introduction … trust me when I tell you, this craft is a huge rabbit hole! (Note: video has music, no voice. Turn off sound if you prefer.)

As for Chainmaille the tangle … a little shading on the “over-unders” would look very good too.

Suzanne illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Chainmaille below. Fox Chapel Publishing (who hold the copyright) and Suzanne have graciously given me permission to post her copyright-protected images on TanglePatterns for your personal offline reference. Reposting/republishing is not permitted.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern Chainmaille, tangle and deconstruction by Suzanne McNeill. 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 TanglePatterns.com 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 suzannem for more of Suzanne’s tangles on TanglePatterns.com.

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And a gentle reminder: It’s that time of year: Please help me keep TanglePatterns online for another year?.

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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 TanglePatterns.com they must be submitted to me by email. In other words you have to let me know about them.

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 (not 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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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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Enhance your Zentangle experience while supporting TanglePatterns:

BRAND NEW ! TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2024 Edition

TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2024 Edition The 13th Edition of the TanglePatterns.com 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 TanglePatterns.com 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.
GIFT ORDERS FOR ANOTHER PERSON: To give the TANGLE GUIDE as a gift, visit this page to place your gift order.
If you're new to Zentangle® and tangling, my TanglePatterns.com 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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2 comments to How to draw CHAINMAILLE

  • Jenn Brayton CZT36

    As someone who owns custom made wearable chainmail, this tangle was perfect to explore haha I’ve been using it in the round on Zendalas and the tangle makes such a dramatic border <3

    And yes, learning about chainmail is fascinating! I’ve spent many an hour over the decades wallowing in the treasures of this metal form.

  • Rhiannon McKinstry

    I used to get my chainmail supplies from theringlord.com – they have a lot of great colours available, also multi packs, and they mark their AR. They also have a lot of great tutorials.

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