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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1

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HARDCOVER $49.95 US plus shipping. SOFTCOVER $23.95 US plus shipping.

UPDATE APRIL 2020 – the Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1 is now available as an instant-download Kindle ebook here on Amazon! Just $9.99. Be sure to get the free Kindle app too. Now available as a Kindle eBook in Spanish here, and in Japanese here.

Zentangle Primer - Volume 1Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1 is the second book from the founders of Zentangle®, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, released on March 6th, 2016. It’s been two years in the making and the attention to detail shows.

I just received my copy! As you might expect, it’s so full of beautiful eye candy. And this time it’s all in Zentangle black and white (except for the color endpapers), which to me IS Zentangle.

As Rick writes,

Working solely on white tiles with black ink, this book digs deep into the fundamentals of the Zentangle method and teaches the techniques and tools you need to take your Zentangle practice where you want …

Our desire in creating this tome was that your copy will eventually have tattered corners, well-worn pages, and hand-drawn notes in its margins. A book that has been loved and used. It will become your go-to book of all things Zentangle.

This book is an ‘old-world’ instructional that is simple in its delivery but with enough information to gently guide the novice, or enlighten the master. Whoever reads this, will find what they seek. Hidden in the margins and borders and exemplars are inspirations. Each time you leaf through its folios, you will find something new to spark your creativity. Each time you study it, you may find yourself going just a bit beyond what you previously thought possible.

Working solely on white tiles with black ink, this book digs deep into the fundamentals of the Zentangle method and teaches the techniques and tools you need to take your Zentangle practice where you want.”

As I leaf through the latest Zentangle gem, here’s what I find …

First the basic premise:

Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1 is intended to be a companion book to The Book of Zentangle and it is the same size and coffee table format as the first book. “It is the same dimensions with 187 pages of step-outs, tangles, and text in hardbound format.”

Right away I want to point out — because I’ve already been asked — that the tangles included in the book are established ones that are publicly available and are here on You can find all of these from the links on this page, or by using the pink alphabetical tangle index on any page.

  1. Crescent Moon
  2. Hollibaugh – “(pronounced: haul’-a’-baw’)
  3. Printemps
  4. Florz
  5. Shattuck
  6. Jetties
  7. Bales
  8. Bronx Cheer
  9. Striping
  10. Tipple
  11. Rixty
  12. Flux
  13. ‘Nzeppel
  14. ING
  15. Cadent
  16. Huggins
  17. Paradox
  18. Zinger
  19. Munchin
  20. Tripoli
  21. Auraknot
  22. Fengle

However, this book is not about the tangles. The tangles are an assist and an enhancement to teaching about everything Zentangle and taking your practice to new levels of creativity.

What’s very different here is that Rick and Maria take you step-by-step through every tangle and give detailed instructions on how to shade each one and show a multitude of ways to vary each. They give helpful suggestions as you go along and then exercises at the end to “help you take what you’ve learned ‘to heart’.” And there’s so much more …

This is “the meaty part” of the Table of Contents with my notes of each chapter’s content:

  • Foreword – a lovely personal account by Maria’s daughter, CZT Molly Hollibaugh, of her first reactions when her parents shared their discovery of Zentangle, trying to do “her own thing”, and learning to let go of her need to control the process
  • Introduction – why this book is called a PRIMER
  • Zentangle Method – the beginnings of Zentangle, the elemental strokes, the Ceremony of Zentangle, the 8 basic steps, characteristics of the Zentangle Method and Artform, benefits of a Zentangle Practice
  • Lesson 1 – Your First Tile – entering the practice from the perspective of a “newbie”, includes the first 4 tangles listed above giving a little background about the tangle itself then taking you step-by-step through its creation, giving tips and exploring various aspects of each tangle; Exercises 1 through 3
  • Lesson 2 – Your Next Tile – includes tangles 5-7 listed above and similar tips and guidance as included in Lesson 1, introducing the concept of drama tangles, interstices, meta-patterns, insights and exercises; Exercises 4 through 6
  • Lesson 3 – String Theory – origins of the Zentangle string, how to create strings, how to use strings; Exercises 7 through 10
  • Lesson 4 – Shading – why shade? shading tips and techniques; Zentangle’s “total disregard of light source”; Exercises 11 through 13
  • Lesson 5 – No Mistakes – challenges, tangling techniques for the unexpected; Exercises 14 through 17
  • Lesson 6 – More Tangles – includes tangles 9-22 above, and all about tangle enhancements and advanced tangling concepts like linking tangles, layering tangles, and tangleations; Exercises 18 through 22
  • Lesson 7 – Reticula and Fragments – new terms, reticula is a new term for our underlying inked grids and there are 30 examples of new ones; fragments are what we once knew as seeds for grid tangles, with loads of examples and ways to “grow” new tangles from 4-sided, 3-sided and orb fragments used to fill reticula; Exercises 23 through 27. This is the chapter where seasoned tanglers will find plenty of food for tangle-y thought. [Addendum: the more I think about this section, the more mind-boggling it is. Oh, the tangle possibilities!]
  • Lesson 8 – A Zentangle Practice – tips and advice [including a mention of TanglePatterns on page 132 🙂 ], and observations from Maria and Rick, each describing their own personal Zentangle practice
  • Appendix A – Resources and Information
  • Appendix B – Glossary – Zentangle definitions from its founders
  • Notes – “A behind-the-scenes conversation about some of the images and stories in this book.”  Fascinating!! Includes a new Zentangle-original tangle Ravel that we’ve yet to see steps for. And one or two more “as yet unnamed” tangles inspired by museum visits.

And in case anyone besides me notes it, tortillion is also spelled tortillon. I use the first version, R&M use the second and provide both in the Glossary.

I think it’s wonderful to have all of this information about Zentangle available publicly, directly from the source. I’ve noticed over time many tanglers (and even some published books about Zentangle) have strayed from the fundamental concepts or perhaps they just misunderstood them in the first place.

Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1 should set the record straight so everyone, CZTs and non-CZTs alike, are communicating in the same language and a full understanding of the same basic Zentangle concepts.

And learning (or re-learning) to develop their Zentangle Practice armed with a delicious volume of beautiful images and encouraging words to take your practice to new levels of creativity.

Somehow I can’t imagine myself writing notes in the margins of this beautiful book, as intended by Rick and Maria. But you never know.

Whether you’re a seasoned tangler or a total novice new to the concept, you will love and treasure this book of the basics of Zentangle and much, much more.


Enhance your Zentangle experience while supporting TanglePatterns:

CURRENT EDITION! TANGLE GUIDE, 2024 Edition TANGLE GUIDE, 2024 Edition The 13th Edition of the 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 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 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


13 comments to Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1

  • Linda Farmer, CZT

    I’ve just received my copy of the brand new “Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1”, and here’s a first blush look at its contents.

  • Julie

    Thanks, Linda. It looks like a great book. Mine’s supposed to be arriving tomorrow. I can’t wait!

  • LorRaine Stoltz, CZT 16

    I got mine yesterday. It, Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1, is awesome, well written, well explanation, well designed, and everything. When I got it yesterday afternoon, I could not wait to read and I read it through all last night. EXCELLENT BOOK!! Im looking forward to Vol 2 and more.
    Thanks Maria and Rick.

  • Wow, this is a wonderful book. Beautifully written by Rick and Maria. The new Reticula and Fragments section is stunning and is going to be an exciting addition to the Zentangle Art Form. The Notes section is so fun. Love the behind the scenes comments about the images in the book. It goes without saying, that the Bijou interjections and sidebars are refreshing and delightful. I’ll be studying this book for a long, long time. It is a true Gem. I hope every serious Tangler gets a copy of this book.

  • I love my book! I love that the cover is made from same green fabric as the box kit! As I love how meaty this book is- chock full of words and is good for novice and expert alike.

  • Carol Mais

    Beautiful book! Loaded with inspiration and valuable advice for beginners thru advanced Zentanglers.

  • Cindy Hernandez CZT

    What an absolute joy of a book. I can’t give enough praise for the love and thoughtfulness that went into the creation of what is now my favorite of all the Zentangle books that I have on my shelves (and I have a lot!). This book gently guides you from the basics of what we may have forgotten or drifted from right into new exciting territory. What a wonderful gift to the Zentangle community. Thank you again to Maria and Rick!

  • Sue Zanker

    I received my new Zentangle book just before the weekend, so nothing much got done, because once I started reading it, there was no stopping. Absolutely joyful! Everybody, including you Linda, have summed it up so well, I can’t think of anything to add. I knew it would be good when I ordered it, but it surpasses my expectations enormously! Stop reading all these reviews, just GET IT!

  • Kris Holderness

    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!

  • Melena

    Linda, I just received my copy of Zentangle Primer Vol. 1 today. I couldn’t believe how fast it got to me here in California all the way from Florida!! I was thinking at least the middle of the week. But Priority Mail does work really well. I’ve just had a chance to glance at it, but Oh boy! So much wonderful information. I’ll be sitting down with it later today and start working with it. 😀

    Thank you so much for all you do!

  • Ann

    I have been working my way through the Zentangle Primer and enjoying each exercise. Even though I have been tangling over a year with the help of your website and quite a few books, this is the best. I love having it on my shelf and using it for daily has already improved my work.

  • Got mine at CZT #22. Thanks Rick and Maria. I am enjoying it and looking forward to where this journey may take me. Have my first class coming up soon even if just a one on one.

  • LLS

    Based on the 12 reviews from 2016, I decided to order this book. I am new to Zentangle, but am TOTALLY ADDICTED!!!! I have at least 10 books about Zentangle, but this book is by leaps and bounds above the rest! It is everything that Linda said, and more. MUCH MORE!!! The chapter on Reticula and Fragments is worth it’s weight in GOLD! Reticula is a fancy word for a grid. The grid can be squares, triangles or circles. On pages 114 and 115 there are 182 fragments, small designs to fill square shapes. . . ONE HUNDRED EIGTHY-TWO!! On page 120, there 66 designs to place in triangles. On page 121, there 40 designs fragments or designs to place in orbs! The possibilities are endless! You won’t be sorry that you bought it.

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