How to sign up for a free subscription - never miss a tangle!
What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


All contents of this website are Copyright © 2010 - 2023 Linda Farmer,, and artists where named. Copying content in any form other than for your own personal offline reference and inspiration is expressly prohibited. No content may be reproduced, pinned or republished without express written permission. This work is not allowed to be used in training AI systems. Commercial use of any content is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Artists for Respect
Your support helps keep TanglePatterns available!


Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TANGLE GUIDE to help you select tangles. See Pages 7 and 9 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings: simply pop in any number in the range of 1 to 250.



FACTS about Zentangle BEGINNER’S GUIDE to Zentangle® eBook (instant download) is now available! Visit the BOOK REVIEWS > TANGLEPATTERNS.COM BEGINNER’S GUIDE tab for more details.

“The Zentangle Method™ is an easy to learn, fun and relaxing way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.”

Zentangles are miniature pieces of unplanned, abstract, black and white art created through a very specific Method from an ensemble of simple, structured patterns called tangles on a 3.5-inch (89 mm) square paper tile. Zentangles are not only exquisitely beautiful, they are fun and relaxing to create.

The process of creating a Zentangle is a form of “artistic meditation” as one becomes completely engrossed in making each pattern, deliberately focusing on “one stroke at a time”®. The creativity options and pattern combinations are boundless. And anyone can do it!

If you can make these marks: a dot (.) a straight-ish line (/), a curve like a parenthesis ( ), an S shape, and a circle (o) – you can relax and enjoy drawing repeat patterns (we call tangles). And you will be surprised and delighted to learn that you have an amazing artist within you.

The Zentangle Method™ “increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.

As CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) Margaret Bremner has written, “One of the lovely things about Zentangle is that it isn’t supposed to BE anything. Even more, it’s SUPPOSED to NOT be a something. … Zentangle is simply beautiful patterns playing harmoniously together. Zentangle-inspired art (ZIA) is another story; it can be Something if you want.”

From the "Beginning Zentangle" booklet in the Official Kit

From the “Beginning Zentangle” booklet in the Official Kit

Creating a Zentangle is known as tangling.
(There is no such thing as “Zentangling”.)
** A tangle is a single pattern. **

Founders of Zentangle

The Zentangle art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. You can learn much more at and from taking a class with a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Here’s a brief overview.

Format – A 3.5″ Square Tile

The surface for a Zentangle is a 3 1/2-inch squaretile” (9 cm x 9 cm) of high quality paper (“fine, individually die-cut printmaking paper selected for its texture and archival characteristics“). A tile is small enough to finish in a short period of time and portable so you easily take your supplies with you to tangle anywhere, any time.

Any other format is referred to as a “Zentangle-inspired” creation.

The paper is called a tile because completed tiles can be arranged together in a beautiful mosaic.

Process – A Ceremony

The first important step in the ceremony of Zentangle is gratitude and appreciation. Relax and breathe deeply, bringing one’s attention to the process.

On the Zentangle tile, one lightly pencils a border and a string, a free-form shape into which one then draws intricate non-objective patterns called tangles, with deliberate intentional strokes using a thin-nib archival ink Sakura Micron pen. Additional shading can be added in pencil to create depth and drama.

Rulers, straight edges, or other mechanical aids are not used in Zentangle. It’s just you and your pen.

Example of a Border with a “String” drawn within it with pencil on a Tile – ready to tangle and become a Zentangle®

A Zentangle is not intended to be a representation of some thing. Both the tangles used, and the resulting completed tile are intended to be unplanned, abstract, non-objective creations that grow organically as you make each deliberate stroke. As described on the official website:

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.

The mindful drawing of individual strokes makes possible the shift in focus that is meditation. The decision-making involved in other forms of art is deliberately removed in the Zentangle Method. The outcome “unfolds one stroke at a time”.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2021: Beginners of all ages shouldn’t miss this great new FREE video series Basics of the Zentangle Method created by Zentangle’s founders.

UPDATE JUNE 2021: Zentangle HQ blog post from CZT Molly Hollibaugh on The Eight Steps of the Zentangle Method.

Primo Examples

If you’ve never heard of Zentangle before and would like to see some wonderful examples, check out this one by guest artist Jella Verelst here on Then visit the Zentangle Gallery to see originators Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts’ beautiful work. Maria is widely recognized as one of the top lettering artists in the world. Her 40+ years of experience with pen and ink transform an ordinary line into something quite lyrical.

Zentangle or Doodle?

Update: 09/03/2015: CZT Sandy Hunter has published a very good description of the differences between Zentangle and a doodle here.

Often people new to Zentangle will say, “I’ve doodled all my life, I never knew it had a name.” With all due respect, Zentangle is not doodling though the outcome may look the same. What is the difference between doodling and Zentangle?

In Zentangle, you don’t doodle aimlessly. There is a foundation and a process. Because there is no need to keep thinking about the foundation, freshness and delight get to come alive.” – Mary Sargeant, CZT

Zentangle is a form of artistic meditation through a very specific Method of deliberate intention that produces non-objective drawings composed of patterns (tangles) that can be viewed from all four sides. Zentangle is about process, not outcome.

Zentangles do not contain recognizable objects and there is no “right side up”. The Zentangle method is very focused and mindful, whereas doodling is generally something you do with your hands while your thoughts are occupied with something else. It’s easy to confuse the outcome of Zentangle with doodling, but they are quite different processes.

Likewise, the tangle patterns composing a Zentangle do not represent a natural or actual object, figure, or scene.

A pattern is not always a tangle. Learn more about what makes a tangle pattern different here. (There are many drawing patterns online labeled as tangles but they are not.)

The following excerpt from the 2009 article Zentangle: Art, but not for Art’s Sake by Sandy Bartholomew, CZT and author of the very popular Zentangle books Totally Tangled and Yoga for Your Brain, explains the difference between Zentangle and doodling:

As you cruise the internet looking for Zentangle art and ideas, you start to see the difference between “doodles”, Zentangle-ish art and Zentangle art by people who have had some training. Doodles are easily recognized as what they are because they are random and done in a thought-less way. Usually done while doing or thinking about something else. Unrelated. Talking on the telephone or daydreaming in a class or meeting. Zentangles are unplanned, but deliberate. The patterns are built “one stroke at a time” and they build on each other. The tangler doesn’t “tune out”, but rather “tunes IN”. You become incredibly focused on what is evolving beneath your pen. You forget your worries for the moment. It is also very easy to see the difference between Zentangle art and Zentangle-like art. One dead giveaway is the dark lines outlining the “strings”. Strings are guidelines that fade into the design when used properly. The characteristics that make a piece look like Zentangle: black and white, dense patterns within shapes, some shading – are what make some artists shake their heads and say “that’s nothing new.” But, again, these characteristics are not what make a real Zentangle, they are just the “look” – the end result. Zentangle is not a technique like watercolor or oil painting. … it is all about the process, not the finished piece.

Getting Started

If you are new to Zentangle, I highly recommend you start by learning how to draw the published Zentangle-original tangles which can all be found on Linda’s List of Official Tangle Patterns.

The BEGINNER’S GUIDE to Zentangle® is available from the STORE > E-BOOKS page and in it you will find answers to all your Beginner’s Questions. And your purchase helps keep this free resource going and growing, and is deeply appreciated. 🙂

Related Links:

About Zentangle classes and books

I caution anyone thinking of signing up for Zentangle classes (or hiring someone to teach your organization) to make sure you will be learning from a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Check the list to verify you are getting a CZT.

A CZT understands “how to guide and coach you as you learn, explore and practice the Zentangle Method and Artform.

There is simply no way an uncertified person can honestly give you an authentic Zentangle experience, and believe me you want the real thing.

Unfortunately there are people who are charging for Zentangle classes and they are not qualified or trained to do so. While I don’t doubt their enthusiasm, it’s just plain wrong for them to misrepresent themselves and take your money under false pretense. At best the experience can only be Zentangle-ish.

This applies to books too, there are so many “Zentangle” books and eBooks that are just balderdash to part you from your money. Forget accuracy, forget truth. If you’re shopping for a book, look for authors who are Certified Zentangle Teachers and avoid the rest like the plague. Your money will be better spent.

Demand the real deal.


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



22 comments to Zentangles

  • Are they only done on a 3 1/2 inch square?

  • Sharon Eley

    I used to doodle my whole childhood. Now I enjoy making handmade and hand painted papers and work my doodles into the background of my art work. Thanks for sharing your zentangels.

  • Wendy

    Hi, can you tell me where I can buy a zentangle kit in the uk please

  • susan smith

    where might I find the 102 tangles that are a form of notation ???


  • Bertie Beetle

    No deja, you can also do zentangles on canvas (or on anything your imagination leads you to). Try using a marking pen in black or even in colour on one of those canvasses that are wrapped over a frame and don’t need framing. They are available in small sizes. I use 10″ x 10″, my friend uses a slightly larger one. The pen will wear out after one canvas. Good fun though!!
    S-T-R-E-T-C-H yourself – you can go in all sorts of directions.

    • Linda Farmer

      Hi Bertie, a Zentangle is specifically on the 3.5-inch tile. What you are referring to are tangles and Zentangle-inspired art (or crafts), and Zentangle-inspired works can indeed be stretched in all kinds of directions. There are even cars and buildings, and at least one upright piano, that have been tangled.

      What kind of preparation do you do to your canvases to get them ready for the pens – I imagine it’s tough to get a precise line on an unprepped canvas?

  • Sue Lohr

    LOVE Zentangle! I was introduced to it at the AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids, MI this past August and have been learning and doing ever since! Tonight I introduced it to 8 of my friends, and they are enthusiastic about it, too! Can’t wait for the CZT in my area to have her class so I learn from an expert!

  • CarolaynD

    My sister introduced me to the artistic method and I love it. So relaxing and calming. I need this. I’ve already shared it with three others. I know it will be very popular. Thank you all for sharing.

  • vicki smith

    Just took my first tangle class with fl gourds show. Love it,love it….Been on my mind to do this for a bit, but fell in love with this,can’t wait to get my grandkids started!!!

  • Kendall Konieczny

    I LOVE this website I use it almost everyday I get so inspired to draw whatever is in my crazy mind !!!!!:)

  • Debi K

    This is cool! I teach a Special Needs class and they love doing art…their fine motor skills and concentration are not the best but I’m sure this might spark some of their interest. I’ll have to experiment a little myself before I try it with them!

  • esther

    I love zentangle and i love all your work.

  • victoria

    thank you guys for inspiring me because this is one of the pieces of art that i enjoy at my school boggess elementary thank you the fourth graders like myself love it.

  • Betty Wilson

    I just started Zentangle about two months ago and can’t believe what a change it has made in my ability to relax and unwind. I have tried to learn meditation but can’t seem to empty my mind, but when concentrating on my Zentangles, I find that I am not thinking about other things. It has opened a window to discovering my ability to create interesting Tangles while also allowing me to concentrate only on what is in front of me rather than all the things I stuffed into my mind throughout the day. I feel that discovering Zentangle has provided me with a gift I have not been able to achieve prior to this discovery. Thank you from my heart and mind.

  • Janet Grundas

    Love your tangles and read and draw them all the time. Thank you.

  • Gabrielle Domond

    This website is so great and I love it so much you guys are great creators and I love everything here. Keep doing what you are doing!

  • Kiari

    This helped so much! Thanks a ton!

  • Joan

    Thanks for all you do Linda! I’ve subscribed to your site almost since the beginning. A great site!!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.