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    Zentangle- What is it?

    Last updated 2 days 1 hour ago

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

    Creating a Zentangle is known as tangling.
    (There is no such thing as “Zentangling”.)

    Zentangles are miniature pieces of unplanned, abstract, black and white art created through a very specific Method from an ensemble of simple, structured patterns 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!

    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 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.”

    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 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 square “tile” (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 to relax and breathe deeply, bringing one’s attention to the process.

    On the Zentangle tile, one lightly pencils a border and a string, a freeform 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.

    A Zentangle is not intended to be a representation of something else. 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”.

    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?

    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 official tangles which can be found on Linda’s List of Official Tangle Patterns.

    Tangle Patterns


    Custom Printed Canvas $10 per Square Foot!*

    Last updated 3 days ago

    Turn your meaningful photos into gallery-quality art. 

    We know just how important your memories are. That's why we strive to deliver a quality product. We take pride in handcrafting you a treasured canvas print that you will be able to cherish for years to come.

    While the $10sq foot doesn't include the cost of stretching and hanging your beautiful new wall art, our framers are available to help you with that process as well. 

    Stop in today and let us help you decorate your space with a treasured memory!

    *Retail $15 per square foot

    Zentangle Patterns

    Last updated 4 days ago

    The creators say it best -

    "Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Zentangle provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being."

    The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at

    Sue Jacobs is a Certified Zentangle Teacher near Chicago, Ill. I adore her blog, "Sue's Tangle Trips" as she encourages others to express themselves through Zentangle. She has a very simplistic way of breaking down pattern repeats so others can understand them easily. The ways in which she incorporates these elements into her Zentangle designs is actually quite stunning. Here are a few examples of her tutorials. Check out her blog for more!

    Filexec Portfolios- 30% OFF!

    Last updated 5 days ago

    My Carry All portfolios feature a 3-inch fabric gusset, a zipper closure, and a nylon double-stitched shoulder strap. These totes come with a variety of storage space, including an inside sheet protector, with a CD and business card holder. The reinforced stitching and gusset will help you transport most large or heavy art projects, as well as drawings on paper! Available in an assortment of colors with a frosted finish, and in varying sizes. 

    Nicholas Toth, The Last Helmet Maker July 19 @ 2:00 pm

    Last updated 6 days ago

    Award Winning Artist and National Heritage Fellow, Nicholas Toth,
    Presents a Gallery Talk and Exhibition
    Gallery Talk, Saturday, July 19, 2pm
    Exhibition, July 16-19
    Free, Open to the Public

    Material Culture

    4700 Wissahickon Avenue, Suite 101 Philadelphia, PA United States

    As the guest artist and Master Helmet Maker, Nicholas Toth will be showcasing his copper and brass art work and his masterfully designed copper and brass diving helmets. As a highly skilled metal artist and craftsman, Nicholas has been featured both nationally and internationally, with his work included in permanent museum exhibits and national archives. Nicholas is a National Heritage Fellow, receiving this prestigious award in 2003 from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2006 he was recognized by the Historical Diving Society US Chapter for his significant contributions, receiving the ER Cross Award. In 2008 he was awarded the Florida Folk Heritage Award, presented by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and in 2012 Nicholas was once again honored by the State of Florida, receiving his second Florida Individual Artist Fellowship.

    With over 30 years of experience and a lifelong exposure and immersion in the culture and mysteries of the historic gulf front community of Tarpon Springs, there are many stories to tell and much knowledge to share. From the techniques of ancient naked divers to current day technology, Nicholas Toth’s knowledge of the history of diving is informative and engaging. The evolution of hard hat diving will also be highlighted with special emphasis on Greek diving helmets.

    As the Last Helmet Maker, Nicholas is considered to be the only helmet maker in the world that continues to individually create each beautiful diving helmet masterpiece, honoring the traditions and design that have existed since the mid-eighteen hundreds! The iconic copper and brass diving helmets created by Nicholas Toth are fully functional, authentic and individually hand crafted, using the same tools and techniques that his grandfather, master helmet maker and legendary craftsman, Anthony Lerios, began utilizing over 100 years ago…….

    Each helmet takes over 320 hours to complete, made with the finest quality copper and brass. The lineage and value of a Nicholas Toth diving helmet is unmatched, with the historical foundation and significance of his grandfather’s knowledge and expertise; his masterful skills, techniques and tools utilized; and the quality and beauty of each finely crafted component of the diving helmet. Nicholas will also showcase several of his new copper and brass art pieces, beautifully inspired by shapes and elements found in the diving helmet.

    Nicholas proudly honors the memory of his grandfather, Anthony Lerios, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 100! The month of July is especially significant for Nicholas, since it was the 7th of July, 1913, when his grandfather landed on Ellis Island, having traveled from Greece to the United States.

    Artist’s Statement:

    Our traditions in all of their forms, give us and future generations a sense of place. They are part of the historical fabric that binds our communities together.

    This body of work reflects an ethos that pays tribute to the long line of master-craftsman that preceded me, including my grandfather, Anthony Lerios.

    My art is a vehicle that is used to transport the viewer back to a time when the dominant metals were copper and brass.

    When a viewer looks at the art, particularly the diving helmet, I want them to experience a sense of elegance in its form, however, I also want to create a sense of curiosity as to who wore these helmets and why.

    My other art pieces are inspired by the shapes and elements found in the diving helmets and the techniques in metal working that I have developed over the past thirty two years.

    When creating my copper and brass art pieces, I utilize the same lathes, tooling and cast iron mandrels that have been used by my family for the past one hundred years.

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