This question “how to organize and store your Zentangle® artwork” is a recurring subject in my Facebook group Le Monde Francophone Zentangle and from my students!
And I know why.
I don’t know if you are like me, but quickly after I started to practice with the Zentangle Method™, I realized that I needed to do something about the stack of artwork that kept growing and growing, not even mentioning having to keep track of all the Tangles. Now, after years of teaching and practicing the Zentangle Method, I always have more artwork that need to be stored but also regularly accessed.
Is this something that happens to you too?
I am guessing so.
Over time, I tried different solutions. I talked with friends, CZTs and others from the Zentangle Community to see what solutions they came up with to try to find the best way to store Zentangle artwork.
So far, I have found about 4 main ways to organize and store your Zentangle artwork.
Solution #1 – In a Sketchbook or Journal
A lot of people use a journal or a sketchbook to keep their artwork organized. They also use this method to keep track of Tangle patterns by drawing the step-by-step instructions in their journal as well. You could keep one sketchbook or journal for your Tangles and one for your artwork.
Here are different types of sketchbooks, journals or notebooks you can use:
- Blank sketchbook or journal, this can also be a fun way to be creative in your journal if you decide to draw directly in the journal, instead of glueing your Tiles in it.
- Dot, grid or graph journal – you could combine your love of “Bullet journals” with your Zentangle practice and keep track of your Tangles and store your artwork this way.
- Pre-printed notebooks – if you prefer to have some structure to help you, find a notebook with pre-printed squares so you can have the space to draw your step-by-step instructions and mount your tiles. You can find some on zentangle.com.
- Specific notebooks like Tangle Starts Treasures: A book by Alice Hendon CZT and Tangle Organizer: A journal by Genevieve Crabe. These are specifically designed for storing Tangle patterns.
Solution #2 – In a binder with plastic protector sheets.
This is my favorite way to store my Zentangle artwork. I have now several binders with these plastic protector sheets. You can find sizes that work for all types of Zentangle tiles. And it is easy to access the step-by-step instructions or your tiles if you need to.
- The “Slide” protector sheets work well for Bijou tiles
- The “Disquette” protector sheets work well for classic Zentangle tile (3.5 inches)
- The CD protector sheets work for the Zendala tiles
Find here a blank step-by-step instructions PDF download (free) to keep track of your Tangles.
You can find here a couple examples of this method to store and organize your Tangles :
- Keeping Track of Tangles
- Eni Oken, CZT – My Tangle Index
- Chrissie Murphy, CZT -Tangle Index Project Update
- Sandy Hunter, CZT – organizing tangle patterns
Solution #3 – using ring-bound flash cards
Another solution that works well because it is portable is using ring-bound cards. You can cut the cards and bound them together by a metal binder ring. This allows you to easily add or rearrange your Tangle collection and artwork. You can also remove the cards if you need to keep them next to you for reference. And if you travel, you could remove cards and only keep the one you want for your trip.
Another fun way to use these ring-bound cards is to take a couple cards off the ring, shuffle them around and then pick a couple randomly to select the Tangles you will draw next.
You can find ring-bound cards here.
Or create a homemade version of the products above by using a metal binder ring, a hole punch and some tiles, paper you cut to size or index cards.
Solution #4 – digital version to store and organize your artwork.
Here are a couple more ideas.
- You can scan your step-by-step instructions and/or use links to the websites where you found step-by-step instructions (the added bonus is that you can usually also see some examples to inspire you as well). And then store them in a software like Evernote, OneNote or create an eBook or a PDF.
- You can create specific boards on Pinterest. (Here is an example of one of my Pinterest boards for Tangles step-outs here and one for my artwork here ).
Just be mindful that like on any social media platform, all it takes to lose everything is one locked account. Don’t keep your eggs in one basket.
You can do the same for your artwork so you can have that on hand when you are looking for inspiration or to share with someone.
It does not really matter what storage solution you will find, as long as you find the one that works for you (and for your space). Some people use photo box, other use CD case and other use photo albums. I would suggest you find a solution that also work for the use you will have for your tiles and Tangles library. If this is something that you want to easily have on hand to display for example.
One last point is that it is completely ok to change your organization over time. Your taste, your practice will also evolve. Know that it is not so easy to edit or rearrange a sketchbook, journal, or pre-printed book, so keep that in mind if you decide to go this route. Your journal or sketchbook will then be like any other creative journal, a reference point in time on your creative journey. And isn’t that a nice way to see how much you have traveled.
I want to conclude this post to say that whatever organization method you pick, think about how you will use it down the road, change it if you need it and most of all, enjoy the process !
I would love to hear in the comments how you store and organize your Zentangle artwork and if I missed any helpful information on this subject, please let me know as well so I can keep this updated. If you are looking for more resources you can find my list of books and other references here.