What is Zentangle?

Apr 23, 2021 | English, Inspiration, Practice

You may have heard about Zentangle® and wondered what is exactly Zentangle?

Zentangle is a trademark. It is also a method.

What is the Zentangle Method™ ?

Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas are the founder of the Zentangle Method. It is a fun, relaxing and easy-to-learn method that allows you to create beautiful images, using basic elements such as lines, dots and curves to draw patterns.

These patterns are called “Tangles” and we draw them on a small piece of paper called a “Tile”, since, when assembled together, these tiles form a mosaic. The Zentangle Method is non-representational.

When you draw using this method, you follow specific steps and you don’t have a pre-planned image in mind. This method thus allows you to put aside your expectations, focus on the line you are drawing and enjoy the present moment.

The Zentangle Method is very accessible. You don’t need to know how to draw a “Tangle”, you just need to know the steps.

Many people discover an increase in concentration and creativity, as well as more self-confidence and a greater sense of well-being by practicing with this method.

You can learn more on the offical Zentangle website.

How do you start?

Zentangle® workshop

You start with a Zentangle® tile, which is a 9 cm or 3.5 inch square piece of paper on which you draw with a black fine tip pen, a pencil and a “tortillon”.

You follow step-by-step instructions to draw the patterns or Tangles.

There are 8 steps in the Zentangle Méthod.

Why We use very few material?

One of the reasons we start with so little is that having too much material, too much paper and/or too many color choices can discourage you when you start.

Once you are more familiar with black on white techniques and the basic principles, you can then move on to other techniques and materials such as black paper and a white pen, beige paper and black, white and brown pens, etc.

In general, this method is rather monochrome. You would use color as you would use a black pen; it is a tool to “Tangle“, not a goal in itself.

The limited use of color, as well as the size of the paper, the simple patterns with repetitive lines and not looking for a predefined result, help you to be carried away by the present moment.

What happens when you draw with the Zentangle Method?

When you “Tangle”, you are not looking to create “art”, even though the works made with this method can be. It is at the same time a journey, an exploration, a discovery, a sharing, and a moment of relaxation.

You could certainly achieve the same result by drawing, without using the Zentangle method. But it is sometimes hard to know, or believe, you are creative. Sometimes it’s easy to forget it, sometimes your inner voices block you, sometimes you have doubts about your creative capacity or you’re just trying to find it again.

This method is easily accessible, and helps you to get started and continue on the road to creativity.

There are no mistakes when you draw according to the Zentangle Method and the results is often unexpected and beautiful.

ArtsAmuse Draw Zentangle Step 4

It helps you to uncover the artist in you.

How magical is that?

ArtsAmuse Draw Zentangle Step 5 Next

What are some of the Zentangle terminology ?

As you may have noticed, there are some very specific vocabulary. Rick and Maria did this on purpose and with a lively sense of humor and a lot of whimsy too. It makes it easier to know another “Tangler” and talk about what we draw or experience, if we use the same vocabulary.

Don’t use Zentangle as a verb or a noun, as it is a trademark. Instead use :

  • To Tangle” : draw patterns using the Zentangle Method.
  • Tangle / Tangles” : a pre-deconstructed pattern that is drawn using specific steps – Tangles are patterns but not all patterns are Tangles.
  • Tile” : a small piece of paper that can be assembled with other tiles to make a mosaique.
  • Tangler” : someone who draw using the Zentangle Method.
  • Tangles Step-outs” : Step by step instructions to draw Tangles
  • CZT : a Certified Zentangle Teacher.

You can find a more comprehensive terminlogy in English here : Zentangle Terminology on TanglePatterns.com.

What is the best way to start?

I could definitely write a lot more about this but the best way to see how it will work for you, is when you simply put pen to paper and draw according to the Zentangle Method.

Here are a couple ways to begin:

You can also check out my online live or on-demand classes.

And of course, if you have questions don’t hesitate to email me and I will get back to you – just give me a little time to respond 😉

I hope you will try or if you already practice with the Zentangle Method, I would love to hear from you why you love practicing with it !

Until next time,


April 2021 ArtsAmuse What is Zentangle Pinterest 1
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