Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zentangle Questions

Welcome to all of my new Zentangle friends who are finding their way to my humble blog via Sandra's "Life Imitates Doodles" space. I've been quietly observing the beautiful tangles and creations that many of you have posted as I practice the art of Zentangle. I have a few questions and I hope that you will take a few minutes to share your thoughts.

1. Are you really creating your work freehand? I see lovely straight lines and am wondering if you actually lightly sketch a pencil grid on the tile before you begin. Otherwise, how do you consistently draw such straight lines?

2. From what I've read at and in the books by Suzanne McNeil and Sandra Bartholomew the choice of tangles that are used in each piece is random. At the same time it looks like some tangles just go together better than others. What rule of thumb do you use when selecting the tangles that you use?

3. Related to the above question, do you plan each tile before you begin from the string to the tangles used or do you simply go with the flow?

Thank you in advance for your tips.


  1. Hi Beth, just go with the flow!
    My favourite Zentangles are the ones that just seem to appear like magic without any planning. Sometimes it is nice to just concentrate on one tangle until you are happy with it. Don't worry to much about straight lines, wavy lines are fun to do, effective and relaxing. Enjoy the process! Hope that helps!!

  2. Hi Shelly,

    I am enjoying the process very much and finding it quite relaxing. I am simply amazed by the beautiful creations that I see posted by others. Thank you for the advice!

  3. Hi Beth I do it differently everytime. Sometimes I think (too much)about what I'm going to do and can um and ahhh way too much before putting pen to paper. But at the end of the day, the one's I'm happiest with are the ones I just let flow out. I can't say I'm the straightest line drawer but I always pencil my design first (I like knowing I can erase crappy efforts). But the main thing is to just ENJOY the process as Shelly said.

  4. Hi Beth just found your blog - great questions. I'm totally freehand and very little planning. Sometimes I'll have an itch to just do certain tangles so they will show up a lot other times whatever appears just comes to me or I play roulette with my pattern cards and use whatever one I flip to. There are a couple of patterns where I will lightly sketch out a boundary or grid but they aren't a part of the tangle design just more to help me keep the sizing what I want it to be.

    Don't worry about the occasional curve or bump in a straight line. To me they just add a bit of the artist's soul to the creation. While many of the ones drawn with rulers for that perfect effect - I find them lovely to look at but usually only a couple of times. The ones I'm drawn back to and view multiple times have the soul and emotion that freehand adds - just my opinion. Either way is right just my preference.

    Most times I go with the flow - a couple of things that I did as gifts boxes cards etc had a bit more planning around what I knew the person would like.

  5. Beth, I rely on my intuition and see where the tangle leads me, I don't usually plan which tangle patterns I will incorporate. I usually begin with a penciled string, and go from there. The end result is not always perfect, but I usually enjoy the outcome. I think everyone creates differently; I enjoy the process and randomness. I have a friend who likes to plan everything in advance when she tangles. No way is right or wrong. Whatever satisfies that creative itch is okay!

  6. Thank you all for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.