Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Ellish is the newest official tangle pattern. The step outs can be found in the latest newsletter from Zentangle.com. It is a very elegant tangle.

I'm still learning and practicing it. I've seen a few examples where people have done the tangle multiple times. I'll get to that later. Right now I wanted to let the tangle shine on its own. I wanted to add lots of highlights and shading. Then I added the tangle Zenith as a frame.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pens and Butterflies

This is an interesting technique that I learned recently. It's done by rubbing graphite all over your paper and then erasing within the confines of a stencil. The tangles are then done with a pen as usual. I have a brass stencil that has pens, a pencil and a brush. Only three shapes fit on my tile but that is fine by me. As I picked my tangles I tried to choose ones that would add extra black areas in it. Fun, fun! It's not a traditional zentangle but I really enjoyed playing with it.

This piece is much bigger than a tile. It uses the big butterfly from one brass stencil, the small butterfly from another stencil and the word from a third. If you look at this one closely you will see that I decided to use a pencil for the tangles on the little butterfly so that there would be even less emphasis on it, 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pokeroot and drupe

Trying to get my challenge done this week I pulled out a tile I started the night before.  This was the perfect tile to work on during a meeting. Pokeroot and drupe are two tangles that play very nicely with each other.

I knew I wanted to work on a green tile so I picked out several of my hand colored tiles. I had the green pen but I used one of my favorite tricks to see which tile it looked best on. Junk mail has little plastic windows that have just enough tooth to hold the ink of the pen. So I scribble a bit and see which combination makes me happier.

I shaded with a green colored pencil and highlights were added with a white chalk pencil.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tangled feather

During my recent trip I learned several new techniques for tangling. One of my favorites was this one called "Zero Drawing" taught by Meredith Yuhas. Simply, it involves creating your own toned paper with graphite and then erasing the design area using a stencil and a fine tipped Zero eraser. More information on this technique is available in the book Pencil Magic by Marie Browning.

This technique was lots of fun to use to add tangles to. I had fun choosing the tangles and then decided to leave several sections without tangles to leave a place for the eye to rest. A liile extra weight to the edges with heavier pen lines and I was very happy. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teacher get together in Portland


One of the benefits of becoming a Certified Zentangle Teacher is that you gain a community of other teachers who are equally excited by Zentangle are are interested in continuing our learning and exploring where Zentangle can take us. We have message boards, Facebook groups, and periodic get  togethers, both on a local and national scale. 

Last weekend was one of those events. It was held in Portland, Maine. We had over 100 CZTs gathered in a lovely hotel, enjoying great food, great classes, forming and renewing friendships, and exploring the picturesque city of Portland. 

The pictures here are from just one of the classes. It was taught by Kate Lamontagne. We explored ways to create Zendalas using a special rotating compass tool. You can see it pictured in the corner of the picture below which is my work in progress. You can also see the top of my pen so you can see the scale of the piece.

After we all had our Zendalas drawn in ink we then were guided in adding colored pencil work to our pieces. Mine isn't quite done, I have a few more things to add. But I wanted to show you how it's coming.

The other picture below is from a class taught my Molly Hollibaugh. Molly took us back to the basics of Zentangle. It is soooo good to remember what got me hooked in the first place. We did the traditional class mosaic of all out pieces. It was quite a sight to behold!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


There are quite a few tangles that work really well in borders - or in stripes. I was looking through the tangles on my page of tangles and saw several of these linear tangles. So I decided to put them all together in this 'stacked' tile.

Tangles are;


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Grid on a Globe

Grids are a common way to start a Zentangle pattern. The grid can be done in many ways; big, small, perfect or wonky. This grid was done in a way that enhances the globular effect. I added a simple tangle because I knew the spaces in the outer areas were tiny so a simple tangle would be better for those areas. But I wanted to try something else so I worked in the Yin Yang symbol and tangled in the negative spaces for the darker side.

Tangles were done with a brown Micron pen. Shading was done with a terra cotta colored pencil and highlights were done with a white chalk pencil.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Beyond the Basics McHenry class

"Beyond the Basics"  is the class that I teach after the Introductory class. One of the things we do is explore Paradox on a black tile. The students are also given a white chalk pencil to add highlights as desired. I really enjoy seeing what students do with the same instructions for the same tangle pattern!

Monday, April 4, 2016


Fassett by Lynn Mead is the featured tangle this week. It's a tangle that appears to be tricky but is really easy when you get to the step outs. There are several ways you can add variations to this tangle. I used it as my border tangle here. I did it on a Renaissance tile so I could play with two colors of pens and use both shading and highlights. 

The weather here in Illinois has been bizarre. My daffodils have started to come up and I think it will be glorious once they are all in bloom. But then, on April 2, we had snow again. NOOOOO! I'm done with winter! Yesterday we had a high of 65 - today it's in the 30's again. I can't wait for the weather to make up its mind!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Color stack

The Diva challenge this week was so much fun. The challenge was to use a bijou tile (2 x 2") and then add a 3", 4", 5", and 6" tile. We could arrange them any way we choose and do any tangles we wanted.

I immediately thought of using my hand colored tiles but the problem was that I only had 3 1/2" tiles cut. So I needed to hand color several more big sheets and then cut them to size. Of course, playing with watercolor paint is the fun part to me so that was not hard. A couple of layers of paint,  drying time, lots of measuring and cutting, and I was ready to tangle finally by Wednesday night.

Color makes me happy so I was glad to have a reason to pull out my colored pens and pencils to tangle with. I made several sets of colored tile stacks so I will definitely be doing this again. The additional color stacks will be going into my store on this blog.

Color stacks are loose in the bag so you can tangle them individually first. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Shattuck monotangles

Shattuck is a tangle pattern that I use frequently. It's one of the first official ones I learned and is very similar to the doodle that I've done for years as I talk on the phone. These tiles are all variations on the same Shattuck tangle. Since they don't have any other tangles they are all monotangles. I played with doing it in different strings along with variations in how curvy or how many lines I used.

Both of the two tiles above used a spiral string. I love how different they look simply by changing the number and spacing of the lines.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Celtic knot zendala

For St Patrick's Day, a zendala using a Celtic knot string on one of my hand colored green tiles. Tangles with a green pen, shading with a green colored pencil and highlights with a white charcoal pencil. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Rautyflex - This is a new to me tangle pattern that I incorporated into my tile this week. It's a tangle pattern that is interesting to put together. The finished product tends to look like several other tangle patterns to me so it will probably not be one of my favorites. But being exposed to new tangle patterns helps me grow as an artist so I am certainly glad I tried it. 

I added some of the Flux tangle pattern to contrast the angular lines of Rautyflex. This was a relaxing tile to do once I got the hang of Rautyflex.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

5 year Anniversary

This month I celebrated my 5th anniversary of becoming a CZT (Certified Zentangle Instructor). Zentangle has given me so much since I learned the method. I genuinely enjoy sharing it in my classes. As I was chatting with other CZTs that were in my same class, we all felt the same and wanted to celebrate.  Sine it is our 5th anniversary and we were class #5, we decided to do a swap among ourselves.

We decided to each create 5 tiles and somewhere on the tile to include the number 5. I decided to use the number 5 as my string. I used my orange colored tiles and a brown Micron pen. Shading was done with a colored pencil and highlights were added with a chalk pencil.

Here are the tiles before I added the background tangles - you can see the '5' string a little more easily. I challenged myself to find different tangles for each tile. It took a little longer than I thought.

Here are the last two of the group of five - with and without their background tangles.

And a group photo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ghosts of Tangles Past

This post is sort of a 'Before and After'.
It includes a Zentangle I did yesterday and a tangle I did back in 2010 - shortly after I discovered Zentangle. I used the tangle I did back in 2010 as an inspiration for the new tile. It has a similar string and similar tangles. But I found ways I could improve on it and use some of the skills I learned since then.

Since it is my own work, I don't have to be polite. I can - and will critique the heck out of it. 

The tangle from 2010 was done on the back of a flimsy index card. I know now to use quality, archival materials. I now use quality paper and pens that will not fade over time. Thankfully, this piece was in a binder, so it wasn't exposed to sunlight.

I had learned a few of the tangles back then as I surfed the web. Some of them you will recognize, and some - I have no idea where they came from! I like that there are so many tangles that have step-outs online so I can really expand my selections. I tried to use the same tangles I used in 2010 but some I had to revise.

I was able to create a string within a circle. I used a circle template to draw the circle with my pen. I don't do that anymore. It looks almost machine made and doesn't have the handmade look that I value. Now I draw a circle in pencil first and then use my pen freehand. The string is OK but has so many tiny sections that created problems for me.

As I drew my piece in 2010, I tried so hard to get tangles into all the tiny places within the string that I ended up drawing the tangles tight and small. If you look at the new piece on top, you can see that I took the tangle patterns and drew them bigger. When I had the freedom to draw bigger, some of the 'tightness' disappeared.

The 2010 piece doesn't have any shading. I didn't understand that back then but now it's my favorite part of the process. My new piece also uses highlights since it's done on a Renaissance tile. That's something that didn't even exist back in 2010. I really like how it expands the piece and gives it depth.

I invite any of you who have been tangling for a while (even if only for a couple of months) to revisit one of your early tiles and redo it!