Monday, June 10, 2013

sketchbook ideas

One of the most popular things I show at my classes is my sketchbook. It's not a sketchbook so much as a scrapbook. I collect Zentangle tangle patterns, string ideas, inspirations and more in it. I refer to it frequently. It is always in the tote bag I bring with me to tangle on the go.

If you ask 10 different CZTs how they organize their tangle patterns you will probably get 10 different answers. So I can't tell you that this is right for you, It's just how I started out and I haven't gotten around to switching to a different system yet. (There is a big discussion on about this topic.)

The book itself is 10" x 10" and it has 26 pages. I am using ALL the pages now plus the insides of both covers.

The cover itself starts with some artwork I did a while ago. Just simple white pen work on the black cover.

Inside you can see a variety of post-it notes. I keep a pad of post-its next to my computer and when I see a tangle pattern that strikes my fancy, I draw it right away with the tangle name and the name of the person that posted it. Sometimes I'll note the web site if I think I may need to go back to it.

The post-its are in my book in alphabetical order. I've thought about putting them in sections by grid or organic tangles but ended up with basic alphabetical order. I do have them separated by official tangles and other tangles though.

On the back cover is something I added just this weekend. It's the Grid (un) Locked that was posted on the blog last week. I copied it in full and then added several blank boxes for me to add my ideas whenever the inspiration strikes me. Hopefully I'll get more ideas from students in my classes too!!!

Inside the front cover is a page I printed out from the website. It lists all the official tangle patterns. I then started looking at those patterns and made lists of which tangles would be good for snakes -  lines, or borders. The other list is those tangles that start with grids.

Those lists are by no means complete and I'll probably be adding more at some point.

I also use my sketchbook to store ideas. If I see a tile done by someone else that uses an interesting concept I'll make a note or draw a quick thumbnail of it.

When I'm out and about I may see a carpet in a hotel that inspires a pattern. This picture shows a wallpaper that I thought was intriguing. It was white on a cream background. I took a quick picture and  when I printed it out I had to spend some time picking out the pattern with a pen. Below you can see how I'm playing with how those design elements might work on a tile.                                                                  

Other pages in the book have printouts of new tangle patterns from the Zentangle newsletter. And in the way back of the book I have two pages with small squares filled with string ideas.

I have other notebook binders that have finished tiles in page protectors.

Have fun setting up your own systems!


  1. this is a great post Sue! i'm STILL trying to find a way to organize my tangles and strings etc. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  3. This looks like a great system. I seem to keep changing mine looking for the perfect solution! I like your idea of a book to store ideas and I really should start doing that.

  4. My question is why are your tangle patterns on post it notes and not drawn directly on the page in a small square? Do you have problems with the post it notes coming loose? I am trying to decide if I want to use post it notes or draw small squares and draw the pattern on the square. Or cut out small squares and put them in the coin sleeve pockets. I have seen your sketch book and I like your concept and that you have so much information in one book. I need to decide how I want to organize all the patterns I have on sheets of paper.


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