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A Zentangle Timeline

A Zentangle Timeline

We hope that you have enjoyed our Back to Basics series as much as we have. It has been exciting, humbling, and inspiring to look back at where we stated and how far we have come. At the same time, we also found comfort in the fact that over the years, the Zentangle Method has remained the same, guiding us on our creative journeys.

To wrap up this series, we are taking a trip down memory lane and looking back at the Zentangle Kit over the years... with an exciting announcement at the end.

Enjoy!

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Rick writes:

When Maria and I gave our first Zentangle Workshop in July of 2003, we did not have a Zentangle Kit.

Until that workshop we didn't have a Zentangle tile . . . or a trademark!

So, just before that first workshop Maria lettered some art for the back of our 3.5 inch (89mm) square piece of paper we call a tile . . .

. . . printed them on the copy machine and the cut them by hand.

Meanwhile, we realized we should trademark "zentangle" so I got to work on that and, if memory serves correctly, we finished in the wee hours of the morning.

After that super successful class with about 100 of the most awesome calligraphers in the world, we started thinking about a kit for our Zentangle tiles and tools. (That first class was at the annual meeting of IAMPETH, the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting.)

We mocked up ideas with pieces of foam board, mat board and tape . . . always with the divine proportion in mind to guide our design. Here's one of those early prototypes:

Once we had something we liked, Maria and I took our mock-up to a box maker we found in Hadley, a town in western Massachusetts. We chose the green because we liked the swatch from the limited assortment available. 

Here is a picture of that first kit:

We used a ribbon as a "lifter" under the tiles instead of a finger cutout. There was no latch to keep it closed. 

We used a 3.5" DVD which we thought was clever because, well, our tiles were 3.5" square and it fit so well in the tile section in the box. But that was a bit of a problem on slot feeding DVD drives. So our technical support (Rick) was forever sending instructions on how to get that tiny disk out of your Apple computer's DVD drive.

Our idea was that the Zentangle Kit could be like a book and fit nicely on your bookshelf.

 

The next version of our kit was made in Nepal. Maria had been tangling on lokta paper which is made from the bark of trees that grow in Nepal. Our paper supplier suggested it as a good material for our Zentangle Kit box. We appreciated the idea that the paper and the kit boxes would be handmade in local Nepali villages and that the trees regenerated their bark.

This version added a string and button closure. We also shifted to a full-size DVD in this kit.

Soon we learned we had to schedule our orders around the local monsoon season. Then, as we ordered larger quantities, we began having quality issues.

Molly's first Zentangle job was helping Maria and me repair the salvageable boxes with a hot glue gun. Often we would be up late at night with the hot glue blisters to show for it. So, if one of your older kits is held together with odd globs of hot glue . . . now you know the story!

Every shipment came with a different challenge and often a different color! We began to look for another option.

That led us to another local box maker, this time in Rhode Island. For many years we got our kit boxes from them. I remember unloading them and storing them at my parents' home when we ran out of room at our home.

This box came with a small foam button to hold the DVD and it closed with a magnetic flap.

We have been planning to introduce a new kit box for over a year. We thought we had enough kit boxes like the one above to last us well into 2021. But in 2020, with the increased interest in finding refuge in calm creativity amidst the clamor, we ran out of kit boxes sooner than we expected. 

And now . . . (insert drum roll and cymbal, or, trumpets if you prefer) . . . we are thrilled to introduce our new Zentangle Kit.

Our new Zentangle Kit comes in two "flavors." Both flavors use the same larger box with sections to accommodate our different size tiles and to organize your various tools.

Our overall concept is to provide a portable Zentangle studio with plenty of room to grow as you add tools and tiles and collect your creative treasures.

Instead of including an instructional DVD, we provide links to a growing library of online Zentangle instructional videos. This first instructional video comes in four versions: an edited version in right and left handed formats, and an unedited, see every stroke, version - also in right and left handed formats.

Each Zentangle Kit includes a new and expanded instructional booklet.

Let's take a look at the two versions.

Zentangle Kit-Classic

In this Zentangle Kit-Classic you will find:

  1 Introductory Booklet
34 White Zentangle® Tiles of assorted sizes
  1 Black Sakura® Pigma Micron® 01 Pen
  1 Black Sakura Pigma Micron PN Pen
  2 Mini Graphite Pencils 
  2 Pouches (for tools and tiles)
  1 Sharpener
  2 Tortillions

This is a great foundation to begin your Zentangle journey. It has the basic tools you need to begin and offers plenty of room to grow and to collect your treasured works of art.

Zentangle Kit-Expanded

In this Zentangle Kit-Expanded you will find:

  1 Introductory Booklet
34 White Zentangle® Tiles of assorted sizes
34 Colored Zentangle Tiles of assorted sizes
  1 Black Sakura® Pigma Micron® 01 Pen
  1 Black Sakura Pigma Micron PN Pen
  1 Black Sakura Pigma Micron 10 Pen
  1 Brown Sakura Pigma Micron 01 Pen
  1 White Sakura Gelly Roll® 08 Pen
  2 Mini Graphite Pencils 
  1 Mini White Charcoal Pencil
  4 Tortillions
  2 Pouches (for tools and tiles)
  1 Sharpener (KUM® for graphite)
  1 Sharpener (All Art® for white)
  1 Zentangle Legend Booklet 
  1 Icosohedron Die

    If you are familiar with Zentangle tools and tiles, you probably understand most of what is on that list. But what, you may ask, is a "Zentangle Legend Booklet?"

    Ah, so glad you asked. That is the custom booklet that we released in Zentangle Project Pack No. 10. Gather your inspirations and imaginations in this delightful booklet as you create your own legend!

    We are thrilled to finally share these new Zentangle Kits with you! Kits are available now for Certified Zentangle Teachers and will be available to all tanglers the afternoon of Friday, July 23rd! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to find out when you can get yours.

    Thank you again for enjoying with us this marvelous journey and exploration of all things possible (and once thought impossible) . . . one (delightful, relaxed, and fun) stroke at a time.

    Enjoy!

    The randomly selected winner from last week's blog is Deborah Alborell! Please send your snail address to julie@zentangle.com! Has your name been picked during our Back to Basics series? Congratulations! You will be receiving a Zentangle Kit - Classic!

    Please share your stories about your Zentangle timeline in the comments below. We will randomly select THREE commenters to also receive a new Zentangle Kit!

    Rick Roberts

    102 comments

    • Thoroughly enjoyed reading about how the Zentangle tiles and then the kits came to be. I discovered Zentangle in 2017 and still LOVE it to this day. Both of the new kits sound incredible !!

      Michele Werner on

    • Thanks guys for all your inspiration, time and effort. Love hearing all the fascinating history behind zentangle.Surely there is another book in the making just on the history :-) Always very excited when I see the word Zentangle in my email box. I am full of gratitude that I have the lovely Yvonne Rein CZT and now her daughter Tegan CZT here in Cairns Far North Queensland. Lovely having the hands on approach as well as your Utube videos and can get supplies very easily when I run out.

      wendy T on

    • I remember the excitement when I received my box. I loved running my hand over the texture and admiring the color! I had that Christmas feeling as I opened the box to explore what it contained. I thought it was the best ever. I immediately put the DVD into the drive and my excitement continued to grow. The new ones are even more wonderful. They are both great gift-giving opportunities! Thank you for continuing to put a fresh face on Zentangle!

      Clara A Brunk on

    • In 2013 I was cruising our university bookstore art supply section and came across “One Zentangle A Day” book by Beckah Krahula. I was immediately smitten, bought the book, found out about Rick and Maria online, and have been loving the process ever since. I live in the Rocky Mountains, and a CZT training seemed a bit of a stretch for me…until the Pandemic. I am SO very grateful to have been able to participate in the first online CZT training. It really made it accessible for me. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the training was extremely professional and personal, fun and very thorough. An excellent job by all…And I can be picky ;-). Many thanks to the entire Zentangle Team who keep this Beautiful Process alive and continually evolving.

      Molly Siddoway King, CZT36 on

    • 2016 – Just 5 minutes before leaving for the airport after visiting family in NY, my sister took me into her craft room to show me a new art form she was doing called Zentangle. She explained the dots, border & string & drew one quick tangle. She offered to give me the Primer, but I declined as I couldn’t fit even a toothpick in my over-filled suitcase. Living on a boat in the Caribbean, I have no access to stores or Amazon, so when I’m stateside I shop like it’s Christmas! However she definitely sparked an interest & upon returning, I Googled Zentangle & stumbled upon a Melinda Barlow video. Immediately hooked, I drew on a dime-store sketch pad with a Sharpie – for a year! The Microns, Markers & Zentangle tiles were eventually brought to me when friends/family came to visit. And I’ve never stopped tangling! In fact, in mid 2020 I actually donated half my clothing to make room in a drawer for my hundreds of tangles & vast supplies! What fun reading about the evolution of “the box” and re-living my very humble beginnings! 🤗

      ~Jan~ Sailandbejoyful on

    • My journey started in a bookshop when Inpicked up a zentangle beginners book in German. I still do not know what made me enter that bookshop on that day several years ago. zentangle has become one of my favourite retreats to give my mind a break. I have found a way to my inner artist and enjoy the process of creating. Thank you for all the joy you have given me so far.

      Katrin on

    • I I discovered Zentangle in 2010 and got my Susie T in 2014 during the time in between I was using it as a relaxing way to help me calm down after a busy day. Since then I’ve been teaching and I’ve been learning because as we all know the teachers learned the most from the students thank you for this wonderful gift of mindfulness and creativity

      Lisa Hoesing on

    • I fell in love with Zentangle many years ago when I picked up my first book at my local JoAnn Fabric Store. I didn’t do anything with it until the beginning of Covid when I ordered another Zentangle book from AQS written by Barbara Browning. I started with it and wanted more, so I googled Zentangle and found that I can order project pack 10. I worked on it diligently, then moved to all of your YouTube’s that I’m still working on.

      I use this as a grounding/meditation tool for me when my anxiety is getting the best of me. I am looking to go to facilities on a volunteer basis once Covid is controlled and help bring a sense of gratitude through Zentangle to other anxiety sufferers.

      Pamela M. Pandolfi on

    • I fell in love with Zentangle many years ago when I picked up my first book at my local JoAnn Fabric Store. I didn’t do anything with it until the beginning of Covid when I ordered another Zentangle book from AQS written by Barbara Browning. I started with it and wanted more, so I googled Zentangle and found that I can order project pack 10. I worked on it dillegently

      Pamela M. Pandolfi on

    • I treasure my magnetic closure Aqua Box – I had to pay tax & customs for it so it ended up rather expensive being shipped to where I was living at the time. I love all the new sizes you’ve been introducing & try to keep an eye on what you’re doing. It’s always exciting to see the new Project Packs emerge. Congratulations on all that you have achieved.

      Evy Browning on

    • In 2015, I spent 5 days in an outpatient mental health program for depressed people. One of the many exercises we did was to draw patterns on a small piece of paper. We didn’t get much instruction, but after I went home every evening, I got on the computer and investigated this art form, watched Rick and Maria’s video, and I started the search for a CZT.

      Would you you believe one of the five women in my home Bible study was a CZT? She used to paint white patterns on the black windows of her car, and she said she could teach me.

      I could never create something so beautiful, so I kept turning her down. After about six months, I got tired of her offers and said “Fine. I’ll do it, but I won’t do a good job at it.”
      Little did I know a door would open in my soul!

      After three years of constant tangling, I became aCZT in Seminar 32. I did it!
      My depression ended the day I was introduced to Zentangle, and it’s been mostly gone ever since I learned to tangle!

      Thank you Rick, Maria and the whole ZHQ crew for saving me!

      Theresa Caillouette on

    • I love love love the new kits! Of course I love my own Zentangle kit, acquired in 2017 at my seminar! So many new products have come to be since then and I think these kits are a great way for someone to really begin practicing the Zentangle Method! Thanks as always for bringing us awesome products!

      Brenda Campbell, CZT29 on

    • Zentangle chose me in 2012. I came to Zentangle via process painting. A friend familiar to Zentangle was looking at my paintings and recognized lots of tangle like strokes in my paintings and told me to look it up. I did and recognized the process of surendering to one stroke at a time and no judging. My first tangles were done with old Crayola markers in a sketch book. Then I moved on to large 20 by 26 in ZIA’s My current favorite tiles are gray.

      I went to CZT 11 just to study with Rick and Maria with no intention of teaching, but Rick chose me as the last person of five or so to present my deconstructed pattern before the group. The silence in the room got me hooked. The group even helped choose the name of the pattern, Carp3 after the carpet on floor 3
      In Hotel Providence.

      I

      Georgianna Klein on

    • I discovered Zentangle online in December 2011 and in 2012 bought my first kit as a birthday gift to myself in April. I learned about Zentangle from the small booklet. In June of 2016, I attended the 24th class in Providence and the rest is history.

      Harley King on

    • I enjoyed the path down memory lane. What a well thought out, cathartic journey created with love and patience. I was very excited when I got my kit before my first Zentangle class, it confirmed what I already knew, I was part of a class act! When I teach classes, I often mention that kit and what quality and love it contains. Thank you!

      Marjorie Goosen on

    • I became a CZT in 2013. So did my daughter. We enjoy the process of slowing down that Zentangle has brought into our lives.

      Jackie on

    • I started learning more about the Zentangle method after discovering on Pinterest. The different tangles fascinated me. I love art, although am challenged by it! Zentangle with it method of simple ways to create beautiful art just fit me. Recently I introduced my best friend to it. She has been having health challenges and to see how she embraced it has been heartwarming. My bucket list includes becoming a CTZ. When the time is right. And my wish list a Zentangle box. It has been so very interesting to read about the beginnings of Zentangle and all those little details make it even more special and unique. I look forward to my “time away” from every day life when I can tangle away. Thank you for sharing the journey.

      Gem on

    • I ordered my first Zentangle Kit as a student in 2016 from zentangle.com, after 2 years of Pinterest drawing

      Mary Illana Perrin CZT on July 21,2021 on

    • I started with “pure” black on white. Having always thought of myself as “not an artist,” I was even intimidated by shading and added that some time later. When the tan tiles were introduced, I was really skeptical. While I really loved the results others were getting, I was not confident that I could do the same – I was just “not an artist” enough to figure it out. But I am also a “gadget geek” so I collected the pens and pencils, various tiles, and other necessities. I loved the Bijou tiles because the small size made them seem less demanding, less taxing for my non-artistic skills. I was still spending long hours painstakingly crafting (rather than freely and joyously creating), and I loved it, but I was convinced that what I was doing was really more craft than art. Skip ahead a few years and 14 project packs, and now I do think of myself as an artist – a certain kind of artist, that is – because I have so much to show for my efforts, and so much that I love! The project packs are very helpful for those like me who tend to be more analytical and perfectionistic. Without having to decide what or where or how to tangle, we can just follow along and see where it leads. This in itself can get us out of our “analysis paralysis” and inspire further exploration on our own. Thank you, thank you, thank you for these wonderful gifts!

      Laura on

    • Having become a CZT in 2014, I remember the progression of these beautiful kits. I still have mine and treasure it. ♥️
      Roseanne Sabol, CZT 17 & 28

      Roseanne Sabol on

    • Pretty cool kits! I’ve been tangling with you since 2015. Thanks for all you’ve contributed to my peaceful early morning tanglings.

      Myra Arnold on

    • Depuis que j’ai découvert le Zentangle il y a quelques années, cela m’a accompagné. J’ai montré à une amie très chère qui entrait en alzheimer. Elle a vraiment tellement apprécié que tous les jours elle a dessiné et souvent m’a dit que cela lui permettait de vivre des moments de paix profonde et de garder une certaine estime d’elle-même. Cela m’ a poussé à devenir CZT et j’en suis très heureuse. J’ai donné une première série de cours avec joie et enthousiasme. Gratitude gratitude!

      Schneider Monique on

    • A wonderful trip down memory lane, So interesting to read how the kit has evolved just like the beginnings of Zentangle with white tile & black pen which has also evolved over time, yet the method stays the same. I also have evolved on my Zentangle journey from being a non-artist to an artist, to a CZT, using the Zentangle method. I continue my journey and am grateful to Rick & Maria for sharing this awesome method of drawing with us & the wonderful world-wide Zentangle community who assist me with my evolution. I so look forward to evolving my Zentangle artwork and sharing it with others, into the distant future.

      Lianne on

    • I was introduced to zentangle at a fall calligraphy workshop. I have loved it ever since. My nephew was in drug therapy so I sent him all the materials and instructions to zentangle. He eventually ran out of tiles so he purchased preschool coloring books with large designs. He began to tangle within the lines of the large designs. His final designs were incredible.

      Elaine Novak on

    • In november 2017 I discovered Zentangle on Pinterest, started drawing, was immediatly hooked and never stopped drawing. In May 2019 I was lucky to go of the first seminar in Europe where I regained my first Zentangle box and discovered besides the beautiful way of drawing a worldwide, friendly family. Thank you so much for teaching the methode to us, to me.

      Irene Lammerse CZTeu1 on

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