Variant Title has been added to your shopping cart.    View Cart   or   Checkout Now
Advice for New Tanglers

Advice for New Tanglers

Maria writes...

Hello everyone. It's a great day to tangle! I was thinking about new tanglers, and the questions and doubts that may concern them in the beginning. I have been doing this so long now that I have almost forgotten what it was like to wonder "what was the next step?", "did I do this right?", "will this look good?".  

Then it came to me! There are so many seasoned tanglers, with so much knowledge, experience, passion, gratitude...that maybe, just maybe they would be willing to give just one piece of advice to the person just starting out on this magical journey. 

And, just maybe these bits of wisdom might be valuable to the not so new tanglers, too!

So, please, send us your best piece of tangle wisdom/advice in a comment below, and we'll randomly choose from the comments to send Zentanglish goodies! suggestion to new tanglers: Take chances.

This tile was a monotangle called “well well well." After I thought I was done, it seemed it just needed more. I boldly added radiating straight lines from the largest orb, and pencil shaded every other section to create a “folded” effect. 



When finishing this cluster of energetic Mooka, I added a dark background for some drama. (I painted a walnut ink onto the white tile). Added the tiny white dots after the ink was very dry. 



When finished with the center of this tan tile, I drew a few very thick black lines radiating out from the tangling. They were rather “V” shaped. Then added the white lacy lines in an aura around it all. Then,(!) I spotted a pair of tiny embroidery scissors on my desk, and, clipped the V’s out quickly...before I could think of reasons not to!





  • Smile, breathe, tangle on……… !

    Valeria Morck CZT 32 on

  • Breath, relax your hand and don’t look at what others are doing. So many times I see new students actually holding their breath and clenching their jaws. We now do a body scan Mindfulness meditation before we begin. It has brought as all closer to each other, treating ourselves and other with compassion.

    Elizabeth KRALL on

  • You never know until you are there! a means to an end is never the way! embrace the experience called "Change!

    christine maskaly on

  • My obstacle is my fear of ‘doing’ it wrong. It’s very difficult when things are right or wrong. How could my attempts at Paradox NOT be wrong if the tangle doesn’t disappear into the page. Do I have to learn the tangles? How do I know if I should turn the tile, is it turned to make it easier to draw? Or for some other reason?


  • I am very new to Zentangling and I feel it is important to add a suggestion for those afraid to try because like me they feel artistically challenged. Don’t be afraid. Zentangling WILL bring out your artistic talent. Before Zentangle, my art looked like a kindergartener’s. Now I proud show off my work!!! I do advise if you cannot find a class nearby, I couldn’t, purchase Maria’s and Rick’s, “Zentangle Primer, Vol. 1” before you look at the more advanced tangles on Pinterest. Amaze yourself and don’t be afraid, even if your high school art teacher flunked you like mine did to me!

    Marilyn Sultar on

  • I have several but offer only 2:

    1. Keep a book of Tangles- I use a Moleskine dotted one, and make squares 6×6 – you can get 15 on a page, I think. (It’s not here as I’m in bed!). I’m on page 82, and I’ve drawn all the “official” Tangles by Maria and Rick in it. Then I’ve added Tangles I love as seen on Use a black and a red pen to show the next step in each square. See how Maria does it. True Zentangle patterns are no more than six steps.

    2. Do. Not. Throw. Your. Tile/art. Away!! Ever!
    If you don’t like it, wait until you “sleep on it” and look at it in the morning or later in the day. Still hate it? Put it in a special box or even a designated ziplock bag and don’t look at it for a week, month. Etc. Some of my most hated ones have ended up being a favorite!
    Enjoy the process… the end result is NOT the goal!

    Kat van Rooyen, CZT20 on

  • Even if your tangling is not what you expected, put it away for a while, then view it with fresh eyes. You may be pleasantly surprised with a gem, or your pen and Zen will lead you in another direction.

    Suzanne Crisafi on

  • Don’t try to copy from someone else, everyone has a unique way of tangling.

    Shirley Roach on

  • slowly take notice of the rhythm of your natural breathing…breathing in/breathing out. just let go and have fun. it’s lightheARTed… smile, it’s your very own Awareness, Reflection, Time.

    midori, czt on

  • Believe in the magic! It is deep inside you! Waiting for the invitation to come out and play! Zentangle is your invitation! Be excited to come out and play!

    Susan Jaffe CZT 31 on

  • Just Do It! (As the Nike saying goes…) There is nothing as satisfying as tangling for yourself! Who cares about what people think? Love yourself and your art! 😊 Years of art experience has taught me to do my art for me, not what I think is “in” or the latest trend (although I do a few tangle challenges when I have time), I tangle when I want and what I want, try to find my own way to create any type of art not only Zentangle and rejoice in my ability to create and teach Zentangle too!🎨

    Dolly Bolen, CZT15 on

  • Trust yourself, begin and do not compare your tangling to others.

    Marjorie on

  • I love to teach kids. My rules for my classes: 1. No mistakes, only new opportunities. 2. Take your time, we are not at school! 3. No comparisons! Your tile is wonderful, appreciate it! When I walk around while they are tangling and when we are standing on the black mosaic table I tell them how much I like each tile. I take photos of what the kids made and tell them that this is very important to me as an appreciation of their work. Working without pressure makes kids happy! ( Andä me too!)

    Inge Frasch on

  • Thank you Maria for these beautiful results.

    I’m always happy to discover new patterns, new techniques, new inspirations… and I am happy with every little progress. It is impossible to know every tangle. Some people have more talent than others but that has nothing to do with the pleasant moments while tangling. As you said it is not a competition. We all can grow but only one stroke at the time. When I discover a lovely tangle, I draw it in my personal legend and very regulary I look back in this legend. Joining challenges gives you opportunities to use these patterns and with every challenge you learn something new!!! Keep believing in yourself, don’t compare with others.

    ria matheussen on

  • So beautiful

    Wan-yi Lin on

  • Remember that it’s all about having fun and finding peace.

    Pat Floerke on

  • Trust – trust the method. It is the journey that should be most important, not the end product. When you stop worrying about making mistakes (there are no mistakes in Zentangle), and you allow yourself to not expect perfection, amazing things happen. In addition get to know the Zentangle community— it is an amazing group of caring and sharing individuals. So blessed to be a part of it.

    Lesley Goldberg on

  • Trust – trust in the method

    Lesley Goldberg on

  • Don’t hesitate, just pick up your pen, start tangling and immerse yourself in the whole experience.

    Jane Goddard on

  • Practice, practice, practice! Practice focusing now with acceptance. The practice of mindfulness will come in handy.

    Jennifer Kwiecien on

  • Just when you get so wrapped up in planning classes, making class samples, organizing administrative stuff, one of your students will tell you a story so moving about how Zentangle has affected their life in such a positive way that it makes you want to cry and sing in the streets all at the same time. Your students give you the gifts that re-energize and inspire you.

    Barb Round, CZT 10 on

  • Sometimes when I look at a tile I am working on, I think that it is terrible. But I keep going on and finish it and sometimes it turns out to be one of my best. Don’t judge yourself!

    Judy Maurer on

  • Don’t stop drawing till your heart is fulfilled for the day.

    Rachel on

  • Don’t second guess yourself. Stroke by single stroke, the artist buried inside you will ever so gently come forward and reveal themselves. Just breathe and let the process unfold, stroke by stroke. Congratulations on connecting with the artist inside you, because we all have one. Some are just still sleeping.

    Lisa Fedele on

  • Oh my suggestion to new tanglers… give it a try.. there is a hidden artist in all of us.. I have faith in you.. you can do it..!!!

    Sukesha CZT#29 on

Leave a comment