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Any Project Pack Is stroke at a time

Any Project Pack Is stroke at a time

Molly writes:

I recently received the following question about our latest Project Pack:

“I've been doing Zentangle only since April, and I have done a lot of the traditional black ink on white 3.5" or 2" tiles. I have followed the Zentangle Primer Vol 1 book and many YouTube videos of yours and other CZTs but have never done a project pack. I am still new to Zentangle. Do you think it would be ok to dive into project pack 21 or would I be better off going back and doing other project packs before it? I guess I'm asking if project pack 21 is for more advanced tanglers?”

Zentangle Project Packs are designed for all levels of tanglers that have some experience with the Zentangle Method. The lessons use common Zentangle language and techniques that would be better understood with some prior Zentangle knowledge. In the beginning we started with basic concepts, and though not in order of difficulty, it does seem that our Project Packs have thematically become more sophisticated over time. With that being said, there are some Project Packs that offer more basic instruction and exposure to fundamentals of the Method than others. We try to vary the themes throughout the year and seek out ideas that tanglers might be interested in exploring. 

Many, if not all our project packs, have multiple underlying themes which overlap. For instance, there are some that feature materials, but we wrap a little bit of philosophy into each lesson. Or we start with philosophy but wrap a new technique or skill into the lessons. It is this intersection of artistic technique and Zentangle philosophy that is ultimately where the value lies. 

When I review the collection of our Project Packs, there are a few Project Packs that offer more to those who are new to the Zentangle Method. If I were to select the best Project Packs for learning tangles, I would recommend Project Pack No. 04 and No. 10. Both offer fun ways to learn individual tangles in their basic forms. If I were to choose the best Project Pack to introduce you to different tile shapes and paper surfaces, I would choose Project Pack No. 02 which offers a taste of many of our different tile shapes and colors as well as accompanying pens and pencils. If I were to recommend Project Packs that bring focus to Zentangle philosophies I would suggest Project Packs No. 06 and No. 14. 

We have Project Packs that feature themes that take a deep dive into a specific collection of materials such as No. 01 with Black tiles or No. 12 with Renaissance tiles. Some Project Packs work thematically around a surface or a specifically curated collection of tools, such as No. 07, No. 08, No. 11, No. 17, and No. 18. These Project Packs usually feature lessons that are independent from one another and are not sequential. In other words, you can do some or all of the lessons in the series and they can be done out of order. These are great opportunities to progress from working on white tiles and you can learn a lot about different materials and techniques specific to those tools and tiles.

Then there are Project Packs that are more thematically tied to a technique or project. These include ones like No. 05 that features Zentangle Cartouche, and No. 15 that works with letter forms and alphabets. Project Packs No. 09, No. 13, and No. 16 also guide us through fun tiles that thematically work around a style or technique that we as artists can get all tangled into. Each of the project packs leave you with another tangling skill to take with you and integrate into your practice.

In 2019 we began a series of Project Packs that work with our concept of Zentomology®. These include Project Packs No. 19, No. 20, and No. 21. They all focus on learning the different categories of tangles, their characteristics, and how they work with each other compositionally.

If you were to ask me if there was a Project Pack that is not a beginner experience, I would have to say Project Pack No. 19. It has been, thus far in our series, the marathon of Project Packs. It is also my favorite one and the one I would recommend to any avid tangler. You can get lost in this project for hours and hours of tangling bliss. It challenges, inspires, and requires quite a bit of tangling stamina. It leaves you learning about many different tangle categories, how to build composition with tangles and works you through sophisticated shading techniques. And it leaves you with a very large and impressive piece of artwork!

We really do believe that all our Project Packs can be approached by tanglers of all abilities. 

  • Will some people need to watch a lesson a few times? Perhaps they might.
  • Will there be challenges or mis-strokes here and there? Perhaps there will be.
  • Will each and every tile or composition created be unique? You bet they will be!

Project Packs as a whole can be approached just like any other tile, one stroke at a time. Take it slow, enjoy your pace and embrace your Zentangle practice. Have faith in yourself as an artist and give yourself some room to explore and go in different directions. 

Finally, to answer the specific question asked, "Is Project Pack No. 21 for more advanced tanglers?"

My response would be, “not necessarily.”

“Should you try Project Pack No. 21?”

The answer is, “Yes”. If you have any introductory exposure to the method, you have enough experience to do the Project Pack. Work at your own pace and embrace your work. More importantly, do it the best that you can. It is your journey, not anybody else’s. Following along as the videos are released is fun and the energy is supportive. It is exciting watching it all unfold. You can always watch a video lesson first without tangling and then watch it again and tangle at your own pace. It is magical to see what others are creating along with you, and you can always choose to take your time on your own work but still follow what others are doing.

Our Project Pack series unfolded almost accidentally and has unexpectedly grown into something we both love and cherish. We never envisioned that we would get this far. Here we are, 21 packs later, and things have evolved in a very exciting way. We have learned and been inspired by all of you and thank you all for supporting us and tangling along. If you are also new to the Zentangle Method, I give you an encouraging, “Go for it!”, any Project Pack is possible, one stroke at a time!

Which Project Pack inspired you the most? What did you learn from that Project Pack?

Let us know in the comments below. We will be giving away something special to 3 winners, names picked randomly. Winners will be announced in our next blog.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • For me so far, my favourite project has been #19, done on that seemingly huge piece of paper. I loved it so much that when I had finished it I started all over again and made another one using A3 watercolour paper…and then I cut the new finished one in half! I went on to my other love, book binding, and finally after several days, I had produced a beautifully hand bound Coptic style display book with many black pages to show my tiles to greatest advantage. I now (so far) have finished three more similar books, with unique, colourful and tangled covers. Thank you to you all for everything you do!

    Sue Zanker on

  • I love PP 10. There are many, many pages to fill with tangles from the videos and on your own. Since it is a reference, each tangle has its own space instead of in an artistic composition (not that those aren’t great too). There are explorations of a wide range of tangles, and variations of them. Best of all, I use this reference all the time. That , or the spinner, is where I’d start.

    Jeanine Hughes on

  • It would be great if there was a reference guide that shows which project packs emphasize different techniques or tools. Molly referred to them within this blog, but I don’t know if I’ll remember where to go find this info again!

    How about it, guys? Can that be done?

    Ginger White CZT34 on

  • I have enjoyed all the project packs, but Project Pack 21 has been my absolute favorite! It has pushed me to think creatively and to make my own designs rather than simply duplicating the lesson. The 5 challenge days really made me use the creative part of my brain (and I’m still working on Challenge Day 5). Thank you so much for this creative, fanciful project!

    Sharon Thagard on

  • I knew zentangle for the first time in January, 2023. I just began to care my mother at that time, and I became obsessed with the zentangle as I tried to organize my own mind and also rehabilitate my mother.

    I purchased a pack called the project pack 21 from Japanese czt as soon as I knew that it was going to be released.
    I can draw something like a botanical specimen with the pack and it’s a very moving experience. I was becoming more exited and much happier. As I am a flower designer and I love plants.

    In Japan, a drama of Mr. Tomitaro Makino, a world-famous botanist, was being broadcasted, and it was showing many old botanical specimens. What a wonderful connection!

    I imagined a lot and I enjoyed a lot while learning from Zentangle teachers’ blog and Youtube.

    As a complete beginner, I started with pp21.
    I drew carefully and bound up my works carefully. Now It’s my lifetime treasure.


  • All the project packs have something unique and creative that is exciting to dive into. I adored the one with the glaze pen and sketch and wash (number escapes me right now). These tools were fun and explorative to me at the time. I really loved the No Mistakes booklet and will be creating this along with my daughter at the end of the year as she is having some surgery and we are going to use that time to bond, create and have quality time together – one stroke at a time. I think as a seasoned tangler, we always love the 12 Days of Christmas Project Packs for the wonderful surprises and fun ways to create. We tanglers are so happy that you have stretched and grown to create these packs and always look forward to the fun and anticipation of a new PP. To anyone reading this, I agree, watch the videos first and feel it first to see if it resonates with your own creativity. Some can feel complex in geometry or thinking skills, so do what inspires you – then dive it! You can do those trickier ones later when you have more strokes behind you and you are ready to challenge your mind and tangling hands! Thanks for it all Zentangle! Bring it on!

    Veronica Hodges CZT #37 Australia on

  • I have LOVED the flower/organic project packs of late, because I am a gardener and enjoy the shapes and and growing themes so much. But I often pull out the project pack book from #10 to inspire me! I recommend it to beginners.

    Alice Steuck Konkel on

  • I have learned something different from each one. My favorite so far is PP20. Thank you for all you do.

    Georgene Ksiazek on

  • Far and away my favourite project pack was PP19. I was in heaven for five weeks doing that. I especially loved it because it was so big and challenging. It made me concentrate, immerse myself and think about it even when I wasn’t tangling. It gave the most complete break from troubling thoughts I’ve had in a long time. May there be many more like PP19!

    Vreni Murphy on

  • I love floral style tangles so PP 19, 20 and 21 have been my favourites so far but I also love PP18 Translucen-Z. It’s so cool to be able to see through both sides of the tile and blending the shading on them is smooth like butter. Maybe one day I’ll be able to work through all the Project Packs. Thank you Zentangle Team, for all your hard work and love that you pour into each PP.

    Michele Werner on

  • I was introduced to Zentangle and drew my first Tangle in June. When PP 21 was offered in August I jumped right in. I had no idea what I was signing up for, just wanted to do more and figured the instructions would be helpful. I loved every minute! The instructions and videos were excellent and encouraging and fun. And I really loved making my own botanicals with the bonus weeks. I just posted all my PP 21 pages on the Mosaic App. So glad to be part of this grand community. Thank you all!

    Deb DeCicco on

  • It is difficult to choose just one project pack because they have all had a great impact on me! However, Project Pack 10 The Legend is the one I keep handy. It is my “go to” for ideas or for when I am stuck. Thank you Molly for your excellent blog. I am looking forward to many more challenges.

    Mary Kay Cass, C.Z.T. on

  • Thank you. This was a very helpful blog.

    Sharon Sickles on

  • I discovered Zentangle in 2018, and have followed along on all the Project Packs since then. But if I were to recommend a Zentangle video project for beginners, I would recommend the recent (May 2023?) Bijou’s “Be Well” series. It was awesome. It dealt with one tangle per video, including shading and highlighting. It was calming, meditative, and produced an amazing mosaic as well as a beautiful reference library to use for future projects! I was travelling and so used plain 3.5 white tiles on hand vs the smaller Bijou tiles, but if I had been home Bijou tiles would have been my choice. All the videos are available on the Zentangle Mozaic, or the YouTube channel. Which I refer back to often! I’m very appreciative for all the support we receive from Zentangle HQ!

    Jessica L Dykes on

  • I loved project pack 21! It was my first project pack. I loved the theme of botanical Nature and the posibility to explore my own imagination. I already made my own templates to make more of those tangles. I throw a dice with letters to choose a tangle which i shall use in my creation. Or i make a combination of a letter dice and an numeral dice and go back to the book primer vol. 1 to see what fragment i shall use or reticula.

    Jolanda Schouwstra on

  • I loved No. 15 the Alphaborders. The colours were quite unusual to me and intersting to work with. I loved also No. 7 , just love this Blue… I did. No 4 while Presseinformationen for my CZT course. No. 17 the caleidoscope was a beautiful mosaic. I did more and loved all of them!

    I am currently working on No.19. I got. also No . 14 and some others. Your Videos are so great and sometimes I just Watch them and relax.
    Thank you so much!
    Cornelia , Flensburg, Germany

    Cornelia Spevak on

  • May 31, 2023, I was surprised to learn about Gentangle. Since then, I’ve started drawing Gentangles and I’ve drawn all but four project packs. I’m not good at drawing, but it was so much fun to draw. If I have to choose one of them, it’s Project Pack 15. You can fall into the splendor of the letters. Right now, I’m challenging czt41 without fear. After the seminar, I will challenge the project pack again. My gentangle is growing little by little. It’s my own pleasure

    hong yun joo on

  • I love love love the PPs before Christmas : the 12 Days of Zentangle. They are always so beautiful and increase anticipation of Christmas. I can pause through them and enjoy the time.

    Martina Fegeler on

  • I loved Project Pack 04, Zentangle Spinner. My personal goal is to share Zentangle with as many people as possible and Project Pack 04 helps with that. It introduces people to many different tangles and creates a beautiful spinner that helps them choose tangles for their later tiles. That said, I have loved the different activities and demonstrated techniques that come with all the Project Packs. Your creativity in designing the packs is awesome.

    Holly C on

  • I love watching the videos as each project pack is unveiled and we receive the wisdom and experience you collectively share. I have loved all of them, but the one that stands out most in my memories is the time you did an increasing number of 3Z tiles to coordinate with the increasing days of Christmas. At the end of your marathon you completely covered a table with an amazing mosaic. Each tile was a simple lesson, but the whole was incredible!

    Susan Litteral on

  • Good morning from Germany ,

    I would like to share my Zentangle story and say thank you to this great team
    I was completly new to Zentangle and started with PP#19. As a hobby artist, mainly in watercolors, Zentangle wasn‘t „new“to me, but I never tried it before.
    After my Dad died 2 days before christmas and the sad memories of the loss of my husband 15 years ago on christmasday, I was looking for some calming distraction and stumbled onto your PP#19.
    It was so beautiful. I first thought I never could do something looking so delicate and outstanding.
    But I gave it a try and started with materials I had on hand.(I could order from your website, but shipping and taxes are so high and half of the time packages get lost in the mail)
    I documenteted every day I drew with a photo on my phone and it was amazing.
    The process was so calming: nothing was stressful no mistakes, one stroke at the time.
    At some time the drawing even relieved my grief and gave me peace.
    And what should I say: after 2 weeks I had a wonderful picture. And it is big, about 20×25“ .
    I framed it and hung it in a special place.
    After PP#19, I took a look at your other PPs.
    Everyone has it‘s own „speciality“. You can learn from every PP. The most importaned thing is to take your time. Never force anything. And if a tangle is new or I don‘t know if it works in my project there is always scrape paper.

    After 9 months of zentagle, tangling almost every day, l learned the benefites of calming down and finding peace and not to forget the joy.

    Thank you so much

    Anita Davis on

  • Thank you Molly for summing it up so nicely!
    I get exited every time a new PP is announced and the new one is always a favorite! I could not pick a particular favorite one.
    PP19 was…and still is a challenge for me though. I am still working on it and it is daunting at times to pick it up. Therefore tangling on a large piece of paper for hours made me realize why I love the basic Zentangle method so much. Working on a small piece of paper with limited tools, creating a lovely piece of art in black and white and all that in a fairly short amount of time is still my favorite thing to do.
    Having said that I do enjoy the PP’s thoroughly because they offer new techniques, tools, challenges and insights and they encourage me to explore further. And being challenged is a good thing in my eyes. Because I learn a lot that way.
    Thank you all at ZTHQ!
    Warm greetings!

    Doris Bisschop CZT Eu1 on

  • I was still a beginner tangler when I took the CZT37 seminar. To get a more Zentangle stroke, I started with Project Pack No.1. By drawing in order, I was able to deeply learn about the history of Zentangle, new surprises, and the types of pens and how to use them. I think this will be helpful when holding classes. My student will take the CZT41 seminar. She also came to the seminar almost as a beginner, but I recommended Project Packs No. 4 and No. 10 to deepen her knowledge of Zentangle. This is because I thought I could learn about various tangles and how to arrange them. Thank you to everyone in the Zentangle family.

    Minako Wada on

  • Project Pack 19 was actually the very first Zentangle I did, other than someone showing me how to do 3 small partial tangles at a staff retreat. I knew nothing about tangling or shading or any of the terminology, but the videos were so well done that I completed it in about 20 hours. I have since completed another one as a commissioned piece of art for my first student. Yes, student. I was so inspired, I became a CZT in April!

    Nancy Moore on

  • I can’t really pick a favorite but I did love #8 because I don’t think I would have integrated gelly roll pens without it. And the way that two colors really popped against each other. I also have to say how much I loved KTT 028. I started working on project packs after one of the Kripalu seminars before I was a CZT and adapting them in my pre-strung journal.

    Jessica M on

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