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Back to Basics and Beyond Again

Back to Basics and Beyond Again

Julie writes...

Last week we concluded our Back to Basics blog series with the announcement of our TWO new Zentangle Kits. We are so excited to share these kits with you and see where they take you on your Zentangle journey.

We have been focusing on the basics of the Zentangle Method and some of you have asked, "then what?" After you have "mastered" the basics, what is the next step? Do you learn more tangles? Try black or Renaissance tiles? Add color? Where do you go beyond the basics?

The short answer: There are no mistakes, so you can go wherever you want. You don't even have to go beyond the basics. There are no "rules."

For those looking for a little guidance, I have asked a few of us here at ZentangleHQ for their tips and ideas...

Maria says... Whenever I have a chance to sit and tangle, just for the pure joy of it (not work related) I grab a pen, the closest clean tile, and put down the first thing I think of. Oftentimes, it’s a mooka or poke leaf or huggins. Now and then a blossoming tangle, like fengle, auraknot, dingsplatz, or a seed tangle like waybop or mi2. I almost never draw the basic tangle. I enhance just about everything with auras, rounding (to add strength and drama). Then some tipple or dudah. You get the picture. By that time, I’m off! like a tangle of tangles! Stuff just comes out of my pen. . . until it doesn’t, so I either stop or “rinse and repeat” with a different tangle. Always adding auras and little details. . . and fun. Don’t forget the fun!


Rick says... I might decide ahead of time to add a fixed amount of auras, or decide what to do once the auras begin to touch . . . and then watch what happens. It is a fun twist on our idea that the elegance of limits can often inspire increased creativity in unanticipated directions.

Julie says... I love to tangle the same tangles over and over again, but each time trying something new. It is like going out for coffee with a friend, but each time you change your coffee order. Once you feel like you have mastered the basics, go back to those first four tangles that you learned and keep drawing them, but on different color or shaped tiles. Use different tools. Explore different sizes and techniques. The basics have so much to offerI

Molly says...I tangle because it makes me feel good. Creating in general makes me feel alive. Its nourishing and inspiring. Finding ways to access that feeling is important to me. Zentangle provides easy access to creativity for me. I have learned that I need to embrace what is familiar first in order to find room for new thoughts and ideas. I often remind myself that Zentangle is about repetition. In fact, a true practice is something you do over and over again. It is through the familiar behavior that you gain the strength and clarity to incorporate in something new. When we find things in life that we are passionate about and excited about it is easy to get caught up in "wanting more" mentality, obsessively trying to learn all there is to know. It's easy to become overwhelmed thinking you need to know all the trending tangles or explore every new material or be the one to invent the next new technique. In reality, it is simply about putting pen to paper in a way that feels good to you. Embracing the repetition is important. Once you have tangled the basics many times slowly integrate in something new. Change things slowly and let the new things gradually become familiar before moving on. Focus on the tangles and techniques that feel good. Allow room for growth. Take chances and embrace mistakes. Most importantly remember that all of this happens one stroke at a time. Focus on your next stroke and so on ...

Martha says...If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the question, "what next?", I recommend sharing the Zentangle Method with a friend. Sharing the method, one stroke at a time, will give you a whole new appreciation for this basic strokes. When you are showing someone else, sometimes you see new opportunities that you didn't see before and the answer to "what next?"

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We have been having so much giving away new Zentangle Kits that we wanted to give away one more! Share in the comments your best advice for where to go beyond the basics and we will choose a commenter at random to receive a Zentangle Kit - Classic.

Thank you to everyone who commented on our last blog, A Zentangle Timeline. We enjoyed reading about YOUR Zentangle journey. We have randomly selected 3 of you to receive a Zentangle Kit - Classic. If your name has been selected, please send your snail mail address to

  • Linda Stephens
  • Lucinda Mathews
  • Cheryl M

Julie Willand


  • I used to paint landscapes in oil, mostly from my own reference photos. I would make some changes to the composition because Mother Nature doesn’t always put things in the right place, but the basic composition was there already. I discovered Zentangle in early 2020. My main struggle has been what to put together to form the “perfect” composition, even though I know it doesn’t work that way! So I have tried sources of inspiration like Eni Oken’s Art Raffle app, which helped. I am still learning to “let go” and just relax with the tangles that I enjoy most, and let the tile tell me where I need to add a little something or other. Thank heaven for Tipple!

    Kendra Page on

  • Tangle on anything! I love trying out different substrates, especially colorful ones.

    Danielle DeRome on

  • I am a member of several Facebook Zentangle groups and blogs that feature a weekly prompt. It encourages me to use tangles that are outside of my standard Mac-and-cheese ones. I also learn so much from seeing the tiles that others post, and from reading your blog.

    Beth Gaughan on

  • I love this post. It’s giving me lots of ideas on how to do my own tangling instead of always copying someone on YouTube.

    Myra Arnold on

  • I love making cards. I send them for birthdays, thank you’s, anniversaries and give bundles of them as gifts. I became a CZT the year after my husband died and it has filled a big place in my life. Thank you

    Patty Steele on

  • I like to look thru everyone’s Instagram postings and save the ones I might want to try. Sometimes I start one and integrate parts of another, for a totally new tile.


  • I enjoy looking at the work of other Zentangle artists. I often see new ideas and techniques to try. Classes from my favorite CZT, Gale Sherman, always expands my creativity!

    Val Barsevich on

  • Learning about Zentangle and tangling opened up a whole new world for me. I love sticking with the basics as that is how I learned I could create art, I could draw in the way that gave me the most joy. I did not have to feel the pressure to create something that was anything or compare my ability to someone more advanced. I could tangle and the image would be unique and was all mine. I am forever grateful for this art form.

    Jacki Brewer on

  • I enjoy pondering tiles. I am doing more complicated designs and exploring with colored pencils. I have had much growth in understanding perception and depth since doing ZT. So I like to build tiles over days.

    B Cleo Thompson on

  • I like to focus on a specific project. For example a 100 days challenge or I started a project where I will add Punzel to each of my next tiles. I struggle with it so I thought it might help, if I draw it over and over and over again, until it clicks with me. And I want to do it in as many variations as possible. As a border, monotangle, reticula, maybe try it as a string?

    Mirjam Gleissner on

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