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Bijou Speaks: Deliberate Strokes

Bijou Speaks: Deliberate Strokes

 In 2014, we were thrilled to announce a new member of the Zentangle Community. It was a celebratory time when Bijou the snail slowly and lovingly glided his way into our hearts and lives. We immediately fell in love with the unique character Bijou shared with us, and most of all we all, we embraced the stories and messages Bijou has told us that align with the Zentangle Method. 
As we move along on this tangled journey we have learned, when Bijou speaks, we listen.

In this Blog series we explore some of our favorite thoughts, quotes, stories and Bijou-isms. Enjoy!


Julie writes...

Deliberate Strokes – a bijouism that may not roll of the tongue as easily as savor or inspire, but one that embodies so much of the Zentangle philosophy. One that I have chosen to embrace in this new year.

I have always had mixed feelings about New Year’s Resolutions. On one hand, this time of year invites moments of reflection and assessment and goal setting. On the other hand, it is full of promises to do less of this or more of that, sometimes setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Personally, I like to make one or two small, achievable goals or intentions for the year. Sometimes they are silly and sometimes they are things I may already do but want to focus on more.

This year, I decided I wanted to tangle more. That shouldn’t be hard, right? Considering my job and all…

For a few days though, the resolution was not sitting right with me. It was too vague – what constituted more? Should I tangle every day? Twice a day? Twice a week? For how long? I realized through all of this deliberation that I did not want tangling to be a task on my To-Do list. I did not want to end up sitting down and rushing through a tile just so I could say that I tangled.

Then, my little friend Bijou whispered in my ear, “Deliberate Strokes.” I decided that I will tangle more… deliberately. Tangle with intention.

When we are more deliberate with our strokes, we are focused on the process of tangling and not the end result. We are focused on one stroke at a time and how it relates to the other tangles on our tiles.

I began a tile with the tangle mooka. Being very deliberate with each of my mooka’s, I made an effort not to plan how all my mooka’s would look together in the end, but on one mooka at a time. I worked through my tile with the same deliberation I began with and when it came time to shade, I focused on one line, one tangle a time.

With deliberate strokes, and all those other, wise words from Bijou seem to fall into place… savor, breathe, focus…

What kind of intention are you setting with your tangling this year? Tell us which Bijiousim you are focusing on this year and we will randomly pick a few winners to receive a Bijou Box!

Julie Willand


  • IMAGINE, just for today…. is scrawled across my bathroom mirror. These words are adorned with ; Binx, Flux, Hollis,Ivy, Mooka, Moon Pie, Poke Root, Printemps, Rixty, and Tipple. I change it up whenever the mood strikes.

    CeCe Bushinsky on

  • For this pandemic year, I chose HOPE as my word to ponder. Just today, someone reached out saying to me, "Trust is the beginning of hope. So I chose TRUST as my little Bijouism.

    Linda Dochter, CZT "Sweet 16" on

  • My word for this pandemic year is HOPE. Today someone reached out saying to me, “Trust is the beginning of hope.” So I choose Trust as my Bijouism for 2022.

    Linda M Dochter, CZT "Sweet 16" on

  • I love this Julie. Bijou always speaks so wisely and in such small deliberate ways, just like our strokes. I too like you want to tangle more, but in very specific ways that are uniquely right for me. So Bijou can say, “I appreciate you Miriam, one stroke at a time.”

    Miriam Zimms on

  • this year I have Focus… bijou that chose me and it came to me with the material from the czteu5 seminar. And it is so suitable to improve me, that I smiled and hugged it when I received it

    carmela on

  • “Slow Down” interestingly enough, over this weekend, while I was snowed in, I wanted to practice a beautiful Bijou, because I love watching him being drawn… and I had actually written on my Bijou tile “Doesn’t matter how slow you go… just go.”

    Michele Balboa on

  • Note for R. Cy

    Ich bestelle die original Zentangle Materialien bei deutschen Händlern im Internet, wie z. B., Amazon, ebay oder etsy, die Microns gibt es sogar beim lokalen Künstlerbedarf vor Ort.

    Anette Joseit ANEJOS on

  • I picked two bijouism for this year, First: Comfort

    I am comforted in the fact that I no longer put myself down. I’m an artist and I use my Zentangle creations to comfort myself and also to comfort others. It’s more than just a hobby for me, it’s passion!

    Second: Come out of your shell

    I was always a little bit shy to show my work to a bigger audience outside the Zentangle App. This year I want to be more brave and show myself and my Zentangle art to others and be proud of it.

    Anette Joseit ANEJOS on

  • I love taking out a teeny Bijou tile when I am creatively blocked or overwhelmed. Looking at the “Trust” Bijouism while I draw whatever comes to mind is just the thing I need to relax my mind with no pressure. Thank you Bijou!

    Leslie Hancock on

  • Ich tangle mit Leidenschaft und viel Konzentration bereits seit 2016 . Ich verschenke sehr gerne “verwirrte” Karten zu allen möglichen Anlässen, ob freudig oder traurig, aber nur an Freunde, die es auch schätzen können!
    Ich habe viele Karten, Anhänger,… auch zur Weihnachtszeit verschenkt und verschickt oder auch im Status gezeigt und bekomme immer sofort interessante Rückmeldungen.
    Leider bin ich seit September krank, aber ein Tag ohne Verwirrung ist sehr selten, die Konzentration lenkt mich gut ab und ich werde meistens ruhiger.
    Es ist allerdings schwierig für mich, die passenden Utensilien zu besorgen, eventuell kann sich mal jemand melden wie man in Deutschland, ohne Zoll zu bezahlen, an Spezialbleistifte und sonstiges Papier kommen kann.

    Ich freue mich immer über neue Anregungen und Hilfestellungen, ich liebe diese Art sich abzulenken und zu konzentrieren, liebe Grüße an alle Tangler

    R. Cy on

  • Thank-you for a perfectly timed and inspiring post Julie. How tricky to choose just one Bijouism for the year! But I have narrowed it down to just two, which kind of go hand in hand (or whatever appendages snails have). I would like this to be the year that I ‘come out of my shell’ artistically and to do that I will need to ‘trust’ : the process, myself, those around me, the universe and of course Bijou, with his timely words of wisdom.

    Lucy Farran on

  • I would like to draw more of my ideas this year. There are so many offers on the internet that you don’t know where to start. I drew a lot myself, but I was also inspired by what I saw on various websites. I would like to believe in myself more, find my style and my way. Not to look at others and, above all, not to compare. That’s why I like: Trust, Create, Discover, Choose your tangles, No Mistakes and…

    my word of the year is ENJOY
    Thanks for everything.

    Joanna Kohl on

  • I went to look at the Bijouisms, & the one that jumped out at me was Embellish – reading the description of using the humble aura, I was reminded of ‘aura is your friend.’ That’s the one I’m going to focus on – & hey presto there was another Bijouism ‘Focus.’ OK – typically me I try to do too many things at once – so Embellishing in the form of auras I will stick to!

    Evy Browning on

  • My Bijouism I’m focusing on is come out of your shell. I’m an introvert by nature but have met so many new people while taking online Zentangle classes. I have not only been learning how to combine zen and really slow down with my creativity but have also been able to share it with others. Zentangle has given me opportunities to connect with other people in a fun, relaxing, and supportive environment:) Zentangle couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

    Brandy Desjardins on

  • “Deliberate Strokes.” I am a total speed person when it comes to Zentangle. I want to get to the finished product as soon as possible… but this little tidbit really hit me upside the head. I will now slow down and calmly do the non-work that makes Zentangle ‘Zen.’

    Patricia Underwood on

  • Come out of your shell-Bijouism I want to pursue my personality regardless of my surroundings. Bijou, thank you for your wonderful message!

    Megumi Suzuki CZT36 on

  • So wise!

    Clara A Brunk on

  • Another wonderful article, Julie! I have watched Maria’s mesmerizing calligraphy with Bijou several times. All of the Bijouisms strike a cord with me, but I think that “Focus” is the one I need to apply the most. I do try to hurry. I just recently learned that many of the videos that I have watched are speeded up to twice the actual speed . Knowing that will help me slow down.

    LLS on

  • Create, Bijou is suggesting to me. Simply create and make something beautiful. So many hours spent doing work, tasks and chores…. so make time to create. ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life’ – Picasso

    Michelle Dugdale CZT37 on

  • “The Strings the Thing”

    I am not really sure why this Bijouism
    is standing out for me tonight. Maybe it has to do with hidden structure that helps to pull things together, whether in Zentangle or life. Also can be the structure that frees me to be creative. Something I will ponder about as I create some strings. Thank you. Paulette CZT36

    Paulette Kirschensteiner on

  • No mistakes. Thanks Bijou, for encouraging me to keep going – or sometimes to even start – tanglng, knowing that whatever I tangle will turn out just fine.

    Ruth Osborn, CZT36 on

  • I have to say that the mantra “Anything is Possible one stroke at a time” may be one of the most important gifts that you’ve given me. One stroke, one stitch, one step. I’ll try to keep it in mind at work tomorrow. I think that I’m going to need it!

    Catherine Gisby on

  • Come of of your shell is the bijou card I got at CZT training. Given that we were hidden behind computer screens, I took that to say I needed to find ways to connect and I have been making connections through social media. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about “tangling more” that resonated with me.

    Jessica M on

  • Appreciate – remember to appreciate your tangle regardless of the end result and appreciate the people in your life who bring you joy. Deborah January18,2022

    Deborah Rogers on

  • It’s been 10 years since CZTIX. Not a day goes by that I don’t tangle or think about tangling. The past two years, I’ve been lucky to be retired, have my own little studio room, be able to stay home during the pandemic, have all the supplies I need and just explore and enjoy all types of Zentangle projects with many teachers around the globe. I think that ‘appreciate’ is an appropriate bijouism for this year.

    Dennie York CZT IX on

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