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CZT Family Tree: Alan Quincey

CZT Family Tree: Alan Quincey

We always say that the Zentangle Method attracts really awesome people. We have had the pleasure of working with wonderful Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) all over the world and we are excited to share these wonderful people with the entire Zentangle Community. Through our series, CZT Family Tree, we will introduce individual CZTs.

Today, we are excited to introduce Alan Quincey!

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Name:  Alan Quincey, CZT 36

Hometown: I live in Llandrindod Wells, in Mid Wales, UK. A small place but the county town of Powys, the largest county in Wales. I have lived in many places but my affinity goes back to the place of my birth, the City of Lincoln, also a county town of the second largest county in England, Lincolnshire. It is where I studied art for five years, between the ages of 14 and 19, before training as an art teacher in Leicester.

I taught children for six years before entering industry as a graphic designer and typographer, with occasional forays into university lecturing and leading many calligraphy workshops throughout the country.

My favourite zentangle teaching story: At the time of writing, I have been a CZT for two weeks but I have taught the method several times before, to my peers ---- groups of old crumblies. The most notable was a bunch of about 60, prior to a luncheon. They had no idea what to expect.

I introduced the method and my connection to it, then I handed out paper tiles. They had to draw with anything they had, a ballpoint, a fountain pen, a pencil, etc. Then, as you might expect, the protests resounded. "I can't do that!" "I can't draw!" "I can't draw a straight line!" (Who can?)

We did the first tile from the Primer with assuring success and moved on to making a mosaic. I could see there were far fewer than 60 tiles on show. Many of the men, highly self-critical, deeply embarrassed, had slid their tiles into an inside pocket! With a quip and a joke (I knew them all by name) I persuaded them to include their tiles and I mixed them to hide identity. There was an instant buzz of pleasure and appreciation, with amazement at their collective ability. Whoopee!

How do I use the Method? My life has been involved with visual creativity, drawing, graphics, lettering, typography, calligraphy. As the years advance, I often find there is a creative block. I go to my work space but nothing happens. That is one place where Zentangle fits in. I take up tile and pen and, following the method, on stroke at a time, I find a sanctuary of spontaneous creativity. Breaking the block may not happen immediately. It may take several tries, one tile at a time.

My connection with Zentangle: Well, it goes back to a time before Zentangle existed. Way back, it could be thirty years, I can't recall the date, I was at a residential calligraphy workshop at Dillington House, in Somerset, UK, led by the renowned Peter Thornton. Peter had invited a dozen or so people from the USA and one of them was a lady called Maria Thomas. After the event, we kept in touch from time to time, both taking pleasure from each other's work.

Shortly after my Golden Wedding, my wife became increasingly ill. My role changed, to the exclusion of many things and I lost touch with Maria. My dear wife died in 2014 and, in the months which followed, I was persuaded to clamber into the 21st century. I got a smart phone. I got a tablet. I learned to email and message and post.

One day, clearing accumulated "debris" in my micro work space, I found a large envelope, long forgotten. It contained a print of a beautiful botanical painting by Maria, sent to mark our golden wedding seven years previously. Her letter with it suggested I might search their zentangle website. Well, now I am equipped to do it, so I searched. I was surprised, I was intrigued, I was fascinated. I tried and I was hooked.

Whilst painting and lettering never left me short of things to do, there were still major gaps in my new life, which I had not fully recognized. To a large extent, Zentangle method and practice helped to fill those times with concentration, exploration, distraction and gratitude.

And then, Maria and Rick visited Wales, almost three years ago and the true reconnection was made. Deep joy !


Another connection: At the start, I showed  the Method to my daughter, Joanna. From her backgrounds in nursing and policing, she recognized the benefits which could be gained from Zentangle. She is now Zenjo CZT ---- but that's another story.

You can get to know Jo Quincey here.


Zentangle Mosaic Name: AlanQ_CZT36



  • What a beautiful story! And your passion for Zentangle is quite obvious! I knew you had to be related to Joanna somehow. Such artistic genes past down. Alan, thank you for sharing your story and your passion. Enjoy your CZT!

    Deb Flickinger on

  • He is so inspiring to tangle with at Joanna’ s tangle club!!

    Helene Bard on

  • I love your story, Alan. Actually, it brought tears to my eyes. Here’s to much happiness in your life. Tangle on!

    Lin H. on

  • How wonderful to read your inspirational story and to see your beautiful art. So glad you’re hooked on Zentangle!

    Sandy Kelley-Jones CZT on

  • Alan, a sincere thank you for sharing your journey. You were already a gifted artist long before being introduced to Zentangle, so it was a wonderful revelation to learn that this beautiful artform filled a void that was needed at this time in your life. Many of us may have some similar experiences in our own journey, but your story has reminded us of those moments of discovery. Our family lived in the UK for 6 years as US Air Force, so I was especially intrigued by your experience. I wish you continued creativity and joy, and hope one day to hear that “other story”!

    Bonnie Johnson CZT36 on

  • This is such a lovely story. Thank you for sharing. “Groups of old crumblies”, that’s darling! I love your work. I see the calligraphy influence and I am reminded of old publishers bindings. You are quite an inspiration.

    MKay B B Watson CZT17 on

  • I am always thrilled to see a post from AlanQ on the Mosaic.

    Natalie Kessler on

  • Ah such a fabulous story – I have heard it all before from Jo, of course, but I still love the connection you have with Maria before Zentangle was even born! I also love the fact that there really are no limits with Zentangle.

    Gloria King on

  • Absolutely wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

    Georgianna on

  • Alan, it’s so great to hear your story! I very much enjoy your work and it’s always great to see you at Jo’s Tangle Club when I’m able to make it. I definitely see where Jo gets her talent from!

    Kim Kohler CZT on

  • Ooh great to get to know you thank to this CZTFamilyTree. Glad you introduced Joanna to Zentangle. Great to meat her in the Irish European CZT gatherings.

    ArjadLH on

  • Having joined Joanna’s Thursday tangle club,I have also met her father, Alan . His tangles always blow us out of the water, and his limericks have us virtually rolling on the floor. Alan is a treasure to keep in our hearts.

    Suzanne Crisafi on

  • What a delightful tale— full of love, awe, and respect for the gifts each of us has to bring to our Zentangle experience! Thank you for giving my heart a lift today, when I didn’t even realize how much I needed it💗!!

    Martha Brooks on

  • That story brought a tear to my eye. And that kimono tile ensemble (at least I think it’s a kimono)…. wow! Thank you for sharing.


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