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James Shares a Tangle

James Shares a Tangle

Maria and I received this email from James in Korea with a new tangle he deconstructed. We are thrilled to share James' new tangle — and his story behind it — here with you all.


Dear Rick and Maria,

This is new tangle that I created. I want to share my appreciation with you about the journey from the rise of inspiration to completing the tangle.

 New tangle prototype by James Lim CZT


This tangle is inspired by the pattern of windows and doors called Salchang (the lattice window of traditional Korean houses).

Traditional Korean house : Korea cultural heritage administration homepage


Salchang is a traditional Korean window and door made of thin woven wood with traditional Korean paper pasted on it. The wooden lattice is mainly made from the pine tree, and various patterns come out depending on how they are laid out.

I always thought that the pattern of traditional Korean windows and doors was great, and from a few years ago, I wanted to make a tangle with this pattern of the Salchang. I repeated my research whenever I had time. But when I drew it, I realized that I was just portraying the actual Salchang patterns. It wasn't easy to deconstruct it into a tangle. However, I always kept the pattern of the Salchang in my heart.

But a few days ago, the words of you and Maria suddenly came to my mind, shaking my head. "If you can write your name, you can do the Zentangle method!"

"If you can write your name… !" 

Suddenly, at that very point, it seemed like the stagnant creativity found its way to an eruption. One part of my head that was thinking about the pattern of Salchang and the other part that remembered your words were connected at some point, and the light was shining. Is this the flow of creativity you were talking about?

If you can write your name... !

When you learn the Korean alphabet, Hangul, you learn "ㄱ(giyeok)" and "(nieun)" first. "ㄱ" and "ㄴ" can be said to be "A" and "B" in the English alphabet. The inspiration from the traditional windows was amplified by the stories you regularly told, reminding me of "ㄱ" and "ㄴ". When my thoughts reached even the C-curve that connects the two letters, the pattern quickly deconstructed.

Korean alphabet: National Institute of Korean Language 

The traditional window pattern that has been hovering around for few years was born into a new tangle, consisting of only "ㄱ" and "ㄴ" and C curves, in just a few hours.

[Comment: Maria and I love the gentleness that the curve brings to the angles of the corners . . . and the meta patterns that take shape as this tangle takes form.]

It was a fantastic experience where inspiration, creativity, passion, and understanding of the Zentangle philosophy were not independently separated from each other but influenced each other and melted together into one new creation in an instant.

Original by Ungto CZT and variation by Yunji CZT

 I would like to express my sincere gratitude and respect to you and Maria for making this experience possible. The Zentangle Method makes our lives comfortable and happy and constantly stimulates creativity. In particular, this experience was a moment when I felt the meaning of creativity that you have always spoken of, and it was a very happy and thrilling moment. Thank you so much.

The name of the new tangle is “Ganada(가나다)”.

Ganada is a word with a vowel (a) added to the Hangul consonants “ㄱ” and “ㄴ“. It is the first word to follow when learning Hangeul, like the English “ABC”. It also contains the meaning that the Zentangle Method is easy to learn.

I particularly like this tangle because the simple strokes are repeated, it is difficult to understand how it was drawn after it is finished, and it can be transformed into various shapes.

Ganada tangle variation by Yunji and Ungto CZT


Ganada ( 가나다 ) tangle stepout

Rick adds:

I was immediately “drawn” to this tangle. Perhaps it is the mix of straight and curved lines in a structured approach with dynamic and unexpected results.

Here are some tiles that this tangle inspired.

At the top is my “getting familiar with the tangle” tile. Doing that gave me an idea of introducing auras of the underlying structure in a “static” format.

In the second tile I explored that approach further.

In the third tile, the phi tile, brown and black microns emphasize the two interweaving elements.

Thank you for the joy and new avenues of creative expression this brought to me and will bring to all the Zentangle community. I look forward to what people will create with it.

Rick Roberts


  • What a great story! love the tangle and can’t wait to try it.

    Anne H CZT on

  • Thank you James for sharing your story and your pattern. Thank you Rick and Maria for your additional comments and for the other versions, showing what possibilities there are with this.

    Mary Kay Cass, C.Z.T. on

  • A new tangle pattern is always exciting! Isn’t it amazing how our eyes learn to see the designs around us, and so many find themselves to be an inspiration in our tangling!

    Ginger White CZT34 on

  • What a delightful addition to my tangles. I am also impressed by your process.

    Lynda Moore on

  • Thank-you James for this lovely tangle-looks so pretty.

    Sue on

  • I absolutely love this. Thank you so much James.


    Robin on

  • It’s always so exciting to see a new pattern deconstructed with the thought in mind that the person who visualized it put so much love and focus on making it possible to share. Thank you for sharing your story and new pattern with us James!

    Linda Elkin on

  • Thanks James, Lovely story & you must be happy to have conquered the step out! I hope I can make it look as beautiful as you have!

    ~Jan~ SailAndBeJoyful on

  • At first glance I found myself befuddled on “How to do this one?”…Then those corner “L” brackets came into view and then the step-out opened the door for in depth exploration. James, many thanks for sharing your inspiring tangle and your beautiful story of imagination, discovery and perseverance.

    Judith Rae Shamp on

  • Never would have figured this out without the stepouts. Another great tangle is revealed !

    Debbie on

  • What a fabulous tangle (which reminds me of a couple of Tomàs Padrós’s creations) and lovely story of inspiration and persistence.Thank you, James, for these gifts!

    Danielle DeRome on

  • What a great Tangle with lovely story too. And I also love what you did with it Rick.

    Hilde on

  • Lovely tangle!! ❤️

    ArjadLH, CZT9 on

  • Thank you James for sharing both the beautiful story and your lovely pattern. Thank you especially for reminding us that we indeed can accomplish anything! I feel we need to keep telling ourselves that. 🥰

    Kim T on

  • Thank you James for your lovely new pattern, and the inspirational story of its creation, as well as your many examples of variations, and how to use them. Hats off to Rick for showing us how to explore its limitless possibilities! Kudos to both of you!

    Jessica Dykes (aka, Jake) on

  • Wow! I love this tangle and the history of its development. Thank you for this wonderful blog. I will try it today.

    Elaine on

  • Love the writeup and the wonderful tangle!

    Suchitra K on

  • I could not love this more! Beautiful origin, beautiful creativity, beautiful tangle! For those of us who find deconstruction difficult, your process is inspirational. Can’t wait to work a step out and use Ganada on a tile. Thank you!

    Peyton on

  • I like it very much

    Mart De Cock on

  • James, Thank you for the journey into your process, I love taking the journey with you. I am reminded of the tug to take the journey with Zentangle after reading an article in an art journal. How thrilling for you to be able to conceive your idea and to share it with the community. This art form remains my constant source of practicing making, thinking and doing art as well as connecting with people all over the world. Bravo!

    Victoria Schulz Grundy on

  • I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!

    Linda Hunter on

  • Wow! Amazing! I love how you have embraced and explained your tangle and even some of your journey! Thank you James!

    Barb Bradley on

  • Outstanding!!

    Judy Morgan on

  • Inspirational and uniquely original

    Marsha Cook on

  • Wow, wow, wow, Rick I love your versions of this awesome new tangle. It looks like a complicated tile and will give me a headache, but I’m willing to try it. because it is so dynamic looking. Thank you James for this amazing tangle and your thought process for its birth. I really enjoy knowing how one thinks up such beautiful tangles.

    Leslee Feiwus, CZT on

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