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My Pre-Strung Journal

My Pre-Strung Journal

This is not the first time that I write about strings. The role of the Zentangle string on my tangled artwork and the overlap and metaphor it takes into my daily routine fascinates and inspires me. I love the way a Zentangle string offers a suggestion of a direction I could go, but doesn’t demand or restrict the way I respond to it.
When we got our Zentangle Journals in a few years ago, I was trying to decide whether I wanted to start with a blank one or a pre-strung one. At first I was thinking that I wanted a blank one. But then I thought about it a bit and I changed my mind. Of course I could have had both but I wanted to really dive into and focus on one first. I had started many tangled journals before but never really attached myself to any of them.


I was thinking that the strings might be great prompts to keep me going. I was inspired to start filling my journal. Over the years, have noticed this thing with people and their sketchbooks and journals. Many of them never get filled. Why is this? Maybe it is a daunting task. Maybe that is why people love working on tiles. Maybe it is thrilling at first and then we lose interest. My Mom showed me a trick a few years back. When you start a new sketchbook or journal, open to random page in the middle of the book and start there. Who says that you have to start on the first page and continue on in consecutive order? Once you fill one page you can continue to skip around here and there. It is not a story so there is no need to go in order. You can always date individual pages as you go for historical reference. With this approach your journal slowly becomes full in way that doesn’t leave you obligated to fill every page. So why not dance that dance with your journal work as well. Once you get in the groove of meandering around the pages, you get to choose which path to take next. With my pre-strung journal I like the randomness of choosing a page with a suggested string on it or perhaps working on a blank page. Maybe I am in the mood to tangle something more structured like focusing on a tangle step-out and exploring all the variations. My favorite part about the pre-stung journal is that all those delicately pre-strung lines disappear when my tangles magically transform them. And then I like to take some of my favorite tiles and artfully mount them to some of the pages. I love the variation all these approaches add to the whole.

Life isn’t so linear either. There are so many experiences and relationships branching off in different directions and overlapping here and there. There are times in my life where I feel like things are going on the straight narrow, other times where they seem to laser beam over one another and other times when things seem to go full circle.  I love pulling out a metaphor in this process. I start to ponder if there are other things in my life that don’t have to be done in the order or the way they have always been done. Sometimes in life things need to happen out of order because that is what happens or that is what makes sense. Once I saw things under this new light … I felt empowered and honored to make these choices in my journey instead of letting them be made for me.
Like maybe tonight I eat dessert before dinner?

I have been dancing around the pages of my journal for a while now that I didn’t even notice it was practically full.  Oh, yay! … Time to start a new one.
See more pages from my journal on the Zentangle Mosaic App using the #mollyhollibaughstangledjournal

Molly Hollibaugh


  • I’m right there with ya, Heidi ❤️❤️

    Thank you Molly for the idea to start anywhere in a journal or sketchbook. I just started sketchbook #3 and I think I am going to dance this dance and choose random pages and see how that will break me out of my linear / organized thinking! Who is going to see them anyway; Or care if the pages were done “in order?”

    Beth on

  • This is wonderful Molly!!! Now I need to get a pre-strung journal at the store when I come to Providence for CZT!!! Sure, spend ALL my money, LOL.

    Heidi Kay on

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