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Never Say Never

Never Say Never

Julie writes…

In conversations with other tanglers and in blog posts, I have always shared that my Zentangle journey does not involve learning all the tangles. I tend to use the same tangles again and again and I have always been content with that. This does not mean that I don’t like to try new tangles but I tend to know right away if I like a tangle or not.

Or, do I?

There have been plenty of times in which I have written off a tangle as “not for me” only to end up loving that tangle in the end.

If you know anything about me and tangling, you know that marasu is my favorite tangle. I could tangle marasu all day, every day. But, it was not always this way.

My first introduction to marasu was at CZT 14, when I was becoming a CZT. I remember sitting in the classroom at Hotel Providence and feeling lost and it was not clicking for me. I tried it again and again and ultimately decided that marasu was just not a tangle for me and that was okay.

Sometime after that, I decided to give it another try, or explore not just the tangle but different papers, tools, and ways to shade. It was with this exploration where I fell in love.

This has happened a few times over the years, most recently with the tangle ING. ING was a tangle that I had decided a while ago, wasn’t for me. It never clicked. Recently, I said this out loud and I immediately thought of all the other tangles that I had decided were not for me, that I ended up loving in the end.

I set out to explore ING a bit more. I decided to work on Renaissance tiles since they offered so many opportunities for shading and layers. I knew that I was comfortable on Renaissance tiles so it was a safe space to explore, and that General’s white charcoal pencil could elevate any tangle.

And guess what? ING is for me.

I still believe that we don’t need to know all the tangles (or even a fraction of them) for a beneficial Zentangle practice, but I do believe in second chances.

If you have written off a tangle and decided that it was not for you – I encourage you to try it again. Here are a few ideas to help you explore these tangles.

  • Work on your favorite surface with your favorite tools. The comfort of this will give you confidence to explore the tangle.
  • Finish the tangle and the tile. You may be surprised how it all comes together in the end.
  • Shade and then shade some more. For me, shading is the icing on the cake and really elevates any tangle.
  • Have fun!

And if at the end, you decide that tangle still is not for you, that is okay! There are plenty more to choose from.

Julie Willand


  • CZT38 helped me make friends with Tripoli and Molygon!

    Debbie Smith on

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