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Seriously ? . . .


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Rick Roberts


  • Obviously the knockoff brands don’t teach zen or confidence in its lessons or else their teachers wouldn’t still be here two months later making angry comments.

    Sadie Slays on

  • It is such a shame to see such hatred, jealousy, conflict…
    I feel so sad to see that no Zen around here!
    I support Rick and Maria, so I will want to see that Rick and Maria show the true ‘Zen’ to all of us.
    It will be very obvious that loving and embracing others is what the true ‘Zen’ must pursue.
    It can be heard to be ideal.
    BUT, I think that this is the best and most beautiful way that many people can enjoy tangling.
    l pray for all of you to have peace in mind.

    Soyeon on

  • I must say this blog had me laughing and slightly disappointed. Laughing at how I can see so much here taken out content. These two books being half quoted cost $1.Beyond that it is asked you continue to practice your talkent and share your knowledge. To help others grow.

    My disappointment in so many willing to follow and not research for themselves. I like to investigate and not be spoon fed information that can be missleading.
    Zentangling has a different way altogether if meditation combined with drawing. Not using guides or tools just flow if the pen to paper. Tangling is no rules designing. I see a huge difference in both techniques myself with a little investigating on both sides.
    No doubt a CZT class is a life changing experience and fantastic opertunity. The technique has it’s place and a great tool for many.

    Denise Speckhardt on

  • I love Zentangle and have been doing it all my life. I appreciate that Rick and Maria have turned this into a successful business. But much of what they teach was commercialized by Carol Edmonston waaaay back in the day when I first learned that my lifelong love of doodling was a type of art. I see nowhere on their website any thanks to those that have come before or thanks to the artists whose sculptures and buildings they’ve “deconstructed” into “official” patterns. I love their well thought out choices for products and they’ve obviously come up with a great business model but they weren’t the first to commercialize “doodling” and they won’t be the last. Don’t believe me? Google and read up on Carol Edmonston or books from the 17th centuryvthat show drawing patterns. Do some research before you bash Ina.

    Heather Temple on

  • I suppose if I had invested well over $1000 to become a CZT I too would be tempted to stand by my investment and be indignant about someone taking doodling in a different direction. What is sad is that so many have chosen to follow and defend Rick and Maria without fact checking their claims or the legality of their claims. All would do well to research Sacred Doodling by Carol Edmonston as a starting point and then repetitive pattern drawing and patterns throughout history. I don’t have a problem with Rick and Maria making a business out of repetitive pattern drawing and capitalizing on the meditative value. They are providing a good service and product to their customers. Claiming what they teach, the method and patterns are original to them is where I have a problem. Before you attempt to bully me, please check the facts. It is like McDonalds claiming all rights to making and selling hamburgers and bullying everyone else who makes and sells hamburgers. Peace and unity to all.

    Cris Jackman on

  • No letter from a lawyer has been received to date.

    I herewith request a public apology and removal of the blog post within 7 business days. Alternatively, you will face a lawsuit for defamation of character.

    Kind regards,
    Ina Sonnenmoser

    Some reading that might be interesting to the followers of this blog:

    Ina Sonnenmoser on

  • I’ve written a blog post in response to this.
    In case I can’t post all of it, here’s the link for where you can find it and get the links to some of the materials I reference:

    Last night I visited the “Official Zentangle” website looking for a tangle pattern. Unlike a few years ago, when I first landed on the site, I don’t find it to be a creative repository any longer. I couldn’t find the pattern I was looking for – or any other patterns for that matter – using the search function. I ended up clicking through to their blog because I’ve been lucky in the past to find old posts about patterns there. What I found instead was something that confirmed my belief about the “we’re here to share the Zen gift we’ve created, with you” philosophy the “founders of Zentangle” are always spewing: It’s not a gift. It’s a business.

    Instead of finding anything creative – that wasn’t for sale –, what piqued my interest was a recent blog post the self-titled “founders of Zentangle” have up on the site. In this particular post, they are publicly shaming and bullying someone for having a similar idea to their own that monetizes doodling. If you’re at all interested you can read the ridiculous nonsense that does little to veil their contempt for someone doing as they have, posted on their site by clicking this link to the post, which they actually titled “Seriously?…”

    I can’t believe I’m investing any energy in this but, to start, I need to say that I find this situation the “founders of Zentangle” have posted about SHAMEFUL, on their part and on the part of their followers who are participating in the bullying. Second, the “founders of Zentangle” don’t have the right to decide who can or cannot anoint themselves as experts of doodling. Publicly shaming this woman (Ina Sonnenmoser) for trying to earn a living the way she chooses and encouraging members of your Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) clique to pile shame on her is not a flattering look for you, nor is it very Zen.

    To the “founders of Zentangle” (Rick and Maria), I’d like to say, you’ve had a good run in your attempt to copyright and ritualize doodling. However, no one has a monopoly on doodling. I think you need a reminder that doodling has been around forever and a day. I agree that doodling can be meditative and I often write on my blog about using it to distract my focus from my chronic pain and I’ve also written about how I use objects I have available to do zentangle according to the way you’ve specified, which I view as an unnecessary limitation. If someone else has invested the time to come up with a way to monetize drawing lines on paper, more power to them. I’m certain there are many more people than Ina out there – including those whom you have anointed as experts in your method – doing the same.

    I also have to call out Rick and Maria, for their blatant hypocrisy. For anyone reading my post who wants to see how ancient some of the patterns they claim to be their originally conceived patterns are, there are books available in the public domain from as early as the 17th century that show you the origins of all these patterns (see images of pages below). Look up topics such as decorative design, ornament, ancient ornament, nature in ornament, ornament from specific cultures, and pattern design. There are volumes of material available to learn how to create your own combination of patterns or how to develop them from things in your environment.

    Moreover, how many times have Rick and Maria and members of their “CZT family” done what they call “deconstructing a pattern” from an object or artwork to create a tangle. They do this without a moment’s thought of giving credit to the craftspeople who worked tirelessly to create it in the first place. News flash, just because you change a few lines (as you point out to Ina) doesn’t make something original or yours.

    As Rick said, sunshine is the best disinfectant. There’s nothing Zen about publicizing this feud. What you’ve shone a light on is the true motive behind Zentangle, which is the same as any business: Making lot$ of money. This is clearly visible in the redesign of your website that no longer shares much free information about how to draw the patterns, whereas, ironically Ina’s site does. You were just hoping your followers would continue to pay thousands of dollars to you, instead of another individual or company, every year to become certified in your “method” of doodling; and more importantly, that people would forever be blinded by your phony claim that you’re giving them a gift.

    Finally, for all the Certified Zentangle Teachers and followers participating in bullying Ina Sonnenmoser, take a step back and seriously look at the toxic behaviour the founders of this supposed Zen method are encouraging and taking pleasure in you acting out to support them.


    My Small Surrenders on

  • Dear Rick,
    dear Maria,
    dear Team,

    I didn’t follow all the comments on this side but it was enough to get a feeling of the atmosphere. Let’s just say, it’s awful. Yes, people show there support, which I love, but at the same time, there are so many hard words on both sides.

    I am no CZT because I do live in Germany and I’m not able to afford a trip to the USA and the cost of the training, but I’m saving up and one day, I will be.
    The reason for this is, that I’d love to teach people everything about this precious gift, that I found in tangling. At the same time, I respect (what a beautiful word in so many ways) your ideas and your decision to train all your teachers in person. This is so rare today and the only way to ensure, your message is delivered the way you mean it.

    There was a lot of talk about money. I don’t know other countries there but here it comes down to the question “what do I get out of this?” far too often. I don’t think this is the real matter here. We all know, that you have to raise money if you want to buy food. That’s just how it is. Way more important right here is ‘hurt’. It hurts a lot to see something we all trust and believe in dragged down like this. It also hurts to learn, that a certification one received isn’t worth anything because it is based on thievery.
    I think to heal this, you need to trust. You are teaching so much more than how to set a few lines on a piece of paper. Look at all the people you helped. Ill or desperate people. Look at the beautiful community you created and still create. Whenever I’m in contact with tanglers (certificated or not) the world gets so small and this is the real gift. A gift that needs great care.
    I would take this to court. But since I’m an author, I treasure thoughts and ideas way higher than most people do. I’m also someone who likes a good compromise. Maybe there is a way to find a solution outside of courtrooms and lawyers.

    In the end, let me asure you, that you do a great job and I can’t wait to meet you in person once I’m able to pay for my tickets.


    Tanja Francke on

  • Dear Maria & Rick,

    Let me say that I am thankful for all you have and continue to give through your art and approach to using it.

    I am not a certified anything and have no monitary stake in this situation. For what it’s worth, now that I have a basic understanding of what has transpired, I don’t agree with what Ina Sonnenmoser has chosen to do and only she can look at herself in the mirror each morning and decide what she can live with.

    There is a saying in the business world about where you should decide to open a brick & mortar business. Put it next to a McDonald’s. Why? Because they’ve already done millions of dollars worth of feasibility studies on that location. You don’t have to sell burgers to benefit from all their hard work. Just put your business in close proximity because it’s the exposure to all the traffic they bring in that you will freely benefit from. Even if you do have what you think is the world’s best burger to sell, there is still only one real Big Mac with two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions served on a sesame seed bun. Your burger will never be a Big Mac.

    You have accomplished what you needed to do by calling attention to her actions. Sit back and let people decide how they want to use the information based on their own ethical standards. By outlining the back story and your position, posting your letter to her and her response to you, says all that needs to be said. Let it play out on its own with whomever wants to form their own path forward based on their own personal ethical standards, close the door and walk away. If you don’t the vortex of bad energy this has created will consume you and all you hold dear and take you down the drain with it.

    I get it, it’s the principle of the matter, but will the costs to pursue this, emotionally for all of you and monitarily to your business, truly be worth it? Were it me I would say no.

    The fact of the matter is the original is always the bar standard. You, Maria and all officially associated with you are continually developing and adding to your original methods and raising that bar on your own terms. You are choosing how to include all of us on this path. How we assimilate this into ourselves is the personal journey of each individual.

    I honestly think that this blog will do more harm than anything she has done. You can take the first part and make that your official statement from ZTHQ at your website. Then go back to continuing to share what you are so beautifully making available.

    Blessed Be to you and yours.

    Toni Colvin

    Toni Colvin on

  • Hi
    Take her to court.
    Your company will be passed down to your kids grandkids greatgrandkids.
    She is a thief.
    You do not need to hire an expensive lawyer.
    The data presents itself well.

    Linda on

  • Sigh….
    Sadly, there will always be people like Ina in this world. They borrow your bike and don’t give it back, or give it back broken. They steal your boyfriend. They talk trash about their friends behind their backs, all for personal gain. They are the group member in Chemistry class who doesn’t do their part, but celebrate earning an A with everyone else. They buy the same prom dress as you, and tell everyone they bought theirs first. They watch the movie, never intending to read the book, and they will tell everyone they read the book. They will snip a rose from a neighbors garden. They will hit a dog with their car and drive away.

    They will steal everything that is The Zentangle Method, rename it, slap a cheap bow on it, and call it their own.

    Ina is a common thief who has stolen from Rick, Maria and everyone who believes in the magic and wonder of Zentangle.

    Please pursue this legally. Thieves like Ina must be stopped.

    Debbie Thompson, CZT23
    Eugene, Oregon

    Debbie Thompson on

  • I have been following this from the beginning with the hope that the truth would come out, but sadly all I have seen is the ranks of the CZT’s cliques tighten up and the atmosphere become distant.

    Let’s all just be honest here…this has nothing to do with “zen” anything. It’s ALL about MONEY! Rick and Maria thought they had a monopoly cash cow on their hands and that was one of the “selling points” I am pretty sure they hawked to get others to buy into becoming CTZ’s. Problem was Ina found a way to legally redirect some of that flow her way.

    So let’s take a close look at Rick’s own words…

    1. “When Maria and I formulated the Zentangle Method, we perceived it as a gift. We, our family, and our family of CZTs around the world are caretakers of that gift.”

    One does not usually have to pay anything when given “Gifts”. In addition a “gift” once given becomes the soul property of the recipient who can in turn do as they like with it.

    2. “We are now at a choice point.”

    What is the “choice”? Is it to let it go, or is it to try and use the CTZ’s to create a paper tiger in the hopes Ina will back down because we (Rick and Maria) know we have no legal recourse?

    3. “Our attorneys advise us to engage in the familiar pattern of appealing to the legal machinery of various regimes of power to address this wrong. But first, we wish to explore a less familiar but, I believe, a much older pattern . . . the cooperation and collaboration of the community.”

    If your attorneys told you that you stood even a chance of winning you would not be considering any other options. If you did you would be the worst business owners on the planet. BUT…low and behold…you “choice” option is to engage… “the cooperation and collaboration of the community.” There’s that paper tiger!

    4. “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." — Louis Brandeis
    Perhaps the sunlight of awareness can be sufficient in this matter.”

    The last sentence is the real truth. They are hoping by having the CTZ’s apply enough pressure they can force Ina to close down, thereby giving them back their monopoly cash cow.

    And finally, the disclaimer designed to protect them from a lawsuit from Ina for slander…

    5. “Therefore we post this blog as an information source. Please share it with anyone who has questions or might be interested to learn about Creative Pattern Tangling and its relationship (such as it is) with the Zentangle Method. Feel free to contribute to it thoughtfully in the comments below.”

    Note Rick uses the phrase..”such as it is” which allows him to back peddle and later say, his intention was never to imply she actually “stoled” anything should she decide to come after them.

    Like I said, it’s all about MONEY! The part that breaks my heart…it’s those that have paid to become both CZT’s and CPT’s that will end up paying the most because the important truth is….it’s all here on FACEBOOK and the internet and that makes every bit of it PUBLIC DOMAIN, FREE to everyone.

    If you want to print out every step out, every bit of technique, pictures of art work and create your own book of lessons you can! As someone who has a valid copyright since 1998 I can tell you the rules as they apply to “intellectual property” vs “public domain” are very difficult to enforce, and they become even more difficult when you post anything here as the legal agreement you agreed to when you created your profile with Facebook gives them 100% right to everything you post first! (it’s all in the fine print no one ever reads)

    So I will end my thought with this…This is the real fall out from all this BS…

    I belong to many of the Zentangle groups and across the board I have watched them become places where NON CZT’s are ignored. If a question about a technique is asked to a CZT, in most cases no reply is offered. Questions about materials…ignored and in more and more cases you are directed to something you can buy. The message that is coming across is that unless you are a CZT or a CPT you are just a potential dollar sign and that’s exactly what Rick, Maria and Ina are all counting on!


    PS. I will not be surprised if this comment is removed and I find myself ousted from some of my Zentangle groups. 😉 it’s ok…I am smart enough to keep a copy of everything!

    Theresa Allen on

  • Seriously is right! This is ridiculous. There is plenty of room in the world for both and it’s each person’s right to decide which, if they feel the need to choose sides. I wanted to be involved in both since my goal has been to learn and enjoy the artwork. But I am becoming disillusioned by the narrow mindedness of the “Zentangle” folks and choosing Ina Sonnenmoser. Have a nice day!

    Debbie Hatcher on

  • Hi Rick,Maria and family,

    I am sitting in my room at the Biltmore reading this post…..

    I don’t know what I would do if I was in your position. All I can say is to go with your energy and listen to your soul….When I do this, I feel disappointed this has occurred for all of you…

    I hope you can heal, go on and continue living your dream…

    Will see you all in a few hours.

    So excited !!

    Sharon J

    Sharon Jerkovic on

  • If German CZT hadn’t attended the US Providence CZT seminar …Did they ever start such a business in Germany? They also won the CZT in the United States and they went back to their country and copied and they said “ It is different what we do, It is not copy.” Is this right?

    I support Rick and Marie and It is a site that must be removed for the protection of the spirit and right of many CZTs in the world, and I believe that such a scam, which is full of individual greed, will surely pay the fiddler.

    JEONGSIM.KIM on june 18.2018 (south korea) on

  • The only part that bothered me was the bit about the “pigment liners”. There are many brands…Micron, Copic and Steadler and i use them ALL in my Zentangle pieces along with fountain pens watercolor paints stamps stencils and ink the list goes on and on. Micron does not own the term pigment liner. Granted Copic calls their pens multi liners. But yes i agree sith everything that she has stolen. And its obvious she doesnt feel she has done anything wrong.

    Jessica Collins on

  • Rick and Maria: I could almost laugh at your alternate facts and the lemmings that follow you without hesitation, as if Zentangle were a sect – but your allegations are too vicious to even laugh at. Shame on you for daring to market Zen that way!

    Staub Korn on

  • For anyone who is interested…Below is a statement from the US It clearly states that a “method” is not copyrightable.

    What Is Not Protected by Copyright
    Copyright law does not protect ideas, methods, or systems. Copyright protec-
    tion is therefore not available for ideas or procedures for doing, making, or
    building things; scientific or technical methods or discoveries; business opera-
    tions or procedures; mathematical principles; formulas or algorithms; or any
    other concept, process, or method of operation.
    Section 102 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the
    ) clearly expresses
    this principle: “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of
    authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation,
    concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described,
    explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.”
    Inventions are subject matter for patents, not copyrights. For information
    about patent laws, contact

    What Is Protected by Copyright

    Copyright protection extends to a description, explanation, or illustration of
    an idea or system, assuming that the requirements of copyright law are met.
    Copyright in such a case protects the particular literary or pictorial expression
    chosen by the author. But it gives the copyright owner no exclusive rights in the
    idea, method, or system involved.
    Suppose, for example, that an author writes a book explaining a new system
    for food processing. The copyright in the book, which comes into effect at the
    moment the work is fixed in a tangible form, prevents others from copying or
    distributing the text and illustrations describing the author’s system. But it will
    not give the author any right to prevent others from adapting the system itself
    for commercial or other purposes or from using any procedures, processes, or
    methods described in the book

    As far as “patent pending” that simply means that a patent has been applied for NOT that there IS a patent. Just because one applies for a patent does not mean that it will be granted as I’m sure you are well aware.

    We are all able to pursue our art as we see fit and share and or teach if we choose. Capitalism at it’s best.

    Tricia Long certified CPT coach on

  • Haven’t read through all these comments, but I believe this originates from a USA website: They have a list of certified “coaches” which includes Ina.

    Donna on

  • I’ve come late to all of this, and am surprised at how much of people’s energy it has consumed. I’d rather spend mine tangling! It’s time to put a lid on it, and my opinion is that Ina is deluded, and won’t back down without legal action, and a precedent should be set about your intention to protect your intellectual property. Otherwise, the door is open for others to follow this path. Sad that an intelligent person doesn’t understand " intellectual property " but there you have it. Good luck!

    Joanne Harnagel on

  • …there are clear copyright-rules: if Ina has commited a copyright-crime in stealing your intellectual property and if you have indeed copyrighted your teaching method in Europe, than only you can do anything against this, and in my opinion, you should. Only you can tell your attorneys to eliminate this. As a German CZT I feel left alone, if you only make words and ask us CZT’s for our opinions. I clearly don’t like, what Ina has done but I will not judge her. Sometimes it feels, like I don’t want to teach Zentangle any more, because the taste of money becomes too strong for me (buying all these project packs, buying the app, buying the books, the materials and so on). But we all make our own choices in the face of whatever happens. And if I feel left alone as said above, then I should try to find out…why? What am I expecting? Am I in the spirit of Zentangle?

    Cora Titz, CZT 21 (Germany) on

  • As a published author who was only slightly ripped off years ago, I find her attitude and bravado quite amazing. When I read the your post on FB a few days ago I was shocked. Today I went exploring. She has 41 CPTs listed- some with websites. I wondering about having your lawyers contact those people as a coming in from the back tactic? Or is that dirty? For the present Rick, I think you need to lead a meditation session for your family and staff. You would all feel better!

    Gale Sherman , CZT23 on

  • Rick and Maria. I’m so sorry you have to go through all this. First of all I found you both and your entire family to be the most caring and sharing people I’ve ever met. For anyone who loves your art and wants to join your class they should know you guys don’t REALLY charge to become a teacher. The cost to you in order to provide a five-star weekend most be at least equal to what we pay. And then there is the management of the web site and blogs and newsletters. I love you all and am proud to be a Czt I have a tangle I made up on her page and I feel horrible for that. I’ve left her FB page and completely want nothing to do with her any more. Can I ask her to remove my tangle? For awhile I admired Ina expression of art but I could see her gearing up to cross the line

    Pam Lee on

  • Rick, Maria, and the entire family, I am glad you shared this in the way you did. Which ever way you go I am behind you. I want you to know that I tangle everyday and at no time has this put a sour taste in my mouth, caused my Zentangle creativity or my drawings to not flow with the wonderful Zen you have put into this process. I will see you soon at CZT30 and I can’t wait. May God Bless you!

    Janice Romero on

  • One word ’PLAGIARISM

    MIchelle Robinson,CZT3 on

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