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Seriously? . . . Updated

On July 29, Ina Sonnenmoser sent us an email that said, in part, “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.”

We want to reduce the tension. So, we edited the original post to remove our analysis. The edited version appears below.

However, we need to maintain an online record of the specifics of the June 1, 2018, blog post that compared the Zentangle Method with what Ina calls her “intellectual property.”


When Ina Sonnenmoser of Germany offered “Certified CPT Coach” training in “Creative Pattern Tangling,” numerous people contacted us to express their concern. So, we took a closer look.

The quotes that follow are used in the same context as in their source documents:

  • Creative Pattern Tangling – Beginners Guide – Vol 1
  • Mindful Drawing & Creative Pattern Tangling – A guide for creating harmony in the brain through artful meditation
  • Coaching Creative Pattern Tangling Vol 1

These quotes are either equivalent statements or direct quotes from our Zentangle books, our Zentangle website, or material that we teach in workshops and CZT seminars.

 Ina describes:

  • Using a “square artist tile,” “draw a border” in pencil to “define the area in which to draw.”
  • Draw a “string” by “allowing your pencil to dance over the paper” in “loops, waves or straight lines to divide the area into sections. The individual areas can now be filled with patterns.”
  • To “create a tangle” use “pigment pens” “with a nib size of 0.1.”
  • “Fill the first section with the pattern.” “Focus on each line, take your time, do not think about the next stroke.” “Turn the tile” “multiple times” “ensuring a comfortable position for your hand.” “Draw all [straight] lines pointing downwards.”
  • Using a standard pencil, add “shades of grey” and “add the finishing touch” so “your artwork will come to life” because shading “adds depth to the design.” Don’t be “overly concerned about the light source” because you “use shading to enhance a pattern.”
  • Use a tortillion to “distribute the graphite” and push “the graphite further down between the fibers” of the paper.
  • “The final step is to sign the artwork.”


  • Patterns are based on shapes such as
    • “line”
    • “S-shape”
    • “The circle or orb”
    • “C-shape”
  • Pattern “Step-Outs” use the Zentangle convention of red and black lines in sequential steps.
    • “Some step-outs contain suggestions for variations (also known as tangleations) of the pattern.”
  • When drawing circles “try drawing the shape the opposite way.”
  • The “importance lies in the process, the tangling, not the outcome.”
  • Tangles taught include:
    • “Crescent Moon”
    • “Printemps”
    • “W2”
    • “Shattuck”
    • “Paradox”
    • “Cadent” Reborn
    • “Striping”
    • Fife, renamed “Flower of Life”
  • also:
    • “aura”
    • “highlighting” (our “sparkle”)
    • “rounding”

There’s so much more — about muscle memory, “putting pen to paper,” pain management, relaxation, about not judging or grading artwork, about walking through a class and praising students’ artwork, about creating a state of “flow,” how to apply these principles to your life — all the things we write and talk about.

Additionally, “Coaching Creative Pattern Tangling Vol 1,” has a chapter “Money, money, money” where Ina describes how she expects Certified CPT Coaches to compensate her whenever one of them gives a class to a paying student. Ina writes [color and emphasis hers]:

“. . . the entire concept is built on trust! Karma has a way of biting you in the backside if you are dishonest and cheat ;-)”

Then in the next paragraph:

“As soon as you make money from handing out my intellectual property, I should get my share. Sounds fair? Good!”


In a public letter to us, Ina wrote:

“First and foremost, please do not confuse CPTs way of creative drawing with your copyrighted method of teaching, as these are entirely different approaches as you would know.”

To research what differentiates “CPT’s way of creative drawing” from the Zentangle Method, we explored her website’s CPT section: 

“The CPT process is simple:
“Take any pattern step out and exchange one shape for another. Apply different fill- or expanding options and see where your creativity leads you. Through this process, you build your very own pattern to create artwork.
“Grid-based patterns can be modified by rotating a section, or by using a different grid base to draw the pattern. On we have applied this method during the Grid Journey.”

People familiar with the Zentangle Method can compare these statements with Zentangle’s “tangleations” and “reticula and fragments.”


The only quoted material used which is not related to the Zentangle Method are Ina’s comments on Karma and getting paid. Those limited quotes are included for the purpose of criticism and comment under the Fair Use Doctrine (Section 107 of the Copyright Act).

For your reference, here are the links for the documents quoted above. 

  • Creative Pattern Tangling – Beginners Guide – Vol 1– US$5.00
  • Mindful Drawing & Creative Pattern Tangling – A guide for creating harmony in the brain through artful meditation.– (unavailable on May 31, 2018)
  • Coaching Creative Pattern Tangling Vol 1(unavailable on May 31, 2018)


Rick and Maria



Sacred Doodles and Carol Edmonston

In the original blog post, Ina posted links to articles which insinuate that we plagiarized Carol Edmonston’s “Sacred Doodles.”

Those insinuations are false.

We did not learn about Sacred Doodles until almost four years after we developed the Zentangle Method. As soon as we learned about it, we reached out to Carol and we informed the patent office. 

  • Fall of 2003, we develop the Zentangle Method.
  • September 19, 2005, we file a patent application.
  • Around January of 2006,* we learn about Sacred Doodles. We reach out to Carol. We send her a letter and a Zentangle Kit. We may have had a phone conversation, but we’re not sure; it was over a decade ago. [Updated below**]
  • January 27, 2006,*July 18, 2007, we file an Information Disclosure Statement with the Patent Office informing them of our discovery of Carol’s work. As patent filers, we are obligated to report any potential prior art we discover, even after we file our initial claim. The date and contents of our disclosure are a matter of public record.


If you find any errors of fact in this blog post, please let us know.


Thank you.

Rick and Maria



* August 3, 2018 -- We filed our first Information Disclosure Statement with the Patent Office regarding Sacred Doodles on January 27, 2006, not July 18, 2007 as first stated. We resubmitted it on July 18, 2007, in the format for websites as requested by the Patent Office. 

** August 3, 2018 --Carol recently responded in one of the blogs Ina posted which falsely insinuates and wrongfully states that we plagiarized Carol's work. Carol confirms that we did have a conversation and that our approaches are different from each other. Carol wrote (in part):

"I can’t remember exactly when Rick and Maria contacted me, but we did connect. For me it was refreshing to connect with other ‘doodler’s, especially those open to exploring the world through spiritual study. I can’t remember what path they were on, but mine is based on Hindu teachings. After our conversation, they sent me one of their Zentangle kits. What became apparent to me, was while we shared similar thoughts about the benefits of doodling, our approach to the “how to” was different."



  • I know I’m a bit late to this conversation but I can’t leave without throwing in my 2 cents. I will say I have not checked out any of Ina’s stuff and I won’t. There was no info from her till what 2018 or something like that. I found Zentangles on line while looking for more patterns to fill what I was working on back in 2008 or 2009. I know nothing about pattens or copyright and I really don’t care. Tricia said you applied for a copyright you clearly stated it was a patten. She really has no idea what she is talking about. She’s just arguing to push for her buddy. She doesn’t like you all for what ever reason. She just want to be right but she is wrong by timing alone you’ve been around longer it seems. Who cares what you can and can’t invent. What it comes down to is who is loyal to you. I can also say finding Zentangles along with my crocheting quite literally saved my life too. I have been involved with DBT. Dialectal Behavioral Therapy. The Zentangle method is my go to way of doing my mindfulness. I will always take your side. If Ina had just followed your guide lines instead of trying to steal your intellectual property she’d still be making money from her stuff and everyone would be getting along. Look at Susanne McNeill or whatever her name is she’s written tones of books and is well know for her Zentangle stuff. Ina could have done the same thing. But…. She didn’t instead she tried to set herself up as something else. That’s not right at all. I don’t abide cheaters at all. That’s exactly what this is karma and the 3 fold law will get her and Tricia. You don’t need to worry!!!! They’ve done bad stuff to themselves. Thank You All at for your positive contributions to my life. I appreciate all you do very, very much. Raven

    Raven Gerson on

  • “Once there was an elephant Who tried to use the telephant No, no, I mean an elephone Who tried to use the telephone Dear me, I am not certain quite That even now, I’ve got it right Howe’er it was, he got his trunk Entangled in the telefunk The more he tried to get it free The louder buzzed the telefee I fear I’d better drop the song Of the elephop and the telefong!" by Laura E. Richards

    I memorized the above poem (“Eletelephony”) in the 1950s, when it appeared in Jack & Jill Magazine.I would call it a “verbal tangle!” As I read this series of posts and comments, it immediately came to mind. I avoid facebook, twitter, instagram, or any other social media apps precisely because of all the flamers’ endless spats. It is just too exhausting. I do hope the Zentangle blog is not going to devolve into two (or more) polarized camps engaged in endless bickering? It is a refuge for me, and for many other tanglers, I’m sure. I’m not a patent or copyright lawyer, and therefore do not pretend to offer an opinion on matters far beyond my ken. Let the lawyers argue it in the only place it counts, a court of law, not the court of public opinion, which counts for nought. Meantime, I’ll just be tangling and “Zenning out!”

    Jake on

  • Rick and Maria I am not schooled in the legalities of all of this. What I will say is this. I have visited both Zentangle and CPT. The difference I see (in my simple mind) is that the two of you and your daughters ARE Zentangle. I am just learning and when I want to practice the calming practice of tangling I search for your videos. Your voices. They are what bring peace and focus to what I am doing. I notice from the CZTs that I find on YouTube to learn from that they too tend to have that light. That peace. Which I honestly need especially at this time. So let me be clear. You and your family are why I and others choose your method. And nothing can change that. Never forget that amazing peace you all possess. You have an amazing power to calm and it is very much appreciated by me! And since I’ve never taken the time to do so before now… THANK YOU!

    Marsha Clemans on

  • As a newcomer to tangling and to this dispute, I am dismayed at the nature of the comments that I am reading. As a student of Zen, it becomes clear that the intention of Zen is lost on many.

    Rick, it would seem to me that your argument that the Zentangle method is different enough from Carol Edmonston’s should apply to the difference between Zentangle and Ina’s method as well. You can’t argue both sides of the coin. What makes me sad is that you claim to have ‘invented’ some of the methodology of others that have come before. I don’t begrudge you turning it into a business, but neither should you pass yourself off as the originator of such things.

    There is room for ALL to enjoy the benefits of a mindful practice. A mindful practice in daily life can apply to many things – eating dinner, doing yoga, riding a bike, doing your work, tangling, etc. Whether you follow the Zentangle method or CPT should matter the least. What you get out of it is what counts. If I am happy drinking Pepsi, that doesn’t lessen the happiness of those drinking Coke, n’est pas?

    Peace to all

    I also read the blog post that you claim has accused you of

    India on

  • Without the critical foundation that Rick and Maria has established for zentangling, I personally think that Ina’s CPT method would lack a rational basis for existing. Further, it is my opinion that the CPT method does not appear to be a significant enough departure from the Zentangle method so as to say that it is a different method altogether. No, I am not a CZT or a CPT and I have tried to look at this as objectively as possible. On the other hand, since the Zentangle Method can not be patented, then a court battle may be a waste of time because businesses everywhere in the world will always face competition of one type or another…even if it means drawing paying customers away from one business to another. If I were Rick and Maria, I would not have responded to what Ina is doing because the CPT method appears to be but a fraction of what the full Zentangle method is. Having said that, I think that people are going to choose for themselves anyways the method(s) that will best suit their creative needs whether it be the CPT or CZT program or perhaps, both. How about if everyone just get back to tangling, eh?

    Maddie on

  • Out of the 22 comments so far:

    11 are negative (7 of those are from Tricia Long accusing Zentangle of various things while trying to advertise her own CPT business at the same time)
    9 comments are positive or neutral
    2 are from Rick & Maria

    The numbers speak for themselves.

    Sadie Slays on

  • @Rick…Since you asked for anyone to let you know if there are any errors in your post I decided to do a little research on my own. According to the US Patent Office an “Office Action Summary” mailed on Oct. 2, 2006 , page 7 listed under claim rejected they cite “Sacred Doodles” by Carol Edmonston as a reason for rejection.

    According to a “Written Opinion” of the International Searching Authority. mailed on Nov. 8, 2006, they too cite “Sacred Doodles”.

    It would seem you are mistaken about when you learned of “Sacred Doodles”.

    Tricia Long on

  • @Rick…I’m sure it was not your intention but your response speaks volumes.

    Given a choice between teaching Zentangle or Creative Pattern Tangling I will continue on my path to teach the art of Creative Pattern Tangling.

    Good Day

    Tricia Long on

  • @ Tricia

    As of May 31, 2018, Ina presented the above quotes as her own and claimed them as part of her ‘intellectual property’. As we’ve explained, those quotes, along with others, in combination with a number of illustrations, are virtually identical to portions of our copyrighted materials. Ina also indicates that she’s using this “intellectual property” for material gain. Therefore, we felt it important to present the similarities as we found them so that people could draw their own conclusions.

    We won’t reply to inaccurate, irrelevant, and misrepresentative arguments, including false equivalencies, ad hominem attacks, and appeals to pity, as none points to any errors of fact.

    If anyone finds any errors in the facts in this blog post or in this comment, please let us know.

    Thank you.

    Rick Roberts on

  • Dear Rick and Maria,

    I noticed last night that under your FAQ section of your web site where you answer the question concerning if someone can teach the Zentangle method you corrected your error where you stated that the method was copyrighted and removed that sentence. Thank you for clearing up that misconception.

    Tricia Long on

  • Dear Rick and Maria,

    It has been my experience with reading public blogs with a comment section that the blogger is interested in hearing the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of others and open to having an honest debate.

    Now that you have had time to read Ina’s response and comparison of Zentangle vs CPT, as well has the comments posted here, I would hope that you intend to answer my valid observations and questions on the topic. Seeing how all of this has taken place very publicly I would appreciate the answers to my previous questions posted either as comments here or in a separate posting. I won’t take up your time repeating thsee questions so please refer to my previous comments on this blog post. If you do not have a response I can only come to the conclusion that you have no way of refuting what I said.

    Tricia Long on

  • Dear Rick and Maria: Wouldn’t it be time to admit that you made mistakes? To admit that you were bullying Ina and asked your friends to do the same? It’s about time to apologize to Ina. Everything else is half-hearted and embarrassing. Show us your Zen-heart!!

    Staub Korn on

  • There is a saying, “If you can’t attack the facts, attack the messenger.”

    We expect situations like this one will continue to come and go. We trust that each person will come to his or her own conclusion.

    I encourage all readers and commenters, pro or con, to not lose your balance in this, or any, discussion.

    Our best good wishes on this beautiful day.

    Rick and Maria on

  • What if we silently just leave her be to stew. I’m now angry. ( my problem) but I hate that I’m harshly feeling towards the whole thing. It is obviously not a zen kind of thing I know Zentangle saved my life LITERALLY and I am forever grateful. CPT is a cheap knock off. Lord help me but she is not the victim.

    Laura Story on

  • The only nasty comments are again from the ‘zenful’ followers. Interesting… Special when it’s obviously that they still have no clue about the topic.
    Rick it would have been a greater move to disable comments. But I guess that is not what you would want anyway :-)
    Greetings Nicole

    Nicole Dreyer on

  • When I first discovered Zentangle, I was enthralled with the artwork but what truly snagged me was the method. I am a practicing Bugghist and yoga nut so it fit effortlessly into my mindset and life. It has done many wonderful things for me and my life and I will be forever grateful for finding it. As a newbie to the method, I think it’s pretty natural that so many of us go through a ‘tangle hoarding’ phase and try to find as many tangles to fill up our library as possible. Thus it was that I was on Pinterest and found my first tangles by Ina (and those of the artists she posts tangles for). Tho there were many that I liked, I found that far more didn’t really follow the ideal of what the method promoted as being non-representational and so I started doing a bit more research about Ina and I ended up buying the ebook on Mindful Drawing as was pretty upset at the time that it so blatantly copied what Rick and Maria have created. I couldn’t get my money back on my purchase so I just let it go as a lesson learned. But when Ina came out with this new project of her own, I was livid. Doing what she did and then she stands on her soapbox and spews on about karma?! The lady has nerves. I have since blacklisted her site and removed any of her patterns from my library. I refuse to have any part of her. The Buddhist in me wishes her a life of her own creation. I feel sorrow that she felt the need to do this but I will steadfastly stand behind my own family in whatever way I can. Namaste 🙏🏻 LovelyRita

    To My Zentangle Family on

  • Oh my! This seems to have gone too far!

    What will be, will be but I, for one, am a firm believer in karma.
    Many other folks have printed/published books with familiar Zentangle language, but they always gave credit to Rick & Maria & the Zentangle Method. They probably also submitted their books to them for preapproval.
    This is really a shame. 😪 If Ms Ina had only shown them (Rick & Maria … and ALL of us) respect in the 1st place. Such a sad situation!

    Randall Taylor-Craven CZT-13 on

  • Oh my! This seems to have gone too far!

    What will be, will be but I, for one, am a firm believer in karma.
    Many other folks have printed/published books with familiar Zentangle language, but they always gave credit to Rick & Maria & the Zentangle Method. They probably also submitted their books to them for preapproval.
    This is really a shame. 😪 If Ms Ina had only shown them (Rick & Maria … and ALL of us) respect in the 1st place. Such a sad situation!

    Randall Taylor-Craven CZT-13 on

  • Thank you again for the transparency, and that includes leaving the nasty comments up for all to read. The same people snarking about you leaving the comments alone would be the same ones screaming the loudest about “censorship” if you deleted them. The best way to handle it is to leave them alone and let your readers draw their own conclusions. The negativity these comments display is very revealing to all.

    The critics are doing themselves a serious disservice by coming here with a negative attitude and clearly looking to start trouble. Why would I want to learn anything about “zen” and “stress relief” from such toxic people? Critics, if you’re so confident that your way is better, then go build your business up instead of coming here and trying to tear someone else’s work down. The fact that you’re here whining (leaving multiple comments in some cases) reveals to the rest of us how insecure you are in your own product.

    Sadie Slays on

  • I dont want to comment much, because this topic is a bit frustrating. But I think its strange that you claim step outs with red and black marks as your invention. I remember a book I had as a child, it was about drawing animals from circles and boxes. And the step-outs in this book were exactliy like yours: black and red. Red for every new step.

    And I think its no wonder someone would use red for something like this because its a signal color. Blue has low contrast to the black of the lines and yellow is to light to see good on white background… yeah you could use violett or pink, but yellow, red and blue are primarys so its natural to think about them first I think.

    Christina W. on

  • I am so sorry to see Sonnenmoser’s comments—-she is misguided in her efforts. I support Zentangle and believe in the power of Zentangle. Best wishes and good luck to Rick and Maria!

    Jane Reiter, CZT#10 on

  • Rick…You seem to have cleared up some of your confusion surrounding Creative Pattern Tangling. Many of us involved in this art form are doing it for the art. We strive to improve all aspects of our work. We are not content to accept that we may never get better. I do not subscribe to your credo of “their are no mistakes”. Yes, there are mistakes and I hope to learn from mine and have an improved piece of art the next time.

    Is stress reduced when I create art? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. When it does it is a happy by-product of the creative process but it is not confined to one particular art form. Perhaps now that you recognize the differences between CPT and Zentangle you can let this go. This does not do anyone any good.

    BTW…you didn’t answer my question about copyrights. (Remember, the fact that a “method” can not be copyrighted.)

    Tricia Long on

  • Rick…One more question…You say you want to “reduce the tension”. If this is true, why leave all the nasty, defamatory comments? If you want a record then keep a copy. By leaving these up one could draw the conclusion that you endorse these viewpoints. At the very least you are responsible for providing a platform in which others are allowed to defame Ina.

    Tricia Long on

  • Thank you for the update, Rick.

    Just a side note to Tricia: I teach Zentangle but I assure you I am not teaching art, I am teaching a method of stress relief that changed my own life. Art will inevitably result but, as I tell my students, pattern drawing has been around since the neolithic age, this art is about the process not the product.


    Kelley Kelly, CZT on

  • This just makes me sadder. She is a bully. She is stealing. I hope this is not the end of it.

    Charlotte Carpentier, CZT on

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