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Tangle RootZ: crescent moon

Tangle RootZ: crescent moon

In this Zentangle Blog Series we explore the ins and outs of some of our most loved Tangles. Join us as we journey back to how it was discovered and deconstructed, why a certain tangle got its name, and who was involved in the process. We will look into different styles, applications and tangleations of a tangle. We will examine how some tangles have evolved over time and discuss how the same patterns have multiple names. Some tangles have inspired tangleations that were so wonderful that they became their own tangle. This series is fun deep dive into the life of a tangle.

Today, we take a look at the tangle crescent moon. Enjoy!


Molly writes...

Crescent moon is a special tangle. It is very often the first tangle that people learn when creating their first Zentangle tile. It naturally settled into this role very early on. It just seems to always work well as a place to start. For starters it can appeal to a broad range of artistic abilities. If you are new to drawing or creating, this tangle is not too intimidating and the results are very forgiving as they can go in many directions and still look great. It has a few simple steps, so it is easy to learn. For those who are more experienced it also offers the potential for interesting variations and complexity and might challenge dexterity.

Crescent Moon offers a nice ratio of inked in area complimented by the textured effect of the radiating lines. The simple task of filling each little lady bug shape with ink teaches and builds on skills that emphasize the importance of creating contrast in your art. The act of slowly filling each space one stroke at a time also requires focus and patience. However the most valuable technique learned by creating crescent moon is one we call “aura”. Crescent moon gives us the gift of aura, and once you have it, it is yours for all of your tangles to come. An aura is a simple line drawn equidistant to another line in a tangle. The newly drawn line mimics or responds to the characteristics of the previous one, much like a halo or ripples in a pond. Drawing auras is a beautiful meditative practice and leads to unexpected results. One you learn how to aura, you will find yourself using it as a skill in other tangles, tangleations and as a tanglenhancer.

              Crescent moon is a pattern I remember my Mom drawing often many years before Zentangle came to be. It is something she would add here and there in her artwork. I remember her teaching me how to draw it once to fill the letters of my name in bubble letters. Many of the early tangles were patterns that my Mom or Rick or others in our world at that time already new well. If there was a basic step-by-step way to create that pattern, we considered it to be used as a tangle. Some worked well and others not so much and some, like crescent moon fit all the criteria. I don't remember a time where there was Zentangle without crescent moon. It is just part of the history.

              Crescent moon received its name from Rick and Maria very early on in Zentangle history and fits with our goal of giving tangles names that don’t necessarily describe what the tangle should look like. The tangle crescent moon clearly does not look like a crescent moon.

              What I love about crescent moon is that it never seems to get old. I can use that tangle over and over and there still seems to be something magical about it. There always seems to be a little variation I can explore or maybe a different way to add it to a composition. Whenever I am stuck, crescent moon seems to be there to rescue me. I guess you could say crescent moon is like an old friend, which is always there when you need it.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • Hello Molly, thank you for this blog. Indeed Cresent Moon is a great tangle to explore some more. I often wonder… what would happen if one would explore the same tangle over and over again. Like for a whole month or so. Cresent Moon is a very flexible tangle. So many opportunities. For me an absolute ‘go to’ tangle whenever I get stuck.

    Karin Godyns CZT Belgium on

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