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Tangling Outside the Box

Molly writes: 
 Some of you may have heard of the phrase, “thinking outside the box”. This metaphor speaks of a creative thought process that perhaps explores an unknown territory, looks at something from a new perspective, offers a unique approach and steps outside of the otherwise expected way. Encouraging this perspective on brainstorming and problem solving often leads to new and exciting exploration and discovery.
I was raised in an “outside the box” house. Every day, every meal, every holiday, every hairdo, even every prom dress was a new adventure. Sometimes I would ask to get back in the box. Not an option. Looking back I realize how lucky I was. I now know to not just look at things for what they are or what they have always been but rather what they could be. Life is full of change, growth and opportunity and aren’t we lucky to be able to take advantage of that.
To me the Zentangle Method is a beautiful collision of structure and chaos. While it nurtures specific steps and illuminates borders it also encourages us to take our practice into uncharted territories. It pushes us to not fear so called mistakes, but rather see them as seeds for new opportunities. It invites us to “color outside the lines,” and to be lead only by those strokes that we put down ourselves. It teaches us that our unique marks are not only beautiful, but also important because of their uniqueness. 
We often say to our Zentangle artists to learn the rules so that you can break them. I love the structure and beauty of the method as it written, and I find it so inspiring to explore and try things a little bit differently once in a while. In the world of Zentangle art we time and time again see tanglers taking that artistic license and going “outside the box”. We continue to learn and be inspired by the all the ways you are doing this. This type of thinking is different for everyone. It might be that tangling a little lower the string line is a big deal for you, or you might be someone who likes adventure like perhaps tangling underwater like mermaids do.
When the time is right take a leap in your practice. Jump at that opportunity. Allow yourself to look at something for what it could be.
Whether it was a so called mistake or flash of brilliance that led you there, it took that bit of confidence to take a chance to see what could happen when you not only "think outside the box" … but actually “tangle outside the box". 
Join us with your "outside the box adventure" … Tell us your story here and post your work on the Zentangle Mosaic App using #outsidethebox. You can also download the Zentangle Mosaic app for free and search #outstidethebox to see the Zentangle art from across the globe!
We welcome both literal and metaphorical interpretations here … we do like to have fun after all.
We will pick a commenter at random to send a box of Zentangle goodies to in our next blog!

Julie Willand


  • I love tangling – I`ve been doing it for 2-1/2 years. The admiration I get when I show it off is fun too!

    Rosemary Turpin on

  • Loved reading this, yes Molly you are lucky indeed to of been raised in an outside the box home!

    Deborah A Sargent on

  • I wish Molly would post her last name on her blog posts. I like to quote her in my teaching and on my own blog and I think I should have her full name!

    Ginny on

  • Love the empty “box” in Maria’s tangle!

    Susan on

  • Zentangle encourages thinking outside of the box!

    Betsey on

  • Exquisite prose describing the elegance and adventure each and everyone of you share?

    Promise on

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