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Revisiting That Challenging Tangle

Revisiting That Challenging Tangle

In 2007, we started BLOG Zentangle and began our enjoyable series of conversations within our Zentangle community. In reading through these blog posts with their insightful comments, we decided to bring a few of them to your attention from time to time. It is easy, for me anyway, to sometimes think of old information as stale information. But these insights and conversations are anything BUT stale!

Today we invite you to revisit this 2018 blog from Molly...

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Molly writes:

I have told this story before but I like to retell it, as it was a part of my journey that not only gave me strength and confidence but it also allowed me to look at things that challenge in a totally different light.

A couple of years ago a very talented Certified Zentangle Teacher started a blog called I am the Diva. One of the features of this blog is a weekly Zentangle challenge. This challenge has become an inspiration and a community for so many creative minds. I have followed and admired her blog for years. I have watched how she has touched and inspired so many. I have also participated in many of the challenges, and so enjoy her process of sharing and inspiring.

So years ago, there was this one particular Diva’s Challenge that caught my eye and I decided I would participate. This was challenge #111. (Keep in mind that her most recent challenge was #354 so this was a few years back.) Anyway at the time, I thought, what a great challenge! I set a goal of taking on the challenge and created two tiles. After they were complete, I went back on her blog to learn how to submit my work and upon doing so reread the original post ... HA HA HA ... I had totally misinterpreted the challenge and not done anything close to what the actual challenge was.
Not a deal breaker, pretty funny though. However, the challenge that apparently only “I” was participating in, ended up being this huge breakthrough from me.

When I originally read the challenge, I somehow digested it as a challenge to create a tile featuring a tangle that is outside your comfort zone. I loved the idea of this. The diva mentioned that mooka was her tangle that she for one reason or another avoids. And I agreed that at the time I also tend to ignore that particular tangle. I decided I would pick two tangles that I had considered outside my comfort zone and would create one tile with each. The other tangle that I never would use was pokeroot. Many of you that know my work might be thinking, “what is she talking about? She uses those two tangles all the time?” Well, this is true. But remember, this was many years ago and at the time I avoided them like the plague.
Here are the two tangles I created for that challenge.
I thought if I went crazy with it, I could find some way to love it.


The challenge actually was to use or I think feature mooka on one tile. Which, I ended up doing anyway. So, in a way I did do the challenge. I just took it a step further.
The process of using a tangle that is challenging or difficult to do is usually intimidating and uncomfortable. However I was determined on this day and at the same time feeling fearless as I knew I was going into this task at the bottom. And honestly, what did I have to lose? … We are talking pen and paper here. On both tiles I decided to fill it with as much of that particular tangle as I could. By the end of the process of creating the two tiles, I wasn’t in love with the two tangles but I saw that through my process of creating, I became more familiar and fluid with the tangles and thus started to grow an appreciation for the way I drew them.

This process of choosing a tangle outside my comfort zone was enlightening and fun and through this whole journey I have decided to move both pokeroot and mooka into my comfort zone. I learned that there sometimes is a benefit and discovery in challenging or pushing yourself to try something new or go in a different direction.

These tangles did not become my “go to” tangles overnight, but I continued to use them here and there and eventually found myself finding comfort in them. It might not happen with every tangle that challenges you and honestly there is no reason that you have to love them all, but you never know when a little perseverance might lead you to a lovely and rewarding discovery.

Here is a recent tile I created with the tangles. After years and years of drawing these tangles I have discovered my own style within them and they have for sure made it into my comfort zone.

What is your challenging tangle? Is there one that you have been able to tackle?


Julie Willand


  • Hello Molly,5

    Me again!!! How did you do that amazing black and white tile??? I think you used a black tile (?)

    Sharon Jerkovic on

  • Hi Molly,
    My challenges are Whollyhollibaugh and Mooka ! Both are beautiful tangles, it such “brain teasers” !! ???

    Sharon Jerkovic on

  • I too find Mooka challenging. My Mooka never looks as beautiful as what others make. Thank you for inspiring me. I think I will try Mooka again.

    Victoria Smith on

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