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Twenty-Two Tremendously Terrific Techniques to Tipple Tiles

Twenty-Two Tremendously Terrific Techniques to Tipple Tiles

Maria writes:

I was boiling water the other night to blanch some green beans and in walks my beloved, to check out what I was doing (re: what's for dinner?). He spotted the energetically bubbling water and whips out his phone, quick as a bunny!   He proceeded to take this fantastic animated version of the tangle "tipple.”

How could I not show you all this, "what it's like to live with Rick on a daily basis" phenomenon?   So, then a few minutes later, Julie sashays into my studio asking for a blog for Tuesday.  HA!

Life is good. (Because, finding things for a blog gets just a tiiiiiny bit more challenging as each day passes).

Tipple is one of my fallback tangles, when absolutely nothing comes to mind. I love to spiral them out, (example #4 in above Zendala)  taking my time beginning with tiny orbs and each one gradually getting bigger and bigger as I follow the direction it so elegantly takes me.  Or, I begin with a large orb and taking the size down ever so slightly with each subsequent circle.  To me, this is a great way to intensify your meditation, when you must pay careful attention to an ever-changing element.  I do enjoy adding an intense tippling session to my tile, making something appear really complicated when it is merely time-consuming.

I enjoy carefully stacking the tipple, as they so gracefully fit together like a stand of bowling balls, (example #2)  if one was to be able to get the bowling balls to not roll all over the place, as they want to do.  I think of bowling balls, because I want the weight to be apparent, heavy, solid and powerful, as opposed to thinking of Styrofoam balls, that would fly away in a slight breeze.  So, I make the lines bold, going around the orb a few times with my pen. It's more forgiving as well, allowing you to correct or sculpt the" bowling balls" a bit.  I'll have to try going every so lightly and see what that gives me. 

In studying the video that Rick did for me,  I found that drawing the orb first then going in and drawing a smaller one inside, then filling it in with my pen, gave a similar look.(example #3)  It was a bit more unexpected and took longer,  but I liked the effect it gave me.  

I taught a beginners class the other day and instead of doing basic tipple in one of the four sections,  I drew a few larger orbs scattered about the section  (example #1) then drew a bit smaller orbs around each one, continuing until the background was filled with really tiny orbs.  All the students were able to get the concept and their tiles looked great.

At tea today, I noticed Stephanie's bracelet, the tipple in a traditional, square reticulum. (example #5).  A whole different look. The shading on that one surprised even me.  The bracelet itself, had a diagonal design of white and grey crystals.

And this other bracelet/cuff, that a CZT graciously gifted me, she said it reminded her of me. The double pearl pattern appealed to me, the bracelet a bit steam-punkish, in its boldness. (example #6).  Loved the tiny prongs keeping these pearls from wandering too far.  I am a bit hard on things and feel comfortable wearing this piece of jewelry.  And, also feel like it would fit comfortably in any of my Zentangle tiles.

I am anxious to see you artists using alternate versions of tipple in your tiles.  Seek the road less travelled. . .  and all that.  Go confidently in the direction of your dreams..

Not sure Robert Frost or Henry Thoreau had Zentangle in mind, but I guarantee they would have loved tangling. Hmmm…I wonder if they would have liked a tipple or two. . . 

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Bijou is going to be giving away a special surprise to one lucky commenter! The randomly selected commenter will be announce in next week's blog.

Maria Thomas


  • 我超喜歡Tipple,當我不想思考什麼的時候,超適合拿來繪畫放空自己。
    I like Tipple very much, and when I don’t want to think about anything, I am super suitable to use it to vent myself.


  • You really got my brain thinking with all these different ways to draw Tipple. And your video of boiling is mesmerizing to watch. ❤️

    BRenda DeBock on

  • I love the video of the bolling water! Have watched it for a little bit too long to be honested. Think I’ll have to try some boiling tipple thuis afternoon….

    Marloes on

  • You know, I don’t often use tipple. I don’t know why. I do know the flow that inevitably comes with it. I’m going to start to use more tipple, so to work on building muscle memory for orbs of all sizes. Thanks for the reminder!

    tcaillouCZT32 on

  • Thank you so much! I never really got the appeal of tipple but all these variations make it seem accessible, organized, and east enough for my students to get. Can’t wait for next week’s class to try it on the gray Bijou tiles!!

    Betsy on

  • Tipple is one of my favourite filler… oops did it again tonight !

    Ingrid DM on

  • I love that video! Some years ago, Maria, you showed me how you’d start with tiny orbs and gradually increase the size (or vice versa) and I’ve loved that method ever since. I did a “Tipple, and then some” block post a while back, but now I have a few more ideas to try. :D

    Margaret Bremner on

  • Tipple is one of my filler go-to tangles because it works with any and every tangle to accent and make it even more dynamic. I LOVE this Zendala with all these different tangleations and want to start playing with them now, but alas, I am at work and have a hard deadline to meet by Friday. Boo hiss!

    As a traditionally-trained artist and now a digital artist as well, one of the things my advanced Digital Imaging (Photoshop) class teacher had us do is walk around campus and take photos of different textures to use for most of our projects. She wanted us to have library of our own photos to pull from so all art in the class was legitimately ours alone.

    I have always enjoyed photographing textures so I was in hog-heaven finding textures in the oddest places. While the rest of the advanced students used nature textures to turn themselves into forest creatures for one project, I used one of my Asian ball-jointed dolls and turned him into a robot by only using textures I had shot by getting close to a Harley Davidson motorcycle parked outside the campus building where I work and one flower photo for his eyes.

    That summer we also experienced some spectacular cloud formations and lighting in the evening hours. I took a lot of photos and used them in my art pieces, too.

    If a person just starts focusing in or out just a little more, so many textures (and tangle inspirations!) abound in the world!

    DM (bakayaro onna) Smith on

  • Tipple-simply the simplest tangle with a lot of zen going on all at the same time.

    Sue Leslie on

  • Mahalo for the post. I love finding tangles all around, and your inspirations and variations are always so creative. One of my favorite ways to use Tipple is as a surprise element or connector between tangles. I feel that it somehow “links” patterns in a flowing way.

    Lisa on

  • Like Rick, I have been observing and photographing tipple in the environment lately -in my coffee cup, my dishwashing sink, my foamy milk. I find inspiration in the most mundane places!

    GInny LOckhart on

  • I use tipple to fill in occasionally. But it has never been one of my favorites. I don’t like the way my tipple looks. But i never thought of just drawing tipple on a tile for meditation and not worry about what it looks like. I will try this and post on the Mosaic. Thanks, Maria for this blog. It was very helpful.

    Blythe Nicassio on

  • Tipple – my fabulous favorite! Thanks for inspiring me to expand my mind and giving me new designs for the orb!

    Karen Murray on

  • Dear Maria, Tipple is also one of my fall backs.. there is something so delightful about drawing little circles, not rushing but enjoying! Love Ricks photo and mind.l You are so perfect for each other! Xo

    Jerryann Haggart CZT 12 on

  • I also love using Tipple – it is a go to – it helps finish off any tile that seems to need a little extra something! Love all your examples.

    Linda Deedy on

  • Versatile is the work for our little orbs. We can use them anywhere and that’s why we love them so.

    Sandra on

  • Tipple is one of my favorites…love these ideas…

    Pat Fournier on

  • I recently watched a TED TALK about why drawing is so good for you in so many ways. The presenter talked about strengthening your hands for drawing and he gave the example of tipple (although he didn’t know the name) and said that do this will strength your hands for drawing. An EXTRA bonus for us tipplers.

    Ginny on

  • while marking with ink, giving each orb its presence, big or tiny…allows me to drift into an imaginary world, if not for a moment.。o○

    mIdori czt on

  • Ah yes – the Tipple variations are all around us; I love beginning with the boiling water Maria, when I make poached eggs with the swirling, tipple changes and moves. Many thanks for this, I will use it with my advanced class this spring!

    Alice Roche on

  • Thank you for another fun newsletter. This is full of great ideas to share with my students. I was adding Tipple to a tile last night to recreate the first tile that I did exactly two years ago. Will be finishing it with Tipple this morning. :)

    Barbara Langston on

  • There are so many beautiful patterns, but when I take a look at my tiles, I see almost on everyone Tipples appearing, easy, nice and pleasant to draw. So I finally think this is really my favorite pattern. Thanks for this great post!!!

    Ria Joris-Matheussen on

  • I have been doodling ever since I was a kid, as many of you probably have. And it’s so surprising when you find a tangle, which you’ve always used, and get to that state of awareness where you realise what it actually means to you.
    #zen Thanks for sharing!!

    Tina on

  • Ik wil door omstandigheden voorlopig geen emails ontvangen.

    Savitri on

  • I love Tipple. It is one of my go to’s when I can’t think of something else. Thank you for sharing

    Linda Mensching on

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