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Zentangle.. A Launch Pad for Creativity

Zentangle.. A Launch Pad for Creativity

Molly writes...

I learn so much from the Zentangle Community. For days after teaching a Seminar or a workshop I am full of all the stories people share with me. It takes days, sometimes weeks, for me to digest them all and log them into my heart. I learn from them all and also become humbled and amazed by the diversity and depth of how the Zentangle Method interweaves into peoples lives.
One theme that I often hear from the Zentangle community is how Zentangle became a launch pad for them to try something else creative. Many people that practice Zentangle are new to art and creating with the Zentangle Method might be the first artistic thing they have ever pursued. Others might have been creative formally but since lost touch with art for one reason or another. Often, these people tap into artistic expression that has been dormant inside them all along. In the midst of a strong tangling practice many people become inspired and more confident to try other artistic things. I hear inspiring stories about new explorations in drawing, painting, weaving, sculpting, journaling and more. I have heard other folks tell me that Zentangle has reignited an old hobby or even brought depth or variety to an art form in which they were feeling “stuck.”
As an artist myself, I know that Zentangle saved me. At a time when I couldn’t grasp the creative outlet that my soul was craving, Zentangle trickled in and allowed me to jump back on the train. A regular Zentangle practice gave me the regular doses of creativity that I needed. The more that I draw, the more ideas and inspiration flood into my head. I find myself not only tangling in a Zentangle way but that I can approach other art forms the same way I do a tile; one stroke at a time.
What about you? Have you caught the Zentangle bug too? Has creating with the Zentangle Method inspired you to try something new? Have you gained the confidence to explore other art forms or maybe something else? And if you haven’t yet … maybe you will now.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • Beautiful and thought-moving post, Molly. Thank you. I was creative in my job before Zentangle, but not artistic. Yes, Zentangle and it’s Method have made me feel more artistically confident. I paint now. I recently made a no-weave tapestry with friends. I dress more artistically now and even added purple to my hair. So thank you Zentangle for finding the zen in the Tangle, and also for opening up more of my whimsical artist soul. Peace.

    Miriam HIPster on

  • Wondering how the zentangle jewelry pictured above was made. Could the instructions please be posted? Thanks!

    Sheree Ulrich on

  • I love to sit and mindlessly draw tangles. It refreshes my art mind and spirit. It’s like a refreshing walk in the woods. And it does an incredible job of stirring those creative juices to work on other projects. I think I’ve been more creative since I found Zentangle than ever before.

    MKay B B Watson CZT on

  • Rohini, you have expressed everything I want to say so beautifully, so I won’t repeat myself.

    To add to all your thoughts, I want to say that if I didn’t know how to tangle, the cancer diagnosis which came in May 2018, exactly a year ago would have been a far bigger ordeal to deal with. But, One Stroke At A Time……the treatment plan will grind to a halt…..finally!!
    Learning Zentangle has given me hours of endless occupation, enjoyment and proved to be a sure lifesaver. Quite ironic as I was always made to believe I couldn’t draw to save my life!!!
    It has also made me look at wonder in all my work and exclaim to myself “Did YOU really do that??”
    Teaching complex tangles to even beginning students makes me look at their faces in awe ………to make them weave Diva Dance through another complex pattern and watch the amazement on their face!!!
    And most, most important is the wonderful supportive and non-judgmental Zentangle worldwide community we all belong to, loving each other unconditionally.
    If only everyone in the world could be taught Zentangle!!!
    A huge thanks to all my Zentangle teachers and the new teachers whose work we learn and draw inspiration from every single new day.

    Binaifer Karanjia on

  • All my life I wanted to be an artist. I have a plaque in my studio that says so! (“My studio” … words that still amaze me.) Yes, dear Molly, I have indeed “caught the Zentangle bug”. I am in love with it, addicted to it, passionate about teaching it. I hear it calling to me every single day. Although I took 11 years of piano lessions, a couple years of voice lessons, majored in Dance in college, love to knit & crochet, tried to “master” watercolor painting for a decade, etc. etc. etc., I NEVER have considered myself to be “an artist”. And then … Zentangle found me. So simple, so easy, so “attainable”. So brilliant!!! When I realized what this art form was doing for ME, I knew I wanted to share it. And because of my 5+ years of teaching, I have met SO many people who have become dear friends, been challenged to continue creating classes, actually SOLD some of my Zentangle art, I can now say I can’t even imagine my life without Zentangle! Do you think your mom and Rick truly realize the scope of the joy and self-confidence their decision to share Zentangle has brought to so MANY humans, worldwide?? I know they’re “just people”, BUT … seriously, their (and your) commitment to sharing this wonderful discovery with so many who then share with so many, and so on, and so on, and so on … … … is changing the world. For the better. And heaven knows, we need it. So, my love and gratitude will always be yours. Thank you, from every cell in my being. xoxo

    Jan Brandt, CZT 12 on

  • Since discovering Zentangle not quite a year ago, it has changed my creative process. A poet and writer since the age of 8, now in my mid-60s, Zentangle has been added to my arsenal of creativity that includes quilting and crochet. The focus, the calm that is Zentangle practice has helped me in my life in general. I am eternally grateful!

    Ginger White [CZT-to-be, Class 34] on

  • Dear Molly,
    I have always thought of myself as an Artist. At 17 I apprenticed with a Master Glazier in New York and worked in that medium until Lupus began to narrow my options. In my middle years I decided to turn that into “lemonade” and attended Paier College of Art in Hamden CT. What a joyous time for me!

    Age and accidents followed and further imposed restrictions on what I could do. Although I love creating watercolor portraits it involved a lot “stuff”. Getting all set up and having to step away due to physical pain was so frustrating!

    Then, as a gift for my husband, I signed us up for a class in Zentangle taught by Lynne Martinelli, CZT. Bob was hobby less and headed for semi-retirement. Zentangle became a wonderful addition to his life. Quite a number of years have passed and we still avidly attend Zentangle classes at least a couple of times a week. What a gift I unintentionally gave myself with those lessons!

    Your guided meditation at CZT 32 was so beautiful and valuable to me! I use it regularly in the classes I am now teaching at St. Clair Township Library. It is a huge pleasure when one of the four students who attend with aides have a Ta-Da moment! They did not think of themselves as artists at first. But some are now attending a support group for Artists called the Creative Café. I’m so proud and happy for them. I have discovered that joy begets joy.

    Meanwhile, lesson plan ideas just bubble up and I am considering calligraphy classes and book making at Univ. of Pittsburgh. Something I never I thought I could do!

    A simple “thank you” seems very inadequate. I’m so grateful to all you! Mary

    Mary D'Angelo, CZT 32 on

  • Molly, I am not sure if you remember my Zentangle story, but I can only say YES, YES! to your post.

    My mom was a Master Quilter, award-winning hand embroiderer and a painter. With three kids and a business, there was too much going on to learn an artform that I could become passionate about, never mind master one. While I watched her create all her life, I was too intimidated to “start something new” that I might or might not become passionate about after great expense and investment of time.

    The promise of “creating something amazing in just 15 minutes” lured me, and and hooked me. Barely 9 months from penning my first tile, I am already a CZT with my own students.

    That said, Zentangle is not just a stepping stone for me. I am committed to the philosophy and life path that Zentangle teaches. Maybe I will jump to another art medium some day . My creativity has certainly been blown wide open for sure! But even past the burst of creativity, Zentangle and now the promise that is teaching Zentangle, has given me the confidence to know that virtually ANYTHING is possible for me.

    Thank you inspiring me again today.

    Heidi Kay, HK Tangler, (aka, the Hong Kong Tangler 😂)

    Heidi Kay on

  • Well Molly, I can tell you that I never did something creative (exept from writing) and was quite frustrated when my best friend and my daughter were drawing and I couldn’t draw what I wanted. So I was just sitting there next to them, doing nothing. One day I visited my friend again and immidiately she said that she found something just ‘made’ for me and showed me the Zentangle kit. I ordered my own the next day (that was in june 2011) and since then I tangle almost every day. Just this week (I was wearing a necklace I tangled some time ago) someone asked me where I had bought it and when she heard I made that myself, she asked me if she could order one. That quiestion to me, me!!!! That is what Zentangle gave me, that creativety to make things like that necklace.

    Annemarie Huijts on

  • When I encountered Zentangle while browsing YouTube I was recovering from several hospitalization for chronic digestive issues and feeling lower than mud. Art had always been a part of my life, but projects all seemed overwhelming. However a 3.5 square space…I love it, and haven’t enjoyed anything so much in years..and it has fired up other creative thoughts I thought might be gone forever. It’s a real joy.

    Judith Burke on

  • I couldn’t agree more! I have loved to create things for as long as I can remember, but I never really considered myself an “artist”. Truly embracing the “no mistakes/anything is possible” philosophy of Zentangle, has made me more open to trying all kinds of different art forms – not just the ones that I expected to be ‘good’ at. Even the ones I’m not so good at, teach me things that can inspire and fuel my creativity.
    My name is Carol, and I am an artist!

    Carol Graham CZT12 on

  • Yes.

    I took a batik mandala class and ended up batiking in a Zentangle fashion.

    Lisa Hoesing on

  • Hi Molly, on my website is in capital letters ‘ happiness for me is not the smile on my face but the peace in my head’. This is where Zentangle has brought me. Tomorrow I will go to the seminar in Frankfurt to obtain my certificate CZT. Zentangle brings me so much joy. 🍀

    Henriëtte Robben on

  • Molly, you are so right. The artist in me exploded into all sorts of directions. Watercolor, acrylics, and oils, as well as Zentangle. The act of creating feeds me . I take classes to discover this passion, and feed it. I have found my happy peaceful place.

    Suzanne H Crisafi CZT14 on

  • I was never an artist until I discovered the Zentangle method. I will tangle on just about anything! Zentangle was exactly what i needed to tap into my creative side.

    Ellen Hundt on

  • Zentangle is such a versatile art! I still love it most in the original black and white, but I do venture out and add color using my other favorite medium of watercolor. Molly, you hit the nail on the head. I had not touched my watercolor since I adopted my boys. That is a grand total of 20 years! I owe it all to Zentangle. The first time it was shown to me I dropped my scrapbooking like a hot potato and began to earnestly learn more. It has been a roller coaster of fun and experimentation. Now, I am going back to work after my retirement and will be teaching in our local community activities program where I took my first class. What a gift of creativity it has been and continues to be!


  • This is real synchronicity Molly! I was just thinking this, this morning and here’s your post.

    When you first learn this awesome art form, it takes quite a while to acknowledge the inner artist. If you have never really thought of yourself as one. But as you get addicted; when you begin to awaken every morning with sparkliness and the excitement of learning something h new( and it happens every day!) something switches in your brain. And yes all kinds of new ideas flood in. You feel the confidence to try something new. And yes it’s exciting too to look at another’s tile and feel” I can do that!” Which till just a short while ago felt , unreachable.
    It’s an absolutely amazing adventure and I give daily thanks to all of you and to Life for bringing me to Zentangle! Big hug 🤗

    Rohini Chopra on

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