River Boot Tangle

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I decided to make my river boots (that I use for field trips with high schoolers into rivers and streams looking for macroinvertebrates) unique with a Zentangle®.

I chose the gingo pattern – which has become one of my favorites since it was shared on the TanglePatterns site in late August. These boots are several years old and are scuffed from the river rocks near the foot part of the boots…but the surface I tangled was relatively smooth. I used a Sharpie and only worked on the outer side of the boots…so I still have room for more tangling.

So – even if I somehow take off my boots and they get in the pile of boots we have for the students…I’ll always be able to spot mine!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Beautyberry as Zentangle® Prompt

When I was at Mount Vernon in December there was an American Beautyberry growing at the edge of the bowling green. I took a picture of the bush then zoomed in on a stem with berries.

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Nature is a great source of prompts for tangle patterns…and the purple clusters of the beautyberry are one of the easier examples. There is not much deconstruction required…the pattern is just some parallel dashed lines for the stem and filling the spaces between the stem lines with the tipple pattern. Easy!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® - September2019

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I had plenty of tiles to choose the 30 to feature in this Zentangle-a-day post for September. There were some patterns that came up again and again during the month. The dominant one was gingo. I’ve always liked the trees and was thrilled to see the pattern posted on TanglePatterns.com site in late August.  13 of the 30 tiles I picked for September were this pattern…sometimes as a mono-pattern tile and sometimes with other patterns or a background. The ones with the dark background below were made on the iPad…others were done on square heavy paper/light cardboard tiles of various sizes and colors.

The feather-like pattern that I enjoyed so much with the campers is still one of my favorites…with variations.

I did an experiment with the paradox pattern – making the ‘same’ tile on paper and with the iPad. I love the meta-pattern that paradox creates and made two different ones. I was going to pick a favorite (meta-pattern and media) but I liked all of them.

Periodically I enjoy making a tile with a crazy string and then just filling in. Both tiles below were simply filling in shapes where only a point touched the area I had just finished coloring. For the second one – I made some red dots on the tile after I drew the string but before I started filling in shapes. It is surprising how different they look….so dependent on the scribbled string!

Then there were 8 tiles that didn’t fit any of the above categories. Sometimes it’s just fun to try something different!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® in the Transom Window

In my September 1st blog post, I talked about the large Zentangle I was making on window film…and then forgot to include the photos of the segments taken before it was huge (from right to left). So here they are now –

My husband helped me attach the window film to the transom window above the French doors in our breakfast area. I cleaned the window thoroughly before wetting it a little then positioning the plastic film and using a shower Squeegee to smooth out the air bubbles. The matte white film with Zentangle patterns is very effective at making our dinner table less sunny! I wish I would have thought of doing this sooner. If I get tired of the patterns…I can take it down and make another.

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This is prompting me to think about what I might do with window film for Christmas.  Right now I’m thinking: red Sharpie for the patterns and the same type window film….for the narrow windows on either side of my front door.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® - August 2019

The August Zentangles included a lot of variety. I collected up 31 to demonstrate. There are nine general tiles created on the  iPad (black background usually with white ‘ink’ created using Procreate and an Apple Pencil).

Three general tiles are on card stock using a Sharpie Ultra Fine pen.

Everything else has something different for my ‘norm.’ I found a pad of black paper left over from my daughter’s teen age years (over 10 years ago). I drew 3.5 inch squares on the tiles and made tangle patterns using metallic gel pens. The silver shows up the best. I’ll be gradually using up the rest of the pad this fall.

The butterfly tiles I had left from the activity are 2 of the 31 tiles this month.

And then there are the feather themed tiles I made preparing for the activity with summer campers and guiding the Zentangle class.

Last but not least – I tangled a long rectangle of window film for a transom window over the French door in our breakfast area. I used Sharpie Fine Point pen on slightly pebbled mist film. The photographs below are segments before it was hung. This project is -by far – my biggest Zentangle to date!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Summer Camp Volunteering- Week 3

The theme for last week’s Howard Count Conservancy’s summer camps was ‘Water Wizards.’ The campers at both Mt. Pleasant and Belmont made terrific water themed Zentangles®! I started out the sessions by briefly talking about the water cycle…how water moves on our planet and in the atmosphere….honed for the 5-12 years old campers. I projected a simple diagram of the water cycle from the NASA website….and then used the same set up to enable the campers to see how I drew some water themed patterns on pale blue cardstock (using the camera on the iPad which was hooked to a projector).

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There were three groups at Mt. Pleasant. They all enjoyed frogs eggs and tadpoles, raindrops making ripples in a pond, mist….and clouds. The youngest group made rainbows! I used 4.5-inch squares for the youngest group (last of the group of 3 mosaics below); the other two used 3.5-inch squares.

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At Belmont, the session was on a hot afternoon and the campers appreciated the time to cool off inside. I took a picture of the room before the campers arrived – the cool and calm before a flurry of activity.

After a short discussion of the water cycle, the room was filled with very focused campers making Zentangle patterns. One of the counselors came in and commented about how quiet the room was. It wasn’t silent exactly…everyone was just busy. The first mosaic were made by the older group and are 3.5-inch squares…and some that finished early made mini-tiles on 2-inch squares. The younger group used the larger 4.5-inch tiles. Both groups enjoyed frog eggs and tadpoles, cattails (or seaweed), raindrops into a pond, and mist.

Each week I do Zentangles, there are a few campers from prior weeks that know the Zentangle basics…and others that are new. All are keen to learn some patterns and are tickled with the tiles they create. There’s always a crowd around the mosaic at the end.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® - July 2019

There was quite a lot of variation on the Zentangle front in July. There was a challenge on the long road trip days and then being very busy the rest of the time. Some days there was plenty of time to make several tiles…other days were too short to do anything other than on the critical path to get my daughter moved to Missouri! In the end – I still had a lot of tiles to choose from to come up with 31 tiles for July. The normal variation is seen in this first group made on the iPad with the Apple Pencil using the Procreate App. I found the iPad the easiest to work with at the end of a long day of driving.

I started experimenting with some square paper coasters for tiles early in the month.

There was also a series that were created with a spiral string then a single pattern….all on the iPad.

The most different tiles the samples I made using the butterfly tiles I used with the summer campers last week. It was fun experimenting with the shape and working with symmetry.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® Butterflies at Summer Camp

I enjoyed making Zentangle butterflies with about 70 Howard County Conservancy summer campers last week. They were in 5 groups and 2 locations. The first three groups were done outdoors on picnic tables set up with blotter papers and pen/pencil in holders to keep them from rolling away. There was a little breeze, but the pen/pencil holder had just enough weight to keep everything in place.

I attached my sample butterflies to a plant hook and a pad of paper to use for pattern demonstration on an easel. This was the calm before the first group of campers arrived.

The campers overall were ages 5-12. The oldest of the three groups came first…the youngest were last. I presented different patterns to each group as we talked about butterfly body parts and symmetry. The campers were focused and were very creative both with the patterns (and making up their own) as well as adding color. I took a picture of the creations from each group (click on the image below to see a larger version).

The following day, I did two groups at the second location. This time I was indoors and used the projection technique with the iPad camera (that I had used during my session with the camp counselors back in early June) to demonstrate the patterns. The youngest group came first followed by the older group.  I corralled the butterflies for a picture at the end of each session (although one was missing from the older group and I ended up taking that picture later).

Overall, I was pleased with these sessions and I am getting better as a CZT as I gain experience. For example – the blotter papers get used for additional artwork rather than just blotter papers and then the next camper comments on what is on their blotter! The different age groups have different types of challenges which I will get better at detecting…but they all produced beautiful and interesting Zentangle butterflies!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle Pattern from a Dog Bed

It seems like everywhere I look these days I see Zentangle pattern possibilities. My parents had a dog bed with a pattern in the cover that was easy to deconstruct.

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The first tile I made using the idea was a round coaster….and some old gel pens. The pens skipped but I decided that the skips simply made the pattern look more unique – maybe like part of the lines had deteriorated with age or usage.

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The second tile was on my iPad. I didn’t worry about make octagon shapes. It’s surprising how little variations make the pattern look so different.

I’ll always think of this pattern as ‘dog bed’!

Zentangle® - June 2019

I had a lot of tiles to choose from in June….it was the usual challenge to limit myself to 30 – June having only 30 days.

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I did a series of tiles with the phicops pattern for the whole tile – using it like a string for other patterns. All of these were physical tiles.

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And then there were all the others – the black tiles are digital (iPad)…which shows that about half my picks for June were digital…half physical.

I’ll be doing a several road trips in July. It will be an adventure in Zentangle-on-the-go. I anticipate that I’ll create tiles at the beginning or end of the day….unless there is a substantial storm and I stop to wait it out.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

3 Free eBooks – June 2019

There was quite a variety of books to pick from in my book list for this month…difficult to pick just three. I realized that I have started gleaning from my book list for other posts beyond this monthly one. I feature the botanical books in a separate post and I’ve started collecting images to use for Zentangle pattern prompts (i.e. images that are easily decomposed into patterns and used to create Zentangle tiles) which I will probably become blog posts occasionally too!

Pennell, Joseph; Pennell, Elizabeth Robbins. Two pilgrims’ progress; from fair Florence to the eternal city of Rome. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. 1899. Available on Internet Archive here. This husband and wife team travelled between Florence and Rome on an odd ‘bicycle built for two.’ He was the artist and she was the writer. I enjoyed their other books available online too.

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Jammes, Andre; Sobieszek, Robert A.; White, Minor. French Primitive Photography. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art. 1969. Available on Internet Archive here. A little history not only of photography but for the subjects of the photographers as well. There are quite a few images from Egypt in the mid-1800s of famous monuments before the sand was moved from the lower portions…or had just been removed.

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Perkins, Lucy Fitch. The Belgian Twins. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1917. Available on Internet Archive here. The author wrote a whole series of books about twins from around the world between 1911 and 1934. Evidently, she interviewed someone that had grown up in each country to gain understanding of children’s lives there. She also incorporated aspects of history; World War I was woven into this book about Belgium published in 1917 and the book about French twins published in 1918. Many of the books are available on Internet Archive. The sketch type illustrations are the aspect of these books I enjoyed the most.

Leading a Zentangle® Class

I applied what I learned at the Certified Zentangle Trainer class (taken back in April) with a group of summer camp counselors last week…a prelude to working with the summer campers in a few weeks. The counselors were in their pre-camp training session. Most of the camp with be outdoor activities but on very rainy or hot days….creating Zentangle tiles can be a great option.

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I prepared for the session by developing a method to project my work on a screen (iPad on a tripod, Camera app, connector to allow display of the iPad screen on any projector/screen via HDMI cable) and making folded paper ‘trays’ to keep the pencil and pen together (not rolling around the table).

I also made variations of the tile I would coach them to make during the first session.

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The session with the camp counselors took a little over 30 minutes in all….and look what they created! Now one took an after lunch nap…they were all too focused on creating the patterns on their tile.

I am always impressed by class mosaics…how every tile expresses the individuality of the person that created it.

After the session we had a feedback session and agreed that the apprentice tiles (4.5 inches square) should be used for the younger campers….that the smaller ones (3.5 inches square) might appeal to the older campers that want to create tiles with more detail. Allowing more than 30 minutes would be good too!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® - May 2019

May was a busy month…but I made time to keep my Zentangle-a-day plan and did more than one on some days. 18 of the 31 tiles I picked for May were made on the iPad.  My favorites are still the black background with white ‘ink’.

There were some with a different color background or ink.

Toward the end of the month I started experimenting with complex loopy strings and mixed patterns that made some different looking tiles than my usual.

Switching away from the digital tiles - I am still enjoying the 3-inch round coasters. I did a lot of experimenting with the phicops pattern in May.

I made very few square tiles. I will probably be making more in June in preparation for my first ‘class’ as a CZT to dry run the module I will do with summer campers during the counselor training in mid-June.

I’ve been making small tiles (2” squares, Bijou size) with single patterns that I will use as prompts when I’m teaching…or to help select patterns for my own tiles.

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As usual – looking back at the Zentangle tiles I produced in May is very satisfying. It’s awesome to see all of them collected together…realizing I made all them…savoring them again.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® - April 2019

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At the beginning of April, I was in the Certified Zentangle Trainer class…creating tiles as we learned best strategies for teaching others the Zentangle® Method. The tiles were put into a journal with corners like were used for pictures in old scrapbooks. My two favorite tiles that I did during the class were the ‘creature’ tile and the triangular tile (the different tile shape and color).

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I didn’t include the tiles from class in my 30 picks for April (I averaged over 3 tiles for each day of April…so had a challenge to pick just 30 for this blog post!). I’ve grouped them into 2 groups below:

The tiles I made on the iPad. I keep returned to black background and white ‘ink’ – even though I sometimes am in the mood for color…change up a little…temporarily.

The big experiment of the month was some round coasters I ordered from Amazon (here). They are 3-inch rounds rather than 4.5-inch that we did in class (and I found overwhelmingly large). The coasters are a good thickness and texture for Zentangle. I’ve used two pens: the Pigman Pen 05 (used for younger students…which I will have in summer campers this summer) and the Sharpie Ultra Fine (lots of colors). At some point I might experiment with a sealer and use them as coasters!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

3 Free eBooks – April 2019

All three picks for this month are groups of items rather than just one – two magazines and the last one a series of volumes from the late 1700s of plants and animals. So many freely available books…so little time!

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Shadowland (magazine). New York City: M. P. Publishing Company from 1919 – 1923. Most issues available from Internet Archive here. Shadowland was an American monthly magazine about art, dance, and film. I particularly enjoyed the covers by A. M. Hopfmuller. The sample image I choose to include with this post was one that reminded me of a Zentangle pattern….a very stylized ‘tree.’

Sunset (magazine). San Francisco: Southern Pacific Company. Issues from May 1898 – 1923 from Hathi Trust here. The magazine has morphed many times and continued to be published after these fully available online issues (expired copyright); check the Wikipedia info here for the history. I have perused the issues to 1904 so far. I was intrigued by the picture of oil production in Los Angeles from the year one of my grandfathers was born.

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Shaw, George. The naturalists' miscellany : or Coloured figures of natural objects. London: Nodder & Co. 1789. 24 volumes available from Internet Archive here. The sample image I am including for these books is a cecropia moth; I’ll be starting my volunteering at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens soon and hope we have cecropia caterpillars again this year!

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Ten Little Celebrations – April 2019

April has been a busy month – only at home for a week out of the month and not all at the same time. There was plenty to celebrate with spring in full swing and the travel to see it in different places.

Certified Zentangle® Trainer (CZT) class. There were so many perspectives of the CZT class to celebrate: the beauty of the creations everyone was making, the conversations, the food…the challenge of being a student…the Zen.

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Train ride home. I don’t go many places where taking the train is feasible…but the CZT class was one of them. I celebrated the low stress hours going home…a fitting finale to the class.

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4th and 5th grade field trips. The early April field trips happened with great weather and the students enjoying being outdoors to learn about the Patapsco heritage (land, water, and rocks) and BioBlitz. It’s always inspiring to see their curiosity and enthusiasm --- celebrating a spring field trip.


Getting to Dallas. I had to travel to Dallas quickly and it was easier than a thought it would be. And I celebrated that I was less stressed by the rapid change in plans (maybe the Zentangle class providing an added benefit.

Spring days. Noticing the rapidly developing blossoms of spring is fodder for many celebrations – oxalis is probably one of my favorites right now. It blooms when the sun is shining!

Rainy day (spent indoors). After busy days – having a rainy day spent indoors is something to celebrate…with homemade soup for lunch!

Josey Ranch Pocket Prairie. A little bit of prairie – carefully tended by volunteers – in a Dallas suburb! Right now it is a celebration of spring wildflowers.

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Cedar waxwings. Birds are migrating and there are serendipity sightings of birds that don’t stay around the area long. I celebrated seeing a small flock of cedar waxwings last week.

Botanical reminders of my grandmother. Many flowers in my parents’ Carrollton yard were planted by my grandmother…good memories to celebrate.

Home again. Providence, Rhode Island to home to Carrollton, Texas to home to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Smith Island to home. I like to travel…but coming home is celebratory too.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® Paradox and ‘Paradout’

Paradox is one of the Zentangle® patterns that is straight lines inside a shape; the link is to the Tanglepatterns site that includes links to illustrated instructions plus variations that have been developed over the years. Paradox can be drawn without lifting the pen and what emerges is often surprising: curved lines and metapatterns – particularly when multiple paradox patterns or used. I recently started making a pattern that is like Paradox (starting at a point of the shape as the bottom of a v, drawing a line to complete the V until another line is encountered…then repeat until the shape is filled) except it is

  • Made outside a shape (either closed or open) and

  • It is curves instead of straight lines and

  • I haven’t noticed any metapatterns although it does have a dimensional quality.

Sometimes I combine it as a frame for a Paradox series…but it works as a frame for other patterns as well. It can also be used to fill spaces with irregular curves as well.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

A Student Again

The paper coasters and pencils in my room at the Biltmore Providence had the slogan ‘we are all students’ and it fit the week for me. I loved being a student. The middle two days (of the 4 day class) were intense and I was very ready to sleep by the end of the day. I woke up at my usual early time each day and saw the sunrise from the hotel room.

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Over the course of the class, we created 24 Zentangle® tiles which eventually were attached inside our student journal.

My favorite tile creation of the week was a voice guided Zentangle meditation – not just the tile itself (I like all the tiles I create) but the way it was done. There was none of the usual visual demonstration of the pattern. It requires a lot more descriptive language from the instructor…and good listening skills from the students. I’m not confident that all patterns could be learned in this kind of session – but it was very easy to slip into meditation with this presentation of the Zentangle Method. The mosaic we made afterward (a tile from each student created during the voice guided session) had even more variety than other tiles from the class.

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Here is the one I created. I photographed it after I retrieved it from the mosaic and put it into my journal.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Biltmore Providence

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The Certified Zentangle® Trainer class was held in the Biltmore Providence (recently renamed to Graduate Providence). The high ceiling and glass/brass elevator in the lobby are vintage 1920s when the hotel first opened.

I started seeing patterns in lots of places in the hotel. In the room, it was the wallpaper on the upper part of the bathroom walls (shells with sparkle), the bathroom floor tiles, and the carpet.

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On the floor where the class was held (ballroom and snack area) there were fixtures and fabrics…some the original vintage of the hotel and some very recent. I felt I was immersed in a pattern rich place – but there are many places that turn out to be pattern rich when we look closely.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.