How to Zentangle

by Jo_Murphy

Zentangle is a form of relaxation and an attractive style of art inspired by the subconscious. If you can doodle when you are on the phone, you can do this style of art.

The word Zentangle comes from a combination of 'zen' meaning calm, relaxed attitude and 'tangle' the intertwining of shapes and forms. The purpose of this article is to outline what you need to get started on a Zentangle adventure. Therapeutic in nature, this versatile art form will draw in everyone in your family network.


With all of the self publishing tools available across the world today both on the Internet in digital form, and in readily accessible personally designed and created gift stores, Zentangle has become a way for people to convert their relaxation into a perfect medium for communicating.

You can use the artwork you create to show you care and perhaps even make a little money.

The Zentangle Method is easy to learn and it is comparatively easy to produce effective results. It is also relaxing and therapeutic.   Have fun while you create intriguing images that are drawn from intuitive but highly structured patterns.

If you give yourself over to this process, you will find that you will enjoy increased focus and a burst of sustained creativity.  

You will need

  1. art paper
  2. pencils
  3. marker pens
  4. geometric implements such as a protractor, compass. ruler and other guides
  5. a variety of art materials of your choice 

How to get started with Zentangle

Keeping it simple at the start

The first example featured in the video below is called Zentangle Circles.  Pretty easy.  Fill the page with circles using a compass or freehand and then fill each circle with patterns.   I suggest this is a great way to get started.  It is a 'no brainer' and yet the technique can produce beautiful results.  Use a pencil when beginning (2B) and then when ready change to a black fine tipped felt pen.  Use colour pencils or paint to work into the design with colour. 

Zentangle lesson uploaded by Tiffany Lovering

A More Complex (but still easy) Pattern

In this video Mrs Crosby, an art teacher, shares how she goes about achieving quite complex Zentangle patterns.  She suggests taking copies of your black and white work before applying colour.  As you will notice from the comment on the lest example, some people liked the work a lot more before colour was added - so why not keep a black and white version as well?

In this video you will see Mrs. Crosby talking about how to blend sections of the work to create a three dimensional effect.  

A Lesson on Zentangle by Mrs Crosby

Gustav Klimt was an artist who mixed pattern with organic form

The Kiss, c.1907

Doodle Flowers Explosion (Doodle Drawing 3)

Gemini Jenny

Becoming More Complex

Gemini Jenny

Once you have become used to feeling your way through the blend of geometric patterns mixed with tangles of organic lines, you will find a style of your own.  It is at this stage you will start to think about what you can do with these designs.  Zazzle has an enormous array of products onto which you can burn these digitally imaged designs.   

You can make birthday and christmas presents for members of your family.  The images and patterns can be burned onto jigsaws, coffee mugs, children's pencils cases.  Click the link below and browse the ways the designs could be used.

To get started simply sign up on Zazzle. 

Create Your Own

Click Create to start burning your own personal designs onto these products. 

Follow the prompts being sure to follow instructions about file size and quality.





If you would like to turn your designs into JigZone Email Jigsaw Cards read this article.

Looking for More Art and Craft Articles

Try these....... offers a free facility through which you can turn your own artworks into email jigsaw cards. Communicate with family and friends as you challenge them to a jigsaw duel
Updated: 12/05/2023, Jo_Murphy
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Jo_Murphy 13 hours ago

I do a lot of portraiture but right now I am working on a children’s mural. You would be surprised how much easier it is to opt for the easy kids stuff. But I am always drawn back to the backbreaking work of portrait.

DerdriuMarriner 13 hours ago

Guided and spontaneous art both can produce creative forks.

An artistic creation sometimes goes one way, then hits an intersection involving two, two-plus interpretations.

Is it more comfortable, more organized, more productive to opt for one and not pursue the other at all or to proceed with one but preserve notes (just in case the alternative surfaces pleasingly, productively elsewhere during another creative session)?

Jo_Murphy on 03/31/2014

Hi Sheri,
I can be hard to find the time - but it certainly is relaxing. I'll check out your articles and see what you are up too!

Sheri_Oz on 03/27/2014

There was an old style of "doodle" I used to do frequently. I put "doodle" in quotation marks because it is much too rigid a style and doodle implies free-form. I had been thinking of getting back to it but never took it seriously till this article. Thanks.

Jo_Murphy on 02/10/2014

Hi Mira,
I think that you will find that you can do it quite easily. Just start out with the circles first and then let your imagination wander.
Don't forget to let me know if you post some! Jo

Mira on 02/10/2014

Wow. I'd love to be able to "doodle" like that. But it doesn't seem impossible. I'll certainly look into it. But I may need more than just drawing pencils. Although I might have to draw first in pencil...

Jo_Murphy on 02/10/2014

Hi Dustytoes,
Now that you mention it I used to have those contraptions too. I used to draw like that for hours. Thanks for reminding me, Jo

dustytoes on 02/10/2014

I believe the beginnings of Zentangle were with the old Spirograph which were fun toys when I was a kid. I do draw like this, in a less complex way, and yes, it's relaxing for those who enjoy it.

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