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Zentangle Patterns

Updated on September 22, 2014

Zentangle Ideas - How to Find Them

You've discovered Zentangling and zendoodling and mastered some basic tangles (patterns), now you want more.

How do you find tangle inspiration? Well, one way is to scour the internet and look at what other artists are doing. I do that all the time. However, there are zendoodle possibilities all around you.

Where? Let me show you.

Zentangle® is a registered trademark. More at

ZIA tangles
ZIA tangles | Source

What is a Zentangle?

And what is a ZIA?

A Zentangle is a small piece of art, made with a fine-line pen with graphite shading. It is drawn in a specific manner, as follows. Take a square of watercolor or cartridge paper and place 4 pencil dots in each corner about half an inch in. Join up the dots with a pencil border which can be straight or irregular. Inside the resulting frame, draw a pencilled 'string', i.e. a loopy line. This divides up the area into various sized shapes and sections. Take a fine-line pen and fill the shapes with repeating 'tangles' or patterns. When you have filled the spaces to our liking, erase the original pencil lines and then add some shading to make areas of the pop and to give the Zentangle form.

If your drawing does not follow those guidelines then it is not a Zentangle. A Zentangle is abstract and can be viewed from any side. If it has a recognizable image, such as a face or an eye or a cat, it isn't a Zentangle. However, it may well be Zentangle-inspired art or a 'ZIA'. Most of my drawings are ZIAs in that they are larger, or use grids, rather than strings. They all have on characteristic in common, they use tangles to fill negative spaces. Read on to find out where to look for tangle inspiration.

Image: Detail of a ZiA by TheRaggedEdge

The perfect pens for tangles

Sakura 30062 6-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set, Black
Sakura 30062 6-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set, Black

These are the pens I recommend for creating Zentangles and Zendoodles. They work on all kinds of surfaces, even walls. They last for ages - I've only thrown out two in over 18 months. Collect one or two sets and keep a few pens in your purse together with a small sketchbook so you will always have something to do while you're waiting around. There are also colored and sepia sets for a different Zentangle look.


Find Zentangle Patterns Indoors

They are there - you just have to look

I took my camera and looked around the house to see what I could find. I've put together some examples - please excuse their 'rough and ready' nature. I will incorporate all the patterns I found into a 'proper' Zentangle at the bottom of the page.

How about in a stack of toilet tissue rolls?

A tangle inspired by rolls of toilet tissue.
A tangle inspired by rolls of toilet tissue. | Source

Zentangles in Unlikely Places

Even on the soap!

I am fascinated by the ghostly patterns that dried bubbles leave on soap. Don't you just love these?

Just had to grab my camera to record these for my sketchbook.

Doodles inspired by the ghosts of bubbles on my hand soap.
Doodles inspired by the ghosts of bubbles on my hand soap. | Source

ZIA Flames - Zentangle-Inspired Art courtesy of guest contributor, KNM

ZIA Flames
ZIA Flames

I am pleased to be able to showcase some lovely Zentangle-inspired art from KNM. She is so talented and I am honored that she has chosen to share these images on my pages. There are more examples of her work scattered throughout my other Zendoodle pages - I challenge you to go and find them! Click on the image to be taken to her inspiring and interesting blog, Xplore & Xpress.

Once you begin to notice Zentangles everywhere - you won't be able to stop!

Hunting for Zentangles

Do you create Zentangles in the UK? You can search for books on Zentangles right here by clicking on the link:

Zentangles in the UK

If you use, here is a selection of Zentangle resources. Click on any image to view or enter a term in the search box. Happy zendoodle hunting!

Circles & Spirals - Guest contribution by KNM

Zentangle Inspired: Circles & Spirals
Zentangle Inspired: Circles & Spirals

Love this beautiful spiral piece. Have been staring at it for ages - it must have been very relaxing (and possibly hand-aching) to create. Click on the image to go directly to KNM's fascinating blog Xplore & Xpress where science meets mathematics meets art.

Bamboo bind tangle
Bamboo bind tangle | Source

Zentangles in Curtains, Drapes and Blinds

Well this bamboo blind isn't very inspiring. Is it?


I widened the 'cords' and added 'beads'. Now it's quite useful as a tangle pattern.

Windows, with their textiles and textures, are good sources of tangles. Take a closer look. Or step back and half-close your eyes.

You might get some odd glances though, when you whip out your sketchbook in your friend's house, saying, "Oh wait, I must grab this tangle!".


Look Inside Books?

No, look outside!

This 'book' Zentangle would make a great border, either around other patterns or around a page of text. Make it simple or make it more complex with pattern inside the 'books'.

Book-inspired tangle pattern
Book-inspired tangle pattern | Source

The Mandala Book

This is a fabulous resource for Zentangles, 'zendoodles' or 'zendalas'. I got the book a few days ago and spent a happy hour creating a bunch of tangles from ideas generated just by idly browsing the photos. They are are stunning and the text is really interesting. I didn't know much about mandalas before getting this book but I feel inspired to learn more.

The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe
The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe

The Mandala Book is a visual symphony, filled with 500 stunning mandalic images from nature and civilization.

Drawing from history, science, religion, and art, Lori Bailey Cunningham leads a journey that spans from prehistoric petroglyphs to Carl Jung, from tiny particles of matter to entire galaxies. She explains the concepts of mandalas, showing how they are at the root of life itself.


The Mandala Book

Work in progress, showing 'found' patterns...

Work in progress, showing 'found' patterns...
Work in progress, showing 'found' patterns...

Tangles in textiles

Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period
Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period

Tangle Inspiration in Fabrics

A good place to look for new Zentangle inspiration is in printed and textured fabric designs. Many has been the time when I have had to pause live TV in order to scribble a potential tangle pattern from a presenter's dress or an interesting curtain/drape.

While hunting for bargain books in the January sales, I came across this amazing resource, "Textile Designs". It's a big hefty book and quite expensive, but if you are an ardent Zentangle fan or are into pattern design in any way at all, then you really need this book. Yes, you do.


Finished Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA)

Finished Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA). Can you spot the tangles I discovered in my home?
Finished Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA). Can you spot the tangles I discovered in my home? | Source
Watercolor pencil Zentangle
Watercolor pencil Zentangle | Source

Zentangle with Color

Zendoodles don't have to be in black and white - add a little color! You can use colored pencils, pens, markers and paint. Zentangles make perfect original coloring pages. Fill a book with designs and then go back through and color them in.

Zentangle With Color. Supply list and examples.

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    • marktplaatsshop profile image

      marktplaatsshop 4 years ago

      A very nice lens, thanks for sharing

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @SouthernSailor: It does! I use them all the time. Thanks SouthernSailor!

    • SouthernSailor profile image

      SouthernSailor 4 years ago

      Great lens. this has soooooo many applications for artist everywhere...and it has the benefit of allowing people who think that they are not creative to realize that they have an artistic side after all.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 4 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I really have to try this. I love these zentangles even though I hadn't heard of them before.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I like all your patterns from various things we use and see - It's funny how many patterns are in the world if we are looking for them. Thanks!

    • loveanime22 profile image

      loveanime22 4 years ago

      very interesting lens

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 4 years ago

      these are most amazing and beautiful!

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 5 years ago

      @positivevariance: Thank you! I shall look forward to see your Zentangle.

    • positivevariance profile image

      positivevariance 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed your "tangles" this has inspired me to try something along these lines. I'll post a link to my first attempt :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Amazing!! Truly amazing. I've just gotten into zentangles (literally, for a week, now) and love looking at what others are doing. I'm a quilter who finds lots of inspiration in doing the 'tangle'. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to get entangled with zentangles, they are definitely very attractive patterns. Learning to draw them requires focus and aesthetics.

    • SmBizGuru LM profile image

      SmBizGuru LM 5 years ago

      Whoa! You inspired me! I now sit down to Zentangle every evening as a way of relaxing before I go to bed. I wake up thinking about it and you're right...everywhere I look I see a zentangle pattern.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I love your inspiration (soap, books!) for making Zentangles. WOW!!! I need to get my pens out, I think. I'm itching to doodle!

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      very cool artwork, love it so much, Blessed!

    • CHalloran LM profile image

      CHalloran LM 5 years ago

      this is one of my newest hobbies... i discovered zentanlges last year and only recently i decided to try them myself... great pictures

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      I love the creativity! Blessed on my bus trip this weekend!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Well theraggededge is correct.. it's not her that is deeming this kind of artwork "owned" by Rick and Maria from their website. It's them.. they are insisting on people writing up on their information the very statement above.. that somehow they came up with the idea. In fact, the patent has gone through about 8 times and is continually denied. Check it out here: I think all the art work on this page is lovely.. regardless of any inspiration from the couple who sells the square paper and pens kits. All the credit I give to the artists. :)

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for such a lovely comment!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love your pages...I've been lost in wonder for a while now. Thank you for posting such wonderful inspirations! :) People like you inspire me to continue creating. Whenever I get discouraged, creativity like yours always puts the spark back in! Thank you!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      really i admire your creativity. what a lovely hand. fantastic. ~blessed~

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Jo, I didn't get a patent. The Zentangle name and their teaching method is a registered trade-mark by - nothing to do with me!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      How did you get a patent on something I've been looking at on the edges of students' papers for 30 years? You invited line?

    • dotpattern profile image

      Pat Moire 6 years ago from West Village, New York City

      All your drawings and lenses about Zentangles are great! I've been doing these all my life and never knew the name. And now I can see what others have done.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Nice lens. Joined fan club.

    • profile image

      RGebbiePhoto 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, your zentangle work has inspired me to create several new doodles myself, after years of creating for others it is nice to remember how to just have some fun and be free.

    • Alfiesgirl LM profile image

      Alfiesgirl LM 6 years ago

      Until I visited this wonderful lens today I have to admit that I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what a Zentangle was...& I am amazed at your finished Zentangle & cannot wait to give Zentangling a go myself...I am "hooked" merely with the "knowing". fantastic creative lens 5***** Love Today x

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      Still love zentangle and your creativity! Blessed!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Happy St. Paddy's Day!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      I really love your Zentangles. Whimsical and quirky. Love it!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Cupid kisses and angel blessings on Valentine's Day to one of my fave lensmasters:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm gonna have to give this a go now. Great Stuff.

    • DallasNicole LM profile image

      DallasNicole LM 6 years ago

      This is really cool! Knew nothing of it until I read your lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What an inspired idea to take out your camera and go looking about your house for Zentangle patterns! How absolutely cool of you!

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 6 years ago

      Stopping by to leave a Squid Angel Blessing and featuring on Pay It Forward - My Life As An Angel.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 6 years ago from UK

      Great, I have "played around" with zentangles but often went back to Rick & Maria's page for inspiration. But now I feel I can develop my own. thanks for the way forward

    • profile image

      Tarra99 6 years ago

      I love the soap bubbles...I have to try this! Blessed and featured:

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      awesome! I just started doing zentangles and now I see different designs everywhere! Very inspirational...

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 7 years ago

      Awesome! Thanks for this - - I need more inspiration for Zentangle patterns right now!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      another wonderful zentangle lens!

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 7 years ago

      Love this! What a great idea ... searching for interesting patterns in everyday objects. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I really enjoyed this site. Makes me feel good about all my doodles.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I love your fantastic Zentangle series so stopped back in here to leave an ~*~* Angel Blessing *~*~

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      My word. How clever are you! Beats the dots, stripes and zigzigs that I resort to!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 7 years ago

      I love looking at these. They are so creative! Blessed this lens!

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Thank you for your lovely comments... much appreciated!

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      You're really imaginative, Bev and your creativeness is an inspiration!


    • Heinani profile image

      Heinani 7 years ago

      Whispering Aloha (and 5 stars) to yet another awesome lens on Zentangle.

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      Another great Zentangle lens. I will now see them everywhere. Love it!

    • Amy Fricano profile image

      Amy Fricano 7 years ago from WNY

      ooh. is that what i should have called my school notebook drawings? loved this.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 7 years ago from Croatia

      This is totally cool! And inspiring! And I would doodle a comment if I could! LMAO

    • profile image

      Light-in-me 7 years ago


      I love how you show how it all came together, and the things you used as inspiration. The end result is fantastic, I love it! Great job, thanks for sharing.

      Robin :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I love your work, it's no surprise to find that such a creative person can find inspiration everywhere she looks and can weave these elements into a wonderful work of art!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      What a great creative lens. It looks like a lot of fun. :) 5*