ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Totally Tangled - Zentangle and Beyond!

Updated on April 6, 2013

A Review of Sandy Steen Bartholomew's "Totally Tangled." New, the Sequel: "Yoga For theBrain"

I've been longing to get my hands on a copy of this book since it came out in May 2010. It recently became available in the UK and I was waiting to pounce on it.

I fell across Sandy's blog, Beez in the Belfry, while surfing the web. I was wowed by her work and by her lovely communicative style and have been a fan ever since. I've been doing Zentangle for several years now but Sandy takes it to the next level.

Can't draw? Think again. Totally Tangled takes you by the hand and leads you from beginning Zentangle to beyond.

© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved.

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at

Zentangle virgin?

Zentangle Workshop

So Who is Sandy Steen Bartholomew?

Sandy, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, is a mixed-media artist, rubber-stamp designer, illustrator, author and Certified Zentangle Teacher.

She has a home and family too. She describes herself as introverted but it's just not possible. Her images are described as "whimsical, colorful, bi-polar, anachronistic, silly, creative and 'pwitty'. Her inspirations include: ancient civilizations, rusty things, children's books, her kids' artwork, toys, patterns, architecture and cereal boxes."

You can find her in one or other of these places:

Beez In The Belfry

BEEZink Studio


What's Totally Tangled All About?

Well, it's not just a book of pretty Zentangles, after all you can see zillions of zens all over the Web these days. Sandy does cover the basics - materials, getting started, first steps: dots, strings, tangles (patterns) and shading. And very well she does it too. The illustrations are clear and unambiguous. They're nice and big but artfully presented.

The real treasures of this book are further in (and please don't be deceived by its slenderness - there is plenty here to keep you going for a while). Sandy shows us where to look for patterns/tangles. How to recognise them and how to break them down into simple pen strokes by using grids. Each tangle is shown step-by-step so you can practise as you work your way through them.

There are striking geometrics, organic swirls, floral motifs, and modern art components. Sandy is inspired by Mehndi, henna tattoos, which have their roots in India. Water is represented by a whole swathe of tangles. We are offered borders, fillings, backgrounds, dingbats and so much more. The reader is encouraged to mix and match, experiment, discover and to constantly build on their skills.

Eventually you realise that you have progressed beyond the basic Zentangle and have entered the realm of illustration. Suddenly, you understand that by focusing on creating a small drawing, line by line, circle by circle, you have brought your inner artist out into the light.

Totally Tangled on Amazon

Zentangle is meditation achieved through pattern-making. It is a complicated looking drawing that is built one line at a time. Simple tangles, or patterns, are combined in an unplanned way that grows and changes in amazing directions. With your mind engaged in drawing, your body relaxes.

Totally Tangled: Zentangle and Beyond
Totally Tangled: Zentangle and Beyond

Sandra Strait says, "This book has instructions. It has ideas. It has images sure to inspire. It's not your average, squared-in, step-by-step how-to-doody. Even the layout is set up to cause bursts of creativity. It's for the beginner, the advanced, the casual tanglist, and the obsessed. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, and Sandy B touches on every question you might ask.

The only warning I'll give you is that Zentangles are addictive, and so is this book."


Want Totally Tangled in the UK?

Click on the link to purchase

What else is in Totally Tangled?

Lots more. Sandy has persuaded/cajoled/bribed eleven other artists to share their work and, in particular, their unique tangles. All are shown in detail and step-by-step. Altogether there are a hundred or more tangles, with the potential for you to create even more by adding a little imagination.

Sandy shows us photos of 3D objects which have received the Zentangle treatment. The moose is very impressive, and I love your bathroom floor, Sandy!

There are lots and lots of tips on how to develop Zentangles and how to increase your repertoire by using stencils and appropriating your kids' artwork (I do this all the time!). I am very impressed with Lilah Bean. Who is Liliah Bean? You'll just have to buy Totally Tangled to find out.

Zentangle by theraggededge

Yoga For Your Brain - A Zentangle Workout

Here it is, Sandy's sequel to Totally Tangled, Yoga For Your Brain - A Zentangle Workout. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

If you are in the UK, like me, you will be able to order here: Yoga For the Brain

Yoga for Your Brain: A Zentangle Workout
Yoga for Your Brain: A Zentangle Workout

Sandy is keen to clarify that her new book is not a beginner's tutorial. It is an inspirational resource for more experienced 'tanglers.


Zentangle for Kidz - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

This woman is obsessed with producing Zendoodle books! Let's hope she doesn't stop any time soon. Her latest book is just for kids. Not for you. Oh all right then... you will love it. Sandy's children, Alex and Lilah, have made their own contributions to this book and it probably wouldn't have been written and illustrated without them.

Zentangle For Kidz (Design Originals)
Zentangle For Kidz (Design Originals)

"Kids of all ages - get ready to laugh, smile and tangle!

Sandy Steen Bartholomew's Zentangle for Kidz! is both a fun romp through pattern play and an inspiring art lesson. Kid characters Alex and Lilah entertain the audience while presenting tangle techniques. They talk to the reader in dialog bubbles, so the book has the inviting style of a comic book."


Tangle Fashionista - Zentangle Coloring

Zentangle by theraggededge

Zentangle hands
Zentangle hands

Love to doodle? You'll adore Zentangle! - Leave a comment

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Priya 2 years ago

      You left out one book. "AlphaTangle" also written/ drawn by Sandy Steen Bartholomew. I love all 4 of these books and hope they come out with more books.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      I am totally captivated by these designs. I've even ordered some of the books! Thanks for introducing me to Zentangle!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Ooh I want this book now, can see why you had to get your hands on it. Sandy sounds like someone worth reading, both book and blog. Love that she gave you a mention there! And quite right too, you have done her book proud with this lens.

    • profile image

      Marelisa 6 years ago

      I've had my eye on this book for a while now. There's about zero chance it will come to Panama, so I may just order it from Amazon as a Christmas present from me to me. :-) Those zentangle hands are work of art!

    • semas profile image

      semas 6 years ago

      I love to create zentangles and Totally tangled should be a great book to have as inspiration.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Another wonderful lens about zentangles. I've doodled with it a little since looking at some of your earlier lenses but haven't committed to doing something full out yet.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      Love your zentangles - and this lens is pretty beautiful too! Totally Tangled looks awesome.

    • profile image

      Qualitee 6 years ago

      Inspired yet again by a beautiful lens. I'm thinking of doodling numbers now...hmmm.

      5* and beautifully written.

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      @Light-in-me: What a great idea! I have a Photobucket account but had no idea I could sepia-ize my pics. Thank you,Robin!

    • profile image

      Light-in-me 6 years ago

      I love Zentangles, they are fascinating. This lens is beautiful and interesting. I love the hands you did, when you said you wish you did them in sepia pens, it made me think about photobucket they have a program where you can change pictures to sepia. Even if you don't want to use it you could at least see what it would have looked like had you used sepia. Just thought I would share that with you hope you don't mind.

      Great lens, I enjoyed my visit.

      Robin :)

    Click to Rate This Article