Saturday, September 29, 2012

You have to start somewhere...

Greetings, and welcome to the inaugural post on “Z'Artfully Tangled,” a blog about my Zentangle® journey, with a special invitation for you to join me in your own such journey. I readily admit to being new to this blogging business, but I hope what I share here will also inspire you, the reader.

What is Zentangle? Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the founders of the Zentangle practice and teaching method, describe it as “an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.”

I am beyond excited to have attended the 10th Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) training seminar last week in Providence, Rhode Island. And with great pleasure, I can now introduce myself as a CZT!

While I know much more about the Zentangle method than I did before becoming certified, a particularly exciting and cool aspect of this art form is the continued growth that occurs as you practice the Zentangle method. Creating tangled images will not get old and stale, as inspiration for this art is all around us, and there is no limit to the creative applications of these structured patterns.

At the CZT training seminar, Rick and Maria made a point of talking about how each of us there had a story, how important each of those stories are, and that they should be shared. Here is my story...

While I, perhaps like you, have a great desire to CREATE art, I do NOT have formal training in any of the various art forms and media. I’m always looking for a way to create that fits into my available time and space, but doesn’t necessarily require advanced artistic knowledge, training or skill. I started tangling casually, following an informal demonstration I’d seen at a local craft store. I had never before heard of the practice of Zentangle, and the idea intrigued me.

What attracted my attention when I first browsed the Zentangle website to seek more information was Rick's and Maria's statement that "Anything is stroke at a time.™" I saw so many beautiful and amazing Zentangle creations on their website (just take a look at the rotating images on the home page!). However, I did not see how I could ever draw such intricate and inspiring tiles myself.

After perusing some of the books on tangling by Sandy Steen Bartholomew, I was bitten by the Zentangle bug, and decided I really wanted to take a class with a CZT. I live in Washington state, and the list of teachers in our area is a little thin. However, I did find Carolyn, a CZT in Bellingham, from the Zentangle website, and what I experienced in the Zentangle starter class my adult daughter and I took from her is that, yes, anything IS possible. The satisfaction of watching our creations grow into a work of art "one stroke at a time" was (and is) exhilarating and fun.

After that class I could not get the idea out of my head that I should attend a training seminar to become a CZT as soon as possible. So, I listened to my heart, signed up, and have been impatiently waiting out the last several months. On 21 September, I headed off to Providence, as excited as I used to get on the first day of a new school year (or maybe more so). I wanted to soak up as much Zentangle knowledge as possible to be able to better share this delightful way of expressing one's creativity, all while experiencing a mindfulness that is increasingly harder to find with today's busy lifestyles.

My goals at the 4-day intensive training event were to improve upon my own Zentangle skills and to learn the finer points of Rick's and Maria's Zentangle teaching methodology. Now that I am certified, I'm planning to share the enjoyment, creativity, relaxation, and ART that comes from tangling the Zentangle way.

I would love to help you discover the many healthful benefits of this art form (in addition to it being just plain fun). While you can certainly learn a lot about Zentangle on your own, learning from and working with a CZT (yes, there IS a difference) will really give your effort a boost. If you are curious about this mindful art form/meditation tool, browse the information at And, of course, I'll fill you in with further posts as time goes on!

If Zentangle is a term new to you, here are some key quick background points.
  • The Zentangle art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.
  • "Zentangle" can refer to Rick and Maria's company (Zentangle, Inc.), their teaching method, or artwork created according to their teaching method.
  • The artwork consists of various abstract patterns, known as "tangles," drawn on a 3.5-inch square paper "tile."
  • Zentangle-inspired Art (ZIA) is artwork created using these tangles on surfaces and items of all shapes and sizes, other than the standard Zentangle paper tiles.


  1. Very cool! I look forward to more posts!

  2. Terrific first post! Can't wait to hear more! Don't forget to post pictures!

  3. Hi Ann,
    I went onto the Zentangle web site to see if I'm up yet, and I'm not....but I was one of your classmates at the 10th CZT class. I love your new blog, and your description of the genre is wonderful. I will be following you, because we are neighbors (almost) and I also know Carolyn. Maybe we could get a Washington State CZT group together for occasional get togethers. I haven't put anything on my blog yet about class, because I'm waiting until Rick and Maria add me to the WA list. I'm behind in everything right now, but I'm working on catching up. I am in three MCC classes, one of which is about zentangles, one about coloring, and one about starting an ETSY. I'm two weeks behind in the challenges and dares I do, but I'll get there. I wish we had met in training!

    1. Great to have more Zentangle® in Washington state! I've sent some further comments specific to your comments to your email address. Best to you!

  4. Hi Ann, this is a wonderful beginning. Our CZT camp is beginning to grow; soon we'll be able to host our own retreats. Heck, we have enough now for a retreat, but I'll let you get your feet on the ground first and then we'll rendezvous somewhere. do stay in touch!