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Totally Easy Zentangle With A Simple Step by Step Guide 2022

zentangle idea

Detail of Zentangle drawing

This Easy Zentangle project is still (after 4 years) a favorite on my blog, and I know exactly why.

Doodling is incredibly relaxing. I’m realizing that making art in a repetitive way with cool patterns is on par with all the good effects people get from coloring books, but it appeals to people who want to be a little more active in their Arting.

When I first made this tangle tutorial, I didn’t realize that Zentangle™ had a lot of rules and guidelines, so I’m slowly switching to calling these projects ‘tangles’ instead.

My approach is a bit looser than Zentangle, in that there aren’t certain patterns, techniques, and certified teachers.

Pretty much anything goes here if you have a pen and paper and a willingness to invest in a little time drawing. You will be happy you did- let’s get tangling!

How to Make This Zentangle Project

Okay. Grab a black ultra-fine Sharpie, a piece of white card stock, and something round i.e. a half-used roll of colored duct tape.

Trace circles all over the paper, overlapping some. I used my Sharpie for the circles, but feel free to use a pencil first and then tracing over the circle with your marker.

Draw patterns inside the resulting spaces. This tangle drawing took me a few hours to finish, so if you want to start smaller, you can either just make a few overlapping circles in the middle of the page and leave them outside of the page blank, or cut/rip your paper in half and just tangle on half of it.

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”XD1nHSE2″ upload-date=”2018-12-16T19:23:20.000Z” name=”Tangle Circles” description=”Doodle draw some easy tangle circles”]

Zentangle step by step images

Extra Zentangles Tips

  • Don’t worry too much about your initial circles – if they aren’t perfect, they will be lost in the sea of patterns you draw.
  • You can alternate darker and lighter-looking patterns so you have an overall visual balance on the page.
  • I approached mine by filling in the patterns starting in one area and moving out, without regard to what the overall result would look like. This appeals to my artist’s brain, which is trained to take the finished product into consideration, carefully planning out the composition and balance of my lines and patterns.
  • You really can’t go wrong with this project- it’s going to look cool no matter how you fill the spaces. The only thing I really paid attention to was trying to alternate where I put dark and light patterns. And to a lesser extent, how I balanced the rigid and the wiggly patterns.
  • If you see a spot that looks too empty, you can go back in later and add more lines/patterns.
  • You can repeat patterns! Especially in something like this, that has so many spaces to fill, relax into just drawing the patterns. It’s easy to find patterns that are on the other side of the page that you can repeat. They will look different in different spaces, too.
  • Don’t worry if you make a mistake. I make around 3-4 mistakes with every drawing I do. No big deal- work it into your whole page somehow. Take a slow, deep breath or 5, know that you can and hopefully will be doing 30,000 more of these, and use your ‘mistake’ as a way to start a new pattern.

I like to use this sort of project as a way to relax.

It’s a completely awesome way to jump off the screens for a while and become absorbed in something creative.

You can make it as mindless or mindful as you want, but I like to protect my intention to relax into this and not make it a big stressful project.

It’s sort of like knitting in that way; you can pick it up and put it down at will.

Where to Find Tangle Patterns

I have put together a tangle pattern cheat sheet for you as a great place to start. You can also do searches on Pinterest and Google for ‘Zentangle patterns’ or ‘doodle patterns’. If you want to get super cool about this, check out your library for books on patterns. There are some amazing books out there chock full of visual inspiration.

Tip: Keep a tangle pattern sketchbook to flip through whenever you are in the middle of a drawing and need some inspiration.

What do I do With The Finished Drawing?

  1. This might be fun to color or watercolor in – remember since this is black and white you can easily scan your finished drawing and print copies out to color.
  2. Incidentally, if you like that idea, I have a whole book of ideas for drawing your own coloring pages, and most of these work amazingly well to incorporate Zentangle into!
  3. If you are using letter-sized card stock, you can cut these in half or quarters and send them as postcards. Let’s hear it for snail mail!
  4. Laminate them and use them as placemats or coasters or just weird surfaces to color on for your kids
  5. Paint a watered-down layer of gesso over this and use it as an art journal page
  6. Cut them up and collage them (This is my go-to idea for every project on this site) 🙂
  7. Take it to a copy store and use their laser printer to make copies. You can use laser prints in print transfer projects. YUM.
  8. Use them as your paper for making Gelli plate prints.

Oh, also, I used a Sharpie marker, because I am in love with Sharpies.

Many people prefer Micron pens, for this or any sort of ink drawing.

Easy Zentangle Patterns Resource

If you want to read more about Zentangle and immerse yourself in project ideas, hit up the official Zentangle site.

I had no idea it was such a huge ‘thing’, with officially certified teachers and all that. If you click over, they also link to their videos and blog where there are a ton more ideas for Zentangle.

This book is fantastic if you find yourself wanting more:

 One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun (One A Day)

More Tangle Supplies (Including for white-on-black)

 Studio Series Artist’s Tiles: White (75 pack) Sakura Pigma 30062 Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black, Ass’t Point Sizes 6CT Set Zentangle Basics, Expanded Workbook Edition: A Creative Art Form Where All You Need is Paper, Pencil, & Pen (Design Originals) 25 Original Tangles, Beginner-Friendly Practice Exercises, & Techniques Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Pen Set, 1 mm Bold Tip, Assorted Colors, Pack of 10 Studio Series Artist’s Tiles: Black (75 pack) Sakura 37488 Gelly Roll Classic 08 (Medium Pt.) 3PK Pen, White

My book, Draw Your Own Damn Coloring Book, offers up the same amazing relaxation benefits as Zentangle. You follow each set of easy directions to make your own (damn) coloring pages, that you can then choose to color in or tangle.

 Draw Your Own Damn Coloring Book


I have a free pdf for you to download full of Zentangle patterns. Plus…. browse the Craftwhack store for your favorite Tangle starter page. They’re rad. And here’s a cool way to do some tangling on top of watercolor.

Zentangle starter pages and zentangle patterns

Keep Exploring Zentangle:

Related: More ways to relax through art-making

zentangle art idea

What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.


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  1. I saw this on Pinterest and had to click over. I am doing something just like this in my “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith! My circles are much smaller though as I traced a pill bottle to fill the page in the book. This is awesome!!

  2. This is such a great Idea. I have been intimidated by the zengle patterns I see on Pintrest. I feel like this
    Is a good way to get started. Thank you very much.

    • This is definitely a great way to get started! You look at some of those finished tangles and you wonder how in the world they did it. This is so,so easy. I hope you give it whirl!

  3. I’ve been drawing since pretty much 18 months old, my mother would tell me; she was an artist, and Dad was creative in the kitchen, so my sibs and I grew up with creativity all around us 24/7. Started tangling 2 1/2 years ago, and what a great way to handle stress (my job in our hospital’s ICU is VERY intense!!).

    Never thought to draw circles and then Z-tangle them, but think I’ll do that soon. I’m working on a drawing right now that is comprised of storybook houses done entirely in Zentangle patterns–it’s going to come out so cute! Even the garden in front is going to be tangled 🙂

    I like the idea of tangling within circles–and am thinking that a combination of sizes would be quite awesome. Yep, have to do that.

    • I’m so glad you like the idea! What a great idea to use it as a stress-reliever for an intense job. I think I might send my sister some pre-made circle papers so she can sit around filling them in; she works as a therapist in a behavioral health hospital.

  4. Love your Zentangle post. I have done pattern hunts with my students and they love finding “new” patterns in their environment. Sharpies are a great start but the microns take it to a whole new tiny level of detail.

    • Yeah, the Microns are pretty wonderful. Have you tried Copic markers? I keep hearing wonderful things about those. It’s a great idea to do pattern hunts out in the world; I notice that after I tangle for a while I start to notice patterns EVERYWHERE.

  5. You make it look like so much fun and so easy, can’t wait to first try it on my own and then think about ordering the necessary supplies, etc. Thanks for all the good info.

    • Hi Pam, the great thing is that it really is fun and easy. Have fun with it- there’s no end to the patterns you can try out as well (I just posted a pdf to download with pattern ideas if you want to check it out.)

  6. I just starter Zentangle a week ago and absolutely love it! I was searching Google for info and came across your site, it’s THE BEST!!! Thank you so much for the great info on how to get started with this wonderful craft!

    • Oh, I’m so excited you love it! I mean, it’s hard to NOT love Zentangle. Check out the Zentangle pattern ideas I just posted today… it’s so fun coming up with new patterns, too.

  7. Okay, I’ve spent the entire afternoon at a receptionist temp job today exploring your Zentangles and other projects, and I was so smitten I went out at lunch and got myself a little Strathmore drawing pad and colored pencils so I could do a Zentangle or drawing a day. You go, girl. I love your blog. You have neat ideas for those of us who are creative but not necessarily artistic.

  8. I knew a therapist who used to draw a mandala in lieu of morning meditation. I like that idea since I’m too fidgety to sit still and focus on my breathing. I plan to work on a Tangle instead.

    • Yes! I think tangling is so meditative and that’s why it’s so wildly popular. I find meditation far too stressful because I’m all fidgety, too- I think the repetitive drawing helps lull your brain into the same state as meditation.

  9. HI
    Just found you by googling perspective drawing for kids, then I found this page – oohh we are going to have so much fun with this this afternoon.
    Really enjoyed your ‘about’ page, the bit about swearing cracked me up, made me think of a book I recently read where the authors dad kept calling everyone FOOKWITS and LOONIES!
    Kindest regards from the french alps

    • Hi Emma! Thanks so much! And I’m glad I was findable through Google- bloggers always love to hear that. Did you do some tangling? Did you love it??? And thanks so much for the new names to call everyone. 🙂

  10. Hi, I just wanted to say that I found this post inspiring. I’m thinking about the zentangle a day idea. (As if I needed another once a day thing!) Now I’ve been binging on Pinterest zentangle boards. And, I thought you would be happy to know that I found you on the first page of Google, searching ‘zentangle.’ And you were the only site I clicked. Nice job on the title — it was what made me click. Have a nice day!

    • Hi, Allison! That is good news on the Google front- I’m loving how many people are finding this post, and then actually taking up tangling! The idea of a tangle a day is so appealing to me since it combines making art with a sort of meditating, the perfect combination. Let me know if you do this- I’d love to see some of your tangles.

  11. Hi!

    I just discovered Zentangles today and thought this was such a fantastic post! Would I be able to print these examples and patterns out to show a group of students so that they can learn how to make their own Zentangles?
    Thanks for your post!

  12. Oh my goodness!!! I love drawing and creating all sorts of things and let me just say that I can not wait to try this for myself. This looks amazing. I have to admit that I’m a little intimidated but the way you broke it down helped me feel like it was doable. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  13. This is awesome! Never heard about this Zentangle thing but now I’m ready to dive into it. As a compulsive doodler, I think this is a wonderful project idea! 🙂

  14. I am a Certified Zentangle Teacher…. Or CZT … And you are right…. Zentangle is awesome! But use a Micron 01- it just adds to the awesomeness !

  15. Zentangle® is a real precious method, but if you post about it, please make sure you present the real principles. A Zentangle® string is NEVER EVER done with a pen, strings are not meant to be seen in the end, do them with a pencil and do them intuitively by hand, THAT is the real Zentangle® experience. Hanny, CZT 14

    • Hi Hanny! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment- I think it’s easy to get confused at first about Zentangle vs. regular doodling. I had no idea when I first made this post that Zentangle was *quite* so complex- there’s a lot more to it than everyday doodling, and it’s fascinating. My version is definitely more “doodling patterns”, so thanks for chiming in.

  16. Glad to read about your tangling experience! Just wanted to mention that there is so much more that you will learn from a Certified Zentangle Teacher than you could ever learn from books, the Internet or from blogs, about the Zentangle Method. Basically you have described bits and pieces of Zentangle but are confusing doodling and tangling.
    The Method of Zentangle is extremely important to so many people who are doing it for therapy. It is so much more than just drawing patterns.

    • Thanks for your comment, Brenda! You’re right- I got caught up in the doodling part of it and haven’t delved fully into Zentangle. I’ve realized that as I’ve been going along with this, and while I still think doodling can be pretty therapeutic, I’m realizing there is so much more to Zentangle than what I’m laying out there.

  17. It’s been a while since the last comment was left here, but in case anyone comes by I just wanted to say that I was fooling around with Zentangle one day and got the idea to try it as a white on black design so I cut some black card stock and used a white gelly roll pen…it looked really neat! Had to try it just for fun.

  18. I have been using entangle on art days at a local elementary school and the young kids are fascinated with it. Everytime I go to Israel I take new zentangle books or drawings with me for the kids of family and friends. It calms the kids and when they get roudy I pull out the entangle and they are mesmerized with it til time to go home or bed. I love it and I am 82.

  19. A friend introduced me to Zentangle. It seem like something that will help me to relax and enjoy. I will be starting my first one in hours or days.
    Thank you for the web sites (all of the ones on this subject). The interviews of Zentangle producers has been eye opening and drew me in. I am a sewer and have thought that this might be a source for embroidery patterns I can make myself.


    • I’m so glad you found this and felt inspired to start with Zentangle! You know what’s interesting? You aren’t the first person who has mentioned to me that they wanted to translate some of these patterns to fabric- I just love when art mediums inspire experimentation.

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