Zentangle® Step By Step: Tutorials & Patterns for Beginners

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to sketch, but didn’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. There’s no sense in trying to figure out sketching techniques on your own when you have experts like those featured here to help you find your way.

First, you’ll learn how to “see” like an artist with guidance from Grant Fuller, author of Start Sketching and Drawing Now. In this excerpt, Fuller explains how to visualize objects for drawing sketches by using your memory to fill in the gaps.

Next, get comfortable with gestural sketch drawing with Jeff Mellem, author of Sketching People: Life Drawing Basics. Mellem shares a sketching exercise that will help you be more confident when you pick up your pencil.

Then find inspiration from two artists featured in Sketchbook Confidential, a collection of sketches from talented, professional artists who welcome you to peek into their processes. In the excerpt you’ll find in this free eBook, get inspired by the sketches of Kate Starling and Roberto (Bob) Cardinale.

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Learn expert techniques to cross-hatching and modeling gradations with our free shading tutorial.

While Zentangle is fun to view, it’s even more pleasurable to create, in my humble opinion. Painting can be intimidating to take on as a hobby (although that shouldn’t stop you, but that’s a different topic!), but drawing is accessible–all you need is a writing tool, let’s say a basic pencil that you already have in any drawer of your house, and paper. You just sit down and start drawing, right? Well, not always; but when you have a book that offers prompts, it becomes easier. Zentangle® Untangled by Kass Hall introduces the concept of this meditative form of drawing, and gives you guidance on how to draw the basic lines that come together to create intricate works that pass the time in a satisfying exploration of shapes. The results of tangling? Relieved stress, in my experience, and a sense of satisfaction–the instructions are easy to follow, and leave you feeling empowered by the ability to draw.

Here’s what you’ll learn in the free download:

How to use Zentangle to meditate and exercise creativity in a fresh way

Beginning (Sakura Pigma Micron pen, graphite pencil) by Kass Hall, author of Zentangle® Untangled

What is Zentangle?

“In 2005, the Zentangle concept was born when calligrapher Maria Thomas described to her partner the sense of focus, well-being and relaxation she felt while creating background patterns on a manuscript,” writes Hall. “A former Buddhist monk, her partner, Rick Roberts, recognized this state as one of meditation. Together they worked toward creating a system that would teach and encourage others to experience the same sensations.”

Amazing! Free Zentangle Tutorials

Zentangle pattern by Kass Hall

What’s the difference between tangling and doodling?

“There has been much debate over what Zentangle really is,” says Trish Reinhart, author of Creative Tangle: Creating Your Own Patterns for Zen-Inspired Art. “There are those who think it’s nothing more than ‘mindless doodling.’ Which then escalates to asking, ‘Can doodling really be considered an art form?’ I view doodling and Zentangle as totally different exercises, each serving a specific purpose.”

Learn how to use Zentangle: FREE tutorials!

Blue Fleur (Sakura Pigma Micron pen, colored paper, Sakura Gelly Roll pen, Flourish stencil) by Geneviève Crabe, Certified Zentangle Teacher. Featured in Creative Tangle by Trish Reinhart

Doodling = Personal


“Ordinary doodling serves two purposes,” Reinhart says. “The first is just to mindlessly pass time. This type of doodling is what students draw on the cover of their notebooks when they’re bored during a history lecture. The images and wording on the cover of that notebook appear random and disconnected. Doodling’s second purpose is to serve as a form of journaling, which is commonly found in scrapbook pages. In journaling, the text itself becomes art.”


Zentangle = Purposeful


Reinhart goes on to explain: “A Zentangle’s intertwining patterns have a definite flow and rhythm. You could draw a Zentangle on a notebook, but it wouldn’t look like an ordinary doodle. Although it’s not in the standard square format, it does connect and relate to the confines of the page, either flowing from the top to the bottom of a paper’s edge or unfurling from one corner. Journaling can be incorporated into a Zentangle as long as it lies within a quadrant or becomes part of the overall pattern, again, with purpose and connectivity.


“Some of the best ways to successfully apply a Zentangle in scrapbooking are to draw directly on the corner or edge of the scrapbook paper or decorate mats to frame the pictures on the page. With scrapbooking, you can certainly throw a Zentangle into the same arena as doodling, but you wouldn’t consider a doodle suitable for framing and hanging on your wall. Some Zentangle patterns are so interesting and beautiful, you’ll want to showcase them as works of art!”

Ready to take on a new skill?

Page written/edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of ArtistsNetwork.com. The Zentangle® Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.

Learn expert techniques to cross-hatching and modeling gradations with our free shading tutorial.