Tangle Drawings

Tangle drawing by Krista, grade 4Tangle drawings are like sophisticated “doodles”, with an endless variety of possibilities!

Visit Zentangle.com (and its companion Flickr site) to be inspired and see how one couple has turned these simple, yet sophisticated drawings into a world-wide craze!


  • Tangle – a confused mass of something that is twisted together
  • Elements of Art & Principles of Design – the building blocks from which a piece of art is made (line, shape, form, color, value, texture, space) and the way they are organized or arranged (balance, movement, rhythm, contrast, emphasis, pattern, unity).


  • white paper, 9×12 or smaller
  • Black Sharpies, F & UF, or Sakura Pen
  • Colored pencils (optional)

1. Using a black UF Sharpie (or an equivalent type of pen), draw a continuous, or semi-continuous, line that weaves in and out across your paper, creating separate sections with interesting shapes. This is the time to include a border if you want one.

2. Now fill those sections with patterns of lines, shapes, or both!

3. Continue adding more detail with lines and shapes. Each section should be filled with a unique pattern. Consider how you are using the elements of art and principles of design to achieve a successful composition.

4. Add color if you wish!

A teacher workshop “tangle-in-progress” by Cindy


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9 Responses to Tangle Drawings

  1. Denise (mrspicasso) July 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    Cool! Kinda reminds me of Bridget Riley. Love your blog- keep up the good work!

  2. Kathy July 8, 2010 at 5:40 am #

    I have visited the site about the zentangles before, and have been wondering about using those ideas to review and practice the elements and principles of art with my students in grades 3 – 6. Thank you for highlighting this topic!

  3. Janie B July 8, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    I love this idea. I have taught something similar, but I'm glad to have backup ideas and samples to show the kids. I just ordered the book from Zentangles. Thanks for the link.

  4. Char July 10, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    I did these end of the year with my 5th graders. Kept them occupied!

  5. Kathy July 14, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I did this with some of my classes during the year and they turned out really nice when mounted and placed on the wall. It took the students longer than I though to finish them.

  6. Lori July 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    We did our version of this project and loved it!! Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. tishalou August 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Ahh this must be where I saw the zentangles… All I know is that I bought a book and now I'm hooked. Thanks for your great blog!!

  8. Niesha November 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Thanks! This was super fun to do with my daughters.


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