Zentangle — What is a ZIA

A true Zentangle Art piece is black and white and is non-representable (in other words abstract). Zentangle looks just as pleasing upside down as it does right side up.The last step of the 8 steps of Zentangle is to appreciate what you have created . You do that by turning the tile from corner to corner and enjoying your Zentangle tile from all four directions.

If a piece has color or is a recognizable shape,  or is created on paper that is not square, it is considered a Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA).

The majority of my art is considered ZIA. I create true Zentangle art as a practice and when I teach basic Zentangle classes. I have albums full of True Zentangle Art. I use them as a sort of cataloge of Zentangle patterns. I even have them cross referenced so I can find my patterns easily. I draw step-outs of my patterns that I also keep in a cross-referenced album.  I even created Bingo cards with the 2.5 inch squares that I use in my more advanced classes.   But, the art that I sell in fairs and in my webstore are for the most part  ZIA . I enjoy using the different tangle patterns as texture for the different subjects I draw.


When you draw a ZIA you still use the same basic steps for Zentangle.  The difference is your string (the line that creates smaller spaces to put tangle patterns in)is the shape of your object. Then the Zentangle tangles (patterns) are used to “paint” your object. You can draw a simple drawing to Zentangle . Once I drew a shoe and Zentangled it. It became one of my favorite ZIA’s. It needed no color. The tangles added interest enough.

You can use stencils as “containers for Zentangle tangles. This is one of my favorites. A whimsical crab. The stencil was one that I purchased at WalMart . It was easy to fill the spaces with tangles and shading was very natural. I demonstrated this particular stencil for  a class of Vets at the VA hospital near my home. It was my very first series of classes. The guys enjoyed the classs  so much that I made the stencil class a permanent part of my beginner classes.


You can also use “templates”( drawing made specifically to be tangled).  There are hundreds of templates to Zentangle ZIA’s with.  There is  a facebook group  called Ornation Nation that features beautiful templates. The templates on Ornation Nation are drawn by artist Ben Kwok. He most generously allows other artists to use his templates to create ZIA’s. I have used Ben Kwok’s templates. They are awesome. I also create my own templates. Finding just the right tangle to create interesting textures for a particular ZIA , for me, is part of the fun.






After I have a ZIA completely tangled, I will spend considerable time adding shading and color. Sometime I will make more than one copy of my tangled ZIA and layer it to create some depth. This gives my piece some dimension that I cannot get with one layer. The results is an image that is unique to me.

It gives me great pleasure when someone sees one of my creations and loves it enough to want to take it home with them. I try to make my Zentangle images appealing to a wide variety of people. Each piece is a little piece of myself.

ZIA’s are an awesome way to show off Zentangle patterns. They often open the way for me to talk about the  process of the Zentangle Method. I enjoy talking to people about Zentangle and how it has enriched my art experience.





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