not a doodle!

I love the quote that the diva shared this week on diva challenge 166. Margaret Bremner, a CZT and artist who, like the diva, hails from Saskatoon, compares tangling with doodling:

Tangling can look deceptively like doodling, but doodling it is not. Doodling is something you do with your hands while your thoughts are elsewhere, and can be very useful in some circumstances. In contrast, this art form is very focused. Your attention is on the pen, the paper, the flow of the ink, the patterns, the drawing; each stroke is drawn consciously and deliberately.

I am not a chronic doodler; preferring the focused mindset of tangling or drawing. Maybe that comes from a lifetime of drawing and painting practice, or maybe we all have an area that we gravitate toward on the doodle-to-drawing continuum.

I sure do know when my mind wanders a bit while tangling, though! Lines wander, or cross where they weren’t intended to. Tangles take on odd shapes. Like a breathing meditation, where you gently bring your mind back to the air flowing in and out of your body, with Zentangle, you gently swing back into focusing on your hand, the pen, and the stroke you are making right now.

I did two tiles for the challenge, using what started as a doodle for Laura Harms, but grew into a tangle. She hasn’t named it yet, so in my head I am calling it divadoodle.


With Adele Bruno’s lanie.


With some color, and tripoli, and Daved Levitan’s bridgen, which is like a mini version of the diva’s new tangle.


string figures

Years ago, I became a student of string figures, thanks to a book that my parents gave me. It’s called String Figures and How to Make Them: A study of cat’s cradle in many lands, by Caroline Furness Jayne. I used a loop of string as a bookmark, and tried Navajo figures, Apache figures, African Pygmy figures, and Pacific island figures. I experienced the joy of spreading my fingers open, stretching out a tangled mass, and watching a beautifully woven and looped design emerge, like magic, between my hands.

When I first happened upon Zentangle, I was charmed by Maria Thomas’ and Rick Roberts’ use of the word string to describe the pencil drawing that forms the foundation for a Zentangle drawing. I am continually reminded of string figures. The Zentangle string is also magical. Out of it grows amazing imagery, drawn, stroke by stroke, with a simple black pen.

This week, for challenge 104, the diva Laura Harms challenged the Zentangle crowd to use string 003 from That string is also reminiscent of an actual string figure, and full of Zentangle possibilities. You can take a look at what others have tangled on Laura’s website. Here are my three interpretations.


The tangles used on this tile: tripoli, onamato, quandary, betweed, socc, y-ful, spinning, palrevo, striping, n’zeppel, paradox and chillon. It’s a veritable patchwork of tangles!

ZTdiva104bThe string is a little more apparent in this tile. The tangles are: oof, strircles, knase, avreal, sez, onamato, tipple, mi2, diva dance, and striping.

ZTdiva104cI tried adding some new tangles to my usual favorites in the last tile. The tangles I used: jalousie, flukes, équerre, sláinte, striping, knase, knightsbridge, and palrevo.