A Quick Start Guide to Zentangles

I love creating these quick start guides. Why? They’re a great jumping off point for infusing creativity into your life. Like colouring for adults, drawing zentangles is also a meditative practice. Need a mental break from work and other commitments? Instead of turning to social media or candy crush, try tangling instead. You’ll be exercising your brain in a new way and developing a creative practice. Plus, you can fit it in between all that other stuff.

On that note, read on for your guide to zentangles.

(Please note this post does NOT contain affiliate links. Any products shown are merely to offer options to get started with this project. Links are to give credit where credit is due.)

What are Zentangles?

Zentangles are a form of meditative drawing, in which repetitive patterns are used to fill an outline/shape. Unlike doodling, the process should be mindful. You should connect with your drawing, and be aware in the moment while tangling (drawing your patterns).

Zentangle Supplies:

Essentially all you need is paper, a pencil and a fine tip black pen. Many zentangle artists use square, archival quality paper tiles to tangle on, and micron pens. Looking for specifics? Here are few product suggestions to help you get started:
A few zentangle supplies to get you started. Including micron pens, artist tiles, and a 12 piece zentangle kit
1. Sakura 6-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set | 2. Strathmore Artist Tiles | 3. Sakura Zentangle 12 Pc Set | 4. Sakura 11 Piece Zentangle Clamshell Pencil Set

Zentangle Process:

There are four basic steps to creating zentangles. Learn all about them here.


  1. Create a Frame. Typically a square outline, a frame will contain your tangles. I’m all about shaking up tradition though, so how about the outline of a bird, a tree, or a whale to fill with tangle patterns?
  2. Draw a String. With pencil, lightly draw random, free-flowing lines that divide your frame into sections. You can also look for string ideas online. Try googling “zentangle string starters” or try the string patterns on www.tanglepatterns.com
  3. Tangle. Fill each section created by your string with a different repetitive pattern, also known as tangle patterns. Go with your instinct when choosing which pattern to apply. Look to your surroundings and nature to generate pattern ideas. Pinterest is also a great resource. When I find a tangle pattern I like, I draw it in this notebook, along with its name and steps if it’s complicated:
    Keep track of zentangle patterns by keeping a zentangle notebook for reference.

  5. Outline in Ink. Once you’ve pencilled in your tangle patterns, go over them and fill in areas with a black fine tip pen.
  6. Enhance. I have not done this in my zentangle example above, but you can add shading with pencil, or colour. Another possibility is to use black paper tiles and a white gel pen instead of the traditional black pen on white paper.

I hope you’ve found this quick start guide to zentangles inspiring. Can’t wait to see what you’ll tangle. As always, feel free to share your work and thoughts below.

katie signature



Ever wanted to try this form of mindful doodling? Learn the basic steps and supplies needed to get started creating your own zentangles.
Ever wanted to try this form of mindful doodling? Learn the basic steps and supplies needed to get started creating your own zentangles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *