encouragement · Philosophy/Opinion · Zentangle

Eight Rules for Tangling

I received Robert Genn’s newsletter today. In it, he adapted Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing for painters. As he said, “Rules are meant to be thrown, poked, and reshaped to suit yourself.” I was inspired to reshape them for tanglers. Here is what I came up with.

1. Tangle.


2. Put your first stroke down and move on with another stroke. Work your strokes and let your strokes work you.


3. Keep tangling until you like what you have done. If you don’t like it, you aren’t finished yet.


4. Put it aside and tangle something else. Keep your tiles so you can look back on your journey.


5. Remember that critics are not welcome, especially, the one who lives inside your head. No judgement.


6. Perfection in tangling is not possible. Attempting to be perfect is the surest way to rob yourself of the Zen of tangling.


7. You’ve got style. Let it show. Tangleations are your friend! Play with them.


8. Remember when you tangle you can do whatever you like. “Let go and let Zentangle.” I’m not sure there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.


CL string challenge
In doing this week’s Diva Challenge, use your initials as a string, I had to keep reminding myself of Rule #3. It took a while, but I finally came up with something I liked. I wish I had taken a picture of the string. Even I can’t find the ‘CL’ that I started with! I do love it when the art takes a life of its own and the string disappears just like it is supposed to!
So, do you agree with these rules? Do you have any others that you think belong on the list?


18 thoughts on “Eight Rules for Tangling

  1. I love that the “rules” aren’t really rules… I never did well with rules – maybe that’s why tangling suits me! P.S. I love your art….


    1. My daughter has a way of drawing them so they look really puffy, like the bands are tightly wrapped round a pillow. I was going for that look. Didn’t quite succeed in emulating hers, but I can accept my version of it.


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