A Blast from the Past

Next week, I will celebrate my 5-year anniversary as a CZT. And this year, La Diva challenges us to look back to our first Zentangle and do it in our current style. How appropriate.

When I first heard of Zentangle, there were no teachers in my area. There was a single book, Totally Tangled, in the library. No one in my area had heard of it. So, I checked the book out of the library, found a sketchbook, and got started. It took me a while to find that sketchbook, but here it is: my very first Zentangle.

First-one.jpg I was pretty surprised when I saw it because I thought my first one was a pumpkin.

Fast forward to today. Despite the challenge to recreate the tile, all I could make myself reuse was the string, knightsbridge, and a string of pearls. And now that I see this thing enlarged on my computer, I think I got the string wrong!


My first ever Zentangle class was with Rick and Maria when   I went to the CZT training class. Boy, was I surprised when I realized that Zentangle is more than just drawing pretty pictures. Before then, I was doing a lot of representational art. Look at a few of the pages from my first-month tangling. I did 1-2 every day. I was completely hooked.

I still really like some of these first pages. Going to the training completely changed my style. It took me several months to be able to merge what I learned with my own style and make art that I liked again. Perhaps I should not admit this for the whole world to see…

Back then, I did not know much about shading. Now, I have written a whole book on the topic. And realize that there is still more to learn. Back then, I  could see a whole lot better, so much of my work is super detailed. Now, I look at the big picture. Back then, I was  focused on the product rather than the process, so I was often frustrated and tense and had to take  breaks from my art.  Now I use Zentangle to take breaks from other frustrations in my life.

Thanks for sharing this   this short trip down memory lane with me. Wherever you are in  your Zentangle journey, I encourage you to take time to enjoy it. Keep growing and changing, but never forget where you came from.


14 thoughts on “A Blast from the Past

  1. Thanks for sharing some snippets of your journey with Zentangle with us. I’ve only just started, with only two Zentangles so far, but I’m completely hooked. Finding quiet time is my biggest problem, and taking that first step was so hard, until I was blessed with the most amazing RAOK – an original Zentangle starter kit. How could I not step out and start my journey after that – I also received two books by Sandy Steen Bartholomew from the same person, a sample pack of the different types of Zentangle tiles, and a set of pens, etc needed to use on the black tiles and the Renaissance tiles – as well as extra stencil sets from her when I purchased a set. I can no tell you my faith in humanity has been restored. I didn’t believe people like this still existed, but now I know they do. I have your book “Made In The Shade” and “Pattern Play” is on my wishlist – hopefully for Mother’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Lucky you. Good thing that with Zentangle you don’t really NEED quiet time. Not too much space required either. I used to tangle quite a bit in the car while I was waiting to pick up my daughter. Thanks for your comments. Congrats on getting started. That is the hardest step.


  2. I too have found Made in the Shade to be a frequent reference book – I may have “got” the idea of shading but you wouldn’t believe how many times I go back to see if there’s an example of a particular pattern and how it’s shaded. That and “Totally Tangled” were the first two books I bought and they have been a blessing. Like you, I started because I wanted to produce something that looked good, now it’s almost a by product of the process, almost. You continue to be an inspiration – Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cris………Thank you for sharing your beginnings with Zentangle. You certainly have come a long way with 2 renouned books and possibly another in the works. As you know, I love your style……..I can always pick out your tangles in a crowd. You are a CELEB in the Zentangle world!


  4. Cris – I had to laugh when I saw your first tile because just like me, you tried to cram as many tangles as you could into lots of smallish spaces. And I also see that you have several tangles that are what I call ‘doodles’. You know, the kind I used to do when sitting on a looong phone call. We’ve come such a long way since then. It’s funny that we have a similar timeline but both have developed our own styles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great to see your progression and growth. The original tile is beautiful but your current work has such finesse and of course, FAB shading!


  6. I love your new tile and one thing that I have noticed from most challenge pieces is that we have all learned shading to set our beautiful tangles off. You have done it exquisitely! Like the very old commercial used to say (oops! giving my age away yet again…) “You’ve come a long way, baby!” I love all of the growth it shows. Thank you so much for sharing your story.


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