I recently returned form Tangle U, a continuing education conference for Certified Zentangle Teachers held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a very rich pattern environment in which to learn new tangling techniques. Here are just a couple of the wonderful patterns that are everywhere in Santa Fe.
These images reminded me of a tangle I developed a while back based on a Native American basket. The inspiration for the tangle came from a photo of a blanket in a Pendleton Catalog.
The striking pattern at the center of this blanket caught my eye immediately. Then I read the description that was the inspiration for this blanket.
To the Pomo, a basket can be a tool, an honor, a gift or an art. It comes to you in a dream and stays with you in death, a thing with a spirit and a story all its own. In every basket the weaver leaves a small break in the pattern, anything from a single stitch to a new design. This is the Dau, the ‘door’ a basket’s spirit passes through to inspect completed baskets and fill them with energy.”
I was hooked. It seemed like the perfect pattern to turn into a tangle as a tangled drawing is indeed “a thing with a spirit and a story all its own” and for me tangling is the door to the calm, focused and creative state of mind I achieve while using the Zentangle method. Thus I have named this tangle Zendau, meaning doorway to zen. Zendau is really a variation of what is known as the seed of life, I’ve just broken it down into repeatable steps to create a tangle.
Although it seems like there are a lot of steps to this tangle, there are really only 4 basic steps which are repeated with each successive ring and it is constructed of just a simple curve line in each step. I enjoy how the basic petal form grows with each progressive ring and encompasses the petal forms of the previous rings creating a design that has a fractal quality. It’s organic and geometric at the same time and reminds me of artichokes, the bottom of pine cones and flowers.
How to draw Zendau
First select what I call the “seed” shape. This will determine how many “petals” your tangle will have on each ring. Below are three seed shape examples for 5, 6 or 8 petals.The following step out drawings use the 6 petal seed shape.
- To start, draw the seed shape
- Fill in the petals, then round the angles in the center so that it forms a circle. Note: you can adjust the shape as you fill it in. This will help to keep the figure fairly even as you draw each ring.
- Draw a curved line from petal point to petal point to form a circle around the petals. Rotate the tile as you draw the curves so that your hand remains in approximately the same position for each curve. This will help keep your curves more consistent.
- Put a dot midway between each petal and a distance out from the circle. The distance from the circle will determine the size of the petals on this ring. It helps to sight an imaginary line across the figure when positioning the dots.
- Draw a curved line from the tip of each petal point up to the dots in between. This forms the new petals for this ring.
- Fill in the petals.
Repeat steps 3 through 6 for each ring as you draw from the center out.
I frequently add a different pattern to the final ring to honor the original inspiration and create a door for the tangle’s spirit to enter.
Tips for drawing Zendau.
- Don’t worry about getting things perfect, it will look beautiful when completed. Also, know that you can make minor adjustments to size and shape as you fill in the petals.
- You can fill in the petals with solid color and use it like a medallion or use it as a string and fill the petals with other patterns.
Following are some examples of Zendau:
In the following Zendala, Zendau is used as the string and filled with other tangles.