Beginners Guide Part 7

Practice – practice – practice! 

You will have noticed that the more you draw, the better your lines get. The reason behind this is ‘Muscle Memory’. The first time you draw a circle, chances are that the starting and ending point don’t meet. The second circle looks already better – and the more circles you draw, the easier it gets.

Meditative drawing is not about perfection. Many people however find it frustrating when they draw and don’t see an improvement over time. And today I would like to share some hints and tips how to work up muscle memory.

Beginning with circles – Before you begin drawing on your actual tile, take a scrap piece of paper and warm up. In every sport athletes need to warm up their muscles – it is no different when tangling.

The important part when drawing circles is to

  • slow down
  • concentrate on the start and ending point
  • don’t stop as soon as the lines cross – continue the circle before lifting your pen off the paper
  • find the perfect spot to begin the circle – usually everyone starts the circle at the top, moving in an anti-clockwise motion. If you have trouble making the ends meet, try a new approach: Circle the pen above the paper. When your movement is smooth, put the pen down and draw. Slowly! Concentrate on only that one circle until you lift the pen off the paper.
  • practice different sizes of circles

Warming up can be as much relaxing as the actual drawing itself. Practicing the same shape over and over again trains your brain to repeat that motion with ease. Great results can be achieved in a short period of time.

In your journal, dedicate one page to circles. Every morning and every evening, draw 30 circles over a period of 7 days. See for yourself what this does to your drawing skills! It will not only improve circles, but also spirals and C-shapes. It’s the same motion – the same muscle.

Let’s move back to grid-based patterns. We explored them briefly in Part 5.

Some patterns require you to draw the full square grid.

Square GridSquare Grid distorted

Other patterns only need a dot at the intersections:

Dot Grid Sample

The Flower of Life is a typical example of a pattern that uses a dot grid.

Flower of Life Base Pattern

And then there are patterns requiring an ‘alternate dot grid’ . You could also call it a diamond dot grid.

Alternate Dot Grid     Alternate Circle Grid

You can see this quite clearly looking at the step-out of OO-Africa.

OO-Africa by Ina Sonnenmoser

A very old pattern, that should not be missing in your collection is Cadent.


It looks rather difficult, however when you draw a S-Shape from the one side of the circle to the opposite side of the next circle, you will discover that it’s really easy. The look of the pattern can be adjusted by changing the size of the circles used in the dot grid.

Many YouTube videos have been done showing how to draw this pattern. Click here to see the dedicated page for Cadent, complete with videos and sample artwork.

Sliders is a fun pattern that uses little squares instead of circles, connecting them with C-Shapes.

Sliders by Lila Holter

I need to stress again the importance of drawing the same patterns over and over until you have memorised them. With the patterns you have learnt so far, you should be able to create many beautiful tiles. Take a few days break before adding more patterns to your collection. Concentrate on the patterns that were introduced so far. Create a Monotangle for each one of them. Combine 2 different patterns and play with Duotangles. Here is the link again to the String Page.

If you are looking for more string ideas, visit another one of our tangle family Faebook groups: Zentangle All Around

Alice posts 7 new strings every week. Being part of a group will challenge you in new ways. Tangling together is much more fun than doing it all by yourself!

And of course, the members of Tangle It! Pattern Club want to see your work as well. We all draw inspiration from each other.

ZenHugs for today


… continue to Part 8