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Zentangle and Zendoodle Templates and Inspiration

Updated on January 23, 2017
zendoodle to color (source: TheRaggedEdge)
zendoodle to color (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Print Out and Tangle Zendoodle/Zentangle Templates

Zentangles and Zendoodles are simple drawings that look more complicated than they are. The basis of a Zentangle is a line (also called a string) or several lines that interweave. The gaps in between are filled with simple repetitive patterns or 'tangles'.

Many people find that starting a Zentangle is the hardest part. Sometimes, you try to draw a string but it just won't come out right. You end up spoiling the paper or 'tile' by constant erasing.

This page is full of Zentangle templates—basic strings for you to print out and transfer to your preferred paper. You will find some suggestions of tangles to use and resources to other sites. I have also included some completed examples, that you are welcome to print out and color in.

Please feel free download and print anything on this page for your own personal use. If you publish your completed work, it would be nice if you would link back to this page.

Right click on any graphic and then left click "Save As". Choose a location on your computer to save the image, then you can print them out when you desire. If you need to resize an image, there are several free editing programs available. Irfanview is a good one.

Moleskine Pocket Sketch
Moleskine Pocket Sketch

Supplies Required for Zentangle

  • As you can see, the supplies you need for creating Zendoodles are minimal. That's what makes it such a great hobby. It's simple, portable and beautiful.
  • Paper/sketchbook - Moleskines are ideal.
  • Pencil, eraser, and sharpener.
  • Fine liner pen - Sakura Pigma Microns are highly recommended.
  • Paper stump to use with your pencil for shading.
  • If you are printing out these designs, you will also need graphite transfer paper - see below.

Using Graphite Transfer Tracing Paper

  1. Print out these Zendoodle templates, lay an appropriately sized piece of transfer paper, graphite side down, on your sketchpad or watercolor paper.
  2. Place the printout on top, face up.
  3. Use a little paper tape (masking tape) to prevent the paper 'sandwich' from moving about.
  4. Using a sharp pencil or ballpoint pen, trace over the template so that the design is transferred.
  5. You can use your transfer paper several times.

Zentangle String

Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Simple String

Simple Zentangle string. Using your black fine liner pen fill some spaces and leave others empty. When you have finished, erase the pencil lines and add some shading to give depth and dimension.

Zendoodle Grid

Zendoodle grid (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zendoodle grid (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Steps

  • Print out this grid.
  • Tangle in the spaces and then tangle the grid itself.
  • See my completed version below.

Simple Tangles

Tangles (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Tangles (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Do It However You Like

Use simple repetitive marks (tangles) to fill the spaces in your outlines. Here are some really easy ones to get you started.

Why not make your own sampler of tangles? All you need to do is divide a piece of good paper into 1-inch squares and fill with tangles as a quick reference any time you get stuck.

Tangle these Hands

Hands outline (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Hands outline (source: TheRaggedEdge)

This is a traced outline of a completed drawing. I have added the drawing below so you can have an idea of the kinds of tangles that work.

Hands (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Hands (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Zentangle in Motion

See the creation of a Zentangle from dots to string to tangles to shading... and back again.

Zentangle String

Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Zendala

A zendala is a combination of a mandala and a zendoodle. This one is courtesy of Bill Brown via Flickr - Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). I think it would look really good filled with tangles. Zendala Template CC.BY.2.0
A zendala is a combination of a mandala and a zendoodle. This one is courtesy of Bill Brown via Flickr - Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). I think it would look really good filled with tangles. Zendala Template CC.BY.2.0 | Source

Zendoodle Grid

Zendoodle grid (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zendoodle grid (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zendoodle to color (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zendoodle to color (source: TheRaggedEdge)

I did this one a while back. I think it would look good with added detail in colored pencils. Above, you can see the original grid for this one, so you can even make your own version.

This lovely quilt design is kindly shared by Olga Kuba under a creative commons license (CC-BY-2.0). Print out and color but do not republish without contacting her for permission. Zentangle qult by Olga Kuba CC.BY.2.0
This lovely quilt design is kindly shared by Olga Kuba under a creative commons license (CC-BY-2.0). Print out and color but do not republish without contacting her for permission. Zentangle qult by Olga Kuba CC.BY.2.0 | Source

It's almost hard to believe that this simple grid is the basis of the complicated drawing above - except it isn't complicated at all!

Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)
Zentangle string (source: TheRaggedEdge)

Create Your Own Outlines and Strings

You can see that the basic structure of a Zentangle is very simple. You can freehand draw your own, or trace outlines of other drawings. Think about ways to incorporate Zentangle into your art - if you can draw faces, how about creating a girl with beautifully 'tangled' hair, or maybe a tree or a row of houses on a hill?

I promise you, once you get going, you will be addicted to making Zentangle-inspired art.

Zentangle Templates

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    • profile image

      Trisha 3 weeks ago

      Since you tangle in ink, it is very simple to erase and refashion your shading. Erasers are part of my supplies. :)

    • profile image

      Mia rose 3 weeks ago

      I love it

    • myraggededge profile image
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      myraggededge 16 months ago

      Nicola, the eraser is to simply erase the initial guidelines (string) after finishing the drawing, not to correct errors. Nowhere in my Zentangle articles do I mention correcting by erasing. As the tangles are created by using a pen, erasing them is not possible. See here: https://hubpages.com/art/how-to-zentangle

    • profile image

      Nicola 16 months ago

      Having taken a class (free at the library with a Certified Zentangle Teacher) and after reading some books on Zentangle, one thing stands out early in this post "...it just won't come out right. You end up spoiling the paper or 'tle' by constant erasing." and the list of * Supplies Required for Zentangle* namely. "Pencil, eraser and sharpener" NO!

      This concept (Zentangle) has taught me that ERASERS ARE NOT REQUIRED; I think it's even phrased that there are "no erasers in Zentangle, as there are no erasers in Life." I'm commenting here 'cause I've been one of those who feels that I can't ''do'' art, can't create beautiful things. Yet I have made beautiful tiles, from the start--even when the lines & patterns didn't go the way I wanted them to. It wasn't "wrong"- just different from what I expected (which says something about expectations, I suppose, which then says something about art.)

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 2 years ago

      Thank you poetryman, much appreciated.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Some very cool looking art. I like the interesting terminology as well. Voted up.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 2 years ago

      Thanks so much Linda BL :-) I'll try to add more soon.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 2 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Thanks, this is very helpful... I've bookmarked it on my Creativity page on Facebook.

    • Rock Artist profile image

      Rock Artist 3 years ago

      very cool! I had never heard of zentangle before today

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Oh I like this idea, I am a doodler so this would just fit in perfectly to what I already do......

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Neat creativity! Thank you for posting such good work.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Its funny, it's not the strings I have trouble with; it's the small repetitive marks! But thanks for sharing this - all information is gratefully received.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You are very welcome, Jane :) Good luck and good tangling!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      FINALLY! Exactly what I've been searching to help me find how to zentangle. Besides just the content I needed, this is so easy to follow, not full of restrictive rules, and in the spirit of what I perceived zentangling to be. Thank you so very much! The fruits of this will appear in my family's journals and in my quilts as well. THANK YOU!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 4 years ago from Iowa

      very good idea for a lens. Sometimes its all that white paper that holds a person back from starting. Blessed. :)