Doodles Defined: Four Types of Tangle Art

InkTober, the daily drawing challenge started by artist Jake Parker, is almost over for this year. With just two days left, I’d like to send it off with a bang! Drawing doodle art is something that can be done just for fun, or taken to a high level of artistry. By now, you’ve probably heard of doodle art, Zentangle®, and several other variations. To shed some light on the variations of this popular art form, I’d like to share with you Tiffany Lovering’s description. In her book, Zen Doodle Unleashed: Freeform Tangle Art You Can Draw and Color, Tiffany explains:

“Four different types of tangle art are popular today: Zentangle, Zen doodle, freeform tangle, and Zentangle-inspired. Though they all use repetitive patterns, they also have key differences. Once you know how to draw a handful of patterns, you should experiment with the different types of tangle art and see which ones you prefer. Knowing the different types of tangle art can help to expand your creative outlets.”

Keep scrolling for the breakdown of styles.

Doodles Defined: Four Types of Tangle Art |
Doodles Defined: Four Types of Tangle Art |

Four Types of Tangle Art by Tiffany Lovering

1. Zentangle
Zentangle was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas as a meditative way to utilize repetitive patterns. Zentangle starts with a “string” (see left image above) generally drawn in pencil and used to separate the different patterns. This string can disappear into the drawing or can be used as a guideline for shading (see right image above). Zentangle is completed with black ink and shading with no color.

Doodles Defined: Four Types of Tangle Art |

2. Zen Doodle
A Zen doodle uses small drawings or doodles that are surrounded by repetitive patterns that bring the doodles together. Here I drew flower doodles and filled the spaces between them with various filler patterns. A Zen doodle usually includes color and shading to differentiate between the doodles and the patterns.


Doodles Defined: Four Types of Tangle Art |

3. Freeform Tangle
Freeform tangles use patterns only to complete the drawing. They are less restrictive than traditional Zentangle because there is no string to contain the patterns. The patterns are made to appear overlapping and flowing into one another. Color is used frequently in this type of tangle art but not required to be considered a freeform tangle.


Doodles Defined: Four Types of Tangle Art |

4. Zentangle-Inspired Art
Zentangle-inspired art starts with a picture drawing, such as a face, animal, or flower, then repetitive patterns are used within the drawing to accentuate specific areas. The original drawing without the patterns can be as simple or complex as desired, but is commonly a simpler line drawing. This allows the patterned portion of the drawing to stand out. ~Tiffany

Now that we have defined the four types of tangle art, it’s time to put pen to paper! Start with this mini-kit that includes a sketchbook and Sakura® pen, and get your copy of Zen Doodle Unleashed here for pages and pages of tangle patterns that you can learn, practice, and master. You’ll love it so much, you’ll be drawing daily well past InkTober.

Happy drawing,

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The Zentangle® Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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