Analysing patterns

Writing this book of mine is not as easy as one would think. Yes, I could just take 500 patterns, put them randomly in the book and call it a day. But that would not be me. I am a perfectionist 😉

So, I am analysing patterns by framework for months now.

Starting with a simple grid. Would you consider it a new pattern just because the pattern is drawn on an angled grid? Or a warped grid? No, you wouldn’t!

And the same applies to the content of each square of this grid. What counts is what is INSIDE that one square. And how it interacts when twisted and turned within a group of squares. Below you see 3 different patterns.

So the basic drawing is done in one square. Now it depends how you combine those squares to form a pattern.

Often I see that a grid pattern applied in a row of 2 (which I will refer to as a ribbon) get’s it’s own name. I don’t think that is right. Below you see 3 versions of the same pattern.

Pattern in ribbon form

Pattern in ribbon form

Pattern in warped ribbon form

Pattern in warped ribbon form

Pattern in totally warped form

Pattern in totally warped form

Or a grid pattern is applied in a circle and again, get’s it’s own name.

Pattern in the round

Pattern in the round

I don’t think that is right. It is still the same pattern, just applied in the round!

What happens when the fill is changed? Instead of filling it solid, the little gridbox is filled with lines as shown below?

Filled with lines instead of solid fill

Filled with lines instead of solid fill

Should it get it’s own name? Compare them again:

Same name or different name?

What about this:

Same pattern or new pattern? When do we start calling it a Tangleation? And when do we call it a new pattern? How will anyone ever be able to identify an existing pattern? Or how do you find the name of a pattern you drew?

Hang on a sec… I am not finished yet! 🙂 What if you add a few squiggles here and there? Is it now a new pattern? Or rather an embellished pattern? How many embellishments and tangleations before a pattern deserves it’s own name?

Line7I would really love to hear your views on this matter!



18 thoughts on “Analysing patterns

  1. Dorena Belle Petty says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing! Especially when using the names of all the patterns in your Zentangle, it becomes an issue when what you’ve drawn fits 2 or 3 tangles that are basically the same, all with different names!
    So, are you putting only the tangles you’ve created in your book? If so, I agree with you! It becomes tanglations, and embellishments. But, if you’re using existing tangles, then I would think using the existing names would be the way to go….
    Good luck, and I can’t wait to get my hands on your book!!!

    • inasonnenmoser says:

      Dorena, this is the problem. Now you create some art and want to give credit to the person that created the step-out, but you don’t know who to give credit to. And one person calls it XYZ and the other ABC. Confusing, confusing, confusing!

    • inasonnenmoser says:

      Forgot to answer this part of your message.
      The book will contain at least 250 of my patterns/tangleations/variations (really depends which ‘rules’ will be applied to patterns). Many of the patterns I drew 30 years ago have been stepped out by others. I have contacted all these people and will include patterns from 50 tanglers. It is going to be zentastic! 🙂

  2. deb1959blog says:

    As I was reading and looking at your different phases, I was definitely, thinking “nice tangleation”. But I’m not one to dissect, nor think about those things. When I learned/was trained by a CZT, very close friend. She taught me that there are no mistakes, it want until recently that I really understood what a tangleation was. I don’t envy your position having to explain these things. You sound very prolific on your subject. Please keep in mind these are my opinions, and I try not to pick things apart. Not that I’m superficial, I have severe OCD and I try not to dissect, it would give me one more thing to obsess about, and Zentangle slows my thinking down.

    • inasonnenmoser says:

      You see, and that is where the problem comes in. If I now call it a tangleation, some people might get upset because they thought they had created a new pattern. Hopefully I don’t make too many enemies. Rather have a committee then we can share the blame 😉

    • Carla Szczuka says:

      I agree with you. An angled or warped grid is still the same tangle. Embellishments and changing fills does not change the tangle. Just makes it more interesting.
      Ex: Bales is a grid pattern, I saw it with the inside part blacked and called Euclid. !?!
      Good luck with this book and of course I will have to get it!

  3. mary helen says:

    Hi Ina, I agree with you that they are all the same pattern, only applied differently. When I think of a tangleation, I think more of two separate named patterns that have been merged into some new entity like hamadox. As for when to call something a “new” pattern, I am something of a purist. Several times I have been so excited to think I have “discovered” a new pattern only to realize it was just a variation of an already existing pattern. I think many of the patterns I work with now are really just slight variations of other patterns. I call them new when there is something very distinct that sets it apart from a similar pattern. Just my thoughts on a touchy and difficult subject.

    • inasonnenmoser says:

      Talking about touchy subject – oh yes. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes! I am tiptoeing around trying to find a solution.
      Not all patterns are suitable for Zentangle® – meditative drawing. And because of the ® I won’t discuss this in order to avoid getting into trouble. However, there are many people that just tangle and those need guidance. To announce a new pattern is extremely difficult. On the internet you find thousands of patterns. To find out if one has been named already is just about impossible. So I won’t criticise anyone for naming an existing pattern (happened to me with Paris – after the bomb in Paris this pattern just appeared in my head and without checking I just posted it. Later I found out that there are already 2 other patterns out there with the name Paris).
      So, what I am really suggesting is that there should be a group of people that build a committee that can discuss this subject in detail.
      While writing the book I am simultaneously creating a webpage that will feature all those 500 patterns (and more) that are part of the book. To have one central place that can tell if that is indeed a new pattern or rather a tangleation of an existing pattern would be fantastic.

  4. Patti Wild says:

    I think those are all variations of a pattern. Even with the added part it is a variation of the same pattern only it’s embellished.

  5. Ildiko says:

    Hello, nothing new under the sun…. Zentangle is actually given name doodles,beautifully presented in steps. Thats why i would only number the pattern, every pattern is a variation or combination of simple doodle forms… bests, ildi

  6. molossus, whose life imitates doodles says:

    I look at it as names belonging to the step-outs versus the finished pattern. There are often many different ways to produce the same pattern and some people find one way easier than others. Having two different names can help a person find the step-out that helps them the most. The same with adding embellishments. If someone wants to recreate that pattern with specific embellishments then having different names can help them find what they are looking for. And, although, studying the elements pattern design gets confusing, you see terms like mirroring and drop and half-drop — so maybe it isn’t that the pattern per se isn’t different but the design is. Again, a different name can help for referencing. To me, it seems like the whole point is to help others create what they want to create. Most of the people looking for step-outs don’t really care if the pattern is unique, so I decided I don’t care either. It isn’t like any of us are creating something totally new.

    I use to keep up a list of pattern names on my blog, but when it passed 2000, it was too large and all I was getting were complaints that I didn’t add links to the patterns, so I gave it up.

    • inasonnenmoser says:

      I am trying to find a way that allows me to find the pattern or to see if a pattern already exists. So, if patterns would be sorted by family, you would only have to go through one family to see what the pattern is called. I can easily recognise the difference of a pattern that is draw on a regular grid, an oblique grid, or a hypometric grid. If each grid has a couple of families, it will narrow the search down. And it would also allow to list different steps for the same pattern. This way one can see which step they like best and try optional ways to come to the same end result. A good example would be Ududu. Ellen Wolters made a video and she found an easier way to draw the pattern. If she would have called it something else, just because she is starting from the one end, whereas my step-out starts on the other, everyone would really be confused.
      It will be much more difficult to find ‘pattern families’ when it comes to all the freeform patterns.
      I hope that my post helps people create something that maybe doesn’t even need a name. Just to show that you can use a base pattern and play around with the various elements will bring a lot more creative freedom to the tangle community. If you check the various shapes and connectors a new world opens up to the less experienced tangler. You, as a seasoned pattern creator probably don’t need that information, but for new tanglers the possibilities are mind-blowing.
      If I ever get that website up and running, I hope that you allow me to list your patterns too 🙂 Your creations are just out of the ordinary. Smokestack – when I saw that, I immediately had to try 😉

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