The ‘Tangle It! Journal’ is a combined effort from Simona Cordara, Alice Hendon and Ina Sonnenmoser.
The back cover gives you some idea of what to expect:
Look & Feel
No Pages: 150 pages
Cover: Soft cover
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
Weight: 8.8 oz.
The ‘Tangle It! Journal’ is a lightweight book. The soft cover, size, and thin paper are designed to make the book an easy carry. Although it’s fairly thick, it’s very flexible. It would fit in larger purses, and some coat pockets.
The book is bound with glue, but my copy was glued very well. I folded the pages back in several places with absolutely no problem. No signs of loose pages or cracked binding. I think this book will hold up well even for children or heavy traveling. The downside to the binding is that the book doesn’t lay flat, and though you can fold the pages back there is a considerable slope. At times, it was difficult to draw or color to the inside edge of the page. The area lost was minimal though.
The paper is thin and there is some trade-off in show-through and bleed-through. I tried a few different mediums to see how much there would be.
The paper doesn’t like wet, at all. It pills immediately, but if you use watercolor marker without adding water, there isn’t too much bleed-through and surprisingly little show-through. Wet seems to be the thing with all the mediums. If you use heavy saturation, layering wet over wet, you get bleed-through.
Fortunately, there are a lot of markers and pens that won’t cause much problem. Using an Ohto Graphic Liner, I didn’t find either the show-through or bleed-through heavy enough that I would skip an activity on the back page. Some people might be disturbed, and it you think you might be one, I’d recommend trying your pens on the blank page at the back to see how it does, or to stay with pencils.
While some prompts encourage you to glue or tape your own photos, there are both photos and drawings in the book, from backgrounds to specific objects that are the subject of an activity. Everything is in black and white though.
Although this would be a good book for anyone interested in tangling, I would characterize it as more of an activity book than a Zentangle How-to or Zentangle Reference book. Although, the book has 20 new tangles, there are no page numbers or index listing so going back to find the steps for a tangle will be hunt and search (or you could make your own index. I numbered the tangle pages and listed them at the front for future reference).
The upshot, though, is that this is a fun book for anyone, whether they are interested primarily in Zentangle or not. The activities are based around tangling, but include coloring, and collage and photographs to use as a base for the activity.
The activities are more for teens and adults, though many would be suitable for children. Examples of the activities are gluing a photo to the page and tangling a frame, tangling around the photo of a coffee ring (photo already printed in the book), and getting inspiration from your favorite book.
There is an introduction, explaining what you’ll need to use the book (though some of this is humorous), an explanation of patterns and tangleations, and then the book starts into the activities.
The new tangle step-outs are for:
Knights of the Round Table, Drakon, Power Ripple, Olim, Dropz, Kakti, Geerandola, Beadled, C-Lines, Heart Wrap, Shooting Star, Hooks, CircleBox, Coral, Steam-Gear, Ringz, Bow-Petal, Bubble Love, Patch, and Scrollup.
Tips on technique, such as shading, getting unstuck and more are salted throughout the book, and humor abounds. This is meant to be a fun book that you can use to while away an evening at home, or to keep yourself entertained while waiting in doctor’s offices.
For the purpose of this review, I did two of the activities from the book. One in black and white and one in color.
This activity gives you an example of the photos from the book. On the opposite page, you were given the steps for the ‘Knight of the Round Table’ pattern. The activity page had a photo of a coffee ring, and you are invited to turn into part of the pattern, filled up with other patterns.
Tangles used from the book: Beadled, Bow-petal, Circlebox, C-Lines,Coral, Heart Wrap and Steam-Gear.
For the second activity, I chose a coloring page – an owl already tangled that you can color. On the opposite page, you are given the same owl as template for you to add your own patterns.
I used colored pencils since I felt they would be least likely to obscure the tangle-work. The color went down smoothly, with no streaking.
Tangles used from the book: Bubble Love, Dropz, Hooks, Drakon, Geerandola, Kakti, Olim, Power Ripple, Ringz, Scallop
The ‘Tangle-It Journal’ is a fun, easy-carry book that will be especially entertaining for tanglers, but would be of interest for anyone who likes activity books and prompts. The lack of page numbers and indexing mean it isn’t a reference book, but many of the prompts could be recreated again, using a blank journal or paper, so I think it’s a keeper.
Compared to other activity books in the same price range, I believe the paper quality is comparable, perhaps a bit better, and the binding is better.
It is not a tangle how-to, but more a spur to creativity with a strong emphasis on tangling. I wouldn’t buy it for someone as a book for learning Zentangle, but I might buy it for someone that I wanted to nudge in that direction.
The authors have set up a Tangle It! Journal Facebook Group., where you can share the pages you do and see how others have tackled the activities.
The Tangle It! Journal is available on Amazon, but can also be found it many other stores, both online and brick’n’mortar.