Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

February 7

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Review: Totally Tangled by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

by Ann-Katrina

Totally Tangled cover

Title: Totally Tangled
Author: Sandy Steen Bartholomew
ISBN: 157421671-6
Story Length: 50 pages
Genre: Arts & Crafts

Back Cover of Totally Tangled

Can’t draw? Stressed out? Even if you are an artist and feel perfectly calm…Zentangle is for you! Learn to focus, relax your mind and boost your creative confidence. No kidding!

Three Quick Points About Totally Tangled

  • Point 1: Not for n00bs. The book doesn’t go into details about the Zentangle steps and the book assumes prior knowledge of tangle (i.e. pattern) creation.
  • Point 2: Disorganized. The format doesn’t have a logical flow and had me skipping around from page to page.
  • Point 3: Strays into the realm of “zendoodles”. After researching Zentangles I learned that a number of the book’s examples are Zendoodles or Zentangle-inspired art rather than actual Zentangles.

Short Synopsis of Totally Tangled

Outlines techniques for creating Zentangles and Zentangle-inspired art along with some basic tangle patterns.

My Thoughts on Totally Tangled

I’d stumbled across Zentangles by chance but didn’t want to invest in the “official” package because I already had the necessary art supplies; I only needed the instructions.

I decided on Totally Tangled because the description and reviews made it seem as though the book would be sufficient for beginners. As a beginner, my first read through (and attempted Zentangle) was a disaster.

Though it tells you the steps for creating a Zentangle:

“1. Dots- Using your pencil, make a dot in each corner of the tile. Connect the dots to form a border.
2. String- Draw the string.
3. Tangles- Switch to your pen and fill each section with tangles
4. Shading- Use your pencil to add shading and depth (see pg. 09)
5. Initials- As a final step, put your initials on the front of the tile, and sign and date the back.”

It doesn’t sufficiently elaborate on any of those steps. The book is strewn with “tips” which offer little extra insight and, as a whole, reads like a collection of disparate thoughts lacking cohesion and the reader must jump around from page to page making it difficult to focus on the task at hand. This was off-putting, to say the least.

In fact, after my first failed Zentangle I decided to set this book aside and leveraged the power of Google and YouTube for a better understanding of the process.

Once I had that understanding I was able to return to the book and use it for its patterns (i.e. tangles); that was this book’s saving grace–it’s nice having a handy tangle reference. Also, it’s inspirational if you want to branch out into Zendoodling (i.e. filling discernible pictures with a top and bottom, such as a fish or tree or person, with tangles).

So, while I wouldn’t recommend it for complete Zentangle beginners, it’s a good resource for tangles and creative inspiration.

*And before considering this book, I’d recommend viewing the following videos and websites:

Rating: Get It Used [C] (?)

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