‘Barney’ – Spring 2014 and a new Tangle

It’s been a looooooong winter for most of us in the northeast. A long, cold winter. So much so, that getting out has been difficult, and so much drawing and creating happened here chez nous, at ‘little cottage in the woods’.

Late last fall, I embarked on a winter’s project of making a ‘deck’ of 52+1 Artist Trading Cards to be swapped with fellow CZT’s this March (more on that in a future post). I also continued to make sketches in my little tangle notebook as I was inspired by new patterns.  A tangle slowly emerged, inspired by a fascinating digital image I found on Flickr….

I loved the 3d and geometric lines, as well as the interplay of shade and light, and as I sketched this out the tangle that started to form began to remind me of the barnacles we’d walk over when vacationing on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Maine every year….

'Barney' tangle in sketchbook


It starts with a basic hexagonal grid (and there are numerous ways of building these) but you can also start with Sandy Bartholomew‘s “Coop” tangle.

Then inside of each ‘cell’ create another hexagon shape by following the inside angles of the cell, BUT vary the size and placement of the smaller hexagons in each cell.  Don’t worry about perfect!  The funkier they are, the more fun!    Mix up the placement of these…



At this point everything else is just an option:  I like to break up the inside of the small hexagons by making a randomly placed DOT inside each one, or some of them, and then drawing from the dot into each of the small hexagon corners.  Again, be random with this.. it adds to the fun and surprise.   You can continue to use these guidelines to fill in more lines, or you can stop there.   You can also draw lines from each outside corner of the inner hexagon to meet it’s outer hexagon corner.

The real fun begins with shading and highlights.  I like to choose 3 adjacent sides of the outer hexagon and shade from the outside lines in towards the matching inside hexagon lines.. but leaving a bit of highlight as you shade inwards along the inner hexagon.   Then I like to shade INSIDE along the opposite lines.    You can really play with this, and if you’re working on a toned / painted paper, you can also use a white chalk pencil to bring out the highlights as well.    You can see this illustrated below, in one of the ATC’s I created for the deck I was working on…

Tangled, watercolor ATC by Sadelle Wiltshire, CZT #7

with shading and white pencil highlights on watercolor

As you can see from my sketchbook and step out… you can also play with this idea by using various sized circles with smaller randomly sized hexagons inside.  It has yet a whole other look! Take it even further by looking at the shapes of barnacles on this Wikepedia page

I’d love to see what YOU do with this tangle… you can go with a more organic look, or a more geometric look. It’s become one of my ‘go to’ tangles this winter, and I decided it was time to share it.  Enjoy!

Sadelle Wiltshire, CZT

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16 Responses to ‘Barney’ – Spring 2014 and a new Tangle

  1. Susie F says:

    I like this alot. I also looked up the Flikr page you mentioned. Those pictures are just begging to be tangles. I’m putting your new tangle in my journal today.

    • Sadelle says:

      Thanks Susie! I’d love to see what you do with it! Feel free to post a link here if you put anything up online! 🙂 Sadelle

  2. Fun! You should send it to Laura the DivaCZT for her Use My Tangle week challenge.

    • Sadelle says:

      oh…..thanks, Margaret! I will do that! And I was so sorry you couldn’t come to Tangle U. We all missed you alot. I had been looking forward to meeting you..

  3. Joan Fuller says:

    hey, this is fun. thanks for sharing it.

  4. Cari Camarra says:

    Ohhh I love this Tangle! I can’t wait to play with it!

    • Sadelle says:

      Thanks, Cari! It was a surprise to find it on TanglePatterns today. Great to see you this past weekend!

  5. Antonine Koval says:

    Brilliant! This is so versatile. Your color versions are stunning.

    • Sadelle says:

      Thanks, Antonine! I love the extra shading and highlight possibilities when tangling on toned paper or color!

  6. Wanda rader says:

    I looked at the Flickr images you referred to and was amazed to discover that these artists are really doing many Zentangles “in the round.” Three dimensional versions of what we draw. We should get together from the Yale School of Architecture and talk about this!

    • Sadelle says:

      Yes, Wanda…. patterns are everywhere! And so much in architecture. Ironic for me, as at one point in my college education, I started out as an architecture major. Who knew years later I’d return to art in a different way!

  7. kristina says:

    wow! thats all i have to say to this just wow. amazing job, they are really beautiful i love them! you really inspired me to start zentangleing

  8. Annette says:

    I’ve enjoyed using this pattern on several pieces: thanks for publishing it! The other day I included it in one for a Diva challenge and, working from memory, ended up with something I wasn’t too excited about. The rest of the tangles on the tile included floral elements in some form, and it suddenly occurred to me that I could easily (albeit laboriously) transform my “barnacles” into “flowers.” You can see what I ended up with here
    I was just wondering if you’ve come across (or created!) any other hexagonal flowers similar to these or if I managed to accidentally stumble across something new – or at least unpublished?
    Thanks again,

  9. Sadelle says:

    Hi Annette! Love what you did with this! I can’t say I have seen anything exactly like what you created with the rounded off petals in a hexagon, though I’ve seen a flower technique like that done with more regular/squarish grid patterns somewhere… maybe show it in one of the Zentangle Facebook groups and see if you can ‘crowd source’ your answer?

  10. Pingback: How to draw BARNEY « TanglePatterns.com

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