Sunday, August 30, 2015

TIPPLE, and then some

Tipple is a simple and popular tangle that I imagine every CZT teaches an introduction class. But simple needn't be boring. There are many variations of this simple tangle, and I'd like to show you some.

While there are no online instructions for drawing Tipple, I’m fairly certain you can figure it out for yourself! This tangle is composed simply of various sizes of circles. The original tangle starts with larger circles, and continues filling with ever smaller circles until there's no more space.
On this tile I used various sizes of pen as well as  many variations of Tipple.
The two opposing corners were blacked in, then tangled in white ink.
You can draw the circles so they touch but don't overlap, or you can draw them so they do overlap. To me this is Tipple pebbles and Tipple bubbles. For an added bubbly look, break the line on the inside of a circle when the one you're drawing appears behind it.
There are a few examples of broken line bubbles in the tile below:

Instead of drawing ever smaller circles, try eliminating the smallest circles, and filling the background with black.
That look can vary further by drawing larger circles at the center of your section, surrounded by smaller and then smaller circles, with black around the periphery. Or, in reverse.

The placement of the circles doesn't need to be random. Try drawing the circles from teeny-tiny to large beginning at the periphery, or at the middle. It's even better once you add shading, and is rather striking when you use this method in adjacent sections (see the tile above). If you begin the tiny circles at the periphery you might start to wonder "What was I thinking?!?" - it can seem a bit tedious for the first couple of rows. Trust me, it gets easier and the effect is worth it.

It's not necessary to fill an entire section. Pretend the balls have weight and are tumbled into the dips and corners of other tangles.
And don't fret. Gravity can be wherever you want it to be. This is art, not scientific illustration.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Hibred, Lotus Pods, Phicops, Tipple
Tipple is terrific as a 'filler' pattern. Use it as an added element in other tangles for striking effects.
Tipple playing with Cadent, Paisley Boa, and Paradox
(For more about variations and fun with Cadent go to this blog post.)
(For more about variations and fun with Paradox go to this blog post.)
Tipple playing with Crescent Moon and W2.
There are lots of ways to shade and highlight a circle so that it appears more spherical.
You can use pencil:
You can use pen:

Moving slightly away from Tipple, I have seen it done where the circles/spheres are viewed more from the side and parts can't be seen.

Of course, you can always fill the circles, but then you're getting into making other tangles. There are quite a few tangles that begin like Tipple, with a lot of circles. Here are some you may like to try:

Finally, here's an all-in-one (well, almost) page for visual reference purposes.


  1. Nicely done, thanks for this tipplicious post! I adore tipple and use it very often.

  2. Great post. Tipple is a favorite of mine. You've given me more reasons to like it.

  3. Wonderful, thanks for all the tips, I don't know how you think them all up. Your tiles are wonderful, so precise and artistic.

  4. One of my group exercises is "Tipple Tangelations." I create a giant grid and invite my class to add as many tipple tangelations as they can. So far, we've had as many as 25 from one class. That is one versatile tangle.

    1. I'd love to see some of the ideas from your classes! And maybe add them to this post. ;)

  5. Oh my goodness! Thank you for the shoutout for Keenees!

  6. Thank you so much for all the work you put into the 'and then some' tutorials, they are a mine of information & gladden my heart.......... a virtual hug from me
    Paula (PEP)

  7. OH gosh, Margaret what a wonderful generous sharing of your talent. I am SO amazed at the time and effort you make to help us all out! I love your tutorials. When I hit "reader" on my Apple it turned this into a 7 page booklet! Which I keep in a treasured file along with cadet and paradox!

    1. So glad you enjoy them! They really make me think deeply about each tangle.
      I'm going to have to look into that Reader function. Hadn't heard of it before. Ahh technology. Can't live with it, can't live without it. :)

  8. I agree with the previous commenters. Thank you very much for this fantastic entry, Margaret! :)

  9. I concur with the others ... your "and then some" posts are fabulous! When I teach Cadent, I always mention your incredible exploration of that tangle posted about 2 years ago! I am, once again, so impressed by your ability to envision so MANY variations on a simple theme. I kept saying to myself, "I never would have thought of that!" Thanks so much, Margaret, for taking the time to share this wonderful study of Tipple with us. :)
    ~ Jan Brandt, CZT XII, Reno, NV

  10. Oh wow - such an easy pattern but so effective variations!!! I love Tipple and use it often but I am fascinated what you did with this pattern in these tiles :-) Great work and good ideas! I like your contrast and shading in your work.

  11. Isn't it just amazing what a circle can do?!!! Thanks for sharing this Margaret!

  12. Who would have thought tipple had soo many variations. I must go and play with it some more. Thank you for your inspiration

  13. I too am collecting all your " ... and then some" tangleations because i love all those three patterns. I think you`ve been very clever to come up with all those variations! Thank you very much for them!

  14. I just happened across this blog post from -- what an excellent post!! Thank you very much!! Even though I have only been involved with Zentangle for just over a year, Tipple has always been one of my favorites. There is something comforting in the repetitive drawing of it. Sometimes I totally lose myself in it. Thank you for your many contributions to Zentangle!!

  15. Thank You! It's 2016 and I only now decided there may be more to making lots of little circles, ah... "ORBS". My Oh My! And WOW!
    Again, Thank You

  16. Margaret, Thank you so very much. I am new to tangling and just discovered your "and then some" posts. They are a wonderful way for me to learn new tangles and develop ones I know. thanks to you, I am now realizing how much a person can do with each one. Thank you for sharing your talents!!