Suzanne McNeill
Suzanne is often known as “the Trendsetter” of the arts and crafts industry. Dedicated to hands-on creativity, she constantly tests, experiments and invents something new and fun. Suzanne is the creative woman behind Design Originals, a publishing company dedicated to all things fun and creative. She is an artist, designer, publisher, TV personality, columnist, art instructor, author and lover of everything hands-on.

Ideas for Spring

     View a YouTube... Tangle a bouquet of beautiful spring flowers - add brilliant color with  markers.

Some of my favorite Art and Soul Students in Kansas City

      I just received my copies of Zentangle 9 and Zentangle 10. I am really excited about both of these books, Zentangle 9 is full of beautiful mixed media art and tangles, the YouTube video this week is one of the fun projects from this book. Zentangle 10 features tons of easy paper projects incorporating tangles. Of course they both have new tangle patterns. 

     Just returned from another fabulous Art and Soul Retreat, this one was held in Kansas City. Next stop Art and Soul Retreat in Portland, OR in April, and Art and Soul  in Virginia Beach, VA in September. I absolutely love attending and teaching at these events. It is pure heaven to be able to spend a week totally absorbed in art making and friend making. I consider each student a new friend and love that many of my old friends are recurring students. Another big plus for me is coming home with a heart full of inspiration and a handful of new art projects.  

     Even though I enjoy teaching I always leave a little time on my schedule to take workshops too. There are so many wonderful instructors that I don't want to miss. I want to share some mini-videos of the workshops that I will be teaching at upcoming Retreats. There is still space in a few classes... Hope to see you at an Art and Soul Retreat soon! 

     Portland Art and Soul Workshops

     Virginia Beach Art and Soul Workshops

Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!! 

                                             Zentangle #135


The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Art Show with Zentangle®

       I just wanted to send a quick note to let interested Tanglers know about an Art Show here in Texas. We'd love to see you at the show or at the Sparks Studio gallery.

Zentangle® and Gelli Arts

     View a YouTube, add some tangles to cute little wooden bird forms. I found these fabulous flat bird forms with wire legs at my local craft store and thought they were perfect for accessorizing a table or giving as a gift. 

Speaking of birds a little bird told me Zentangle® has been in the news recently. Sherida Warner of The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, CO wrote a wonderful article featuring quilter and Certified Zentangle Teachers Nancy Smith, Judith McCabe, Bonnie Browning,"the quilted tangler", and myself in an article titled "Zentangle Art Zooms into the Mainstream Consciousness"

Zentangle has come a long way!!

In February I gave a demonstration to the Granbury Arts Association on Gelli Plate printing... one of my newest obsessions. I love using my prints for journal pages, greeting cards, mixed media art and fabrics. Jeanette Alexander of The Hood County News wrote a lovely article about the Gelli printing process as well as mentioning my love for Zentangle. My married name is Sparks - the new studio I opened is Sparks Creative Arts Studio so... I love the title of the article... "She's Like a Spark Plug" makes me sound so exciting!!   

      My newest book, due out in May, is 'Gelli Arts'. Half of the book is devoted to instruction and processes using the Gelli plate, the other half is a gallery of ideas by guest artists. The projects include some wonderful ways to incorporate Gelli prints into paintings, ways to use them in your quilting, as well as how to make your own totes and bags, and many other fun ideas.

Nancy Smith has some wonderful videos on Quilters Newsletter TV. She demonstrates how to make quilted Zentangle art cards as well as pillows, the videos are free and can be accessed any time.  Nancy is also co-hosting a fabulous Quilting tour in Italy "Tangling in Tuscany". I have always loved traveling, and mixing travel with art is my absolute favorite way to go. Imagine taking one of these luxurious trips and learning from some of the best.

Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!! 

                Zentangle #134 


The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Zentangle® on Glass & Ceramics

View a YouTube, use dishwasher safe DecoArt® markers to add tangles to glass and ceramics. It is so easy to make a great gift. 

     Not sure how many times I have said this... but it bears repeating. Zentangle inspiration is everywhere! Especially prevalent in products at the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show I recently attended in Anaheim, CA. Not only stencils and stamps that use lots of unique pattern designs but a lot of companies now have their own version of repetitive line drawing or "doodling". More and more books are being published, marker companies are picking up on the trend as well as other manufacturers. It's a tangled world.  I have really seen the art of repetitive pattern designs resurge since the introduction of the Zentangle® drawing method to a wider audience some years ago.

          This year at CHA I was pleased to host a "Beauty of Zentangle" workshop for retailers, I also did a few Zentangle make and takes at the Design Originals  booth to promote 'Zentangle 9 - Color with Mixed Media' and 'Zentangle 10 - Origami and Paper Crafts'... each book not only features new tangles but other ways to incorporate tangles into your art. 

     DecoArt has introduced some fabulous markers for glass and ceramics... perfect for adding tangles to mugs, plates and many gift items. I had a fun time in their booth doing Zentangle make and takes on ceramic tiles. These great markers are easy for anyone to use, and bake in a home oven to make permanent tangles that are dishwasher safe. I hope you'll take a moment to look at this week's YouTube video.

Penny Raile CZT #2, Nancy Javier, Barbara Finwall and me CZT #2.

     While in California I took the opportunity to visit with friends Penny Raile, Nancy Javier and Barbara Finwall. We spent a whole day at the Los Angeles Art Show held every year. New artists as well as famous artists are exhibited here... tons of inspiration. 

Zentangle was on our mind of course... during lunch Barbara noticed a beautiful pattern of purple beet juice on her plate so she got out her Micron and tangled on it! 

Nancy and I fell in love with this big guy! 

Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!

              Zentangle #133


The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Excitement for 2014!

     View a YouTube, tangle some dreamy hearts on canvas for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day. 

     Once again it has been a busy, busy year. My guess is that it has been a busy year for everyone. Luckily my year was filled with many wonderful creative art related ventures, I hope you were able to take time for your art as well. My biggest endeavor was opening my new painting studio and art gallery, Sparks Studio of Creative Arts. I downsized from a huge warehouse to a smaller and more manageable building in downtown Arlington, Texas. Not only does it allow me to teach a few of my favorite workshops but I get to learn from some fabulous artists who host their own workshops at the studio. - - - Teaching at the Art & Soul Retreats is such a pleasure. I taught at Portland, OR and Virginia Beach, VA this year. Being surrounded by so many artists who each bring their own unique style to each workshop is one of my most inspiring experiences. - - - In my spare time I authored six new books in 2013, Art Journals and Sketchbooks, Rust and Patina,    Zentangle 9, Zentangle 10, Beauty of Zentangle and my newest book, Gelli Arts.  What I love about doing books is getting to play in all mediums and discover new things about each one. - - - In November of 2013 I took a fantastic trip to India with Catherine Parker, "Drawn to India". I can't wait to share some of my best India experiences with you in an upcoming blog post. - - - Another highlight of my year was welcoming in my 9th grandchild on December 22nd, he was the perfect little Christmas present. We brought him home from the hospital on December 25th. Merry Christmas Benjamin!!

      Of course I always start the new year off with a trip to the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show. I shouldn't count the years but I have been going to this international show since 1970. It never fails to ignite a spark of creativity and introduce me to some new people and projects. I will share some of my favorite finds with you when I return. If you happen to be going to CHA I will be teaching a workshop and signing free copies of 'The Beauty of Zentangle' at the Fox Chapel booth #1208.  Hope to see some of you there.

     Saturday - January 11
     11:30 - 1:00     Zentangle® Make n Take
       1:00 - 2:00     Book signing 'The Beauty of Zentangle'

     Sunday - January 12
       9:00 - 11:00   Zentangle demo
       1:00 -  3:00    Zentangle on Glass demo at the Deco Art booth #1215

     Monday - January 13
       8:00 - 10:00   BIG Zentangle Workshop
     11:30 -  1:00    Zentangle Make n Take
   Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!

                Zentangle #132


The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Creativity with Rust and Patina

     View a YouTube, have fun using VerDay reactive metal paints  to create beautiful "industrial chic" art, home decor, jewelry, and accessories.

     Nothing beats Mother Nature for creating beauty. I have always admired the variety of textures, rusts and patinas collected on various metals after years and years of exposure to the natural elements.  My friend, Cindy Shepard, actually cultivates these deposits by keeping an outdoor junk bucket. She fills the bucket with all types of metals including cans, nails and utensils, even old skates - and checks it every now and then for 'progress'. A great idea, however it does take a long time for the metals to react..... I don't have that long!  The solution is VerDay reactive metal paints from Ten Seconds Studio.

     In the book Rust & Patina Style  I use this fabulous reactive metal paint on everything!!  I added genuine rust and verdigris patina to wood, paper mache, gourds, fabric, paper - even tennis shoes and journals. It works like a charm on all of these surfaces.

    Gourds are a favorite canvas for me, I love the way the paint works on these fun shapes. I just added a few nifty little sun faces molded from Apoxie Clay, (another great surface for VerDay paint). Play with texture, stencils and drips to create some beautiful effects. 

    A handy little VerDay 5 piece set comes with everything you need to create rust & patina for art, accessories, jewelry and clothing. A perfect gift for an artist - or give one to the gardener in the family to add wonderful textures and colors to the garden. 

Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!

               Zentangle #131

Wild Lettuce

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Zentangle® Retreats

     View a YouTube, talented tangle artists share wonderful ideas and projects from the Zentangle Retreat sponsored by Angie Vangalis CZT.

    In the video I am sharing this week you will see many of the attendees from the CZT Marketing Retreat showcasing some of their talents and also giving us really good ideas on new "tangle projects", many of them would be perfect for holiday gift giving. Bonnie Pewterbaugh creates beautiful scarves with an ancient art form called Katazomi,  a paste resist technique using handmade stencils. Sampada Agarwal  has a great idea for turning kitchen hot pads and cup towels into a one of a kind gift set. Many other fabulous ideas are on the video.

    Zentangle is growing so fast, it is a joy to watch the spread of this phenomenal art form. There are classes, workshops and retreats all over the world. This is Angie's third annual retreat and a wonderful gathering opportunity for Certified Zentangle Teachers. A time for meeting like-minded friends, and sharing ideas, new projects and our love for Zentangle.

     One of my favorite workshops to teach is tangling on small canvas bags, I taught this at Angie's retreat. These are so fun to do, I use the Pentel Gel Roller pen for Fabric. These would be perfect to use as little gift bags for holiday gifts. Last year on my blog I featured some extraordinary beaded Christmas ornaments from Susan and Lucie Meeks. There is a YouTube on the Design Originals channel you can review to get you in the mood to create your own "tangled tree".

Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!

                    Zentangle #130 


The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

'The Beauty of Zentangle' coming soon in German

     View a YouTube, get a peak inside 'The Beauty of Zentangle' as well as other Zentangle® books and learn the basics of the art form. 

     The YouTube I posted this week serves as an introduction to the wonderful world of tangling. 'The Beauty of Zentangle' has been chosen by a European publisher to be translated into German. I was asked to do a promotional video for them in order to present the story of Zentangle to a German audience. They plan on translating some of the other Zentangle books as well.  Of course I can't speak a bit of German, the book will be translated with 'voice over' in German. I can not wait to see me Deutsch Sprechen (speaking German).

     I was thrilled to work with so many talented artists on 'The Beauty of Zentangle'. The book really is a wonderful example of what artists from all over the world are accomplishing with Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA's). Co-author, Cindy Shepard and I will be hosting a book signing party at Sparks Studio in Arlington, Texas on Saturday,  October 26th.  Several other guest tangle artists featured in the book will be on hand to sign their pages as well. Books are available for purchase or bring your own copy - Cindy and I will be happy to sign them.

 Paula Pillow teaching on an Open Play Day at Sparks Studio.

     A Play Day party will also be held in conjunction with the book signing. Lots of fun, supplies and teachers to guide you through some great mini-workshops. Have you experimented with the Gelli Arts Printing Plates? We will be providing papers and fabrics and show you techniques to use to make your own Gelli Art. Experience making your own memory foam stamps, this unique product allows you to use almost anything as a basis for your stamp designs... we'll show you how.

                         Play Day Activities

     Make your own tiny Doodle Bug Book too - using watercolors, markers, stamps and images. The Play Day would not be complete without a Zentangle project, learn the basics of this amazing art form and new tangles. Take home a Micron pen, an official Zentangle tile, Gelli Art fabric and paper, and a memory stamp... all with your art. For more information you can visit the Sparks Studio website. Stop by and bring a friend!!

Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!

          Zentangle #129

Tire Treads

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Intuitive Art Journals & Sketchbooks

     View a YouTube, get some fun and useful tips to help create beautiful and interesting pages in your travel journal. 

     My favorite buzzword in the art world is "intuitive", I love applying this word to my method of journaling. Intuitive is another word for instinctive. Art is instinctive for so many of us. We may get caught up in what we have learned is the "right way" to draw a horse or use watercolors but when you let yourself make art instinctively you often find your true self and artistic style. You are free to fill your sketchbooks and journals with whatever you are thinking of at that moment or dreaming of for the future. 

      I have kept personal sketch-journals for many years. Recorded in these valuable books are memories of travel, friends, family, events and ideas. In putting together the book 'Ideas & Inspirations for Art Journals and Sketchbooks'  I get to share my techniques, thought processes and tips that have kept me inspired to journal these many years. 

     Teaching an Intuitive Art Journal class is another way I keep myself inspired to journal, I love seeing the wonderful art created by my students.  Student Cara Mozulski was so creative with her journal pages on elephants... I love the butterfly wings for elephant ears!

     I taught this class at the Guadalupe Rubber Stamp Store and Artisan in Sante Fe, New Mexico this year.
TIP: Jot down October 17-19, 2014 on your calender - Artisan Expo will be in Santa Fe again (tons of discounted art supplies, lots of great teachers, and an opportunity to visit  Art Mecca for inspiration). I hope to see you there.
    I will also be teaching 'Intuitive Art Journals' at Art and Soul in 2014. Hope to see some of you there, and keep journaling! 

Zentangle Pattern, enjoy and create!!  

Zentangle #128

Seminole Patchwork

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

Yoga for the Brain Zentangle® Cards

     View a YouTube, get an up close view of Sandy Steen Bartholomew's new decks of 'Yoga for the Brain - Tangle Cards'. Full of fun Zentangle® patterns.

     The quirky, arty, multi-talented Sandy Steen Bartholomew has done it again. She has come up with the most adorable packs of 'Tangle Cards'. You can choose from 4 different sets. Each set includes basic zentangle instructions, which makes it a great gift item for an aspiring artist. An index card is included with each deck listing the card number and tangle. The Kidz Edition has steps and strings especially for children, it even includes a card with variations on her cute Lilah Beans. For those who create their own tangles or want to have a deck devoted to their favorites the set of 20 blank tangle cards is perfect.

     Why not host a Time to Tangle Party. Each person can select a random card from the deck of 'Tangle Cards' and draw it on a canvas cloth. My favorite tools to use for this is the Roc-Ion Multi-Purpose Cloth and Sakura Permapaque markers. Once you have finished the game you add a few coats of clear varnish to have a lovely wall or floor cloth.

     Art and Soul in Portland runs from September 30 thru October 6. I am always excited to teach as well as take some classes from other fabulous artists. It was really heart warming to receive this email from one of my past students. 

     Joyce wrote to me... "Life has been pretty complicated since I took your class at Virginia Beach but you have started something!!  I have been painting  on cotton, and satin and making incredible art quilts.  Many many thanks for a great class and tons of inspiration!!  Attached are photos of art quilts I made based on quotes from The Little Prince by St. Exupere.  These are just a few of the painting I've done with Sharpie markers and alcohol. I am getting rave reviews -- have sold some of my quilts already!!  THANK YOU!!"


      Beautiful art quilts Joyce (,  thanks for sharing. I will be teaching this popular class "Dyeing with Sharpie Markers" at Art and Soul on October 2nd and also at Sparks Studio

Zentangle Pattern, enjoy and create!!  

                                             Zentangle #127 

Mixed Signals

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at

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Recent Posts

  1. Ideas for Spring
    Wednesday, April 02, 2014
  2. Art Show with Zentangle®
    Saturday, March 08, 2014
  3. Zentangle® and Gelli Arts
    Thursday, March 06, 2014
  4. Zentangle® on Glass & Ceramics
    Wednesday, February 12, 2014
  5. Excitement for 2014!
    Thursday, January 09, 2014
  6. Creativity with Rust and Patina
    Wednesday, December 11, 2013
  7. Zentangle® Retreats
    Tuesday, November 19, 2013
  8. 'The Beauty of Zentangle' coming soon in German
    Tuesday, October 22, 2013
  9. Intuitive Art Journals & Sketchbooks
    Wednesday, October 16, 2013
  10. Yoga for the Brain Zentangle® Cards
    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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