REVIEW: Alice Hendon’s Artangleology Book Series

Artangleology? Boy, is that a mouthful!

But, if you break it down, Art – Tangle – ology. That’s not so hard to say. Or understand.

  • Art = an expression of human creativity
  • Tangle = a relaxing style of drawing patterns
  • -ology = a study of a branch of knowledge

Alice Hendon’s Artangleology series consists of four books – so far – she has more planned! The words ‘Tangle Starts’ are part of each title, because they are activity style books meant to ‘start’ your creativity and keep you creating. She has sent me a copy to review as each has been published. The latest just came out, so I thought I would review all of them here.

*AND … Alice has agreed to let me give away a copy of the latest book ‘Tangle Starts Treasures’! Details at my Life Imitates Doodle blog.

Alice Hendon Tangle Book Series

I should probably start by explaining more about tangling.

‘Tangling’ is similar to Zentangle®, and may even be Zentangle-inspired. Tangling places less importance on relaxation, the type of tools used, and the size of the finished piece, where Zentangle is very specific about all of these. Both are based around drawing patterns, using step-outs to show you how, and both use much of the same terminology, such as ‘string’, used to describe sections that separate different kinds of patterns.

What if tangling doesn’t interest you? No fear, the books can be used in other ways. You’ll see what I mean in my review of the first book.

All of the books are printed through Amazon Createspace with a soft-cover and glued binding. They all have an explanation of Tangle Basics, blank pages for testing out your pens to make sure they don’t bleed through, an explanation of how you might use the book, and lots and lots of pages for you to art on.

So, let’s look at each book.

Tangle Starts

Alice Hendon Tangle Starts Book Cover

Specs

  • No of Pages: 122 pages
  • Size: 8 x 10 inches

Do you wish you could create colorful multi-media backgrounds for your art, but don’t have the time or the money or the storage room for $$$$$ worth of art supplies?

Tangle Starts has 57 beautifully colored backgrounds for you to draw, tangle, doodle, and paint on. Alice used India Inks, water-based ink sprays, gelli-plates, stamps and stencils to create them.

Here’s an example.

Zentangle Painting Example by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

These pages are wonderful for tangling on, as I did here – though I didn’t use strings. I used Zebra Pen Zensations Technical pen to draw and added some color with Zensations Mechanical Colored Pencils.

Zentangle Painting Example by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

You can also use the pages for other art styles. I used a Zensations Brush pen for this one.

The paper is too slick for watercolor, but you can use clear gesso and then paint on that as I did here. I used QoR Watercolor and Kuretake Zig White Cartoonist Ink.

Christmas Tree Watercolor by Sandra Strait

You don’t need gesso in order to use acrylic paint.

Robin Painting by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

This is a great book if you want color but prefer to draw with pen and ink, or if you just don’t have the supplies to create mixed media backgrounds.

Tangle Starts Planner

Tangle Starts Planner - Tangle Through the Year Cover - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Specs

  • No. of Pages: 242
  • Size: 8 x 10 inches

The second book in the series is an undated planner, except for a two-page spread with monthly calendars for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. To keep the price down, the paper is lower quality than the paper in in the first Tangle Starts. The paper is an off-white with grayish dots spaced at quarter inches.

The book is divided into sections and each section has a suggested use – a future log, weekly spreads and so forth. But the pages are mostly blank so you can use it for anything you wish – sketchbook, journal, think-book or …. planner! It was put together with bullet journaling in mind.

There are 106 tangle pattern step-outs included, 92 of which have never been published in a book before and only a few of those have been posted online. Many people may want to purchase this book just for the patterns.  This drawing wasn’t done in the book, but it uses three of the patterns – Tophat, Corset and i-Wear.  They happen to be patterns that I came up with and let Alice use for the book.

Steampunk Art by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

Bullet journaling hasn’t sunk its teeth into my soul yet, so I’ve used my planner to list and sketch possibilities for the Fun & Easy Landscapes tutorials that I do.

Bullet Journal Visual Example Drawing Watercolor - Doodlewash

I found the paper handled pens and marker as expected for the price point. It isn’t bad, but you do need to test because some media will bleed-through to the back. I’ve had no problem with pilling but did have some feathering with certain markers, and fountain pen ink. As with the ‘Tangle Starts’ book, you can use clear gesso on the page, if you want to use watercolor.

Tangle Starts Strings

Tangle Starts Strings Book Cover by Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Specs

  • No: of Pages: 118
  • Size: 8″ x 10″ inches

Earlier I mentioned the word ‘strings’. This simply refers to ‘string-like’ lines that divide the area into sections. The idea is for you to draw a different pattern into each section. This is one of the boxes from the first page.

Zentangle String Getting Started Example - Doodlewash

On this page, I used technical pen, color brush pens, highlighters and colored pencils. Look at the box on the bottom left. That’s the example I showed you above, after I tangled in it.

Zentangle Strings Traditional Tangle - Doodlewash

There are 10 tangle pattern step-outs included, and 366 strings.

The paper performs as I would expect at the price point. It is not fountain pen friendly, alcohol marker and permanent marker bleed through (as they do on all but special coated papers).

Pen Test Page - Doodlewash

This book is less likely to be of interest to non-tanglers. However, if you’ve been intending to practicing your mark making – hatching, shading, line strokes, etc. – you might find this a great book for it. Practice can be boring, but the strings add some interest. You could do one a day in a few short minutes, your practice would look like art, and at the end of the year you’d definitely show improvement.

Tangle Starts Treasures

Tangle Starts Treasures by Alice Hendon Book Cover - Doodlewash

Specs

  • No: of Pages: 120
  • Size: 6″ x 9″ inches

Tangle Starts Treasures has just been published and it’s the first of the series published since I started doing videos, so I made one for this review.

This book is one that tanglers have been asking for. It’s a book dedicated to keeping track of pattern step-outs. It is smaller than the previous Artangleology books – the better to carry it with! You’re meant to have this book with you so you can record patterns you see around you.  You know, the ones from carpets, wallpaper, fences … Patterns are everywhere! It becomes a reference book that you can flip through and find your favorites once you fill it up.

A step-out shows the break-down and process of drawing a pattern. In this book, you are given sixteen boxes a page – four across and four down – in which to draw steps. This is easier to show than to explain. The custom is to use red pen for each new step and black for the steps that came before.

At the bottom of the page, there is a larger box where you can use your patterns.

Tangle Patterns Example - Doodlewash

There are enough step-out boxes for 376 tangle patterns. You may actually store fewer patterns than this, though. You might use more than one row for patterns that have more than 4 steps. Or, as I did in my example, you might decide to show how to shade or show variations on the pattern.

Non-tanglers might find this a good book for drawing thumbnail sketches of objects they encounter. It’s a handy size book, and would make a good reference for drawing as well as for tangling.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at my Life Imitates Doodles blog for a chance to win a copy of Alice’s book, Tangle Starts Treasures!

Disclaimer

Alice Hendon sent me copies of her books, Tangle Starts, Tangle Starts Planner, Tangle Starts Strings and Tangle Starts Treasures so I could review them. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews

I’m a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I’m a little bit crazy, but doesn’t that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways three times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

14 Comments
  1. Alice Hendon 2 months ago

    this looks great, Sandra, I so appreciate your reviews! I like that you included ways non-tangles may use these books. I think they could be useful to a lot of people. thank you <3

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      My pleasure, Alice! I’ve really enjoyed working in all of your books!

  2. Chris Zar 2 months ago

    Great review as always Sandra! I love Alice’s books! Have them all! I have fallen away from tangling, but am looking forward to long, cold winter evenings to reunite with it & Alice’s great books!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 2 months ago

      Thank you, Chris! I don’t tangle as much as I used to either, but there are times when there is nothing more relaxing!

  3. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    These look like fun! Thanks for the review, Sandra.

  4. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Thanks for the review, Sandra! Wish I’d had the book back when I was tangling; a great way to keep track of the step-outs.

  5. Mireya 2 months ago

    This is interesting and yeah what a great idea. I should paint more of these as they are relaxing and then just let myself go.

  6. Jodi Ballenger 2 months ago

    Wonderful review, Sandra. You described them perfectly! Alice has published other books too, which I have enjoyed immensely!

  7. Leslie Grindey 2 months ago

    very different . Great review very interesting to read

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