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Pattern: Heartstrings

We went to the dentist today - I have been seeing the same guy for almost 40 years - even when we lived in Singapore, I would book my appointments during our visits back home - no idea what I'll do when he retires! Well, today I went in sure that I was going to be up for a 2nd root canal and it turned out to be just a cracked tooth. Not real happy about that either, but so, so much better than what I was expecting.

Day 2 pattern - Heartstrings. It's pretty much Olb (which I sooooo wish I had thought of a better name for, but, whatev, it's done and time to move on).

This one has heart shaped outlines. I really like how the negative space fills out.

I've drawn complete hearts in the sample, but have also drawn the pattern by working a row of "half hearts"in a continuous line, then repeating on the next row to complete the heart shapes. Whatever works best for you.

Updated: You can find the VIDEO and some pattern variations for Heartstrings in this post.

Here's a look in my journal where I've been playing with pattern ideas I've been scratching out onto random bits of paper over the past few weeks.



  1. Helen I love these new tangles you are sharing!

    For some reason, I find the curves which make up Olb (and other patterns like it) almost impossible to get the rhythm for - and I always seem to end up terribly disappointed in the end results.

    I have attempted to do multiple tries, but as I am "doing something wrong" to start with, the samples never seem to improve!

    Though I have no doubt the movements come naturally to you - could you suggest a way that those of us (i.e. me!) who are having a devil of a time can learn to move their hand rhythmically. The first thing that comes to mind is a sheet rather like the ones we got in school when we were learning how to write - dotted outlines and then those terrifying empty spaces where we were meant to make our own perfect waves!!!

    I feel so silly asking, but I am reluctantly steering clear of patterns that are formed in the way your orb and leaf patterns are because of this mental block. i know we aren't meant to be aiming for perfection but disintegrating into chaos isn't the aim either!

    My mind is very cluttered at the moment - my daughter has just been diagnosed with lymphoma - we aren't sure exactly what kind yet, so my attempts at a zen meditative state is being assaulted from all sides - and I feel a need to accomplish something and have control over it!!

    I get a lot of joy and peace looking at your delightful designs - they have an inner beauty and calmness that buoys me at any time, but even more so now. I have 'liked" you on Facebook and it is a great pleasure to see your work pop up there when I go to "visit" my son who is in South Korea with his wife, and my other mates who are dear to me.

    Kindly - Jakki

    1. Hi Jakki :) Thank you!

      I understand your difficulty in forming the wavy lines that makeup the backbone of these pattern - let me think on it for a bit and see if I can come up with some ideas. There's always a way around!

      I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter - I hope that the news is best possible in this situation when you get a final diagnosis.

      I am having fun with facebook, hoping that I can keep it all up when school returns in a few weeks :)

      Thanks helen

    2. Hi Jakki,
      I rarely, if ever, post anything (many would call me a lurker!). But when I read your post I knew I had to respond because I know just how you feel.

      Thanks to a great art teacher in college I learned a few tricks to help me when I find myself thinking "I can't do that". I suggest turning the design you are trying to duplicate upside down. In the case of the hearts, try turning the guidelines horizontal and drawing the hearts "sideways". Now you have those guidelines like the paper in grade school. Instead of drawing hearts, you're drawing waves.

      If that doesn't work for you try drawing the negative space or using your non-dominant hand.

      Even if the results aren't what you're looking for, it may be enough to move you past the difficulty. You may even come up with a great variation or a new tangle!
      Also, it's good to remember , "There are no mistakes in Zentangle".

      Wishing you and your daughter the best!

    3. Some terrific suggestions there! The only thing I have been able to think of is to have dots spaced evenly along the lines and use them as a guideline to draw to for the extreme point of each curve. Hope something here helps, Jakki.

    4. Hi Jakki,
      So sorry to hear about your daughter. Your mind isn't cluttered--it's adjusting to a new stressor, and eventually you will notice that things are back to normal. The steps you are taking (trying a meditative state, trying for control) are healthy responses. It just takes time. Things have a way of working out in the long run. The path isn't easy, but you will eventually be able to take something useful from it all. All the best to you and your daughter--and also to the rest of your friends and family.

    5. Hi Jakki~ Ladyinredwoods gave a great tip (turning the design)I was having the same problem and that's what I did, without reading her post, and it worked for me. Hanging in there Jakki, I will keep you in my prayers.

  2. helen - i love your ideas! always fresh and fun - thanks for being so willing to share with us :)

    and, happy valentine's day tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Alice. Hope you had a wonderful valentines day, too!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, I love hearts and I'm always glad to see another pattern.

  4. Very pretty and fun to do. Happy Valentines Day!

  5. I love this design. Interesting that you do your tangles in a ? hardback journal book.

    1. Hi Joan. Thanks! I do all of my drawing in A4 art journals - so I have lots of messy pages, things I don't finish, etc, all thrown in together. I like that it's a record of my drawing "journey".

  6. Ooh, this is a cute space filler for my doodling! I'm not great at wavy lines either, but can't wait to try it out. :)

  7. Ksenija VojisavljevicFebruary 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    I love it!

  8. Love this design Helen, thank you for all your work that you do on your designs. At present I am trying to get my young grandchildren interested in this too, they are keen.
    I'm originally from England, have lived in the USA for the past 36 years but the strange thing is I have a friend who grew up on my street in England, family emigrated to Oz and they also live in Yarra Valley. We all get connected sometime I guess. Once again thanks for your page. Have a good one.

    1. Hi Yvonne! Glad you're enjoying the patterns :) Hopefully your grandchildren love it - my youngest daughter loves to draw but not really interested in tangles.

      The Yarra Valley is beautiful, definitely worth a visit if you ever come out to see your friend - just not in winter - very muddy and wet! hx


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