Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Tangles of Kells ebook

If you read all the way through my last post about the Minnesota trip, you saw the mention of my new ebook? I had been working on Yoga for Your Brain™ Inspiration Sketchbook #1 - The Tangles of Kells for a couple of months before the trip. But when I saw that the Saturday night movie at the retreat was scheduled to be "The Secret of Kells"... oh - boy that actually gave me a deadline to finish it up!! I wanted to be able to give copies of The Tangles of Kells to all my students.

In real life, The Book of Kells is a fabulous, super-fancy-decorated illuminated manuscript with impossibly ornate designs. Not at all in the Zentangle tradition (as far as easy to draw, "one stroke at a time" etc.) The patterns and the Celtic knots and little creatures and people took talented scribes ages to draw and paint.

The movie, The Secret of Kells, was nominated for an Academy Award. It is an animated tale "about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times."

You can see some of the gorgeous artwork on Flickr. And I just found out there is a graphic novel available for the iPad! You can rent the movie on Netflix or buy your own copy of The Secret of Kells on Amazon. I did both. I had watched it so many times with my daughter and then finally bought a copy so I could stop the scenes and draw the doodles and tangles. But seeing it on the big screen at the retreat was just spell-binding. The room was absolutely silent and I think most of us had our jaws hanging open. It is very hard to describe the beauty of the scenes. The animators are from many different European countries and have injected their own flavors and styles into the movie. The animation is flowing and luscious, not at all like the rigid contained images of an illuminated manuscript. And when it snows - the snowflakes are Celtic knots!! Of course.
Seriously, you just need to watch it for yourself.

This movie inspires me. So I created a little ebook to show some of that inspiration. The book is just under 30 pages. Yes, I know the pdf will tell you it is 16 pages, but the pdf reader is seeing each two page spread as one page. It is a little book, but has a lot of stuff in it. Kind of seems to be how I roll. My books are small but packed.

 I did learn a lot in the process - and I have had a ton of comments from people who bought the book over the weekend. The covers are black, and yes, they use a lot of ink to print. I didn't design them for print, but for the iPad. I like the look of the little Moleskine journals that I usually draw in - and my original AlphaTangle book. Black covers. If you are printing the book, you might want to NOT print the back cover. And use landscape orientation - print "sideways". Each two page spread will fit on one regular piece of paper this way.

When I printed my own copy of the book, I used my color laser printer and only printed on one side of each sheet. I folded each sheet in half and glued the backs of each page together, but only along the front edge. I folded the covers in a similar way, with the extra, blank part forming a flap inside the book... and some Japanese tape as the binding. I can open the book like an accordion and see all the pages at once.

Other people have told me that they are spiral binding their copies. Or just sticking the pages in a binder. A few people have told me to put the book on Amazon or And a few more have asked why it is not available as a printed book. Sigh. Let's just say it's an experiment. And I hope you enjoy it.
If you folks like this little ebook, I have ideas for others that I would like to do!

Sandra Strait did a review of the The Tangles of Kells on her blog today. She is incredibly thorough and very honest - plus she makes the most incredible "samples" to test out my tangles!

You can order the The Tangles of Kells in my Etsy Shop or from my website. The website is more immediate, as soon as you pay, the shop will send you an email with the link to download your copy. If you order through Etsy, you will have to wait until I check MY email and then send you a link. I am quite a bit slower than a computer!

My website is and you will notice a large red button on the upper left that says "Shop". Click that, then the picture of the book you want. It is very easy. And fast. If you have any problems let me know. Well, problems with ordering or downloading - I can't guarantee that I can help you with other problems, but you can tell me anyway. I'm a good listener. :-D


  1. love the book sandy and i love the pdf format as well. i always copy pages that i'm interested in a reduced form so i can take em with me without having to carry the book. with the pdf form i just printed it in a 4x6 format and i have a little half size book. love to see the other books you have ideas for!

  2. Sandy - you don't want to hear my problems! You know how they are meant to come in three - well ours seem to be 3 to the power of 3 - they just keep rolling in like waves! Thank heavens for Zentangle - I've been immersed for the last 6 weeks and by the looks of things, will be for several more!

    Anyway, got my book and I love it - the tangles are so true to the original zentangle concept - simple but with the ability to use them in a complex way. Also, they aren't "representational." So many of the new tangles coming out, although lovely, look too much like Things - I am finding I need/want to go back to the roots of Zentangle.

    Thank you for this wonderful book - I am thrilled that you are thinking of doing more. The PDF format is excellent and very flexible.


    1. Thanks Jakki! I love all kinds of tangles and doodles - abstract and representational. I like to give a variety of ideas so everyone can find something that appeals to them. Some people love the more graph-based designs that have optical illusions - that would be a fun ebook too... but this one definitely has a more free quality to the patterns.

      As for problems in threes - you are SO right. This past week my daughter, my cat, AND the water boiler... all three had urinary tract infections. Go figure. But don't forget that "3 is also a magic number" (according to Schoolhouse Rock!)

  3. Hi, Sandy,
    Oh, I love my copy of the Tangles of Kells! Now I have to see that movie!

  4. I have a question. Do you tangle on your iPad? What app do you use? I haven't found an app that I like for tangling and am wondering what everyone else is using. Can't wait to download your newest book. Kathie in B'ham, AL

    1. I don't tangle on my iPad yet, but I just started taking a FABULOUS online class about using your iPad as an Art Studio. It's by Jessica Weselok, the creator of Sheer Heaven. I'll be doing a post about her soon. Here's the link:

  5. Love it! YES, create MORE!!!!!!! Definitely have to watch the movie with my granddaughters and without with pen in hand.

  6. Blogged here! - love your new ebook!

  7. Oh I wish I had known about this book sooner. How did I miss it? I am waiting for a replacement debit/credit card so I can buy this and your cards for a birthday present to myself :-) The waiting is killing me ! Haha. You are without a doubt my favorite tangle book author/artist ! I plan to give your books as Christmas gifts this year for my daughter in law and step son and 7 year old grand daughter and friends. Maybe we will all be blessed by a new book by you I hope.....soon please!
    Hugs, Mary Leavelle


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