Emily Suess

Author. Zentangle enthusiast. Brain cancer haver.

My Zentangle Art

Drawing is a beautiful distraction. See my doodle art and learn how to draw Zentangles with me.

My Memoir

Who You Gonna Believe is a webserial memoir better than reality TV. I’m spilling tea for free until May 31!

My Blog

Writing, Zentangling, chemo, insurance, moving, and disability—I blog about it all.

About My Channel

Draw with Me on YouTube

After a brain cancer diagnosis, brain surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, I needed a new hobby to help me relax, avoid existential angst, and flex what was left of my creative muscle. That’s when I found Zentangling. I do my best to post Zentangle videos regularly on my YouTube channel, but sometimes my cat Izzy and chronic illness get in the way.




needy cat


Zentangle Playlists

Open One Zentangle playlist on YouTube

One Zentangle a Day

Following the Book

My videos aren’t a replacement for Beckah Krahula’s wonderful book, but they do give you a preview of its contents and a place to start. This is how I started Zentangling.

Open 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns  playlist on YouTube

9 Easy Zentangle Patterns

Ongoing Series

In this video series I’m curating easy-to-draw Zentangle pattern sets. The first three pattern sets include organics and botanicals, lines and orbs, and hearts drawn on official Bijou tiles.

Open Tangled Talk playlist on YouTube

Tangled Talk

let’s hang out

Tangled Talk episodes are a tutorial-vlog hybrid where I fill you in on what’s happening with me. WARNING: Personal opinions included.

Who You Gonna Believe Cover

Who You Gonna Believe

WYGB is a monthly webserial memoir supported by Patrons. I didn’t know it at the time, but being married to a compulsive liar for four years taught me a survival skill that would later save my life.

Emily’s Disability GoFundMe

My mom is having her basement updated so that we can live with her and be closer to my brother and sister-in-law. It is exciting, but it is also very expensive because many of the renovations I need will have to be ADA accessible. Please share this fundraiser or consider making a small donation.


Blog Posts

Izzy Auditions to Be a Bodega Cat

I posted an update over on our fundraiser page, so I don't have a whole lot of energy to dedicate to blogging. Instead, I offer you a special holiday edition of #Caturday in which Izzy finds our soda stash in the garage and auditions to be a Bodega...
Text on salmon-colored background: it's Friday I'm in pain

It’s Friday I’m in…Pain

And just like that my good sleep streak is over. It was about 2:00 am when I fell asleep last night, and I didn't get up until around 9:00 this morning. It's Friday, and I'm in a whole lotta pain, kids. "I hurt so much. What is happening to me?" I...
Cartoon of bald head on teal background with text arc: Nothing Compares 2U

Nothing Compares 2U

For the past week I've been saying it's time to shave my head again. I've also been waking up every morning with the song "Nothing Compares 2U" by Sinéad O'Connor stuck in my nugget. Coincidence? I'll let you decide. Oh, and fun fact: the internet...
White text on black background: "This is my permanent record"

This is My Permanent Record

In case you were born yesterday, I'd like to preface today's post by announcing that the permanent record doesn't actually exist. It's a lie. Like Santa Claus and his naughty list. Like being told that sitting too close to the TV will make you go...
Animal Crossing New Horizons screenshot of character in summer clothes standing in front of a cute summer house

The Good Stuff

Today wasn't half bad. I've been sleeping well the last couple of nights. Of course, I'd like to know why that is so I can bottle the good stuff for later. But all I can do is speculate and marvel that I've woken up after about 9 hours of sleep in...

Featured Posts

Inktober 2020 Zentangle Tutorials

Inktober 2020 has come and gone, but you can complete my unofficial prompt list at any time and at any pace you like.

100 Things About Me

Many, many years ago the “100 Things About Me” post was was an absolute must for bloggers. I’ve updated mine in case it, like bell bottoms, makes a comeback.

Tangled Talk Video Index

A complete index of my Tangled Talk videos, with detail pages that include human-generated transcripts and a list of the supplies I’ve used in the video.

One Zentangle a Day Video Index

A complete index of my One Zentangle a Day videos, listing the Zentangle patterns covered for each day.


On Living with Chronic Illness

Figuring Out the Future When Illness is Your New Normal (Podcast)

Before my anyone knew what was really wrong with me, when doctors had misdiagnosed me with fibromyalgia, I did an interview for WHYY’s The Pulse podcast. In hindsight, I’ve come to loathe the phrase “new normal.”

Brain Cancer Diaries: Jumping Cancer Hurdles with Emily Suess (Video)

Rudy, the host of Brain Cancer Diaries, and I are practically diagnostic twinsies. Both diagnosed with grade 2 astrocytomas, we chat about brain cancer, health care costs, and the vultures of the disability insurance industry.

No End in Sight: Episode 72 - Emily (Podcast)

I had a chance to talk with Brianne Benness for No End in Sight, a podcast on chronic illness. We discussed brain cancer, misdiagnosis, and finding community online with other patients when we don’t fit neatly into diagnostic categories.

Bankruptcy the Norm for American Cancer Patients (Article)

In an interview with Hub News contributor Laurie Garlington, I discuss my experiences with health and disability insurance in the United States as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) considers changes to its publicly funded model.


No Patient Left Behind (Article)

I was interviewed by Jeffrey Billman for a feature on No Patient Left Behind. We discussed how the healthcare system in the United States added an extra layer of financial traumaeven though I was insuredon top of the day-to-day challenges of living a life with brain cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zentangle?
Zentangle is a method of drawing developed by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable kind of art built on learning basic patterns that I find highly therapeutic. I recommend you visit the official site at Zentangle.com to learn more.
Are you a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT)?
Nope. I’m just a huge fan of Zentangle who likes to share what I’ve learned and connect with other fans.
When were you diagnosed with brain cancer?
I was diagnosed with a diffuse astrocytoma on my brain stem in 2017. That diagnosis came after a years-long struggle with progressive disability. (I was originally misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2014.)
What did you do BEFORE?
Before the brain tumor got in the way of everything, I was a professional writer. I wrote technical copy for a software company and had a freelance writing business on the side. I earned a B.A. in English from IUPUI.

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