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

Packing and Decluttering text on background of yellow wall and moving boxes

Packing and Decluttering for the Move

Last week Mom came up to Urbana to help us start packing and decluttering. The week before that, my brother and sister-in-law helped us make some repairs in our main bathroom. (That was after my SIL ran 13.1 miles. She is unstoppable.) We don't...
Featured image for my cancer diet post: box of takeout food next to laptop while person holding a smartphone and typing

My Cancer Diet

My cancer diet caveat:I'm not telling you what to eat. I'm talking about what I eat. If you feel like you need to tell me what I eat is wrong, knock yourself out. But know that I don't care, particularly if you're not my doctor. Before I knew I had...
Emily Writes a Bullshit in white letters on a teal background with closely cropped headshot of Emily

Emily Writes a Bullshit

On Thursday night I started deleting more than 77,000 tweets and 91,000 favorites from my Twitter timeline.  "I regret all that time I wasted making content for someone else," I told Dan while TweetEraser chugged away for several hours. If you...
Who You Gonna Believe webserial memoir cover

Brain Tumor, Social Media, and WYGB

Brain Tumor: Today's visit with my oncologist "Did you see your results?!" That's the first thing my oncologist said to me at my appointment this morning. It must be as fantastic to give good news as it is to receive it. Especially if your patient...
Boomer sleeping on the couch wearing a cone of shame after his liver surgery.

News! Sorta.

So much has happened since I last blogged. So. Much. There were shingles that derailed my Christmas plans. (I still haven't seen my family and have unwrapped gifts in my house!) Then there was a sinus infection. The usual chemo side effects. And...

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

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

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

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.

No Patient Left Behind

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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