What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.


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How to draw FIFE

Zentangle pattern: FifeThe lovely new tangle Fife, named for the Flower of Life sacred geometry symbol, was created by Maria’s daughter CZT® Molly Hollibaugh. As Molly is an integral part of the Zentangle® family I’ve included this pattern in our list of Zentangle®-original tangles.

“It’s a little bit like bales. It’s reminiscent of tripoli. It uses hollibaugh‘s principle of ‘drawing behind’,” writes Rick in the Zentangle newsletter.

Fife looks intricate but consistent with the abstract Zen of Zentangle and true tangle patterns, it is simply one repeated stroke.

I really like this one and I discovered if you don’t feel like doing it in rice-shapes, it’s possible to draw the whole tangle using the same )-shaped curve while turning your tile. I found I got more consistent shapes doing it that way. There are all kinds of possibilities for variations on Fife.

The Flower of Life from Wikipedia

Maria illustrates the steps for drawing Molly’s tangle and includes two beautiful Zentangle tiles exploring Fife, here. There you’ll also find a variation using offset rows which relates to how the pattern got its name. Here’s a look at the Flower of Life, courtesy of Wikipedia.

For several beautiful Zentangle tiles Molly created while exploring variations on her new tangle, visit the blog here.

Check out the tag mollyh for more of Molly’s tangles on TanglePatterns.com.

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5 comments to How to draw FIFE

  • Dee Ditler-Prindle

    Is there a secret to drawing the Zentangle, “FIFE,” in a circular pattern? I have been trying but my results come out looking more like a square, or a triangle, or some warped pattern. I have tried my usual, “Helper Techniques,” (all gathered from the notes of other Zentangle Zealots), of using dots to mark the spots, using graph paper, and “Biggifying,” the pattern. I also have tried turning the tile/paper as I go along. This pattern, “FIFE,” has me stumped! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Also, visit the Wikipedia page for, “Flower of Life,” for lots of ideas regarding the pattern. Thanks and Happy Holidays! GingerKatte Dee

  • Hi Dee…

    First off I would use the second variation of Fife, as shown in Linda’s example above, where you start with a row of rice shapes, and then shift the rice shapes on successive rows over 1/2 a space.

    Then, and here is where I think the trick lies.. make sure when you make your rice shapes, that they’re nice and ‘fat’. The fatter ones seem to naturally want to show the design as something more circular.

    And if precision is what you’re after, then go ahead and try using light pencil dots to plot out your spaces first.

    Good luck and have fun!,
    Sadelle Wiltshire, CZT, Putney, VT

    • Dee Ditler-Prindle

      Thank you for your suggestions. I will try them with my next attempt at FIFE. I know practice makes perfect so lots of practice, along with your suggestion and the suggestions of other Zentangle Zealots, I should be able to master it! I love drawing Zendalas and Mandalas and FIFE is one of the Zentangles that is perfect for such images.

  • Linda Farmer

    Thanks, Sadelle.

    And this tip just in by email from Fife’s creator, Molly Hollibaugh:

    “I have not fooled around with it in a circle much … but my suggestion would be to make the dots for one row at a time. Connect them with the rice shapes and then do the next row so you don’t confuse yourself … but again I would have to spend a little time with it.”

    • Dee Ditler-Prindle

      Thank you! Your suggestions makes a lot of sense to my tangled up brain. I will try it as well as the suggestions made by others. I love this tangle and want to utilize it in Zentangles, ZIAs, OSWOAs and specifically, my mandalas.

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