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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw FIFE

Zentangle pattern: Fife. Image © Linda Farmer and ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.The 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 WikipediaMaria 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.


Update 02/18/2016: In this 14-minute video courtesy of Sakura of America, CZT Molly Hollibaugh demonstrates how to draw Fife on Renaissance Tan tiles and gives some excellent tips on using these great tiles.

You can find the Sakura Micron pens here on Amazon:


UPDATE March 4, 2020 – Project Pack #8. As part of the Dancing in the Moonlight project pack, with Rick keeping her company, Maria tangles Well, Mooka, Tripoli, a “Kite on a String” motif, Printemps, Gourdgeous, and Fife on several different black prestrung Zendala tiles:


UPDATE December 15, 2020 – Project Pack #12. As part of the 12 Days of Zentangle, 2020 Zentangle Renaissance project pack, Maria tangles Fife on a square Renaissance tan tile.


UPDATE March 21, 2024 – Project Pack #23. As part of the Birth of the Zentangle Method project pack, Molly tangles Fife and Bunzo in this video:


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

Related Links

  1. Looking for tangles by Artist or Type? For details visit the ABOUT > HOW TO FIND TANGLES BY ARTIST OR TYPE page on the top menu bar of any page on the site.
  2. What is a Zentangle? — if you are new to the Zentangle Method, start here for the fundamentals.
  3. Zentangle terminology — a glossary of terms used in this art form.
  4. How to use the site — an excellent free video tutorial showing how to use the site as well as pointing out lots of useful features you might have missed.
  5. Linda's List of Zentangle-Original Patterns — here is the complete list of original tangles (aka "official tangles") created and introduced by founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, including those not published online. If you are new to the Zentangle Method I highly recommend learning a few of the published Zentangle classics first.
  6. "A Zentangle has no up or down and is not a picture of something, so you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a Zentangle." Thus patterns that are drawings of a recognizable naturalistic or actual object, figure, or scene, are not tangles. A pattern is not always a tangle — here's what makes a tangle. TIP: tangles never start with pencil planning.
  7. How to submit your pattern deconstruction to TanglePatterns
  8. For lots of great FREE tutorials on TanglePatterns, click on the TUTORIALS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page.
  9. Strings! Have we got STRINGS! Click on the STRINGS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page for 250 different (free) Zentangle-starters. More than enough for any lifetime!
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8 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.

  • Linda Farmer, CZT

    Update 02/18/2016: In this 14-minute video courtesy of Sakura of America, CZT Molly Hollibaugh demonstrates how to draw Fife on Renaissance Tan tiles and Molly gives some excellent tips on using these great tiles. To start with, don’t hurt them 😉 !

  • Thanks for posting Molly’s video, Linda! I always learn so much from watching a practiced hand. Fife is beautiful on a Renaissance tile!!

  • This is a wonderful tangle Molly, thank you for sharing, I love it and I use it a lot in my tiles.

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