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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw QUANDARY

Zentangle pattern: Quandary. 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.Quandary is the latest Zentangle®-original tangle published by founders Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts.

Introduced at the tenth CZT® training class last September, this tangle has been under wraps for a while and I’ve been waiting for its release “to the wild”. Today’s the day!

It’s based on the “Flower of Life” and in a way it’s sort of related to CZT Molly Hollibaugh’s Fife tangle — but Quandary is a “pulled apart” version of the Flower of Life.

I have to confess I found Quandary particularly challenging though Maria describes it simply as a “tangle of 6 rice shapes … When trying this new tangle, take care to make each basic shape (that rice shape) with care and attention. If you continually draw them in the shape of the triangle … it will create a ‘flower of life’ like image of (more often than not,) 6 petals.

As much care and attention and deliberation as I give it, I still find it difficult to judge proportions well and I struggle getting the groups of rice shapes to come out to my satisfaction — aka perfect. Quandary challenges me the way Tripoli does.

In the end — in a quandary about how to draw Quandary — I came up with my own method for drawing it. I spaced the vertical rice shapes in offset columns as you see in solid black in my example. Then adding the remaining rice shapes wasn’t as difficult, the trick is visually keeping a very small O-shaped space in the center of each 6-petal “flower”.

Maria illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Quandary her way here. And don’t get me wrong, I’m going to persist in practicing it Maria’s way. One of these days my brain will “click” and I’ll get the organic version of both Quandary and Tripoli to my satisfaction.

Check out the tag zentangle for more Zentangle®-original 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.
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6 comments to How to draw QUANDARY

  • Sarah Mitchell

    I too had trouble with Quandry. Trying from their newsletter, I got the first and second boxes but after that I got confused. I even got colored pencils, one for each box. It was better but I am sure I will do better using your method. Who says we have to all follow the same way if we get the result? 🙂
    I am now struggling with Opus with an Aura. So far it is looking pitiful.

  • Denise

    I’m so glad you mentioned your struggles with Tripoli in your description. Besides Fengle the most challenging pattern for me is Tripoli. Already when entering the second “circle” with Tripoli the whole thing gets out of shape and proportion. I’ve filled pages hoping training will make it better, so far vitctory is not in sight. And I really love Tripoli, it is such a beautiful and cool pattern. Funny enough with Quandary it wen’t well right from the first attempt. I can keep the shape and the proportion. For me this one is soooo much easier to do.

  • Linda, thank you for sharing your challenges with these triangle based patterns. I, too, have fits over them. And for sharing a helpful method to help make Quandry do my bidding (not that you can or should get any tangle to bend to your will. They all have minds of their own, don’t they?) Cheryl

  • I have had to do that with african artist. I cannot get it looking the way I want following the original step out so have done my own based on circles.

  • Karen Lloyd

    I love drawing Quandry now. It took me awhile to understand to keep working in the triangle formations. But once I got that, it’s been fun and foolproof. Still working on keeping the shapes the same size, but I’m getting there. I also found it helpful to keep in mind that each end of the petal-like shape goes into the centre of a different flower. I’m loving it now. It’s become one of my fave tangles to draw. Thanks Maria. You are brilliant at deconstructing patterns.

  • Beth

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you so much for this site!! I am a newbie to tangling and I appreciated you expressing your struggle with this tangle! How challenging a rice shape can be 😉

    I tried and tried and could never get it “right” (aka 6 petals). My flowers looked like fortune cookies!! After much perseverance, this is what I learned:

    After I draw the first shape, I would imagine a middle line going straight up and begin the inside of the left rice shape there (a little off center) and come down to, but not touching, the first shape, then complete the rice. And then do the same to the right side; drawing the inside line down to the original shape and then completing it. I always keep in mind that Rick keeps turning the page and not worrying about the overall result. It’s amazing!!!

    Thank you again for the time you spend keeping this site going! It is much appreciated ??

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