Beginners Guide Part 5

Welcome back! I hope you enjoy this journey so far. Today we will learn about grid based patterns.

My all time favorite pattern is Flower of Life. It’s been around for thousands of years and can be seen in many ancient drawings. The Flower of Life is a base pattern from which many other patterns emerge.

Flower of Life Base Pattern

Let’s begin with the Flower of Life pattern drawn on a grid – this pattern has it’s own name: Bales

Bales Base Pattern

We begin by drawing a grid. No, you don’t need to hunt for a ruler! We are not creating technical drawings, but artwork!

In step-outs you see the gridlines usually nice and straight. This is only for the purpose of clarity! And even though this is a beginners guide, I will open the door for you right from the beginning to move away from the straight, inflexible grid!

Organic Grid

See! You can’t do that with a ruler! 🙂

  • Begin drawing C-Shapes as shown in Step 1.
  • Before you start with Step 2, turn your tile! You are now drawing the same shape in exactly the same direction.
  • Turn the tile again and draw Step 3. And turn it again before you begin Step 4.

Let’s put this into action. Draw a string similar to the one shown below.

Sample Tile 1

Let’s add the grid.

Sample Tile 2

Continue with Step 1 and 2 – you need to pretend that the grid continues – keep the pen above the paper and draw the C-shape ‘in the air’ until you reach the part where the shape would be visible. Exactly at that point lower the tip of the pen and draw.

Sample Tile 3

Repeat for step 3 and 4

Sample Tile 4

Let’s just finish this tile with good old Tipple. You can use any other pattern. Mine looks like this:

Sample Tile 5

I am now going to add shadow using a circular motion with a 2B pencil.

Sample Tile 6

After that it is time to smudge the pencil with a paper stump.

Sample Tile 7

You could call it complete now. But I would like to share another trick. To make the section filled with Tipple stand out even more, outline the string once more with black. This really works well when you try to make a flower that is on top of another pattern stand out. I have also added highlights to Bales with my eraser. I then used a darker pencil (4B) to give some parts of the pattern more depth.

Sample Tile 8

And here it is – blended and ready to share with the world.

Sample Tile 9

Let’s look at the before and after side by side:

Sample Tile 5Sample Tile 7Sample Tile 9

To complete the Flower of Life topic, let’s look at the pattern itself.

Flower of Life Base Pattern

You can see the C-Shape used is exactly the same as in Bales. The only difference is the grid. Instead of drawing a full grid, you mark the points where gridlines meet with a dot. We refer to this as a Dot Grid.


Let’s explore the importance of HOW a pattern is drawn. So far I haven’t seen any reference to it anywhere.

What makes a pattern ‘zen’? To get into the ‘zone’ (the meditative state), repetition is required. Drawing the same shape over and over without distraction – focused, concentrated – will disconnect you from the world. It is a sort of self-hypnosis.

Carre's by Genevieve Crabe

Caree’s by Genevieve Crabe makes it quite clear that you are supposed to draw Step 1 in all sections first. Once you have completed drawing the squares, you move on to Step 2 and fill the area around the blocks in the entire grid. Only then should you move on to Step 3.

All Boxed Up by Alice Hendon

Looking at the step-out featuring All Boxed Up by Alice Hendon, it is not clear exactly HOW you are supposed to draw the pattern (yes, I think I drew that step-out. Just shows you that I am too, learning more every day). Step 1 includes 2 steps!

To get into zen-mode, draw all the lines in block 1, 3, and 5 first. Repeat that in the second row and any subsequent row. Then turn your tile and complete block 2,4, and 6. The repetition of drawing the pattern in this manner will get you into the ‘zone’ (the mediative state).

Below you find a few new string ideas to practice these new patterns. Create a monotangle for each of the new patterns (using only one pattern, changing the size, direction, fill options in each section of the string).

String 16

String 17

String 18

Please feel free to share your completed tiles with us in our Facebook Group: Tangle It! Pattern Club.

Tomorrow we will explore Filler patterns.

ZenHugs for now!