Five & Tenfold Islamic Geometric Patterns

Home of  the #tutorialtuesday  #fivefoldfun activities from September & October 2020 but great to work through any time at your own pace.

If you enjoy the free resources, any size donation welcome to help sustain my work!

This page collects together the relevant tip, tricks, recommendations, YouTube videos & art work that will help you work your way through this family of patterns with a series of activities. Suitable for those of you have drawn a little before or brave beginners!  P.S Patrons on my Patreon Creators Page get YouTube Early Access the Friday before I publish my new videos on the following Tuesday. Click here to find out more.

​This week we have two videos both tenfold rosette tutorials. If you have a go, share photos & videos of work in progress and final art work using the #fivefoldfun hashtags & tagging me in the posts on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.  We can see each other’s constructions and creations. I’ll try to share your photos & videos each morning through the week. This challenge ends on Tuesday 6th October. My favourite(s) will be announced on Thursday 8th October to win access to my two online Islamic Geometry courses.

Week 1 - Quality Tools

Activity 1 - Watch Vintage & Modern Compasses & Kit Overview and make sure you have quality tools ready for next week.

​We’ll be easing into these activities slowly as I’d love for everyone to get to know and have the right kit before we are knee deep in constructions and the problems & inaccuracies from school compasses or kit not up to the task. This isn’t to say, that the perfect kit fixes all your problems, nope, not at all… it just lessens them!

This first video is an overview of Vintage & Modern Compasses so you can know what to look for. Your reslience &  perserverence is always important, but will be tested quite a bit if you do not use quality tools. My detailed recommendations are available via the materials & equipment page. Whilst you are there, do check info and links for paper, pencils, pens & rulers, erasers & sharpeners too –I’ve lots to say on them all! Many are Amazon afflicted links, so I earn a little commission at no cost to you for making these recommendations. Every little helps!

Week 2 - Two Constructions to Divide a Circle into Five & Ten - Using a Compass & Straight Edge

Activity 2 - Draw these constructions each a number of times and do so varying your kit, using 2mm lead, pen or mechanical, pencil, ruling pen(!) with whichever quality compasses you have.

​You may now have a better idea of the different tools & the many combinations that follow. But what is your preference?  Perhaps you're already decided, or happy to play with a few combinations. You may like something now and change your mind for a different drawing later! Therefore find what best works for you whilst you build up familiarity, confidence & accuracy with these constructions. The radius doesn't have to be defined for these drawings, but make sure you don’t pick the biggest radius for your compass, as you may struggle when you have to increase that radius twice for the first construction. Saying that, new geometers do start larger (e.g. 9cm to 11cm on A3 paper) and try smaller for your further drawings.  Repeat as many times as you need and ENJOY!

Week 3 - The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Fivefold Motif - A Geometric PentaBlossom 

Activity 3 - Watch the new video “UPDATED #8 - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Fivefold Motif - A Geometric PentaBlossom - Islamic Geometry” and draw, outline paint your versions of this motif.

Our first pattern is an oldie but a goodie – one of my main goals was to improve existing tutorials. This pattern was given the one minute animation treatment three years ago as part of a good run of #tutorialtuesdays. The animation with its chirpy music didn’t show a hint of the difficulties involved in drawing 5 & 10 divisions. So the comments section on YouTube often seemed the home of the frustrated geometer. So as every in a timely fashion, I’m fixing that now.  So we have the initial construction, followed by two different ways I added detail and colour to the weave. I know it’s super tempting to recreate what you see like for like, but if you can, resist, you will really get more out of the creative process if you have to think about colour, combinations and placement. If you’re not confident with colour, keep it simple with no more then three colours, play with them, get to know how they  behave on a test paper with differing amounts of water… you learn so much, how they behave and how they dry, also find the level of dilution that you like most. And if you don’t love it, paint another, the first informs the second and so on and you learn so much when the pressure is off… regardless of how you do it, enjoy every line, curve and brush stroke…  


Week 4 - The Tenfold Rosette

Activity 4 -  Watch either the existing tutorial #13 - Tenfold Rosette 3 Ways Tutorial - Drawing & Painting Islamic Geometric Pattern or new tutorial Drawing & Painting the Tenfold Islamic Geometric Rosette in a Pentagon to construct this rosette pattern that so many of us love. Draw, trace, transfer, tile or weave as you wish - between these two videos you can see a lot of techniques and outcomes.

If you are a beginner, dividing a circle into 5 and then 10 is a notoriously a very difficult construction. It’s one of the main reasons why I’ve built up to these two video about tools and construction. Good eyesight, brilliant lighting, excellent hand eye coordination, sharp and quality tools, precision in every move all count towards minimising the errors and in accuracy. If any of them is rushed or lacking, you won’t get it right. So be kind to yourself if it doesn’t work out first time, have a break, draw something else and then regroup and try again, perseverance is key and several attempts are sometimes needed!


It’d be fair to say this is the archetypal Islamic Geometric Rosette that has perfection built in throughout. Look at the perfect regular pentagrams, five pointed stars in between the petals, In all other rosette patterns they aren’t regular; they are optimal for their situation, but never regular, not in twelvefold, or eightfold or any other fold! Dividing a circle in to five and ten isn’t intuitive or easy. Yet the outcomes, the shape, their relationship & their proportions are ones that resonate with so much geometry in nature and our universe. More of this in the coming week’s patterns.

The first video, ideal for beginners, starts from scratch, including dividing a circle in to 5 & 10 and our first meeting with the fivefold rectangle which will come up repeatedly in the coming weeks. Then constructing the rosette as a single motif and at this stage, this can’t be tiled (tessellated). To do this, I return to my favourite tools, tracing paper & a spoon! Tessellating the rosette correctly requires a specific tile, the rhombus, which then allows you to stitch the pattern together seamlessly. I also wanted to add how I weave a pattern, so another technique to try out if you wish.  


The second video was a happy suggestion that I was glad I was able to add in as something new/related to the week’s rosette. It is more challenging and involves drawing a fuller repeat of the rosette in a pentagon. This pentagon is the final outcome and can’t be tiled.  The satisfaction levels of this pattern and its variation are high, as it seems often so tricky to get started, so enjoy the variations and  see what you can create from these two tutorials. Remember to enjoy every stage of the process helping you to build up those hours of experience!

Next Tutorial: WEEK 5 availble from Tuesday 6th October 2020. With exclusive early acccess available to the patrons on my Patreon Creators Page from today, 2nd October. Click here to find out more!

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If you enjoy the free resources, any size donation welcome to help sustain my work!