KaleidoPaint tricks I’ve learned

I am assuming you have read all of the help files within the KaleidoPaint iPad App. It’s not very complicated. Go read it. RTFM! Now, if you’ve already read it, read on.

Tip # 1: First thing I do when I start a drawing:

  1. Choose the type of symmetry to tackle
  2. Turn on the grid, as as helper to get started
  3. Set the default background to white
  4. Move the thickness slider to the left, not quite at its minimum, but close
  5. Select a neutral, dark grey to sketch with

Tip # 2: To draw an absolutely straight line:

  1. Make the thickness of the line at least 3/4 of the way possible on the line thickness slider
  2. Draw the line fast and curt
  3. Pull up the line editor and reduce the thickness back to the size you need. If there are any unecessary control points, delete them.

The drawing below was built in the P6 symmetry group. It consists of 4 straight lines drawn from the centre of the hexagon, with a thick setting. Try it. Draw them fast. Notice they have only two control points, because they are drawn thick and fast. Makes it easy to adjust them. One short curve is then drawn at the perimeter for the tire, a thick line that stays thick. Once you have that curver relatively uniform, all you need are two dots, one really wide and a lighter grey one on top, smaller, both to draw the wheel hub. Some minor tweaking for locating the spokes properly. Voilà, you have a bike wheel. Guess, if I added a few more control points on the thick tire line, I could take out the bumpy ride! And add knobbies for the tire tread.

Draw straight lines with a thick pen, then reduce the size to what you need

Draw straight lines with a thick pen, then reduce the size to what you need

Tip # 3: Messy sketches and clean drawings:

  1. Most of the time my drawings start off very messy. A tangle of lines, and even I can’t see the shapes anymore. In many instances, after I can perceive an idea, but can’t edit (or locate) any of the lines…
  2. I set-up a thick pen with a weird colour
  3. I then draw on top of the messy sketch with this very visible line
  4. It is also visible in the list of editable lines, under the edit button. It will also be the last at the bottom of the edit list. Although the newer versions of KP have the last drawn line at the top. Thanks for that Jeff.
  5. At this point, it is quite easy to edit the line by dragging, deleting or converting the spline’s control points.
  6. Once I have a satisfactory outline for my tessellation, and can then delete all the previous sketch lines. Which can get tedious… select-delete, select-delete, select-delete…
  7. To eliminate the tedious repetitive deletions, you can copy the code file, open it in a text editor and do a mass delete. I’ve had one code file go from 623 pages down to 23 pages with one press of the mouse. Much easier.
A line that is different in colour and thickness, is easy to locate in the Edit window

A line that is different in colour and thickness, is easy to locate in the Edit window

Tip # 4: When in Edit mode:

When editing lines, white dots with either a grey outline or a black outline show up. The grey outline refers to a dot with angular line path, whereas the white dot with the black outline, refers to a line with a curved path.


Lots of software out there to help you accomplish tessellation designs.

An iPad app is available, which is what I have used here to create these images: KaleidoPaint by Jeff Weeks.

There is also a java-based program “Escher Web Sketch”  at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne. Make sure Java is enabled and not blocked by your security software.

Also, another screen-based software by Anselm Levskaya Escher Sketch v2.

Or a pair of scissors and a piece of cardboard works quite well. That’s how I learned.

Comments are always welcome!

If you’re a “Learn by Seeing” “Learn by Doing” kind of person, I’ve started creating videos on “how-to” create tessellations. I’ll be covering each of the 17 symmetry groups, one class at a time. And like all artists, we need to make a living. So. I’ve uploaded these to the Skillshare platform. I’ll get paid by minutes watched.

You can take the classes for free. Skillshare offers anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for free if you sign up, even temporarily.

You can register for just a month and cancel anytime. It’s less than the cost of a Netflix subscription! And you can still stay put on the couch. There are over 40,000 classes on topics for creative persons just like you. Join my mailing list, either here on my blog (in the sidebar), or a at this link for a specific list I use to announce new classes.

I’d love for you to join me on this wonderful learning adventure.

If you prefer, you can follow my progress on social media, I always announce my new class:
Facebook: Franc Champagne, and Vancouver Island Tessellation Artist
Instagram: champagne.francine
Twitter: FChampagne1
Linkedin: Graphic Design, PowerPoint and tessellations
Youtube: Video animations and class intros

My classes have received an independent rating of 9.7/10, placing these Skillshare classes in the TOP 2% of classes reviewed by CourseMarks!


Rekindle your Love of M.C. Escher Tessellations, draw your own tessellations using a free iPad App rating

Here is a list of the classes up so far:

  1. Rekindle your Love of M.C. Escher Tessellations, draw your own tessellations using a free iPad App. In this class I introduce the concept of tessellations, show you the work of M.C. Escher as well as other artists. Then we dive into a first symmetry method, P4g, accomplished by drawing only one line to create the perimeter of your tessellation.
  2. Just like M. C. Escher’s Tessellations: Draw Using a New Symmetry Method and Your iPad. We tackle the Mirrored Triplets symmetry group, aka P3m1.
  3. This UP/DOWN, LEFT/RIGHT Tessellation method was M. C. Escher’s favorite. It is also the symmetry method, P1, most taught in schools. Probably the only way most artists have tried to accomplish a nested shape. We will push it a tad farther, but also easier than scissors and cardboard.
  4. M. C. Escher Tessellations: The Three Cozy Buddies Symmetry Group, know as symmetry group P3. Lots of examples, from many different tessellation artists. One of my favorite ways of creating tessellations.
  5. Digital Patterns: Super Simple Quickie Patterns. 20 patterns in 30 minutes! I will show you how to draw and assemble your pattern design elements in four different and unusual ways. Come explore the possibilities, from a different point of view using your iPad and the free KaleidoPaint app. There is more to symmetry than rigid repeats, half-drops and tossed layouts.
  6. My next class with deal with a symmetry group I have named: “This way — that way”, aka crystallographic notation Pg. That Koloman Moser video above, is part of the series.

2 thoughts on “KaleidoPaint tricks I’ve learned

  1. Pingback: KaleidoPaint tricks I’ve learned | champagnedesign

  2. Pingback: KaleidoPaint – una divertida app per fer dibuixos simètrics | AmicsDeLesTIC's

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