This tessellation is laid out around a matrix of hexagons, a honeycomb. There is one 6 point rotation, one 3 point rotation and one 2 point rotation. Wicked to try to get a figure to fit in there and not look like something out of a fisheye lens! Definite exaggerations and stretched reality required. Never thought it would become one of my favourite systems.
Though complex in the number of rotation points, this type of tessellation is quite easy to accomplish. Locate the 3 different rotation points, one three-fold, one two-fold and one six-fold. The diagram below has them labelled as A, B and C. You have two lines to draw. Rambling over the hexagon’s outline, back and forth is permitted, as there are no mirrors. The first line connects point A to point B, both of these on the hexagon’s outline. The second line connects anywhere on that first line to the middle six-fold rotation point.
The above two simple lines, connecting A to B to C, were used as the base for the following tessellation. A cute pooper wearing a purple bandana with pink polka dots. Follow the black outline in both pictures, they are identical. Your tessellation can be complex, or quite simple, depends on your drawing style. In my case, I’ve been influenced by “la bande dessinée francophone”, since my youth. It has to be simple and humorous.
Zoomed-out, the hexagons become quite apparent.
Heel to Heel and Eye to Eye shows the type of exaggeration that may be required to fill this type of space. What’s really neat about this one is that the face is shared 3 ways! Reminds me of a webmaster I once knew out east. If you really want to get picky about tessellations, you can go the Ancient Egyptian style, where all body parts must be visible,accountable, accurate… But where’s the fun in that!
I’ve has a lot of fun with this symmetry group, now that I understand how it works. I have many more, but cannot include them all here. See if you can locate all three different rotation points in the images above and below.
This one would be good for a T-shirt. I hesitated calling it “Mmmmm Sushi”, but instead came up with “10km Salmon Run”. On the same topic, the sockeye salmon run this year is at an all time, 30 year low. Must be all those harbour seals. No smoked salmon this year, unfortunately. We’ll have to smoke something else.
Lots of software out there to help you accomplish this type of design.
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
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!
Here is a list of the classes up so far:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.